Viral photo captures 'raw emotion' of Toronto dads holding baby for first time
Published Friday, July 4, 2014 8:35AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 4, 2014 8:41AM EDT
A photo of two Toronto fathers meeting their son for the first time has been seen around the world, prompting thousands of messages of support.
The photo was taken the first time Frank Nelson and his partner BJ Barone held their baby Milo, who was born during WorldPride Week.
The photo of Baby Milo was captured by a birth photographer on June 27, just minutes after he was born to a surrogate. Nelson was captured looking down at the tiny boy, trying to hold back tears, while Barone put his arms around both of them.
Barone said that he and Nelson felt excited, emotional and a bit scared at the time.
"It was the most incredible, incredible feeling I've ever felt," Barone told CTV Toronto. "Just thinking about that photo... it's just such raw emotion."
Nelson and Barone, both high school teachers with the Toronto District School Board, named their baby after a Hawaiian flower and Nelson's late grandmother.
When the baby was born in Kingston, Ont., the new dads were asked to remove their shirts to be closer with the baby. Baby books and blogs recommend parents have skin-to-skin contact with babies to release Oxytocin, often referred to as the "attachment chemical," according to parenting blog What to Expect.
Photographer Lindsay Foster asked the dads if she could post the photo on her Facebook page.
"All of a sudden, we're getting like after like, and comment after share. Our friend had messaged us and said, 'You guys are going viral,'" Barone said.
As of Friday morning, the photo had more than 41,000 likes, 7,017 shares and 5,638 comments.
The new fathers said they've been overwhelmed by the well wishes for Milo. Though there were some negative comments, Barone said the positive responses have by far outweighed the negative.
"We are so lucky to live in a place like Toronto and Canada," Nelson said.
"I think this picture just represents pure and unconditional love, whether it's a man or a woman."