‘Pride Baby’: Emotional photos of two Ontario dads in hospital with newborn son go viral

Nadine Kalinauskas
Shine On

Baby Milo was born in Toronto via surrogate during World Pride.

Gananoque, Ont., photographer Lindsay Foster captured Milo's dads' first moments with their son and shared them on Facebook.

The image quickly went viral. According to Foster, thrilled fathers Frankie and BJ have been "loving" the positive attention, and have dubbed their bundle of joy their "Pride Baby."

And while Foster was able to capture the raw emotion of the special moment, she tells Shine On that it was actually her first time meeting the happy couple.

"Actually, this was my very first surrogate birth that I have photographed," she writes in an email. "I am friends with the surrogate, so I offered to photograph the birth if the expecting parents would allow me," she explains. "At that point, I had now clue that she was a surrogate for set of gay men. I was over the moon to find that information closer to the due date. My surrogate friend Kathy just assumed I knew."

"Because these expecting dads live in Toronto [about 300 kms from Gananoque], I couldn't meet with them to go over expectations of the birth and what they would expect from me," she continues. "So we all met for the first time in the hospital room, which turned out just fine because Frankie and BJ were very down to earth and easy to get along with. I loved them right from the beginning."

Also see: Touching story behind emotional hospital photo

As for the viral success of the images, she says she had no idea the shots would resonate with so many.

"To me, it was just another birth that I photographed. And with each birth I photograph, my goal is to capture the raw emotions that every new parent feels when they see their bundle of joy enter this world," she says. "I have to say though, it was absolutely breathtaking to see these two dads pure love and admiration that day."

"If you look back on my Facebook page Birth Albums I treated it like any other image.
The comments, likes and emails from people has been outstanding. Most are very positive and heartfelt," she says.

However, the photographs haven't come without criticism.

"Some [comments] can be downright mean and negative. It worried me to allow the dads to see those comments," she says. "However, I came to realize that they are two very strong individuals. I could learn a little something from them."

On Facebook, Foster explains that the fathers are topless in the photos for skin-to-skin contact, "which is very beneficial for a newborn baby," and that the surrogate did not use her own eggs and "was very happy to have given this gift."

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"The baby is loved very, very much," she adds.

After their photos went viral, Frankie and BJ issued a statement through Foster on Facebook:

"Thank you to everyone out there who has taken the time to like, comment and share our picture! This was truly an incredible moment in our lives that will be captured forever by the lovely Lindsay Foster Photography. We are so lucky that we have a beautiful, healthy baby boy! All comments posted are respected, although we may not agree with the negative ones, the positive ones far outweigh the negative. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This is a moment of pure love and acceptance. Milo is surrounded by unconditional love and he will grow up knowing many different types of families and accept everyone, (intolerant people included). Milo was born during World Pride. This picture represents everything Pride is about. Love has no colour nor gender nor sexual preference. Love is unconditional. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts! xxoo"

"I photograph births out of passion. There's no better reward and joy you get from being able to freeze a moment in time such a birth," Foster says, adding that the dads "are doing great and the surrogate and her family has become great friends with Frankie and BJ."

Earlier this week, another emotional photo, this one of a dad crying in a hospital room, also went viral.

In the picture, Andrew Hanson of Boise, Idaho, hugs Dr. Bryan Hodges, moments after he delivered Hanson's son, Karson. Hodges had delivered Hanson's first child, Klayton, who died shortly after birth, just 10 months earlier.

Hanson calls baby Karson their "rainbow baby."