-- Read any message board aimed at pregnant women, and the reader will soon come away with the impression that a C-section, even when it's recommended by a doctor, isn't a good way to give birth.
Or at least, certainly not as good as a vaginal birth.
Take this post from a mom’s Facebook page today. "Can anyone recommend an acupuncturist that turns breech babies? Want to avoid a c-section."
Several responses included suggestions of a "version," short for External Cephalic Version, or having a doctor apply pressure from the outside in an attempt to turn a breech baby.
One woman describes her baby-turning and avoidance of a Caesarean section, or surgical birth, as "such a relief."
The Victoria, British Columbia-based photographer -- a newborn and baby specialist -- had shot several vaginal births in the past but never thought she would have the opportunity to attend a C-section because of strict rules regarding the number of people in the room during the surgery.
But when her friend's husband was unexpectedly unable to be at the birth of his child, Bender jumped at the chance to be there for her friend and document the experience.
"When I was thinking about the images, and what I wanted to focus on, I realized that I wanted to capture an empowering C-section delivery,” she said. “Carly [the mother] was without fear, and so excited to meet her baby, which made it easy for me to create images of calm, and tranquility.”
"When I was thinking about the images, and what I wanted to focus on, I realized that I wanted to capture an empowering C-section delivery."
"Taking these photos erased any fear I had. I saw another way to welcome a baby into this world. One that relied on skilled medical professionals, and technology that we are so fortunate to have. "
Feedback to the photos, Bender said, has been mostly positive. "When Carly and I decided to share the photos, it was our intention to remove some fear and stigma around C-sections, so to see that we have had some success in this makes us both feel absolutely amazing." Carly Bird gave birth to baby boy Elias.
"These images are for moms who find themselves with a C-section delivery, to help them see what it looks like, that it doesn’t have to be scary, it can still be everything they wanted meeting their baby for the first time to be. These images are about birth, joy, and becoming a family."