Content note: Graphic birth image featuring nudity below. A photo of a grandfather being actively on hand as his grandchild enters the world is going viral – and sparking discussion about family members as birth attendants.
One mum, two dads and a baby!
Photographer Lindsey Meehleis captured the image of her client Stephanie at the pointy end of welcoming a new person to the world. Stephanie’s dad Joe is supporting his daughter as she pushes her baby out. And we think it’s Stephanie’s partner/husband catching the baby, alongside another birth attendant.
It’s got Instagram users sitting up and taking notice because the photo is really unusual. While we often see labouring women being supported by their mothers – or by their (male) partners – it’s super rare to catch a glimpse of a grandfather in such a pivotal role at the birth of his grandchild.
Lots of people were taken aback by the notion of a father seeing his daughter naked and giving birth. They had their own feelings about nudity, birth and fathers – perhaps coloured by their own experiences – and commented accordingly …
“I don’t think that Dad should be here. Sorry but I don’t like that a dad can see his daughter naked.”
“Very odd. Not that it isn’t natural but I would want my dad seeing that.”
“I don’t like it. It’s really shameful for every girl.”
Read more about birth:
- Why do hospital staff say you’re NOT in labour – when you know you are?!
- Why emergency c-sections happen and what to expect if it happens to you
- New mum shares perfect description of final stages of labour
“I love everything about this”
But for others, this photo was heartening, showing a close bond between family members experiencing a life-changing moment together.
“It is beautiful, not shameful! We’ve been giving birth since the beginning of time. It’s the most natural thing in the world. Why do people make vaginas or ‘nakedness’ into something taboo or sexual or shameful? They are beautiful bodies and we all have them. It’s wonderful that this woman could share with magic with her father.”
“Loving the picture and whole story of this photo. Wonder-filled.”
“Aaw! I bet it’s her father by her side. Oh wow, I never saw anything like this before!”
“Congrats to Mama and Daddy and Grandpa too. I love everything about this.”
“A magical experience”
New mum Stephanie loves the image and everything it is about too!
“It is so powerful isn’t it?!” she posted in the comments of the Instagram post. “Wow. I’m so grateful to @lindseymeehleis and her amazing team who made it such a magical experience and captured it in photos.”
“Birth is such a natural and beautiful experience – it’s all perspective,” Stephanie wrote. “Our culture makes it seem strange to have Dad there but it’s not much different from having my mom there. Having my Dad there for the birth was one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made. Everyone getting to see their grandson born was incredibly special. ”
Our verdict? (For what it’s worth!) Women should have whomever they like at their births. Whether that’s their partner, dad, grandpa or their entire family – that’s her business and we are HERE FOR IT! Whatever makes a woman feel supported is the best thing for her, according to us.
A huge congrats to Stephanie on the birth of her dear little baby boy, Jonathon.