The first 24 hours of a baby's life are incredibly intense for new moms, even if your delivery goes exactly according to plan. You're more exhausted than you've ever been in your life, yet your senses are weirdly heightened. That, plus the fact that you're filled with hormones and adrenaline and baby smell, makes it impossible to sleep. After months of watching pregnancy transform your body, you suddenly have this tiny person in your hands. It's a surreal, magical time — a brief moment before you and your child enter the world together. Somehow, British photographer Jenny Lewis has managed to capture this singular experience in her beautiful photo series, One Day Young.
The project was born out of Lewis' desire to challenge the notions most people have of childbirth — and to show that for some women, the experience is not only empowering; it's downright euphoric. Over the course of five years, Lewis has shot over a hundred portraits of women from various socioeconomic backgrounds, all living in Lewis' home borough of Hackney.
"In those first 24 hours, it's like this warrior comes out in women," Lewis explained to Huffington Post
. "They gain this inner strength to protect the child, and you
can see it in the photos."
"They're like those heroic pictures of
soldiers on the battlefield, or the footballer after the match — still
full of the adrenaline of achievement. This moment isn't often captured
in women, but...that moment deserves to be recorded and
celebrated in the public arena."
Click through to see some of our favorite shots from the collection, and be sure to pick up a copy of One Day Young
, available now from Hoxton Mini Press.