Even if you aren't a parent yourself, you can imagine why the moment of your child's delivery will be one of the most raw and sacred of your entire life. Sure, it's their first moments alive, it's your first time meeting, and you're coming out of the greatest physical stress of your life — it's a lot. That's why Birth Becomes Her ranked the best birth photos of 2019 that captured the true agony and ecstasy of delivery.
Birth Becomes Her is an organization founded by owners Monet Nicole and Jennifer Mason about six years ago. Their mission was to offer "tangible resources for birth photographers," aiming to help develop the practice of birth photography, their official site explains. The group offers online courses, forums, and even editing tools to make your birth photography experience the best it can be.
On their own, Nicole and Mason have photographed about 400 births, their site adds, meaning that they know a thing or two about what makes for an exceptional birth photo. That's why they gathered and ranked the best photos from the last year, featuring everything from the sweet to the sanguine. Here are some of the best they've found.
A Family Affair
In this incredible photo, captured by Art by Jessica, a toddler is seen offering her mother a drink from a straw, with a brand new baby draped across her chest. It's within seconds after delivery, and it's so special that the mom was able to keep her older children nearby, not only to witness the experience, but also to offer emotional support.
In this photo, captured by Bree Downes, shows a new mom cuddling her just-delivered baby, and being assisted by a midwife, doula or nurse. It's a raw moment of mother-child bonding, one of the very first in which they meet outside of the womb.
Water Birth Beauty
The moments after a water birth can be gross, and yet somehow, more beautiful than anything. Cat Fancote captured this photo of a mother holding her child while still in the pool or basin she delivered in, and the matter in the water, combined with the black and white effect, almost makes it look as though it's a celestial object, or a moon. Overall, it's some incredible imagery.
The First Moment
This photo, taken by Micah Lynn Birth Stories, truly captures the raw intensity of the first seconds after birth. In the photo, a mother is seeing her baby for the first time, while still clearly experiencing the last shocks of labor. There's splashing water, a perfectly attached umbilical cord, and a partner behind her literally holding her back. It couldn't be more perfect.
This photo, captured by Hanna Hill Photography, features four older brothers holding their newest sibling. It's such a sweet moment, one that will surely be passed down in the family for generations.
This photo, captured by Cradled Creations, features a mother breastfeeding her new baby for the first time, while holding her toddler and partner to the side. It's an amazing first family moment.
Water Birth Reality
This photo, captured by Kendal Blacker, features a mother holding her brand new baby, in reddened, bloody water. Most significantly? At the bottom of the shot, you can see that the baby is still attached to the umbilical cord, which is attached to the placenta, which is likely placed on ice.
This photo, captured by Mary Nieland of Fox Valley Birth and Baby, features the beautiful support one partner offers another during childbirth. In it, a laboring, pregnant woman is seen holding her husband, as her face clenches as though she's experiencing a contraction.
A Mother's Embrace
This emotional photo of a new mother, captured by Sashi Hesson, features a tender moment between her and her two children. In it, the mother is seen holding her toddler in one arm, and her newborn in another, in what appears to be a shower. It looks as though the newborn was just delivered.
The First Joy
In this photo, a couple lifts their baby up right after being delivered, sharing expressions of joy and tears. It sums up childbirth perfectly. It was captured by Salt City Birth & Newborn Photography.
Awe & Relief
This new mom is handed her baby wrapped in a towel, with blood covering her chest and an expression of total relief on her face. It was captured by Sadie Wild Photography.
Moments In The NICU
This photo, captured by Coastal Lifestyles Photography, shows a crying mother holding her baby in what appears to be the NICU. The baby is hooked up to multiple wires and machines, and appears to be have been born prematurely.
A Family Completed
Finally, Toni Nichole captured this aerial shot of a new mom holding her newborn while her partner holds her. Impressively, the new mom is wearing a beautiful, white lace top or cami, and holding her new son in the tub in which she gave birth.
Of course, every birth story is beautiful, and however your child gets delivered — be it vaginally or by C-Section — matters not, as there's no one wrong way to have a baby. However, it's always special when someone can capture the raw, intense, and beautiful moment of welcoming a new life into the world.
Editor's note: This post has been updated to the clarify the description in Sashi Hesson's photo.