I was reading a post the other day about Instagram banning birthing photos and I wondered how I felt on the matter. So I’ve done what I always do when I want to express my thoughts. Turned to writing. I will warn you before you keep reading that this post does contain explicit birth photos. I’ve chosen explicit photos to better illustrate what is on Instagram and for the shock value. Just letting you know on the off chance you’re the complaining type. On we go.
Should Birth Photos Be Banned?
I think I’m pretty much in favour of birth photos being shown on social media. But what I’m going to do here is simply go through a few ‘for’ and ‘against’ for both sides and talk about my thoughts.
FOR – It’s Natural
People argue that giving birth is natural. And yes, I’m not going to disagree with that one. I fully support the showcasing of natural images on Instagram. But it’s also a point that can easily be countered if you want to be a tad bit facetious. And I love being facetious!
There are plenty of things that are natural that are banned from social media. Sex being the obvious one. There is nothing more natural than penetrative sex. We were all made via it. Should it be on social media? Probably not. So now you’re saying that everything comes down to context. A vagina is a big no if it involves sex, but if a baby is being born from it then it’s fine.
I can’t actually give you a decent answer as to why birth photos are fine but sex photos aren’t. Both are natural. Both are an inevitable part of life. And both are something we’ve all been a part of it. But we all know that sex related photos shouldn’t be on social media. Yet birth ones are somehow different. Maybe I’m just missing something.
AGAINST – They’re Too Graphic
People argue that birth photos can often be too graphic, and as such, they’re not suitable for young children. Or perhaps for people in general. Well unfortunately, life can be graphic. And it’s not even graphic in a negative sense. It’s just a baby being born. Take this photo for example. Yes it’s very graphic, but it’s also life. Literally.
“During birth a woman goes into battle for her soul. I have heard so many women say, especially during unmedicated birth, “I’m dying!” Everything she has learned about herself falls away. She forgets the girl who was told her freckles were ugly. She forgets the teen that hated how her jeans fit. She forgets the young woman who was kissed when she didn’t want to be.* She forgets the woman who was spoken over, ignored, told shhh, told to be a good girl, to behave. A woman who is allowed to experience birth in a safe way, making her own choices, following her own urges, can connect with the universal, primal, wild part of herself. The animal part. The wildest part of her is the only part of her that can go to battle for her deepest spirit, love and intention. It does feel like you are dying. Because it is a chance to be reborn.” __ *there are some traumas that are deep enough to inhibit a woman from accessing this deep primal space. Sexual trauma is one. We have to be deeply aware of this when we are serving women, and create spaces where women can feel safe enough to confront parts of their stories that make them the most afraid. __ Magical words by @taprootdoula __ Magical photo vía @samanthavelezdoula @maianakokila __ #IGallowuncensoredbirth #empoweredbirthproject #physiologicalbirth #birthissupernatural
Perhaps they could simply have it so the images are blurry and you have to click through to be able to view them. I’m at least 50% sure that Facebook already has something like this, so that’s a very easy way of getting around the issue.
FOR – They Allow Breastfeeding Photos so Why Not Birth?
I can easily scroll through Instagram and see plenty of photos of breastfeeding mothers. Maybe that’s just me as I follow a lot of breastfeeding accounts. But quite often the baby isn’t actually fully feeding, and sometimes you can just see nipple. Is that acceptable? I personally think it’s great, and not because I’m weird, but because it normalises it.
Breastfeeding should be something that we see more of. It should be seen a lot more often. But unfortunately it’s not. Before we had Isabelle I hardly ever saw it. Now I see it everyday.
AGAINST – “I’ll have to explain it to my children”
Yes. Yes you will. You might have to tell your children how babies are born. Then you might have to talk to them about sex! Oh, the horror!
Also, children shouldn’t actually have social media accounts. I believe you have to be at least 13 to have a social media account these days, so that’s a perfectly fine age to see these types of photos.
FOR – They Show Surgery
As you might expect, it’s perfectly fine to show gory, graphic images of surgery on social media. So what makes this type of gore any different to that of a birth? My guess? Just the mere fact the one contains a vagina. Should that really matter? No. But for some reason it does.
In the end, I think it’s fine. Not only do I think it’s fine, I think it should be encouraged. As should breastfeeding photos. It’s all just a part of life, and a part I will have no problem exposing Isabelle to as she gets older. It normalises the natural processes that women go through and that’s a good thing.
I think the times are changing. The mere fact the photo above (providing it’s still there) is still on Instagram shows that they are not as harsh as perhaps they once were. And if people are offended by these images, then good. I don’t really care.
I actually wouldn’t have a problem with Isabelle being present for the birth of her future sibling, but that probably won’t happen.
If you want to sign a petition to allow birth photos to be on Instagram, then there’s a petition for it. Not sure why there needs to be one, as I’ve seen plenty of birth photos on Instagram that have yet to be taken down. But there we go.
And if you want to read more of my thoughts on various topics from the news, then I have a category for that! If you have any thoughts on this, then I welcome a discussion via the comments below!