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10 Photos that perfectly capture the joy of motherhood

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When a mom meets her baby for the first time ...

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” – Robert Browning

Motherhood is one of the great constants of this world: It happens to millions of women every month, hundreds of thousands of women every day, and a handful more with every passing second. UNICEF estimates that four babies are born every second, which adds up to more than 350,000 new children every day. When you stop to think about it, that makes motherhood fairly commonplace, and yet, there’s something incredibly magical about it. Miraculous, really.

In the words of photographer Harriette Hartigan, “Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom.” Indeed, no matter how many centuries women have been giving birth, each brand new mom-baby bond still feels fantastical and unique, worthy of celebration.

Certainly, the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers would agree with that sentiment. Which is why each year, they hold an “Image of the Year Competition,” to celebrate new motherhood, and the photographers who capture it, with all its intensity, love, and overwhelming joy.

Cradled Creations

The first place winner this year was photographer Jaydene Freund from Cradled Creations who skillfully snapped a mother while she was having a contraction in the car on the way to the hospital; the photo is entitled, “Road to Deliverance.” It’s a concept so familiar to us from TV and movies that it almost seems like a trope, but her black and white photo awash with light and shadow, is so real, and captured such raw emotion, beauty in ordinary labor pains, presenting a new perspective on something we think we know so well.

But the contest contained so many other beautiful images of motherhood that we wanted to share ten of our favorites: images that capture the essence of those first few moments – all the outright awe and quiet happiness – of being a new mom. (Consider it an early Mother’s Day present!)

To see more birth photos from the Image of the Year Competition, click here, or follow IAPBP on Instagram.

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