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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.

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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