Powerful Photos of Women’s Faces During Cʜɪʟᴅʙɪʀᴛʜ, You Can See Yourself In There

A photographer who captured sᴛᴀʀᴛʟɪɴɢʟʏ intimate pictures of women’s faces during Cʜɪʟᴅʙɪʀᴛʜ hopes to highlight the differences in healthcare for mothers-to-be. She said: “When I took the photos it felt less ɪɴᴠᴀᴅɪɴɢ to focus on the women’s faces than other body parts. A ʙɪʀᴛʜ is a private moment that most people only witness when their own children are born. As a photographer I have the possibility to enter spaces and meet people that I otherwise never would have seen.”

She added: “This is what I like the most about my job. I always try to act as respectful as possible, not to be in the way and not to shoot too many exposures. Sometimes, not only when photographing child ʙɪʀᴛʜs, I feel like ɪɴᴠᴀᴅɪɴɢ private moments. This can be both sᴄᴀʀʏ and fascinating, but if the people say yes it means they actually expect me to take the photos. The parents in this project could tell me to leave at any time, but no one did.”

She said: “The photos are taken in different stages of ʟᴀʙᴏᴜʀ. Being in that small room, sharing such an emotionally intense and ᴄʀᴜᴄɪᴀʟ ᴍᴏᴍᴇɴᴛ, made a sᴛʀᴏɴɢ impression on me. It was one of the most real life situations I had ever photographed. Years later, I started this project out of curiosity to explore these authentic expressions deeper. After witnessing several ʙɪʀᴛʜs, I realised how lucky Sᴡᴇᴅɪsʜ women are to ɢɪᴠᴇ  ʙɪʀᴛʜ in this country with access to top quality healthcare and ᴇxᴛʀᴇᴍᴇʟʏ ʟᴏᴡ ᴍᴀᴛᴇʀɴᴀʟ ᴍᴏʀᴛᴀʟɪᴛʏ ʀᴀᴛᴇ. I think it is ᴇxᴛʀᴇᴍᴇʟʏ ᴜɴꜰᴀɪʀ that not all women in the world have the same possibilities. ɢɪᴠɪɴɢ ʙɪʀᴛʜ in safe circumstances should be a human right, one shouldn’t ʀɪsᴋ ᴅʏɪɴɢ for it.”

Despite the growing craze for pictures and even video during ʟᴀʙᴏᴜʀ, Moa sᴛʀᴇssᴇs that many women she approached wanted to keep their ʟᴀʙᴏᴜʀs private. She said: “The ones that said yes were more relaxed or did not care if there was an extra person in the room. They would also like to have the photos afterwards, it’s a unique document of a big life event. In Sᴡᴇᴅᴇɴ, I got in touch with the mothers well in time before ɢɪᴠɪɴɢ ʙɪʀᴛʜ, and then they called me when it was time to go to the ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ. The ᴍᴀᴛᴇʀɴɪᴛʏ wards didn’t mind as long as I respected the staff and the ones who didn’t want to appear in pictures.”

She hopes her work will help spark discussion about the vast differences in healthcare for women around the world. She said: “I hope they can make people aware of the global disparities of maternal healthcare. What I want is to provoke real feelings and identification. In the longer run this can hopefully lead to actions. Many countries failed to reach the Millennium goals, so let’s hope the new sustainable development goals can speed up the improvements of global maternal health.”

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