It’s a picture shared tens of thousands of times—a moment between a father and son snapped by mom, photographer Heather Whitten.

For her, the photo depicted the moment a loving father cared for his extremely ill son, but for some commenters it was deemed as inappropriate and showed “a disgusting lack of boundaries.”

#standupstripdownThis was the image that I talked about in my interview with Rebecca last week. This was November…

Posted by Heather Whitten on Monday, May 2, 2016

Heather wrote on Facebook that she was taken aback by the harsh criticism the picture she cherished so much received.

“There is nothing sexual or exploitative about this image,” she says. “I was taken aback by how many people missed the story or didn’t even look past the nudity to find the story.”

According to the BBC, the couple’s son, Fox, had contracted Salmonella poisoning. By sitting in the shower with him, dad Thomas wasn’t just comforting the boy but also making sure his body temperature stayed down.

Fox was eventually hospitalized as a result of the food poisoning.

“He was so patient and so loving and so strong with our tiny son in his lap,” Heather says. “I stepped out and grabbed my camera and came back to snap a few images of it and, of course shared them.”

Just last month, a similar moment between a mom and her daughter also went viral on social media.

I was debating whether or not to post this, but this is real, raw, and one of the absolute worst parts of Motherhood…

Posted by The Barefoot Mum on Monday, April 18, 2016

BBC reports that the reaction to the story was “overwhelmingly positive.” By contrast, Heather’s photo has some describing it as “having undertones of pedophilia.”

The controversial photo was at one point taken down by Facebook, but a spokeswoman said the removal of the picture was an error and “has since been reinstated.”

Despite what some people believe, Heather says that picture will always be a positive, honest and human memory for her.

BBC further reports, in a poll published by the Telegraph, 94% of its 7,000 respondents claimed the photo wasn’t inappropriate.

Leave a comment

We are excited to announce Dearly has joined forces with Mama’s Uncut. Helping Mom’s across the United States answer questions on life’s big challenges.

DEARLY JOINING FORCES WITH MAMA'S UNCUT