After U.K. mom Milli Hill posted a photo of a mother giving birth on Facebook, she was dismayed to learn that the social media site removed it, citing a violation of "community standards."
Hill is the founder of The Positive Birth Movement, which aims to "support women in all birth choices" both through social media and group gatherings all over the world. Hill told The Huffington Post in an email that she often receives birth photos from women looking "to share the experience of giving birth with other mothers," and she and the other administrators occasionally share those images on The Positive Birth Movement Facebook page to help break down the fear and uncertainty that many pregnant women feel.
"That is the whole point of the Positive Birth Movement, really -- women informing women, women empowering women," Hill added. When she uploaded this recent birth photo she received from a mom, Facebook took it down and banned Hill from the site for one week.
Facebook has removed birth photos from The Positive Birth Movement page in the past, which prompted Hill to write about the topic for The Guardian and Best Daily. But the timing of this particular instance struck a nerve with the her.
"This time I just felt the timing was pretty ironic though as the Kim Kardashian pics were all over the Internet -- it's amazing how two quite similar pictures of bottoms can cause such differing reactions!" she said, adding, "It seems like women's bodies are more acceptable when they are sexualized and objectified than when they are doing something active and incredible like giving birth or breastfeeding."
While Hill has received a number of negative responses to her photo, she is glad that it's "igniting debate about women's bodies and about birth," she said, adding, "Even if you disagree with images like this being shared I hope that it makes you question what it is about the images that makes you feel uncomfortable."
According to the mom-of-three, some critics claim that they wouldn't want their children seeing birth images like the one she shared. To that, Hill says:
What are we trying to protect people from by keeping the reality of childbirth from them? As the mother of young girls I actually think that a lot of the images such as KK of women being viewed as sex objects are potentially far more damaging to them than seeing a picture of birth happening. I would prefer my daughters to know what amazing things their body can do rather than feel they have to aspire to a totally unrealistic body image and pose for the benefit of men -- the latter has far more potential to have a negative impact on them in my opinion.
According to Hill, Facebook has not reinstated the photo as of Monday morning, though a spokesperson for the site sent her an apology message, saying that it was "mistakenly taken down."
Facebook did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment.
UPDATE: Nov. 18, 12:15 p.m. -- An official spokesperson for Facebook issued this statement to The Huffington Post: "Several pictures from this Page were mistakenly taken down, but have now been restored. As our team processes more than one million reports each week, we occasionally make a mistake, and we apologize."