Having a Cesarian doesn't make having a baby any less magical. Sure, it might not be what you initially imagined, but these 21 photos of C-Section births show how powerful this type of birth can be. Most importantly, they highlight the fact that childbirth is an awe-inspiring experience, regardless of how or where it happens.
Stigmas around women who have C-sections remain stubbornly prevalent despite the fact that the procedure is more common than ever, according to NPR. As as result, those who have them are often left with the fear that they missed out on something by not having a vaginal birth, even if the surgery prevented both mother and child from being harmed. Bringing a baby into the world is a poignant, humbling experience no matter what the circumstances, and just because a mom needs a Cesarian doesn't make her birth any less joyful.
Scroll down to see photographs, many of which were submitted to the 2019 Birth Becomes Her Photo Contest, which will remind you that C-sections in no way remove the beauty from childbirth, as the power of life shines through every time.
1. Cheek to Cheek
Heather Mohr captured the moment a mom got to snuggle her baby after her scheduled Cesarian. The parent got to put her face against her baby's while she was still on the operating table, and you can see her arching her neck to get as close to her child as possible as her partner lowers the baby to her.
2. First Breath
A baby takes its first breath in this photo by Alexandria Mooney. The little one is supported by hospital staff while still connected to mom via umbilical cord, legs curled upwards as they take in the world; you can see a doctor nearby ready to provide suction to help clear the baby's throat, lungs, and nose of excess mucus. The image helps you understand the miracle of this small human's existence.
3. Welcome-To-The-World Stretch
Dramatic lighting highlights a baby's entrance into the world in this photo captured by Amber Denae, in which we see the moment after the baby is fully delivered following the C-section. Medical staff members are crowded around's mom's still exposed belly, and a doctor cradles the new baby with one hand. The baby leans back closer to their mother, proving babies still remember where they came from.
4. We Did It
Triumph permeates this photo, taken by KE Documentary, in which a mother holds her baby for the first time following her Cesarian. The baby is pressed to her chest for skin-to-skin contact while she is still on the operating table, and the mother's eyes are closed as she smiles widely. The explosion of joy amid the medical equipment required for the surgery underscores the strength it took to bring this baby to the world.
5. Looking Around
This closeup shot by Anne Marie Hamant focuses on the result of a Cesarian, with a gorgeous and healthy baby looking towards the camera. The doctors are all focused on the baby, and the small bubble of spit on the little one's mouth only adds to the raw energy of the shot.
6. Parental Peck
This quiet moment between soon-to-be mom and dad is full of anticipation. Captured by Janel Peyton, a father leans down to kiss his partner as she lies on the operating table, pulling down his medical mask in a gesture full of tenderness and togetherness. Their eyes close as they embrace, seeming to be lost in one another.
7. The Cry Of Life
This baby joins the world with force, its wail clear from the still provided by Emma of To The Shaw And Back. Everything about this image screams "life," from the baby's outstretched arms to the vernix caseosa coating their skin. This little one knows how to make an entrance.
8. Pure Joy
Unadulterated love pours out of this new mom's expression as she looks up at her partner after the birth of their baby. In the photo courtesy of Ashley Marston, Dad gazes at the baby while holding their newborn up to mom, and she's taken her eyes off the bundle of joy to stare at her partner with a mixture of amazement and gratitude. The sweet relief of the baby's arrival envelops this family.
9. Hi There
You can bet this picture, taken by Ina of Birth Is Beautiful, will sit on this family's mantle for the rest of time. The newborn seems to be waving at the camera in a gesture of utter adorableness that's almost too much to handle. Mom grins behind the baby, while her partner or a doctor holds the newborn to her face so they can meet after the Cesarian.
10. Just The Two Of Us
Mommy-baby bonding takes on a whole new meaning in this photo, courtesy of Jen Conway Photography, which displays a mother keeping her baby as close as possible following her Cesarian. We see the new mom from above, with her baby resting on her chest, and the rest of her body covered by the surgery screen. The image is a refreshing look at C-sections, which usually result in pictures of the baby being whisked away to an incubator while mom reaches out desperately.
11. Sneak Peek
Joy is everywhere you look in this picture, taken by Daniela Justus, that captures the exact moment new parents see their child for the first time. A doctor lifts the new baby over the surgical curtain, and mom and dad look up in glee to take in the sight. Mom's mouth is open in excitement, and the baby's face seems to mirror his mother's. Dad's hand interlaced with his partner's shows how connected the family is.
12. Then There Were Two
Courtesy of Daniela Justus, this illuminating photo of the Cesarian birth of twins gives you a look at a mom meeting her child and giving birth simultaneously. In the top of the frame, doctors pull the younger twin out of mom; the baby's torso is in the world and their legs still inside of mom in the visceral shot. Meanwhile, mom greets her older child, leaning her face towards the first twin while a partner or doctor brings the baby to her. The duality of the shot hints at the multitasking this mom will do for the rest of her life.
13. Happy To Be Here
A newborn's face is turned upwards in this photo, and their arms and legs are reaching out to take in everything around them. The attached umbilical cord emphasizes how soon after birth this photo was taken. Whitney Slusser of Don't Blink Photography captured the moment.
14. Waiting, Waiting
The strength of mothers shines through in this picture, taken by Katie Gaeta, which highlights the grace with which moms are expected to handle everything that comes with birth, including C-sections. In one half of the shot, we see doctors in the middle of surgery, literally cutting into mom's belly to bring about the baby's birth, and on the other side, mom smiles behind the surgical screen. Her expression is hopeful and resigned, ready to take on the challenge of this moment and all that come after.
15. Hello World
Sarah of Fostering Beauty LLC documented the singular moment where a person is only partly into the world, snapping a photo as doctors pull the baby out of mom during the operation. The baby reaches out towards the camera in the image, but their legs are still inside of their mother's uterus. The image is a startling reminder that a Cesarian birth is still very much a birth: the moment a baby goes from living inside of another person to breathing on their own.
16. A Mother's Love
This stunning image captured by Kendal Blacker draws attention to the terror and triumph that can come with a Cesarian brith. A mother lies on the operating table, and all we can see is her face and the curtain that blocks her from seeing her child's entrance into the world. Her determination is visceral. It's a photo every mother can relate to.
17. Halfway There
This astounding picture, courtesy of Lauren + Douglas Photography and Films, highlights the lifesaving nature of Cesarian births, as the image gives you an up close look at an umbilical cord looks when it's somewhere it isn't supposed to be. The photographer captures the moment doctors take the baby out of their mom's uterus, but only their head has come out so far, with the umbilical cord wrapped around it. You see a doctor gingerly pulling the cord off to alleviate pressure on the baby's head, and the baby's face squished in concentration. The tension in this shot is mesmerizing.
18. In It Together
Drawing strength from your partner takes on a literal sense in this picture, courtesy of Lisa Lord of Lilo Photography. Almost-dad holds onto his partner's hand while doctors begin the Cesarian operation, his head bowed as he waits to see his baby. The mother's face can be seen in the background, her eyes closed. The image exudes anticipation, as two parents wait to meet their child.
19. Here I Come
Lisa Lord puts viewers of this photo in the perspective of the new mother, as we see the baby as if we are behind the medical screen required during the operation. Doctors hold the infant up to mom through the plastic barrier just after they are born, with the baby looking around at the outside world for the first time. The connection between parent and child becomes more clear thanks to the photographer's position.
20. Mom's Gaze
Jess Watts photographed a mother looking at her newborn following her Cesarian, and the mother's love is evident on her face. Dad holds the baby while hospital staff puts a hat on him or her, and mom looks over at them from the surgical bed with a gaze of utter adoration.
21. Loud And Proud
This little one does not come into the world quietly, with Maggie Williams capturing the initial seconds after the newborn's big debut. A member of the birthing team cuts the umbilical cord, while the baby raises its arm and cries out. The lighting spotlights the infant, dramatizing the shot.
22. Mission Accomplished
Mom's smile says it all. Baby rests on her chest after their surgery, and dad leans in to get a closer look while she cheeses at the camera. Mom looks peaceful, proud, and full of love. Photo by Amey Bencke.