Five women, five countries, five babies

To mark Mother's Day five photographers documented five mothers giving birth in five countries around the world.

The pictures - shot on behalf of the charity Save the Children - aim to highlight the shared experience of motherhood.

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Kenya

Belgian photographer, Bieke Depoorter of Magnum Photos, travelled to the Bungoma area of Kenya, where she met Nelly who was giving birth to her third child, a girl, Bieke, named after the photographer.

Nelly breastfeeds at night in her home surrounded by her other sleeping children. Image copyright Bieke Depoorter / Magnum

During the early stages of labour, Nelly was taken to hospital on the back of a motorcycle ambulance, the only practical form of transport in this rural area with muddy terrain. She was supported by a community midwife.

Nelly's labour was natural and without pain relief.

"I prayed very much. I even prayed for the doctors. And because they were around I didn't have any worries," said Nelly.

Nelly during the early stages of labour, a few hours after arriving at the maternity clinic in Bungoma, Kenya. Image copyright Bieke Depoorter / Magnum
Nelly in the last stages of her labour which was natural and without pain relief. Image copyright Bieke Depoorter / Magnum
Nelly gives birth to her baby Bieke at a maternity unit in Bungoma, Kenya. Image copyright Bieke Depoorter / Magnum
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Romania

Dana Popa is a London-based photographer. She visited Bucharest in Romania, where she photographed Roxana give birth to her first child, Sofia. Roxana's husband died when she was four months pregnant.

Roxana breastfeeding in the specialist maternity clinic. Image copyright Dana Popa

Roxana rests with her newborn baby at a hospital in Bucharest, reminiscing about her late husband.

"He really wanted a family and a child, he was crazy about children. I was actually quite afraid when I found out I was pregnant, because it was not a perfect situation for us then.

"I was like 'Why did this have to happen now? Why could this not happen to us after three months or six months'? And he was such a calm person and just looked at me and smiled and said 'Come on baby, it's never you know the perfect time'. I was absolutely sure everything was going to be ok.

"And when I was three or four months pregnant he had a stroke, and after three weeks he died."

Roxana having a contraction during the early stages of the birth of her daughter at a specialist clinic in Bucharest. She later had a C Section. Image copyright Dana Popa
A midwife washing Sofia a few minutes after birth. Image copyright Dana Popa
Roxana rests with her newborn baby at a hospital in Bucharest. Image copyright Dana Popa
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Guatemala

Carlota Guerrero, a Spanish photographer, visited Guatemala, where she photographed 19-year-old Jennifer give birth to her second child - a boy, Daniel.

Jennifer and her son Daniel. Image copyright Carlota Guerrero

Jennifer works and lives in the Quetzaltenango area of Guatemala. She lives in a small flat with both of her parents, in an urban area just outside of the city. She has a Mayan mother and a Latino father. She already had a three-year-old daughter.

Jennifer gave birth to Daniel at the government-run hospital in Totonicapán on the outskirts of Quetzaltenango. Her husband was at the hospital, but men were not allowed in the birthing rooms.

Jennifer was in labour for almost eight hours and had a natural birth. However, the baby was quite large, and she suffered a considerable amount of pain during the labour. Doctors had to perform an episiotomy to deliver Daniel safely.

"When he was born I felt very happy," says Jennifer.

"There aren't really words to describe how you feel. It's overwhelming, the only thing you want. The only thing you know is that the baby is there and will be with you always."

Jennifer in labour at the hospital. Image copyright Carlota Guerrero
Jennifer sees her baby Daniel for the first time. Image copyright Carlota Guerrero
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Nepal

Photographer Diana Markosian visited Nepal, where she photographed 25-year-old Choti at the birth of her son, Irfan.

At her home in Banke region, Choti, 25, along with her son Image copyright Diana Markosian

Choti lives in the Banke District of Nepal and gave birth to her third child, Irfan, at a maternity clinic supported by Save the Children.

In Nepal many women must give birth without any medical help.

"For me being a mother means going through a lot of pain," said Choti.

"It also means that now I should take care of my children as I am young. When I grow old, then my children will look after me. I won't be able to cook or do chores so when he gets married his wife will also look after me."

"The baby is so small and all he can do right now is sleep. My younger son wakes up in the morning and plays with the baby. He kisses him, caresses and loves him.

"It makes me happy because the new-born is just like my other two children. Children tend to learn what they see, and my baby will also learn from his brothers."

Choti Image copyright Diana Markosian
Choti Image copyright Diana Markosian
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United Kingdom

Sian Davey photographed Ellen, 37, who lives in London and gave birth to baby Alice after trying to conceive for nearly two years.

Ellen in Greenwich park 2 weeks before her birth at a birthing suite at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich. Image copyright Sian Davey

Ellen lives in London with her husband Andy. The couple had had trouble conceiving and Ellen had two miscarriages before she became pregnant again.

Ellen went into labour in an NHS birthing centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich. She was keen to have a natural drug-free water birth, something the birthing centre was well equipped to offer.

She came into the labour suite at 11pm and gave birth at 3pm the following afternoon. Andy was present throughout the labour, and the couple were attended by three different midwives because of their changing shifts.

When Alice was born, she was not breathing. Once the midwives had rubbed her down, they asked Andy to cut the cord before taking Alice to the resuscitation area.

Emergency teams were called in to assist the midwives and they managed to resuscitate Alice after three minutes. The doctors performed tests to check that Alice had not suffered any damage through lack of oxygen. Thankfully, she was found to be fine.

Ellen and Andy stayed in overnight for observations and took Alice home the following day.

Ellen, 37, and her husband Andy, 28, during her labour at a birthing suite in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich. Image copyright Sian Davey
Ellen, 37, and her husband Andy, 28, during her labour at a birthing suite in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich. Image copyright Sian Davey
Ellen back at home with baby Alice, 1 week after her birth. Alice was born at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich, London and needed 3 minutes resuscitation after her delivery in order to start breathing. Image copyright Sian Davey

All photographs courtesy Save the Children.