NAME: Amy Woodward
PLATFORM & USERNAME: Insta – @amywoodwardphoto
CENSORSHIP: Shadow ban, content removal, account removal and a threatening email from Instagram, with language that suggested I had been reported to authorities.

What reason was given for your ban?

Adult sexual solicitation, nudity, sexual activity.

Why do you think your post(s) was censored?

Because the truth of motherhood is threatening. True depictions of motherhood – the mess,  the milk, the blood, bodies that do not conform to the dominant gaze, are not acceptable. Despite a similar amount of skin being shown as many other posts that do not violate community guidelines, postpartum bodies in particular are repeatedly torn down.

Were you able to appeal and what was the response?

Yes, and they were 8/10 times denied. Sometimes they would be reinstated, only to be taken down again. This problem kept happening until I lost my account.

What effect has your experience of censorship had on you?

To be honest – it has been crushing. I had my account taken down while I was about to come out of maternity leave after having my second child, making it impossible for me to keep my business running. I lost an incredible amount of income during that time, for the 2.5 months it was down – and lost my whole community during a sensitive and pivotal time for me. Psychologically, it distressed me so much because I began to ask myself if I had done something wrong, and became paranoid and distraught. It took a really huge toll on my business, my family, and my mental health.

It also sends the message that motherhood needs to stay behind closed doors – that it is too much, offensive, somehow ‘violating’ – it only added to my sense of being cut off from the world with a newborn in my arms. It was brutal.

What’s one thing you want people to know about this topic?

I want people to know that motherhood deserves to be witnessed and deserves a platform. The mother-child dyad is so intertwined and we have done nothing wrong by trying to tell our stories.