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8 powerful, award-winning birth photos you need to see right now

This is what birth really looks like.

8 powerful, award-winning birth photos you need to see right now

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.

You will always be their safe space, mama

You are their haven. Their harbor. Their sanctuary, their peace. You are comfort. Deep breaths. Hugs and back rubs. You're a resting place, a nightmare chaser, a healer. You are the calm within their storm. You are their mother.

To your child, you are safety. You are security. You are where (out of anyone or any place), they can come undone. Where they can let it all out, let it all go. Where they meltdown, break down, scream, cry, push.

Where they can say—"I AM NOT OKAY!"

Where they can totally lose it. Without judgment or fear or shame.

Because they know you'll listen. They know you'll hear them. That you will help piece the mess back together.

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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

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Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Detective set

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This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Sand play set

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Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

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Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

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Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

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Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

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Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

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Croquet set

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The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

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There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

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Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

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Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

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100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

From Adelia to Ziggy.

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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