There is no posing during a birth. Birth photography is the ultimate in documentary storytelling, and there are so many aspects you can capture. It’s all about the small details, and emotions, the pained expressions, the laughter between contractions, the emotional text messages received. The supportive partner, the shoulder massages, holding hands and leaning on each other for support.
Thanks to the activism of women like Katie Vigos of the Empowered Birth Project, Facebook and Instagram stopped removing posts of childbirth and ʙʀᴇᴀsᴛғᴇᴇᴅɪɴɢ mothers late last year. Previously, the social media giants considered birth photos too graphic and in violation of their policies against nudity. But Vigos (and the more than 23,000 people who signed her Change.org petition) believed that by censoring birth, the platforms were reinforcing the sʜᴀᴍᴇ, sᴛɪɢᴍᴀ, ᴀɴᴅ sᴏᴄɪᴀʟ ᴛᴀʙᴏᴏ around it.
“You either allow birth to exist on your platform, or you don’t,” Vigos told Harper’s Bazaar. “The petition is representative of our much bigger mission to empower ourselves as women—whether it’s about our bodily autonomy, our ability to birth with informed decisions and support, censorship of our bodies, the de-stigmatization of menstruation.”
Today, a quick search of the hashtags #birthisbeautiful or #birthwithoutfear bring up hundreds of images of babies making their entrance into this world. We rounded up over 12 of the most stunning images of birth from some of our favorite photographers to show the power of capturing the moment.