Cinco de Mayo is not the only celebration that takes place on May 5. Today is also the International Day of the Midwife, an occasion to recognize and honor midwives and the important work they do.
To celebrate International Day of the Midwife, birth and breastfeeding photographer Leilani Rogers put together a compilation of photos she and her colleagues have captured that feature midwives at work. "Midwives are some of the most sincere and giving people on earth," Rogers told The Huffington Post. "They interact not only with their clients but with the whole family. They take time to talk to mothers about their birth wishes, dispel worries and fear, encourage them to trust in their bodies, and follow up with reassurance and support before, during and after the birth."
Speaking to HuffPost, Rogers and the other birth photographers who contributed to the series all praised the important qualities they see as universal in the midwives they've met -- that they give specialized care tailored to each specific mom they aid, that they are intensely dedicated to their clients, that they champion mothers' rights and desires, that they create a healthy, peaceful birth environment and that the powerful relationships they form with families are palpable in photos.
"Midwife literally means 'with woman,'" photographer Brooke Walsh said, adding, "These skilled professionals bring more than just a medical mindset to the births they attend -- they bring a kind of patience and love."
Michelle Garey, another birth photographer featured in the series, summed up her goal in showcasing midwives. "I hope that through witnessing these midwives' dedication and diligence, their passion for the families they serve and how they truly have their clients' interests at heart as a priority, more women will find midwifery care to be the perfect option for their births," she said. Rogers added, "I feel like these images will show women the kind of care they deserve to receive. I know many wonderful OBs, but not many women realize that they aren't the end all standard of care."
Contributing photographer Jaydene Freund ultimately spoke for all of the artists involved in the project when she concluded, "We love working with midwives and wanted to honor them with this beautiful collection of images so others can see how amazing midwifery care is."
Keep scrolling to see a sample of the photographers' tribute to midwives.