Skin to skin image goes viral

me2At the first birth I attended, I was responsible for two things: help my friend smile through her labor and take pictures. The latter proved to be an unexpectedly difficult task. Enveloped by the intensity and excitement of birth, I nearly found myself too engrossed to operate the camera.

Ontario artist Lindsay Foster shares what it’s like to be behind the lens, even as a professional.

“I must admit, it’s hard to keep a dry eye while capturing such raw emotions from new parents,” she says. “Every emotion they feel runs right through me. Those are the exact images I wish to capture every time!”

One of Foster’s birth pictures went viral this summer. She captured fathers BJ Barone and Frankie Nelson meeting Baby Milo minutes after being delivered by an unrelated surrogate mother.

Fathers BJ (left) and Frankie (right) embrace their seconds-old-newborn boy Milo. Milo's umbilical cord is still attached to the surrogate in this image.
Fathers BJ (left) and Frankie (right) embrace their seconds-old-newborn boy Milo. Milo’s umbilical cord is still attached to the surrogate in this image.

She says she had no expectation that the photo would go viral.

“As per usual I asked the new parents if I could share a few images on my Facebook page, they said yes, so I shared one of my favourite images from that day,” she says.

Today, the image has over 50,000 Likes and over 10,000 shares.

The tremendously touching moment was received with love by thousands, but many onlookers  revealed hostility and ignorance, especially in light of skin to skin contact between the fathers and baby.(More on skin to skin for the non-breastfeeding parent here: http://themiddleofeverything.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/skin-to-skin-contact-and-the-non-breastfeeding-parent/)

Another version of the viral image. Milo and his dads, the surrogate mother and her husband, and their two midwives are pictured.
Another version of the viral image. Milo and his dads, the surrogate mother and her husband, and their two midwives are pictured.

“Once it became apparent that it did indeed go viral and my Facebook page exploded with comments I made sure to monitor all the negativity,” she says. “I [have] no tolerance at all for the negativity.”

Foster states on her Facebook page:

It’s unfortunate that I have to make these points first, but hopefully it will avoid some repetition.

– Milos fathers are topless, not naked. And they are topless for skin to skin contact which is very beneficial for a newborn baby.

– Also, the surrogate mom was in no way related to Baby Milo. She did not use her own eggs and she was very happy to have given this gift. Her, her husband and two children are all doing great.

Another FACT: The baby is LOVED very very much!

Barone and Nelson are also quoted on Foster’s Facebook page.

…All comments posted are respected, although we may not agree with the negative ones, the positive ones far outweigh the negative. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This is a moment of pure love and acceptance. Milo is surrounded by unconditional love and he will grow up knowing many different types of families and accept everyone, (intolerant people included). Milo was born during World Pride. This picture represents everything Pride is about. Love has no colour nor gender nor sexual preference. Love is unconditional. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts! xxoo

Foster’s knowledge, appreciation and respect for physiological birth help her blend into the birth environment as a photographer.

“Just call me the Chameleon of Birth Photographers!” she exclaims. “Every birth is different, and every birthing mom requires their kind of environment, and I try my very best to abide by those wishes.”

Foster specializes in photographing first breastfeeds, too.

“Besides the birth, breastfeeding is such a special moment for the new mama,” she says. “It really is amazing to see how a mother’s body can be such a strong, beautiful and nurturing thing of beauty.”

Foster also enjoys capturing the “awe on Daddy’s face” during these precious moments.

Since Foster’s image went viral, her professional goal remains the same.

The Foster Family
The Foster Family

“I am a small town girl trying to make a living as a business owner, so my only wish and goal is for me to be able to always do what I love,” she says.

Foster shares these parting words.

“…It doesn’t matter if you are expecting a child through a straight marriage, a gay marriage, a surrogate or adoption; it is a very special and momentous gift of life in every new parent. Every child is a miracle of life. Capturing the first moments…is something that should never be forgotten … It’s the beginning of a beautiful and memorable journey.”

For updates on Foster’s work, Like her on Facebook.

For an update from Milo’s dads, click here.

Visit Foster’s website at http://www.lfosterphotography.com/.

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