For almost five years, photographer and mom Leilani Rogers has been taking stunning images of birth in its many forms -- home births, hospital deliveries, water births, C-sections and more.
"Birth is considered by many to be a private matter," Rogers told The Huffington Post. "And yet, it is this amazing thing that we should be teaching our children about and celebrating. So I think people view these photos as equal parts enlightening and fascinating."
Recently, Rogers shared a compilation of some of the most powerful birth photos from her archives. While the photos empower the moms they depict and sometimes help heal memories of times when they felt weak or vulnerable, the images also prompt conversation around a somewhat taboo topic.
"I sincerely hope that these photos normalize birth -- show that is isn't 'gross,'" the photographer said. "There are people in this world who won't even subject themselves to discussing birth, let alone viewing images of it. But I don't see how anyone can deny that these images portray birth as the miraculous occasion that it can be."
"It doesn't matter if you birth at home, in a birth center, in a hospital, vaginally, or by C-section. Birth is birth!" Rogers continued. "We all work hard to bring our babies into this world. And we all love them with every fiber of our being! Most importantly, in the end we all hold the same divine position as 'mother.'"
Keep scrolling for a look at Rogers' birth photography.
"This baby was born entirely in the amniotic sac ('en caul')."
Daughter Supporting Mother In Childbirth
"The mother's daughter, age 7, wanted to be a part of the birth so she hopped into the birth pool with her mama! She so calmly and sweetly came into the room where her mother was birthing and genuinely wanted to help. Later her mother told me how comforting it was to have her there, and how much she admired the nurturing nature her daughter possessed.”
"I find those moments of delivery to be every bit as beautiful and fascinating as a vaginal birth."
"This is a rare occurrence -- a baby born with six fingers! Definitely a surprise to mama and the birth team, but a special one. There was no bone in the finger, but it had a nail! It was intriguing, to say the least."
"This baby was just born into her mother's arms in the water. She is overcome with joy."
"Mother meets her baby for the first time. The joy, relief and exhaustion is just so palpable."
"What a privilege it is to get up close to placentas and umbilical cords. They are fascinating and serve an amazing purpose."
"This is my niece, just minutes old. Her birth was so tranquil. She looks like she just stepped out of heaven. She came quietly and peacefully into this world and took her time opening her big beautiful eyes to take in her new surroundings."
Hands And Knees
"I love images that show that a woman can birth in many different positions. They should not be limited to their backs. That defies gravity, does it not? Case in point, many times a change in position will facilitate a stalled labor."
"Herbal baths are my absolute favorite to capture. Not many mothers know about them. Herbal baths are done anywhere from a few hours postpartum to a day or two later, and aid in healing the perineum. They also smell divine (herbs like chamomile and lavender are used) and promote bonding between mother and baby."
"I photograph a lot of births at home and in birth centers. Some might say they are more photo worthy. I disagree. This moment for instance, is mesmerizing. Baby is passing between the womb and her mother. I love the way Mom is reaching for her child, eagerly awaiting her placement in her arms."
"I see a lot of water births. But birth tubs take some time to blow up, and fill. Every now and then, birth happens so quickly there is no time to go through that process! In this case, mama knew she needed water, so she gave birth in her bathtub. And I photographed it from inside the shower stall, looking through the glass!"
"This two-mama family's birth was so beautiful. It was so fortunate that this mother's partner is an experienced doula, because she was in labor for 35 hours!"
"Another beautiful hospital moment. It wasn't until after I got home and began editing images that I noticed this little one's hand signal that she felt at peace."
"This image has gone viral on Pinterest, and I think it's because dads are so rarely captured as part of the process. Here a husband is sweetly praying for his wife during her labor."
"I included this because most moms have no idea what one looks like. That baffles me! We should take interest in these things because this amazing organ delivers nutrients, eliminates waste, fights against internal infection and produces enough hormones to support an entire pregnancy. WOW!"
"Breastfeeding support has a special place in my heart. That is why I founded The Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project. Breastfeeding success starts here though. At birth. Some moms just don't get the patient instruction they need in order to be successful at breastfeeding. In this photo, I just love the juxtaposition of this experienced midwife's hands against this young mother and newborn babe's skin."