28 Moving Photos That Capture The Emotional Intimacy Of Birth

One photographer's journey through photos.

From the pain of labor to the bliss of meeting your newborn baby, birth is an incredibly emotional experience.

Canadian birth photographer Ashley Marston knows this all too well.

Marston shared some of her favorite photos with The Huffington Post, and they are, put simply, powerful. Continue scrolling for raw images that capture joy, anxiety, perseverance and most of all, love.

"This is the moment we all want. This is what makes it worth it. When I look at this, happiness fills my heart. You just cant help it."
"Water Birth. (This photograph was the Honorable Mention winner for the 2015 International Association of Professional Birth Photographers 'Photo of the Year' competition.)"
"After all the strength and endurance she gave to her daughter while she labored all night long, it was all over. She falls back and completely lets go and is overcome with emotion. And I can hardly keep my camera still."
"This was the first home birth I had ever attended. It was warm and inviting. The laboring mom had the full support of her husband, her sister and her best friend. Each took turns holding her hand, and supporting her in different ways. Her mother was also there, preparing food and looking after her granddaughter who was about to become a big sister. It was never frightening for her. Her mom was in full control of her labour and every so often she would come over just to be close for a little while."
"Sometimes your first family portrait may not be exactly what you had envisioned. But it is still so incredibly beautiful."
"Moments before she met her baby boy."
"I was just in complete AWE of this beautiful breastfeeding moment. Just minutes old, born via C-section, having skin-to-skin with mom and latched on to her breast, right there in the OR."
"The true essence of fatherhood."
"It was 3 a.m., and this family was packed into the waiting room. Her mom was pacing the halls. After her granddaughter was born, they all came in. The energy was amazing. Such love and excitement. Over in the corner she came to meet her. I'll never forget her shaking hand as she went to touch her soft, fresh skin. Her first grandchild."
"This was how she arrived. Silent, observant and truly stunning."
"'Women all over the world are birthing with me' -- this was one of the quotes placed beside her as she brought her baby earth-side."
"I was nervous about how I would feel when I met our child. Would he feel like mine even though he doesn't share my genes? But after watching my wife's belly grow bigger and bigger, after feeling all those little kicks, after watching a long and arduous labour, after reaching for my son's body and pulling him into the world, I realized that it wasn't about whose genes he has. It was just about a mom meeting her son for the very first time." -- Andie (Mom of Henry)
"The Ultimate 'multi task.'"
"The Gift Of Surrogacy: It was truly a gift for me to be a witness to this incredible story. This was that moment. Their happy ending after years of tragedy."
"Midwives. Where would we be without the exceptional care, love and support they give every single family? Every time I attend a birth with one I am in awe of them and am honored to share a birth space with them."
"She was a miracle baby and in this moment they had unraveled all the blankets to take in every inch of her."
"She's locked eyes with her husband. No one needs to say anything. It's all there."
"She came quickly and when I arrived, this was what I saw."
"When they place that sweet, warm bundle in your arms."
"I love this memory for them. When she was in her darkest moment, he was right there and never left her side."
"A family is born."
"I'll never forget the way she danced her baby into this world. Swaying her hips from side to side and dipping low to the ground. In the final moments she laid on the bed and her strength was incredible in the moments before she brought him earth-side."
"After four years of unsuccessful attempts to extend their family ... this moment. The very moment they welcomed their TWIN miracle babies."
"Powerful and [vulnerable] all at the same time."
"This was how I left them. Tired, weak, exhausted and completely in love."
"A midwife must possess the hand of a lady, the eyes of a hawk and the heart of a lion."
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