This striking photograph of a mother and baby taken just three days after being born by caesarean section has taken social media by storm.
Helen Aller, 29, took the black and white image of the woman and her newborn lying next to her wound.
The new mother, who does not wish to be identified, was terrified of having a C-section but wanted the picture to be taken as the operation had saved her and her baby.
The image touched a nerve around the world after Helen shared it online, and it has been seen 11.5 million times and liked by nearly 200,000 people.
Photographer Helen, from Guernsey, often takes photos of newborns and their mums, but said she wasn’t prepared for the reaction her latest shot received.
She said: “I photographed this mama’s pregnancy a while back and she was telling me how terrified she was of having a c-section.
“Last week she went into labour but had to have an emergency c-section after complications.
“She asked me to come over and shoot this particular image as her worst nightmare proved to be what saved her and her child’s lives.
“My images usually get seen seen by 100 people at most so I never thought it would reach anywhere near what it has done. So far it has been seen by over 7.5 million people. I didn’t expect this image to reach so far.”
In the photo, the newborn – only three days old – is lying directly underneath his mother’s scar from her emergency caesarean.
The photo was uploaded to Helen’s Facebook page, Helen Carmina Photography, on 11 August.
So far it has been ‘liked’ by almost 200,000 people, shared by 58,220 and viewed more than 11.5 million times.
Helen, who herself is eight months pregnant, said: “To me it’s a beautiful image that shows both a struggle and something beautiful.
“I have received so so many stories from c-section mums saying how it has changed the way they look at their scars.
“I can’t believe the amount of women that are ashamed of their scars and are made to feel like they haven’t done the job properly because they didn’t give birth naturally.”
“I feel proud that an image I created has allowed so many people to open up about their experiences and change the way they feel about something they should only feel pride for.”
Many mothers have responded to the picture saying it has helped them come to terms with their own scars.
One wrote: “I’m not a huge fan of having a scar across my lower abdomen, but I’ve learned to embrace it because that is where my babies came from.”
Another wrote: “I had to have an emergency c-section with my first. It took a long time to come to terms with it.
“My second baby was born via c-section too – the problems which caused my first baby to almost die were still present and it was too much of a risk.
“My scar is a little smaller than this one looks, and two years later is a very faint white line.
“It doesn’t bother me, I’ve grown to like it as it symbolises my babies arriving safely into the world.”