A Birth Photographer Insulted C-Section Births

by Lara Rutherford-Morrison

Having a baby is hard work, no matter how you do it, but apparently some people think certain methods of giving birth are more legitimate than others. A few days ago, the Sanctimommy Facebook page published a post about a birth photographer who doesn’t approve of C-sections and therefore refuses to work with women who have them. Seriously. Because the post doesn’t include names, this story is unverified (and, indeed, a few commenters have accused it of being false). However, prejudice against C-sections is a real thing (a really RIDICULOUS thing), and too often, women are stigmatized for having them. If nothing else, the post opens up a necessary conversation about why mothers are so often subject to shaming, about everything from how they feed their kids to how they gave birth to them. Parenting is a huge challenge for anyone. Can’t we just let people live?

Last week, Sanctimommy posted a screenshot of an alleged conversation between an expectant mother and a birth photographer. It appears that when the photographer found out that the mom was going to have a C-section, she opted not to do the photos. “I had no idea birth photographers discriminated [against] people for how they birth their babies,” the mother wrote. The photographer replied,

A surgery isn’t birth, my dear. You aren’t giving birth. You are having a surgery to remove your baby from your abdomen. That is not birth no matter how you swing it and I for one don’t want to be there to take pictures of it. If you decide to give motherhood a go from the get and have an actual birth let me know and we can schedule your session.
This motherhood job is hard, if I were you I would think twice about starting such a job by cutting corners so early in the game.

SO MANY THINGS are wrong with this statement. But first:

OK. How is a C-section not birth? Are babies who are delivered by C-section not born? The CDC estimates that almost a third of all deliveries in the United States are performed via C-section, so that means there are A LOT of unborn babies walking around.

And “If you decide to give motherhood a go”…. really? So the only thing that defines motherhood is vaginal birth? I’d bet a lot of women who’ve had C-sections — not to mention those with adopted children — who have spent countless hours changing diapers, feeding, bathing, dressing, and comforting crying kids would beg to differ.

Furthermore, I’ve never had a C-section myself, but I seriously doubt that having a major surgery — and then going home to take care of a newborn baby — counts as “cutting corners.” C-section recovery is not a quick or easy process.

And finally, that “my dear” at the beginning? SO patronizing.

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that the post has created an opportunity for some truly savage comebacks from justifiably angry commenters. “I think we've finally discovered where the voter fraud accusations are coming from.... a good chunk of us aren't even actually born but registered to vote,” one person speculated. Another laid out the true standard for motherhood: “If you don't have your baby at sunset in crystal clear ocean water with dolphins swimming around you, you might as well leave your child on someone's doorstep since clearly you're not cut out for motherhood. But I'm sure you tried your best. #mychildisonewithdolphins.” Another suggested that all of these non-birthed babies might need a new song: “Happy Removal Day to you! Happy Removal Day to you! Happy Removal Day to my children, who I obviously don't love enough to have a working vagina for.”

The snark is epic.