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Way back in 2014 two birth photographers, Monet Nicole and Jennifer Mason came together to create Birth Becomes Her, a community for birth photographers. The years since have seen the community grow and Birth Becomes Her now has hundreds of thousands of followers across social media platforms.

Every year they host a photo contest honoring the best birth pictures from five categories: hospital, out-of-hospital, color, black and white and postpartum. In the beginning, they would get just a little over a hundred. The most recent contest saw over 1,200 submissions.

Here are a few of our favorite winners (and submissions) from the Birth Becomes Her photo contest.

This is the picture that became the overall winner 

Sadie Wild Photography

This incredible post-birth pic snapped by Sadie Wilde Photography won the whole contest. It captures the moment that Diana Spalding, midwife + Motherly's Digital Education Editor, described so eloquently in her recent TEDx talk.

"There is this moment after a woman gives birth—however a woman gives birth—when the room kind of stands still, and you realize that you are in the presence of something inexplicably magical," Spalding explains.

She continues: "The world feels different—because it is different. There's this new little baby. And there's this new mom...She is full of power and confidence and has this glow that beams 'look what I just did'."

Look what this mama just did. She is incredible.

Thank you, Sadie Wilde for preserving this moment.

This photo won second place 

Belle Verdiglione Photography

This intense and intimate photo by Australia's Belle Verdiglione Photography shows a moment few get to see and which shows the true power of our bodies.

In a caption on Instagram, Belle Verdiglione explained how this photo has created a massive impact, even inspiring other art:

"This photo just makes my heart sing! The amount of attention it has had just blows me away! I almost didn't enter this photo into the @birthbecomesher image contest & then I came 2nd! Amy from @motherboardbirth is creating a visual artwork inspired from this image. Look how incredible she is?! Furthermore, this image recently won the WA @aipp_official Print Handlers Award (WOW!) and you can see me with the crew who chose this image out of ALL of the entries for the entire competition!!!! Thanks to Aya @aya.scape for the photo! "

Third place winner 

Toni Nichole Photos

This pic won bronze in the Birth Becomes Her contest, and it's clear why it ranked so high. The photo by Toni Nichole Photos shows a new family in the birth pool moments after delivery.

When Toni learned her photo won third place in the BBH contest she was overwhelmed.

"I am a speechless, sobbing mess! Thank you first and foremost to the beautiful family who trusted me enough to invite me into their birth space to capture such a magical and scared moment. @the.thankful.family you are forever ingrained in my heart," she noted on Instagram.

This photo won 1st place in the hospital birth category 

Life and Lens Photography

This photograph by Life and Lens Photography took first place in the hospital birth category and it is easy to see why. The moment captured is a fleeing one. Baby is birth born and unborn and everything after this moment will be different.

The photo appears on Life and Lens Photography's Facebook page, a testament to how birth photographers have been changing the social media landscape and proving that images of birth deserve to be seen.

This joyful pic won 3rd place in the black + white category 

Salt City Birth & Newborn Photography

This beautiful photo by Salt City Birth & Newborn Photography captures the joy a couple feels in those first moments together with their new child.

The birth took place at Wasatch Midwifery and Wellness and the mama in this photo, Lydia, actually shared her birth story on YouTube as well.

"I had such an empowering natural birth experience that I had to share my video. Unmedicated birth in a birth center was my goal from the outset of this pregnancy. There was a ton of things I did to prepare myself, and I blog about that on my website. With the help of my midwife and her team, I was able to accomplish the goal with a healthy body and baby. I really do feel like the team and Wasatch Midwifery and Wellness left me better and stronger. Natural child birth is the real deal and you can see it in my face that I was sweating and working hard. But, for me it transformed me into a stronger woman than I was before. I'm so happy it was an empowering moment and I want to share it with everyone to perhaps help build courage for their own birth," she wrote.

Honorable mention, this beautiful post C-section shot 

Shannon Wrona Ketelsen

This photo did not win in the hospital birth category, but we at Motherly want to give Shannon Wrona Ketelsen's photo an honorable mention because as Birth Becomes Her founder Monet Nicole previously wrote, "In the world of social media, [we] often see just one type of birth story held up as the ideal: an unmedicated vaginal birth (ideally at home, in the water), where a beautiful woman labors peacefully and then clutches a just-born baby to her chest."

But birth photographers like Ketelsen are proving that C-section births are so beautiful and so very worthy of seeing in our Instagram feeds.

This pic won 1st place in the color catagory

Fox Valley Birth and Baby

This photograph by Mary Nieland from Fox Valley Birth and Baby was actually her very first photo as the company's newest photographer.

Clearly, Mary is incredibly talented at capturing the most intimate moments during birth.

The original caption on the Fox Valley Birth and Baby Instagram account reads: "A moment of relaxation flooded over her body just minutes before she joyfully brought her baby into the world."

Sharing a moment like this with your partner during the birth is so precious and intimate and we're so glad Fox Valley Birth and Baby preserved this second in time for this mama.

This pic took 1st place in the postpartum category

Art by Jessica

This photo was submitted by the Denver-based documentary photographer behind Art by Jessica.

When she posted this pic to her Facebook page she captioned it with just three words: "doula in training"

We love everything about this photo. The newness of that baby on mama's chest, the sweet pajamas on the new big sister and drops of blood on the pillow. This is what birth is. It's a family.

To see the rest of the photos check out the Birth Becomes Her website.

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There are few kids television shows as successful as PAW Patrol. The Spin Masters series has spawned countless toys and clothing deals, a live show and now, a movie.

That's right mama, PAW Patrol is coming to the big screen in 2021.

The big-screen version of PAW Patrol will be made with Nickelodeon Movies and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

"We are thrilled to partner with Paramount and Nickelodeon to bring the PAW Patrol franchise, and the characters that children love, to the big screen," Spin Master Entertainment's Executive Vice President, Jennifer Dodge, announced Friday.

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"This first foray into the arena of feature film marks a significant strategic expansion for Spin Master Entertainment and our properties. This demonstrates our commitment to harnessing our own internal entertainment production teams to develop and deliver IP in a motion picture format and allows us to connect our characters to fans through shared theatrical experiences," Dodge says.

No word on the plot yet, but we're gonna bet there's a problem, 'round Aventure Bay, and Ryder and his team of pups will come and save the day.

We cannot even imagine how excited little PAW Patrol fans will be when this hits theatres in 2021. It's still too early to buy advance tickets but we would if we could!

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Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

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Gabrielle Union + Dwyane Wade have been blended family goals, an inspiration to those struggling with infertility and now they are an inspiration to parents of trans kids and supporters of trans rights.

Earlier this month Wade appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and spoke about his 12-year-old daughter Zaya coming out as transgender and Union posted a beautiful video + caption to Instagram, inviting fans to "meet Zaya."

This week Wade appeared on Good Morning America, explaining that Zaya has known she was transgender since she was 3 years old.

"Zaya has known it for nine years," the proud dad said on GMA, adding that he credits Zaya (who was assigned as male at birth) with educating him and helping him grow.

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"I knew early on that I had to check myself... I've been a person in the locker room that has been a part of the conversation that has said the wrong phrases and the wrong words myself," he told GMA's Robin Roberts. "My daughter was my first interaction when it comes to having to deal with this conversation...Hopefully I'm dealing with it the right way... Inside our home we see the smile on my daughter's face, we see the confidence that she's able to walk around and be herself and that's when you know you're doing right."

It sure seems like Wade and Union have been doing it right. When Union posted a video to Instagram earlier this month introducing Zaya it was clear the tween's dad and step-mom have her back.

In the video Zaya is riding in a golf cart with her dad and dropping wisdom. She says: "Just be true to yourself, because what's the point of even living on this earth if you're going to try to be someone you're not?...Be true and don't really care what the 'stereotypical' way of being you is."

Union was so impressed by her step-daughter, captioning the video: "She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It's Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people."

Later in the week Union addressed criticism of Zaya's transition on Twitter, writing: "This has been a journey. We're still humbly learning but we decided quickly w/ our family that we wouldn't be led by fear. We refuse to sacrifice the freedom to live authentically becuz we are afraid of what ppl might say. U have the ability to learn & evolve."

Zaya's big brother is also on her side. Newly 18-year-old Zaire posted the cutest throwback pic from when he and Zaya were just little kids, noting how the siblings were and are best friends.

"Man, I remember bugging my mom as a kid telling her I wanted a brother so bad. I was the only child looking for company and someone to look after and take care of," Zaire began his caption. "I have been blessed to have my best friend, Zaya with me for 12 years. We did everything together … we fought, we played, we laughed and we cried. But the one thing we never did was leave each other behind."

Zaire continued: "I've told you that I would lay my life down to make sure you are ten toes down and happy on this earth," he told his younger sibling. "I don't care what they think Z, you are my best friend and I love you kid, and if it means anything, just know there's no love lost on this side ✊🏾"

We are so impressed and inspired by the love Zaya's family is showing her (and other kids by sharing this story publicly). You've got this Zaya!

[A version of this story was posted February 12, 2020. It has been updated.]

News

Back in August the the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Contigo announced the recall of millions of Contigo Kids Cleanable water bottles—about 5.7 million of them.

Now, the CPSC and Contigo are recalling millions of water bottles and the replacement lids that were given to consumers as part of the August 2019 recall.

"Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled water bottles and the replacement lids provided in the previous recall, take them away from children, and contact Contigo for a free water bottle. Consumers who received replacement lids in the previous recall should contact Contigo for the new water bottle," the CPSC states.

Millions of Contigo Kids Cleanable water bottles were originally recalled after it became clear the silicone spout could pose a choking hazard.

"Contigo identified that the water bottle's clear silicone spout in some cases may detach from the lid of the water bottle," Contigo stated in a notice posted to its Facebook page back in August.

According to the CPSC, "Contigo [had] received 149 reports of the spout detaching including 18 spouts found in children's mouths" before the original recall.

Now, the CPSC reports "Contigo has received a total of 427 reports of the spout detaching including 27 spouts found in children's mouths."

All of the recalled water bottles have a black color spout base and spout cover.

This week Contigo expanded the recall. The original date range was for Contigo Kids Cleanable Water Bottle from April 2018 through June 2019. Now it is for bottles purchased through February 2020, and all the replacement lids.

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If you are looking for some alternative water bottles, here are a few of our favorites:

Hydro Flask

Hydro Flask features an easy-to-drink (and clean) top, a silicone bottom that won't scratch your furniture.

Motherly has tested these with a two-year-old and an eight-year-old and found these bottles are perfect for Pre-K to elementary school.

$29.95

CamelBak

The CamelBak is a big hit with little kids as it is easy to maneuver and it's a big hit with moms because it is easy to clean in the top rack of the dishwasher. CamelBak Eddy 12 oz Kids Vacuum Stainless Water Bottle

$14.99

Skip Hop

The designs on the Skip Hop stainless steel bottle keep kids happy and the silicone sleeve keeps the bottle from falling out of little hands! Bonus points for a flexible straw that is easy to clean!

$17.99


Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

{A version of this story was originally posted August 27, 2019. It has been updated.]

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