A picture of a new mother and her baby has gone viral.

Things don’t always go to plan.

Most mothers will tell pregnant women with a birth plan: that calm, tinkly-music-filled, pain-killer-free natural birthing experience you’ve devised? It might not go down quite like that.

It certainly didn’t for one of Helen Carmina‘s clients.

The UK-based photographer shot a pregnant woman weeks before she was due to give birth who confided in Carmina that she was absolutely terrified at the possibility of having to have a C-section.

Helen Carmina’s photograph of a new mum who had to have an emergency C-section. Image via Helen Carmina Photography.

After the woman went into labour, though, she began to lose a lot of blood and an emergency C-section was the only option to save both her and her baby.

Following the birth, the woman asked Carmina to photograph her C-section scar and her new, healthy baby boy.

“She asked me to come over this morning and shoot this particular image as her worst nightmare proved to be what saved her and her son’s lives,” Carmina wrote in the caption accompanying the image on her Facebook page.

The touching image prompted an immediate response, garnering 80,681 likes, 21,06 shares and countless comments.

Generally, the comments are positive, with other women who have also experienced C-sections praising the picture.

Natalie Harris wrote, “What a brave and wonderful woman to be photographed like this. Before my baby was born, I had been ignorant to the possibility that I may have to have an emergency section to save my baby. Three months on and I’m struggling to come to terms with how I look and how my scar feels but seeing women like her and such positive views from other women who have been through the same makes it easier.”

Photographer Helen Carmina with her two kids. Image via Helen Carmina photography.

Others, of course, are less kind.

Enn Kaye Blanco wrote, “i understand labour is painful and everything but why would she put her babies [sic] head right on her stuff ? why not the tummy ? or something .. i find this really digusting this photo .. im [sic] not judging c-sections .. but thats [sic] gross.”

Ewwwww, vaginas! Where babies come out of!

“So usually images I post are seen by roughly 100 people. The image I posted last night has reached over half a million people worldwide,” Carmina wrote.

“It’s had so much amazing feedback coupled with a fair bit of negativity but as they say Art is subjective. It’s wonderful to read all the amazing stories people have posted because of it. But it has left me wondering how on earth the Renaissance painters got away with painting nudes all those centuries ago when this image is causing so much controversy in this day and age?! ‪#‎crazyworld‬.”

The picture has been reported to Facebook for being “inappropriate” but Carmina says Facebook regulators decided to leave it up.

More on birth?

Bec Sparrow: Everything you’ve been told about C-sections is probably wrong.

The terrifying “unassisted childbirthing” forums that could kill.

#InstaBirthStory: Women now live-blogging their birth journey on Instagram.