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16 Emotionally Charged Photos Showing The Many Faces And Stages Of Birth

Sometimes difficult, sometimes joyful, 16 of the most beautiful moments of labor, birth, and postpartum.

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Birth is the most transformative process I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. I remember vividly the first time I saw a new being coming into existence. I was 13 years old, and my aunt was giving birth to her second child, a boy. I was invited into the birth space at the last minute, without much idea of what I could expect. What I saw both terrified and excited me, a moment I'll never forget and would never want to.

As an adult, I've had the honor of entering that primal space as a laboring woman four times, each time emerging on the other side a slightly different human, a mother, like a butterfly breaking free from its chrysalis. I've gone on to build a business of holding space for other mothers, and documenting their unique stories with images they can revisit for a lifetime. I aim to empower and inform other women through my art, and I'm eternally grateful to each of the mothers who have so graciously allowed me to show some of their most intimate moments. Here, I share some of my favorite images from the first 25 births I've documented as a photographer.

1. Going Inside

A mother powers through transition in the warm refuge of the shower.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

A mother powers through transition in the warm refuge of the shower.

2. Supportive Hands

This couple had such a beautiful and inspiring connection while patiently waiting for this moment - meeting their daughter for the first time.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

This couple had such a beautiful and inspiring connection while patiently waiting for this moment - meeting their daughter for the first time.

3. Pushing Past

Pushing past that inevitable mental wall of "I can't do this!", just minutes before finally meeting her first son.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

Pushing past that inevitable mental wall of "I can't do this!", just minutes before finally meeting her first son.

4. Curious Pup

The family dog, Ollie, curiously inspects the newest addition at the moment of birth.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

The family dog, Ollie, curiously inspects the newest addition at the moment of birth.

5. Quiet Postpartum

A new father enjoys a cup of coffee in the wee hours of the morning, while his wife nurses their newborn little girl.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

A new father enjoys a cup of coffee in the wee hours of the morning, while his wife nurses their newborn little girl.

6. First Embrace

A young mother meeting her second child, and first daughter, after a supportive, unmedicated hospital birth.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

A young mother meeting her second child, and first daughter, after a supportive, unmedicated hospital birth.

7. I Did It!

Overwhelming bliss after a quick home water birth.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

Overwhelming bliss after a quick home water birth.

8. Wide-Eyed Beauty

This freshly born little girl was so alert and ready to see the world!
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

This freshly born little girl was so alert and ready to see the world!

9. Bringing Baby Down

Laboring in a deep squat to help bring baby down in the last moments before delivery.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

Laboring in a deep squat to help bring baby down in the last moments before delivery.

10. Like Rain

Water was dripping off the hand of a loving midwife, who had just retrieved the the placenta (still attached to the baby) from the water after birth, giving the illusion of rain.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

Water was dripping off the hand of a loving midwife, who had just retrieved the the placenta (still attached to the baby) from the water after birth, giving the illusion of rain.

11. Breaking Point

A mother reaches her intensity limit with contractions, while her husband fights exhaustion to provide her unwavering support.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

A mother reaches her intensity limit with contractions, while her husband fights exhaustion to provide her unwavering support.

12. Ecstasy

Absolute ecstasy after a quick labor and a birth of firsts - first home birth, first water birth, first daughter.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

Absolute ecstasy after a quick labor and a birth of firsts - first home birth, first water birth, first daughter.

13. First Latch

A quiet first latch after a peaceful home water birth.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

A quiet first latch after a peaceful home water birth.

14. Tears of Joy

A mother's deeply emotional reaction to meeting her first child.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

A mother's deeply emotional reaction to meeting her first child.

15. Shared Triumph

A shared "we did it!" moment between a proud husband and wife after a successful home water birth.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

A shared "we did it!" moment between a proud husband and wife after a successful home water birth.

16. Father/Daughter Faces

A dad shares faces with his brand new, and very alert baby girl.
Kayla Gonzales / Via austinbirthphotos.com

A dad shares faces with his brand new, and very alert baby girl.

See more images from Austin birth photographer, Kayla Gonzales, at An Infinite Moment Photography or on Facebook and Instagram.

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