Dawson's Creek actor praised for sharing graphic home birth photo

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly have just welcomed their 5th child [Photo: Getty]
James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly have just welcomed their 5th child [Photo: Getty]

James Van Der Beek (or Dawson as he will forever be known) has been praised for sharing a graphic yet real post-birth photo after his wife Kimberly’s home birth.

Like many a proud papa, the actor took to Instagram to share a photo of him holding his fifth child, but this shot included a warning about the picture’s “graphic” nature.

In the image, a shirtless Van Der Beek holds his newborn daughter, Gwendolyn, who is still attached to her umbilical cord and placenta, which is on the floor next to him in a mixing bowl.

James’ son is also present in the shot, dressed in a Spiderman costume, as you do!

The accompanying caption warns users that the picture may be too much for some.

The category is: Home-Birth Realness. (Word of caution, if you’re squeamish, just double-tap and move on,” Van Der Beek wrote.

Messy bed Plastic sheeting underneath old sheets Old towel crumpled on the floor Vomit bag (unused) Inflatable birthing tub (also unused)Shirtless Dad Boy in Spider-Man pajamas Happy, healthy baby Happy, healthy Mom in her own shower right after giving birth Water bottle And… placenta in a mixing bowl (I warned you).”

On Sunday, the 41-year-old announced that he and his wife Kimberly had welcomed a baby daughter named Gwendolyn.

“Thrilled to announce we welcomed a brand new baby girl into the world Friday morning, just in time for #FathersDay,” the 41-year-old actor posted on Instagram. Gwendolyn joins older siblings Olivia, 7, Joshua, 6, Annabel Leah, 4, and Emilia, 2.

Despite the disclaimer about the candid shot, the photo received praised from fans for throwing light on the home birth process.

“I cannot yell PREACH to this loud enough!” one user wrote. “Thank you both for being advocates for birth (breech or otherwise) as a normal physiological process. Massive love to all of you from a very grateful UK midwife xxx”

“Breaking the stigma 🙂 good for you,” another fan commented.

“I love everything about this. Thank you for bringing awareness to something so real and much needed,” yet another fan wrote.

Of course there was the odd comment from those who deemed the image inappropriate for social media.

“I am very happy for you, but there are things that I personally would never share on the internet … a bit of privacy should everyone get..” one user wrote.

Thrilled to announce we welcomed a brand new baby girl into the world Friday morning, just in time for #FathersDay 😍 These last few days, as I’ve enjoyed the privilege of making smoothies I know my older kids will like, making my wife red raspberry leaf tea to ease her uterine contractions, spending “boy time” with my son and getting my two year-old down for a nap in the way only I know how… I’ve been heart sick about something. As I write this, kids are being ripped from the arms of their parents. By our government. For the kid’s benefit? No – the opposite – as a purposeful display of cruelty to deter would-be illegal border crossers AND legal asylum seekers (it’s happening to both). And it wouldn’t be honest to wax poetic about my new-baby bliss without speaking up against this atrocity. If we allow our government to de-humanize fathers, and mothers, and children in the name of defending our borders… we’ve lost a huge part what makes those borders worth defending. And even if you don’t believe in karma, or in extending basic human decency to people who didn’t win the geographic birth lottery… even if you’re hard-liner enough to say, “Break the law, suffer the consequences,” shouldn’t the punishment at least fit the crime? And if you’re still cold enough to say, “Well, it’s effective,” consider this: This heinous practice was put into place by our own attorney general (who justified it with a cherry-picked Bible verse), and our president blamed rivals before tweeting his list of legislative demands to be met before he stops it. Regardless of how you feel about immigration, or a wall, or this president… if we say we’re okay with our government using human rights violations as a deterrent or as a bargaining chip… what happens when we find ourselves on the wrong side of the agenda? Either in this administration or the next? This should not be a political issue – it’s a human one. A crime against humanity is a crime against us all. More info in link in my bio. Oh, and @vanderkimberly – you’re a f*cking earth goddess rock star and I’m as in awe of you as I am in love with you. And our new baby’s name is Gwendolyn ❤️ #HappyFathersDay everybody.

A post shared by James Van Der Beek (@vanderjames) on Jun 17, 2018 at 12:49pm PDT

Gwendolyn wasn’t the only one of the couple’s children to be born at home. As Kimberly described in a 2012 blog post for People, Olivia was born in a hospital but the remainder of their kids were all welcomed at home.

To home birth or not to home birth?

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) around 2.3% of women opt to give birth at home.

The NHS says that though giving birth is generally safe wherever you choose to deliver, for women having their first baby, home birth slightly increases the risk of a poor out come for the baby (from five in 1,000 for a hospital birth to nine in 1,000 – almost 1% – for a home birth).

For women having their second or subsequent baby, a planned home birth is as safe as having your baby in hospital or a midwife-led unit.

James Van Der Beek and his wife aren’t the only ones using social media to break down stigmas surrounding the birth process.

Earlier this year we reported on the #stopcensoringbirth movement, a collection of mothers, midwives and birth photographers dedicated to challenging the rules surrounding the sharing of birth images.

Following the censorship of birth photographs by social media sites, the movement aims to remove the stigma surrounding birth by sharing honest and real pictures depicting the process.

“By documenting births and sharing (with permission of the parents of course) birth stories and photographs birth photographers around the world have contributed to creating great shifts in regard of how women reflect back on birthing their babies,” explains birth photographer Marijke Thoen.

“And that is what this is all about: showing women how amazingly powerful they (and their bodies) are during the process of labour and birthing and inspiring mothers-to-be to feel empowered instead of scared to deliver their babies.”

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Read more from Yahoo Style UK:

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