For so many, childbirth seems terrifying. It's one of those things in life that I think so many of us have been conditioned to be afraid of, but these powerful photos of mothers delivering their own babies might just give you that thing you need to let yourself know that YES, you got this. It IS hard, and you will feel like you're not going to be able to do it several times throughout the process. But you trusted your body enough to carry that baby for 10 months, so you need to trust your body enough to get you through this last stage. It will take all of your strength, both mental and physical. A good support system helps. But you are the captain of this ship, and you can do hard things.
If you're needing the confidence that you can tackle labor and birth, all you need is to scroll through these powerful photos. Some will make you cry because seriously, there is so much emotion here. Whether you're pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or have retired your baby-maker for good, these photos are going to affect you. You may remember parts of your own labor and delivery. You may get strength and inspiration from all these amazing mothers delivering their own babies. Or you may just love looking at birth photos! Every mother is a warrior, and you will feel such a connection to every single one of these pictures.
Oof, that feeling of holding your baby in your arms. There really is no other feeling like it in the entire world. For months, you dreamed of this very moment. You felt the kicks and flips and heard the heartbeat. You saw that squished little face and those fingers and toes on the ultrasound pictures. Every single second of your pregnancy has been leading to THIS moment. When you can finally take that baby in your arms and look at that face that you made. Everything else fades away in this moment. It's truly and utterly magical, and you will never forget it.
She has a lot of support around her, many hands, but she only needs herself. Mothers delivering their own babies is not new - we've been doing this for centuries. Yes, having a great support team around you is so important. And we are beyond lucky to be able to avail ourselves to medical care and support. But when it comes to that baby coming out, women have a very primal need to be the one whose hands guide them into the world. It's such a special experience, and mama you have earned it. After all, you've done all the heavy lifting up until that point, right?
You can see she's being guided by some medical professionals, but there she is reaching for her baby. The caption of this photo is so important. It says, "You can catch your own baby. At home or in a hospital. Own your birth story! Ask for what your heart desires." So much of childbirth is about your own empowerment, and making sure you that are an active participant in the entire process. If you want to catch your own baby, make your wishes known to your support people and medical team. You can be a part of the story, from start to finish.
A gentle welcoming after what was surely a frantic labor. See, that's the thing about childbirth. It's jumbled and fast and hard, and then suddenly, it's not. Suddenly, time seems to slow down to a crawl, and those final moments feel as though they're happening under water. For mothers delivering their own babies, those moments are when they get clarity, and become more than just a laboring mom. They become active participants in guiding their babies into the world however they can. They go from warrior to leader, but with a gentle hand and an unmatched perseverance.
Even mamas who have their baby via c-section can help guide them into the world. There is more than one way to have a baby, and none of those ways is wrong or better than another. However the baby comes into the world is how they come into the world, and as long as they're healthy and safe, that's all that matters. Mother delivering their own babies don't need to have a certain kind of labor and delivery to be able to help guide their baby out and into their arms. We've come a long way, and doctors and hospitals and doing so much more to make every kind of childbirth a calm and meaningful experience.
She's reaching down with the help of other hands. The caption of this photo tells the real story, though. It reads, "Mama planned to get to the hospital for a Csection (41+3 VBAC- High Risk) at 5:30 am, instead she found herself laboring beautifully just before she was due to head in. She progressed and was able to rock her VBAC, even bringing her sweet new love right up into her arms". Just goes to show you that childbirth, even when it's planned out, can change at the last moment and become something else entirely. What a beautiful ending.
This is such a powerful photograph. This mama is right at the end, she can feel the head, and she knows her baby is nearly here. I think one of the most powerful aspects of this photo is how it's framed. The mother is surrounded by people, but they're at a distance, and she is the center of the room and their focus. It's almost as if everyone backed off and let her take the lead and take control of how she wanted her labor and delivery to end. I imagine they were in awe of her strength and power, and she probably was too!
This mom is catching her baby who is still wrapped in the amniotic sac. Check out the little babe's hand. En caul births are some of the most magical to witness. There's something so beautiful of watching the baby come out in an intact amniotic sac, and realizing that they are basically undisturbed. It's a pretty rare phenomenon, and when it happens, everyone is in awe. Couple an en caul birth with mothers delivering their own babies, and you've got one hell of a photograph. I am blown away by this picture, and by this mama. So incredibly stunning and pure.
This connection! It's just absolutely breathtaking. If you've had a baby, then you can probably recognize the emotions on this mama's face. Elation, relief, a little bit of shock and fear. Because it is shocking in that moment! Shocking that you were able to do this, and also shocking that it's over and your baby is here. As long as some labors can take, once it's done, it feels like it was over in a minute. All of the pain and worry just melts away, and you're left with this feeling of pure joy. Such a beautiful experience, and such a powerful moment.
You can feel all these emotions here. So powerful. This position is so great for mothers delivering their own babies. And, having had two of my own, I can confirm that toward the end, it's one of the only positions in which I felt any sort of comfort or relief. Obviously there are circumstances in which a mama can't move freely during labor and delivery. But if you have the chance to do so, take it! Listen to your body, and change positions as your needs and desires change. It can make the entire experience more manageable, and then you're primed for catching your own baby.
There are usually plenty of hands and hearts involved in the birth of a child. Lots of mothers choose to involve friends and loved ones, in order to make the experience more special. When a baby comes into the world, we want them to come into a world surrounded by love and support, right? But with all of those people involved, the most important people are still the mamas and the papas and the new little person. The focus should be on them for the entirety of the process, so that they can experience something like this: reaching down and guiding their own baby into the world.
Two hands, gentle grip, this mama did it! The caption from the perspective of the photographer is pretty amazing: "That time I almost caught the baby... Daddy was down the hall in the livingroom, filling the birthing pool. Mama was with me in her bedroom, having explosive surges that brought down her waters right there beside her bed. I crouched and peered and saw her daughter's head right there. Midwives had been called and were en route but there was no time for that now. I pulled my camera off my neck, and shouted to dad "Daaaaaaaaaaave you'd better get in here". Luckily, mama and papa had it handled!
This is so powerful, raw, and real. This mama did it all. The caption reads, "I've been wanting to share this picture ever since I had Lana but I've always been worried about what people will say. Having my second babe at home, unassisted, was amazing!! I still can't believe that I did it all by myself. Most people have said that I'm a badass but I've had a few people tell me that it must have been scary. But birth is natural I just did my research and followed my instincts." We're sure it was scary at times, but the feeling of power and accomplishment was so worth it.
"She's a girl." What a beautiful moment. I just can't get enough of these photos! They bring back so many memories of my own births. They make me reflect on what I loved about them, and what I wish I would have done differently. I have no regrets, as both of my girls were born healthy and I made it through unscathed. But you don't realize the kind of moments you wish you'd had until you see other people have them, you know? I just love that women share this with each other and all of us, so we can be a very small part of this miraculous journey.
A family affair who gets to meet their new sibling as they enter the world. This one gives me all the feels. If you have other children, then you know what an emotional experience it can be to have them there for the birth of their sibling. And I love how this mom is focused on all of her kids! Mothers delivering their own babies are still mothers to their other children, we can't shut that off. This was probably an unforgettable experience for those kiddos, and one that they will remember forever. And of course, little sweets just wanted to make sure mama was OK.
This baby couldn't wait to meet their mama, either. The photos when the baby arrives and is all wide-eyed and amazed are my favorite. They always make me wonder what is going through their little minds! Clearly, these babies have been through some stuff right before this moment. All snug and warm in mama's belly, then bam! They're face to face with the voice they've been hearing all these months. We focus a lot on what childbirth is like for the mothers, but imagine for a moment what it's like for the babies. Such a profound experience for all involved.
The deepest of loves in the world. This post has been about mothers delivering their own babies, but this photo is special for another reason. The caption reads, "Under the waxing moon, what once seemed like a dream became reality. My daughter is a Mother." Watching your own baby become a mother must be one of the most special and moving moments you can have in life. You remember what it was like, bringing them into the world. And then you get to near witness to them bringing a new life into the world. Breathtaking and poignant and so powerful, Full circle.
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Speedy birth and a VBAC3, too! The caption reads, "'We had the honor of attending this little one's (very speedy) birth earlier this week. We were able to document their last birth which was mamas first vbac3 (vaginal birth after 3 cesareans) and this time was special because it was her first home birth and she and daddy got to catch their (posterior!) baby together in the water. Welcome to the world little one!'" Team work makes the dream work, right? We love the connection in this photo. Mama and papa were in this together from the very beginning, and made baby's entrance into the world so special by being there to support and help one another till the very end.
Mama got to grab her baby and bring them right up to their chest. Mothers delivering their own babies have such a unique vantage point when it comes to meeting those little ones for the first time. After all you've done during your pregnancy, your's should be the first face they see when they open their eyes for the first time! And for mamas, this moment is what it's all about. The hard work, the pain, the discomfort, the changes - it's all leading up to THIS moment, and you realize immediately that it was all worth it. Pregnancy and childbirth is one of the hardest things in the world, but there is no better pay-off.
The caption of this photograph really spoke to me. It reads, "Just when you think you can’t handle it anymore, it’s over. You are strong mama, don’t forget that." I feel that in so many ways. I distinctly remember feeling like I couldn't do it anymore. I wanted to give up, and just let my medical team handle the rest. There was so much pain and fear and uncertainty, and it felt like it would never end. And then suddenly, something shifted. A different type of contraction, a few sensation and feeling. And in the blink of an eye, my girls were out and it was over. The relief that sweeps over a mother in this moment in palpable.
There is no mistaking the power and emotion in this photo. This mama has so much love in her hands. And so much surprise on her face! Because that's what it feels like. You are doing this, it is happening, but there's a part of your brain that maybe doesn't believe that. Doesn't believe that it's happening and you are doing it. You tend to lose all sense of what comes next during childbirth, and are only focused on what is happening in each individual moment. So when it's over, and you're holding your baby, it can be pretty shocking! Pat yourself on the back, mama. YOU DID THIS.
That moment when all the hard work was more than worth it. I know I've said it so many times already, but really, the emotion on a mother's face at the very moment the baby is out is hard to describe. Mothers delivering their own babies experience this and so much more. The moment you reach down and feel the head, then the shoulder, then have enough space to wrap your hands around their little torsos and help guide them out. What an amazing feeling! What an amazing FEAT. And then it's just pure joy. The pain subsides almost immediately, and you're just left with this moment, this pure joy.
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This mama included some of her birth story in her own words. She says, "Eventually I managed to sleep again and I remember feeling crampy - not contractions, just consistent crampiness. When I woke up around 7 I felt what I thought was a very light contraction. Sure enough, I had another one about 30 minutes later. I got out of bed and showered and got dressed, I needed to run a few errands if this was going to be the day. Unlike my first two labors, I was actually able to run errands. I got home and Paul left for work. He called me about 10 minutes later asking, 'Are you sure I should be at work? You don’t want me to come home?'"
"At that point, I kept thinking it could be early labor, it could stop at any point. I didn’t want him to waste a day off unnecessarily. Then he explained he had an appointment at 3PM, and it was a long appointment 3-4 hours. He wouldn’t be able to stop once he started and wanted to be sure he was available if I needed him. That changed my mindset, so I told him to come home." Isn't that such a mom thing to think about, running errands while in active labor?!
Take a deep breath there, mama. You DID IT! That last, big inhale and exhale with that final push is the deepest, most powerful breath you can ever take. It's the final bit of strength you need to complete this momentous task. And it comes from nowhere. Because at this point, you have nothing left to give. You've spend the last bits of your energy, and your body is telling you it needs more. So you dig deep, deeper than you've ever dug into yourself before, and you find that last bit of power you need to see this through. And then it's over, and you can exhale, and all it right with your world.
SERIOUSLY, it looks like even the baby is even smiling. What an amazing photo to cap off such an emotional and difficult journey! We love that dad was right there with mom the entire time, supporting her not only mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. For mothers delivering their own babies, that support is crucial. We need to feel the loving hands of those who are part of this life-changing moment. The more love that is present during childbirth, the more love a little baby is born into when they finally arrive. Such a fun and emotional picture to remember this moment!