Note: In celebration of Mother's Day, we are thrilled to share Jana Romanova's lovely and poignant photo series of sleeping parents-to-be. This story was original published on April 9.
Like many women in their late 20s, photographer Jana Romanova found that all of her friends were suddenly having babies. "All the talks were about babies, home repairs, and how their lives would no longer be their own," she says on Medium. Grappling with this shift in her own life, Romanova began photographing parents-to-be in a very unique and specific setting: early in the morning, sound asleep.
The series began accidentally, with a shot of two of her friends, taken a month before their daughter was born. With all the anticipation and anxiety around the imminent birth, she says, "here, I'd found a moment in which parents were in complete rest (or maybe exhaustion?) together." Soon, she was reaching out to more acquaintances and even complete strangers in her home country of Russia.
Each photo in her project, Waiting, evokes an astonishing intimacy, revealing details that prompt as many questions as conclusions. It shows the singularity of each of these couples in the middle of such a universal experience. At the same time, Romanova captured "the way young families live in big cities of modern Russia, 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the country that will be known to their children only from history books."