Woman captures her birth in graphic but inspiring photos
Ana Álvarez Errezcalde is a Spanish artist obsessed with capturing raw moments in life. Her art is filled with powerful images that remind us of our animalistic nature and essence. When she became pregnant, she knew she had to document her birth because she wanted to see herself in that vulnerable moment. When I say document don't think a hospital gown, epidural and social media updates. No! I'm talking about a naked, bloody woman with a newborn in her arms with the umbilical cord still attached and the placenta lying on the floor next to her.
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When they say that an image is worth more than a thousand words, you know they had these photos in mind. Ana was determined to capture her birth in all its rawness. In the video she talks about undressing the stereotype of a woman and embracing everything that makes us unique. Women have given birth in different scenarios for centuries but no one wants to show that bloody moment. Mom and baby are quickly cleaned and within minutes are ready to greet visitors.
Ana didn't want any of that. Instead, she purchased a special white board to hang at home in order to create these pictures. She had the images implanted in her mind and she knew exactly how she was going to look. The photos were for her personal enjoyment, but when she saw the finished product, she knew she had to share them. She gave birth at home in one room and quickly got up with the baby and everything else to have the photos taken. Amazing! She is a true artist and I admire her integrity.
Ana's umbilical self-portrait has been well received around the world. Mothers are intrigued by seeing the placenta because most of them never saw it when they gave birth. This was the most important moment in her life and she wanted to capture it. I have to tell you, I was a little shaken when I first saw the images, but now that I know her story, I understand and admire what she did. I love bravery because she never cared what others might think!
Images via Corbis, Ana Álvarez Errezcalde