When I tell strangers what I do for a living...I'm often met with shock (sometimes peppered with rudeness.) "You mean you photograph the actual birth!? And labor?! Why would anyone want images like that?!"
A question like that one tends to launch me into a monologue about why birth is so incredible and easily one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever witnessed or photographed. I also mention this: what we see of birth in the media is often very different from what birth looks like in the real world.
I'm glad to be one of many photographers and artists and men and women who are painting a different picture of birth. I'm glad that I can share images like these below and assuredly tell you, they are not anomalies. Yes, birth is challenging, but it's also a time of celebration, of tranquility, of laughter, and joy.
These women laughed their baby out (and yes, all of these women are in active labor or even transition in these images). When we think about birth, moments like these should come to mind just as quickly as moments of pain/intensity. Birth is a beautiful melding of opposites -- pain and joy, tears and laughter. Today, we're celebrating the smiles.