Photography is a popular way to capture and document birth, but mom and painter Amanda Greavette has found another medium for illustrating the uniquely powerful experience.
For a series called "The Birth Project," Greavette creates stunning paintings of pregnant women, often in labor or bonding with their newborn babies. "After I had my second child I was drawn to the epic subjects of birth, pregnancy and mothering," the artist told The Huffington Post. "I felt there was so much happening in this brief but intense period, and I wasn't able to find much other contemporary art exploring it."
Greavette has given birth five times -- twice in a hospital, three times at home, once with a doctor, and four times with midwives. The mom has given birth on the floor, on beds and in water. "All of my births were very positive experiences," she said, adding, "I really cherish the process and love how exciting and powerful it is."
The subjects of Greavette's Birth Project paintings are real mothers, from friends and family members whose births she attended in person or observed through birth photography to women who have shared their birth stories and images through email or social media.
"I want [my paintings] to be relatable and real, and convey the expressions and emotions we have when we're laboring and birthing and meeting our children," Greavette told HuffPost. "Birth is intimate and private but it's so visceral and rich that it's an amazing subject to explore."
Though she's been working on the series since 2007, the painter said she's seen a positive shift in how people respond to the birth-related art. Her paintings have appeared in birthing centers and used for childbirth preparation as tools for visualization and meditation.
"Our bodies are so strong, so incredible, and beautiful even with flaws and scars and weaknesses," Greavette said. "Many birth stories have a lot of pain, sadness, disappointment or guilt in them, and I want to provide a space with my work to sit with these things as well."
"The response I hear from my audience is that these resonate in a unique way, and that women everywhere have births that are amazing, empowering, and very meaningful," she continued. "They want to see it, talk about it and have it recognized and validated."
That certainly occurs in this bold artwork.
Keep scrolling and visit Greavette's website to see her powerful Birth Project paintings.
The images below may be considered NSFW to some readers.