No matter the specific circumstances, childbirth is hard. It’s hard for the mother who is being hit with contraction after contraction, fighting to catch her breath; it’s hard for the mom who is barely hanging on as she waits for her epidural; it’s hard for the mother quietly composing herself under the bright lights of the OR, waiting for her C-section to start; and it’s hard for the mama working to keep calm as she brings her preterm baby into the world sooner than she’d planned.
And yet the strength that women find and tap into during childbirth ― a time when they’re at their most vulnerable, and when so much is at stake ― is incredible, full stop.
Here, 43 talented birth photographers share moments they’ve captured that show the truly awesome strength of women in childbirth.
These captions from the photographers have been edited and condensed.