A mom roaring like a lion through the most intense surge of her labor. A baby being born, that. Very. Second. A peaceful moment after delivery, just mom and baby. These are the subjects of the photographs that won the top spots in the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers' 2016 Image of the Year Awards.
The first-place winner was Marijke Thoen Geboortefotografie for "Underwater birth, baby with gorgeous curly hair." This image is simply stunning, mostly because the baby in the water looks completely content.
Honorable mentions went to three brilliant photographers:
Angela Gallo – Untethered Beginning for The Birthing Woman for "Maternal Grace." Here we see a relaxed mama at the very moment of birth, with the baby's head crowning.
alexandra kayy photography for "in between two worlds." What's most remarkable about this photo is the expression on the baby's face: "This is the world?!?"
Are you as deeply moved as I am by these photos? Just wow. Birth is amazing. Point proven.
Which image moved you most?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.