Uncensored Birth Photos are now ALLOWED on Facebook and Instagram

(Picture credit, @marijkethoen_birthphotography)

In December 2017, Katie Vigos launched a petition asking that Instagram change its censorship policies to reclassify childbirth as educational material, rather than categorising it alongside “pornography, graphic violence and profanity.”  The petition essentially demanded that Instagram addresses its nonsensical stance that brith is too offensive for the public eye.

Before the launch of this petition, moms posting birthing pictures to Instagram and Facebook risked having their photographs permanently deleted and even their accounts shut down.  Yet with more than 23,000 signatures supporting the #IGallowuncensoredbirth petition via the Empowered Birth Project, both Instagram and their parent company Facebook have now officially changed their censorship policies to allow uncensored birth pictures on both platforms.

Don’t Let Good Girl Complex Hold You Back

I am sitting in my friend’s living room, cradling a cup between my palms, as my baby toddles between the women in the room.

One of these women is sharing her business dreams with us and we all nod and smile and tell her how amazing her ideas are.  We are being completely honest.  

Somewhere between the excitement and support I feel for my friend, I'm learning my own lesson about vulnerability.

My baby hands my friend a little piece of treasure found lurking by the bookcase.  She beams at him as she tells us that she’ll need to create a website, and he returns her smile with gusto.

These women are my support network; my tribe.  My children trust them innately.  And yet I shift uncomfortably, as I suddenly feel a little too hot.

I have a website.

I almost whisper it.

The Self-Care For Moms Giveaway!

In celebration of the release of the Self-Care For Moms ebook and four-week program, I'm giving away THREE copies! It's time to make self-care an easy daily habit - so be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Here's how to enter:

“Like” and comment on this post on my Facebook page:

Stop Telling Moms We'll Miss The Baby Years

It's 2pm on a Monday afternoon and I'm currently sitting in my rocking chair, breastfeeding my sleeping one year old.  His tiny hand is clutching my chest and his ribs are rising and falling softly, with his steady, deep and dream-filled breaths.  He is picture-perfect and wouldn't look out of place on the cover of a mummy-and-baby magazine, or featured in the latest "You'll Miss This" video doing the rounds on Facebook.

You know the type of video I mean, right?  The videos with soft focus and smiling cherub-faced babies crawling in and out of shot.  With relaxed mothers kissing tiny toes and playing peekaboo while words flash across the screen...

"The days may be long, but the years are short..."

"One day soon, it will be the last time you rock your little one to sleep..."

"You will look back on these years and rest assured, you will miss this!"

Let me tell you a secret: I hate these videos.

"You'll Miss This" videos have a lot to answer for.  Because they are, quite simply, utterly exploitative.

They are exploiting our mummy-hearts, consciences and fears.  They are tapping into our sleep-deprived vulnerabilities and bleeding us dry.

Self Care For Moms Does Not Look Like That

I think I signed up to the wrong mailing list.

I was lured there with images of smiling women carefully positioned on pastel yoga mats atop a sunny-yet-snow-capped mountain peak.

From a stuffy house in a dreary town, these women seemed to be offering a slice of self-care that they promised was attainable.

They promised it through their white-toothed smiles and catchy headlines.

This morning, one headline in particular caught my eye and stood up, mountain-pose-style, from within my inbox:

"Up Your Self-Care Game With These Quick Daily Rituals"

Nice!  Better self care is something most of us are striving for, right? And as a mom, the word 'quick' literally sang to me.

I'll be honest, I opened the link without hesitation. I should have known better. I should have known what to expect, but sleep deprivation seems to be blurring my BS Barometer...

Here's the first point offered to those of us desperately seeking better self care (and the only one I will mention here, as I couldn't finish reading the article in question due to the simultaneous shock and laughter that overtook my body, and the fact my toddler was traversing the stair gate...):

"Ritualize your morning beverage"

Ok...sounds interesting...maybe they want me to be more mindful when I sip my tea? I could do that!

Not quite, unfortunately:
"Sip your mug [of superfood coffee] slowly in a calm space in your home. I'll sit at my altar and light a candle and burn sage, palo santo, or copal. Then I write or work with oracle cards and drop into a 20 to 30 minute meditation and prayer practice. My meditations consist of breath work, mantra, mindfulness, body scanning, clearing out old resentments, and connecting to my "why" for the day."*

*This is an actual quote.

The #LoveYourBoobs Giveaway!

When it comes to breastfeeding, many new moms are left wondering whether or not they need a pump.

According to the professionals, you may need a pump for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Your baby is not nursing well (or not nursing at all), as pumping will help maintain milk supply in these situations.
  • You need to increase milk supply or are inducing lactation for a baby you did not birth.
  • You are planning occasional separations from baby for more than a couple of hours.
  • You prefer to offer expressed milk (either part of the time or all of the time) for any reason.

Yet there is one point that stands out, loud and clear, for moms in the United States:

  • You plan to return to work and want to provide breast milk for your baby.

This is because the United States offers new parents absolutely nothing in terms of state sponsored parental leave.  Just to put that in perspective, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the US ranks as the only advanced economy without paid parental leave.  For working moms in Estonia (as an example), where they have 87 weeks of paid leave (yes, you read that right), direct breastfeeding is therefore logistically far more attainable than it is for working moms in the United States.

Recently, Senator Elizabeth Warren pledged to continue the fight for universal child care:

"Many moms have a child care story that sounds a lot like mine. Juggling a growing family & holding a teaching job was tough as nails. Without child care, I was a goner. That’s why I’m fighting for universal child care in our end-of-year budget.”

Yet until this battle is won, breastfeeding moms rely ultimately on the pumping industry to ensure they can provide their own milk to their children during working hours.  For many moms, then, the answer is crystal clear: Yes!  Yes, I do need a breast pump!

So as a salute to those hard-working pumping moms in our community, I've teamed up with Ardo this Valentine's Day to offer one lucky mom the chance of winning an Amaryll hand pump, in our #LoveYourBoobs giveaway.

The Prize:
In celebration of Valentine's Day, Ardo is giving away one of their Amaryll manual breast pumps to one lucky winner.

About the Amaryll:  The Amaryll handle attaches three ways for the perfect, ergonomic way to pump right or left-handed. Voted the favorite manual breast pump by moms and professionals, even in the early testing phase, Amaryll is an efficient, easy-to-use and comfortable option when you need to pump on the go.

Here's how to enter:

It's Time To Celebrate Postpartum (Without The Filter)

A few days ago, Facebook announced plans to change its algorithms to promote wellbeing amongst its users.

It seems that too many of us have fallen victim to the social media comparison game and the endless clickbait articles that leave us feeling pretty void of compassion by the time the last ad rolls by.

Facebook has listened to our calls for real content...and not a moment too soon.

So with that in mind, it's time that I launched a project I've been planning for a while.  I'm not sure what's been holding me back...fear of failure, perhaps? What if nobody engages? What if nobody cares?

After a mini-pep talk with friends, I feel ready to take the risk.  So I'm now officially introducing the Postpartum Unfiltered project!

Yes, postpartum just got real...and not a moment too soon.

The idea is simple: let's shine a light on the postpartum experience, without the filters.  

I'm asking for your engagement with this one!

I'm asking you to share a picture of your postpartum experience...the picture that summarises it best.  It can be of absolutely anything...your postpartum body, your baby's feeds, the stockpile of diapers, that ever-growing laundry pile, your kindly neighbour, dishes in the sink, or even placenta smoothies (is that just me?!)

The only rule is: it has to be real.

No filters.

Just raw, beautifully real experiences.

Because the more we see through the filters, the more we realise that we are all connected by this powerful experience.

As women, we are conditioned from a young age to compare and compete. Let's be the change that this world needs and join together in solidarity instead.

There is no prize on offer for the supposedly 'best' picture here, there will be no certificate for the one with the most 'likes'.  This project aims to unite and reassure us...with real stories and the connections that inevitably grow from them.

Let's say no to filtered BS and embrace life's raw realities.

Are you ready?

Share your picture today - you can message my Facebook page (or post directly) and I promise to share each and every one.

And to kick things off, here is mine: