"The strength in this photo is physical and mental. It’s immeasurable."

By Libby Ryan
Courtesy Gather Birth
Courtesy Gather Birth

Photographer Meredith Westin recently captured an image that is the epitome of everything a woman's body goes through during birth. Her photo caught a contraction at a body-wracking crest, while the laboring mom-to-be is coached by a doula.

"Look at this birthing body at work. A good doula knows how to help birth keep moving (like suggesting the always amazing toilet position), but also knows when to stand back, let you get in the zone and rock your birth," she posted on Instagram. "The hardest part of birth can be getting out of our body’s way."

Courtesy Gather Birth
Courtesy Gather Birth

"The strength in this photo is physical and mental. It’s immeasurable," read the Instagram post. "A doula is there to help remind you of your strength when it feels impossible. We know you can do it. You are doing it."

Courtesy Gather Birth
Courtesy Gather Birth

Westin's business, Gather Birth, based in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a collaboration between birth photography and doula services.  The original photo got the attention on Instagram, but the other photos in the series are also incredible. Westin photographed the mom breathing through contractions while in a tub prepping for a water birth.

Courtesy Gather Birth
Courtesy Gather Birth

And she photographed the mom-to-be with her partner supporting her through labor. And after hours of labor, the mom gave birth to a baby boy, named Roman. The proud new family took a moment after all the pushing to pose for a first family portrait.

Courtesy Gather Birth
Courtesy Gather Birth

Congrats, mom and dad. P.S. Mom, you're freaking Superwoman.

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