Birth is a beautiful thing – really. There are plenty of breathtaking birth pictures to prove it! Yes, birth brings with it some vernix-covered babies, some blood, and maybe a lot of sweat and some tears from mama. But many things in life ask of us blood, sweat, and tears, and those things are celebrated – why shouldn't we celebrate birth?
Perhaps if girls grew into women seeing breathtaking pictures of the miracle of giving birth, it wouldn't be shrouded in mystery. It wouldn't be a scary unknown. Maybe it we posted pictures of radiant mothers and their newborns on the front pages of newspapers and websites along with the triumphant marathon runners and female executives, women would realize that they are strong enough to give birth – just like they're strong enough to run races and conquer boardrooms.
Maybe if we shared pictures of tired but happy mamas, it would be okay for birth to take some effort. Maybe our epidural-driven paranoia about birth would start to subside, and mothers would realize that they can grow healthy babies and have great, safe births – because that's what an empowered mother can prepare for, really. Just maybe, if we shared birth pictures without shame and without worry about guilt, it would start a shift in our culture and maybe our world.
Maybe if women stood up for birth, for real evidence behind birth and pregnancy care, maybe then we'd start to see change. First, change in our neighborhoods, and then changes across the world – because mothers would take the message to other mothers. Mothers would raise the funds, write the pamphlets, and demand the research. Mothers would stand up and fight for their births, for their daughter's births, for their granddaughters births. Just maybe, changing one birth is the way to begin changing birth for all babies. Because the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. You mama, are strong.
Enjoy these birth pics – and the ones to come <3
Brand new baby on mama's chest – pink, alert, ready to relax a bit and then get to know more about the world.
Babies often rest right after birth – rest periods are interspersed all throughout the “golden hour” – it's natural and normal. Baby may not breastfeed right away, and that's okay too. These rest times are incredibly valuable to mama and baby, and as long as things aren't interrupted, bonding and breastfeeding follow.
Breathtaking – the face of a new life, fresh from the womb. This is perfection, with fluids still on baby. This triggers strong hormonal responses in both mama and baby and enhances bonding – and safety – for both. Remember that leaving the hat off your newborn baby also helps; your body will regulate your baby's temperature very well and you're free to bury yourself in the sweet smell of your newborn's head.
This series is a beautiful one – mom is laboring in a birthing tub at the hospital. This shot shows her deep focus between contractions. Beta Endorphin is one of the hormones responsible for the “labor land” feeling of distance experienced between contractions. It helps birthing move along and relieves pain.
Here mama is working actively with a contraction – leaning forward and focusing. This forward-leaning position makes it easy to spiral her hips, something many birthing women do instinctively.
Baby has arrived! Mama holds her beautiful and pink newborn baby in the tub!
Here's a close-up shot. See how pink the baby is already – baby has already made the amazing switch from fetal circulation to normal circulation. Mama cradles her baby. The red tint to the water indicates that the placenta is starting to or has separated, so mama and baby will soon be done with birthing!
Mama rests after getting out of the tub – under the towel and skin-to-skin on mama's chest keeps this little one warm.
Lovely shot of a newborn baby on mama's chest after a home birth.
Another precious newborn resting for a minute after the business of birth!
This classic series shows a newborn right after a waterbirth. Look at how intently mama is gazing at her baby. Baby is starting to pink up – it's normal for hands and feet to take a little longer than the head and core to turn pink.
See all the vernix on this baby? That “cold cream” forms a lovely protective barrier for baby in the womb, and it's safe to simply rub it into your baby's skin after birth.
Baby takes a moment to rest as mama gazes on.
Baby has really pinked up now! You can still see flecks of vernix. The towel over mama and baby is enough to help keep both plenty warm. No radiant warmer needed – mom's body is designed to maintain temperature, heart rate, breathing, and even blood sugar levels when baby is skin-to-skin!
Beautiful shot of a baby brought right up to mama after a hospital birth.
This is a shot from one of my own student's labors – working hard in in the birthing tub. Again, the forward-leaning position helps take weight off the belly and gives a lot of freedom to move and adjust as baby makes his way down.
Here's my student with her newborn baby! He's already very pink having made the transition quickly. I love her look of awe at this precious new person!!
Mama rests for a minute as this sweet little one exercises his lungs! Pulling back the blankets and putting baby skin-t0-skin after mama has had a moment to breathe will help soothe him. Many moms actually do take a short moment to pause and breathe before they're ready to bond with their babies – that's natural and normal and gives both in the motherbaby a minute to absorb the enormity of what they just did!
This is another student, working really hard in the midst of her contraction.
Here it's gotten really intense, and she's really leaning on her hubby for support.
And here's the beautiful reward for that hard work!
And this is me with my sixth baby, Corwin, shortly after his birth <3 For obvious reasons, this is my favorite picture – but I hope that all of these have inspired you.