PHOTOS: Agony And Ecstasy…Intimate Photographs Reveal The Faces Women Around The World Pull While Giving Birth

A woman grimaces in agony during childbirth in one of a series of intimate black and white shots capturing mums-to-be during labour
A woman grimaces in agony during childbirth in one of a series of intimate black and white shots capturing mums-to-be during labour
Moa Karlberg is a photographer from Stockholm. She captured startlingly intimate pictures of women's faces during childbirth. Moa hopes to highlight the differences in healthcare for mothers-to-be in Europe and Africa.

The photographer attended labours in Sweden and Tanzania for her series of black and white pictures called Hundred Times The Difference, staying with the mothers during those life-changing moments anywhere from ten minutes to 18 hours.

While in Europe the mothers took advantage of painkillers, nitrous oxide and a stream of medical help, while the women in Tanzania were in clinics lacking basic medical essentials like blood supplies or formula and were often too far from any trained midwives. 

But despite the dramatically different circumstances, Moa told Daily Mail's FEMAlL: 'I was struck by the many similarities of women's expressions. Everybody goes through the same physical phases, even though Swedish women use painkillers and nitrous oxide that most Tanzanian women don't have access to. 'It is when complications arise that the external disparities become more obvious. Many Tanzanian clinics lack resources and equipment like specialists, anesthesia, blood supplies, premature care and infant formula. Some women are just too far from any clinic or skilled birth attendant. These are leading factors causing maternal deaths.'

The pictures are incredibly personal but Moa observes: 'These photos show only faces – no private body parts, blood or any other revealing details. I find it interesting that people, including myself, find photos of faces even more intimate than naked bodies. A facial expression tells a lot, and most people can identify with that. 'When I took the photos it felt less invading to focus on the women's faces than other body parts. A birth is a private moment that most people only witness when their own children are born. 

Swedish photographer Moa Kalberg captured a woman in Tanzania as she closes her eyes during childbirth
Swedish photographer Moa Kalberg captured a woman in Tanzania as she closes her eyes during childbirth
One photo from Karlberg's series Hundred Times The Difference sees a woman lie in a bed, with a gentle frown as she has contractions
One photo from Karlberg's series Hundred Times The Difference sees a woman lie in a bed, with a gentle frown as she has contractions
A mother appears calm despite being in active labour in Moa Karlberg's striking set of photographs of women in childbirth 
A mother appears calm despite being in active labour in Moa Karlberg's striking set of photographs of women in childbirth 
Karlberg noted that Swedish women took nitrous oxide and painkillers and could make more noise as they were in private rooms
Karlberg noted that Swedish women took nitrous oxide and painkillers and could make more noise as they were in private rooms
Karlberg says that despite the huge disparities in women's lifestyles in Sweden and Tanzania she was struck by the similarities in their facial expressions
Karlberg says that despite the huge disparities in women's lifestyles in Sweden and Tanzania she was struck by the similarities in their facial expressions
The photographer says that the women and their partners could have asked her to leave at any point but never did
The photographer says that the women and their partners could have asked her to leave at any point but never did
Karlberg hopes her series will help provoke discussion about the huge disparities in healthcare for women around the world
Karlberg hopes her series will help provoke discussion about the huge disparities in healthcare for women around the world
Karlberg shot her first childbirth as an intern at a Swedish newspaper when she found herself sharing that 'intense and crucial moment' 
Karlberg shot her first childbirth as an intern at a Swedish newspaper when she found herself sharing that 'intense and crucial moment' 
The Swedish births Moa witnessed, the more lucky she felt Scandinavian women especially compared to less-resourced hospitals around the world, including the clinics of Tanzania
The Swedish births Moa witnessed, the more lucky she felt Scandinavian women especially compared to less-resourced hospitals around the world, including the clinics of Tanzania
Tanzanian women often go into childbirth without the option to take pain relief, let alone blood supplies or infant formula
Tanzanian women often go into childbirth without the option to take pain relief, let alone blood supplies or infant formula
Karlberg said that: 'It is when complications arise that the external disparities become more obvious' as Swedish hospitals have everything needed to attend to a medical emergency'
Karlberg said that: 'It is when complications arise that the external disparities become more obvious' as Swedish hospitals have everything needed to attend to a medical emergency'
A woman wears an expression of intense concentration on her face as she goes through the stages of labour in Tanzania
A woman wears an expression of intense concentration on her face as she goes through the stages of labour in Tanzania
A woman, who appears to be little more than a teenager, is captured appearing to gaze into a point in the far distance 
A woman, who appears to be little more than a teenager, is captured appearing to gaze into a point in the far distance 
Karlberg discovered that maternity wards in Sweden didn't mind her being there to capture the experience as long as she respected staff
Karlberg discovered that maternity wards in Sweden didn't mind her being there to capture the experience as long as she respected staff
Karlberg says she doesn't want to raise awareness by providing facts and numbers, 'What I want is to provoke real feelings and identification'
Karlberg says she doesn't want to raise awareness by providing facts and numbers, 'What I want is to provoke real feelings and identification'
One mother-to-be is seen with an acupuncture needle in a pressure point between her brows to help ease the pain of childbirth
One mother-to-be is seen with an acupuncture needle in a pressure point between her brows to help ease the pain of childbirth
Karlberg gained access to clinics where Tanzanian women came to have their babies through NGOs and sympathetic translators
Karlberg gained access to clinics where Tanzanian women came to have their babies through NGOs and sympathetic translators

For more on Hundred Times A Difference, visit moakarlberg.com.



via - Daily Mail




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