It was a black and white photograph that was meant to share the beauty of childbirth with Instagram users around the world. But thanks to the platform itself, it’s lead to confusion, frustration, and disappointment.
Taken by Tasmania birth and baby photographer Jes Jackson, the image shows a baby’s head emerging from its mother, his face covered in vernix and amniotic fluid, a midwife’s hand guiding him. It was, Jackson says, an image meant to depict the parents’ “first few moments with their new little bundle.”
Taken more than five years ago, Jackson recently shared the image to her popular Instagram account, Itty Bitty Photography, but it was shortly removed for not meeting user guidelines.
The birthing photo Instagram deemed unsuitable. Source: Instagram.
"I had been nervous about uploading the image because I had heard of many other birth photographers and birth pages being shut down for sharing "real" birth imagery," Jackson tells Mamamia, going on to ask, "how could anyone be offended by this? It's a baby's face and a midwife's hand."
According to Jackson, the initial response to the photograph was "incredible." With positive comments and many likes, she believed that everything about the archive throwback was understood and appreciated by followers of her account.
But within eight hours Jackson was locked out of her account and the image had been removed.
Jackson says photos showing the reality of birth are so important. Source: Instagram.
"I was so angry and upset," Jackson says. "I could not believe that we are in 2016 and we are censoring a baby's head."
After having her account access reinstated, Jackon uploaded a short video to her account discussing what had happened and again received overwhelming support.
So, taking another punt, the photographer uploaded the image once more with the same caption as before. 800 likes, 500 new follows and exactly eight hours later, the image was once again removed by Instagram for not meeting user guidelines.
Another beautiful post-birth shot. Source: Instagram.
"I read the community standards and there was no way this image was breaching them, in my opinion. It was an image I had taken, it contained no sexual intercourse, no genitals, no buttocks, no nipples, it was respectful and it did not contain violence. It fostered meaningful and genuine interactions, I was not a spammer, and I had followed the law."
Deciding to try her luck for a third time, Jackson eventually reloaded the image - this time with a new caption - and so far it's managed to remain up for a whole week.
Day one caught on film. Source: Instagram.
Jackson says that there are "so many reasons" that sharing images like this are important.
"Birth has been and is being portrayed in such a negative light for such a long time now - everyone is quick to tell you of their horrible birth experience. It's something that has always been private and rarely talked about, and I want to put a stop to this," Jackson explained to Mamamia.
"I want to share REAL birth images depicting what birth can look like, That birth can be calm, relaxing, pleasurable, beautiful. It can be whatever you want it to be, regardless of if you deliver vaginally or via c-section, because birth is beautiful."
Jackson contacted Instagram over a week ago to find out why the image had been removed twice, but is yet to hear back.
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