Disclaimer: Several of the images featured in this article are explicit in nature.
Those who haven’t gone through the epic experience of pregnancy tend to have an incomplete understanding of it. We hear about wild snack cravings, small bladders, swollen limbs—and the extreme, indescribable joy of a mother holding her new baby for the first time. Less often, we’re told of the blinding pain of childbirth itself, or the numbing shock of a miscarriage.
Artists have long made the physical and emotional vicissitudes of pregnancy and birth the subject of their work. Below, we highlight images that harness the discomfort, uncertainty, self-discovery, and pride that come with the process of becoming a mother.