29 Gorgeous Photos That Celebrate The Many Ways Women Become Moms

Happy Mother's Day!

There are few moments in life that are as singular or utterly transformative as when a woman becomes a mom. When she sees her brand-new baby after hours of hard labor, or steps off the plane with her newly adopted child, everything feels intense and wonderful ― and even a bit surreal. And that is true whether it’s a woman’s first child, or her fifth.

So we asked some of HuffPost Parents’ favorite birth and family photographers to share some images and stories that capture those incredible moments when women welcome new children into their lives, however that happens. Happy Mother’s Day, all!

"This mother was overcome with emotion as she and her husband stepped off their plane in Nashville. The reality set in that they're finally home and together as a forever family of three!"
"This mom was induced earlier than expected due to high blood pressure and her little man was born at 36 weeks via cesarean. She didn't see him right away, and I waited with her until she was able to go to the NICU to meet him at four hours old. This is what it looks like when you see your baby for the first time, and realize he's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen."
"In the background you can see Stephanie, who is seeing her baby—born via gestational surrogacy—for the very first time!"
"Joy came in the morning for this beautiful mama and her long awaited rainbow baby."
"These twins were delivered by cesarean and immediately taken to the NICU. Here, this mom is reunited with her babies after hours of separation."
"This mama just became a mother for a third time. She is so happy and relieved to have her third son in her arms after a fast and furious journey into the world."
"This mother worked so hard and really listened to her body as she labored. The joy and relief washed over her face as she met her sweet rainbow baby on the floor next to her hospital bed."
Krista Evans Photography
"These mamas had been through one hell of a journey to get to this moment, but their love for each other provided strength, welcomed courage and offered the deepest support. They now have her to nurture, teach and adore. How blessed she is to have two moms who will envelope her in love!"
"I have had the pleasure of being able to document many woman becoming mothers through the gift of adoption. Some of these women come to motherhood after devastating miscarriages, or rounds and rounds of infertility treatments, and some have just always known that adoption was meant for them. However these women have come to adoption, there are literally no words to describe the moment that your child is placed in your arms for the first time or the moment the judge proclaims legally what you have known since the first time you laid eyes on your child."
"This is the moment this mama met her sweet little girl, whom she was able to have thanks to IVF. After a late first trimester loss and an embryo transfer that didn't grow past eight weeks, an unexpected cesarean finally made all of her dreams come true."
"The moment when mom peeks and discovers her brand-new baby is a actually a girl...not a boy, like the baby's dad had announced several minutes prior!"
"This was a first-time mom after a long labor. She lit up with overwhelming joy, excitement and laughter as soon as she finally got to meet her son. It was truly love and happiness at first sight."
"The moment baby this baby was placed on the surrogate mom, the intended mom was overwhelmed. It was an incredible moment of shared friendship that really captured the gift of motherhood."
"This third-time mom gave birth with her older daughters in the room. They got to watch their mother give birth with strength, beauty and joy."
"So much emotion as they embrace their daughter in their arms. This was such a magical moment."
"This mama had to stay stateside to care for her family while her husband flew to China to bring their new daughter home. Waiting with her in the airport and straining for that first glimpse of her daughter through the crowds was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. This moment was the very first time she ever laid eyes on her little girl, and it was so powerful."
"The first of many, many, many kisses this baby will get from mom in her lifetime."
"I love that this mom and her baby and had very similar facial expressions when I took this shot, as well as the huge huge smiles from dad and the couple's midwife."
"Such happiness!"
"This baby boy was this mama's rainbow baby. Her birth plan may not have happened the way she'd hoped, but getting him here safe was her priority. She powered through 40-plus hours of labor before giving birth via cesarean."
"After almost five years of secondary infertility and many losses, this mom holds her rainbow baby at last."
"These images [of adoptive families uniting] are more than just ink on paper. They heal, they push back darkness, they matter!"
"It's a BOY! This couple did not know the baby's gender and were thrilled after many baby girl births in the extended family. He also decided it was time to come into the world on Thanksgiving night—and just about three hours later, he was born."
"This powerful mama brought her son into the world with the steadfast support of her sister, and her last baby—her 13-year-old daughter. Thirteen years ago, her daughter arrived by C-section, and this mother was elated to be able to go on to have a successful VBAC."
"When I photographed them, this mother-daughter duo hadn't had that much time to bond, but it is so clear that they already each other's hearts."
"This beautiful mom is cuddling with her second son, after her second cesarean birth. I love how she gazes down at him while he nurses, getting to know this new life that she only knew from the inside."
"This mother told me: 'Despite being told various times throughout my pregnancy that I was incapable of birthing my twins vaginally, I never faltered ... I was able to birth both my twin girls vaginally, even after a 45 minute wait before the delivery of Baby B. I knew in my gut what we where capable of!"
"This was this woman's third child and her first home birth—and her first baby boy! Even though this wasn't their first birth rodeo, so to speak, it was obvious how overjoyed they were that their family was complete."
"This fourth-time mama went in to labor in the midst of Colorado blizzard, and despite power and cell-phone outages—and having to drive down a treacherous mountain pass to get to the hospital—she showed amazing strength and calm, arriving at her birth place just in time to welcome her perfect baby boy into the world!"

Photographers’ captions have been edited and condensed.