There are few moments, if any, where women are more vulnerable than right after giving birth, and a viral photo has reminded mothers the invaluable help that nurses offer during the trying time.
Texas writer Jill Krause shared an image of the moment a nurse helps a mother on the toilet shortly after she gave birth, along with a message of appreciation towards the hospital workers who aided her in each of her four deliveries.
Soon after being posted on Wednesday, the photo by Kentucky maternity photographer Katie Lacer went viral, prompting women all over the nation to use the comment section to share their own stories of what it meant to have a nurse’s helping hand when they gave birth.
‘I’ll never forget the faces of the nurses who followed me into the bathroom after delivering each baby. That moment when I was so vulnerable, so tired, scared, shaky. My swollen belly deflating, and my modesty long gone,’ wrote Jill.
‘They treated me with such kindness and dignity.’
She continued: ‘For me, these have been moments of empowerment and confirmation that I have a real village to help me, even if just for that little bit of time in a bathroom, on a toilet, while a kind nurse shows me how to put an ice pad on my mesh undies,’ adding that the photo took her right back to when she was in the delivery room herself, saying she could even ‘smell the Dermaplast’.
‘Let’s hear it for the nurses and the doulas and anyone else who shows us how to make ice pad underwear (or helps with that first shower post c-section!)’ concluded the mother-of-four.
The photo and Jill’s message have now been shared nearly 50,000 times, and the comment section has turned into a forum for women to write about their own stories and express their gratitude to nurses, with some even posting their photos in the delivery room.
‘My delivery nurse grabbed my cellphone without me asking and snapped pictures of my boyfriend and I when they first put the baby on my chest.
‘It was honestly one of the sweetest things anyone could’ve done for me that day. I’ll always be thankful for that.’ read one comment.
‘I was so exhausted and in so much pain after a long labor and c-section that once I got to the shower, I just stood there frozen in pain. My sweet nurse lovingly soaped me up and rinsed me off. It was a very humbling experience. I’ll never forget her,’ said another.
Many nurses also left messages in the comments, saying that helping patients when they are too weak to help themselves is their job, and women shouldn’t be embarrassed to be aided when they need it most.
‘I always laughed when my new moms would apologize to me for having to help them. It’s all part of the experience. If it bothered me then I got into the wrong profession. I was always like hunny you just had a human exit your body, please let me help you. I know how much it hurts. Just relax and let someone help you!’ read a comment by a nurse.
The woman behind the impactful image, photographer Katie, from Kentucky, documents births, going on-call with her clients after they reach 38 weeks pregnant, meaning she has bags packed, cameras charged, and is ready to go whenever they go into labor.
Being a photographer, I’m privy to some of life’s most precious milestones,’ she said. ‘This job comes with a heavy sense of responsibility that I am well aware of, and I do my best to exceed the expectations that are laid out before me.’