Extreme Pain, But Also Extreme Joy | Awarded Project - PhMuseum

Extreme Pain, But Also Extreme Joy

  • Midwife Chemin Perez checks on Taylor Almodovar’s progress during her labor at the New Life Midwifery Birth Center in Arcadia, CA in summer of 2020.

  • Jezreel De Cohen, a student midwife and doula, holds Aquilla’s daughter Storie as Aquilla gets settled into a bed at the birth center after her labor.

  • After giving birth to her daughter Storie, Aquilla is helped out of the birthing pool by midwife Chemin Perez, two student midwives and her husband Will. The student midwives gently dried her hair and body, and supported her as she stood for the first time after labor. Chemin explained that she might feel dizzy as her internal organs moved back into place after labor.

  • Joanna, a member of the Amish community, stands in her kitchen in her home in Holton, Michigan while her daughter plays on the floor. Joanna is expecting her 2nd child in the spring of 2022 and has been seeing midwife Patrice Bobier, who works with the Amish population in West Michigan.

  • Taylor Almodovar’s husband Justin Gardner looks up as Taylor experiences a painful contraction during her labor at the New Life Midwifery in Arcadia, California. Taylor Almodovar decided to switch to working with a midwife due to the outbreak of Covid-19, worried that her husband would be banned from the delivery room.

  • Midwife Patrice Bobier checks on Lauren’s progress during her labor at home in Muskegon, Michigan with the help of student midwife Anna Stowie and doula Hannah Jurcich.

  • Lauren clutches the sheets of her bed during her labor at home in Muskegon, Michigan.

  • Jes Anderson with her husband during the early hours of her labor at her home in Los Angeles, California. Jes Anderson experienced contractions since early afternoon and kept a careful log of the time, length and strength of each.

  • Water boils on Lauren’s stove to fill the birthing tub and keep it at a warm temperature. Midwife Patrice Bobier kept the pool at a steady temperature during the entirety of Lauren’s long labor at her home in Muskegon, Michigan.

  • Student midwife Anna Stowie checks on the baby’s heartbeat using a doppler during Lauren’s labor at home in Muskegon, Michigan, with the help of Lauren’s husband and doula Hannah Jurcich.

  • Taylor Almodovar grasps her husband Justin Gardner’s hands during her labor in the bathroom at the New Life Midwifery Birth Center in Arcadia, CA.

  • Doula Hannah Jurcich gently squeezes a wash cloth of warm water over Lauren Sawson to comfort her during Lauren’s long labor at home in Muskegon, Michigan in December of 2022.

  • Tsune Brown cradles her newborn son moments after giving birth at the New Life Midwifery Birth Center in Arcadia, California at 4am on May 29th.

  • Barbie’s son’s highchair with a hymnal pinned to the wall at her home in Fremont, Michigan. Barbie, a member of the Amish community, worked with midwife Patrice Bobier on both of her births.

  • Midwife assistant Barb Olsen slices an apple for Barbie during her early labor at her home in Fremont, Michigan. Barb has been working as midwife Patrice Bobier’s assistant for years and helps out on births.

  • Expecting mother Joanna, a member of the Amish community in west Michigan, adjusts her daughter’s bib before making her lunch, at their home in Holton, Michigan.

  • New mother Shelby Branch nurses her infant at home in Walkerville, Michigan. Shelby worked with midwife Patrice Bobier but had to be transported to the hospital due to high blood pressure. Patrice was able to stay with her the whole time during her labor.

  • Will gently kisses his daughter Storie for the first time in the birthing pool at New Life Midwifery Birth Center in Arcadia, CA right after her birth.

  • The cradle and other baby items were set up at Barbie’s home in Fremont, Michigan for the arrival of her new baby.

  • Student midwife Anna Stowie helps Lauren out the door and into her car so she can be transported to the hospital. Lauren’s labor wasn’t progressing and she made the decision to head to the hospital, with the support of her birth team.

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Many of their patients have tested positive, refused to get vaccinated, or wear masks during their appointments. They are on the frontline of seeing Covid complications in pregnant women. The midwives are understaffed, overwhelmed and burnt out after the two years of working under extreme stress.\r<\/p><p>Midwives provide guidance and guardianship rooted in generational wisdom, combining medical expertise with emotional support. This work takes place under the shadow of the movement to overturn Roe vs. Wade. The midwives are adamant about empowering women to make their own choices and shape their own bodily experiences by terminating a pregnancy or giving birth at home. \r<\/p><p>At a time marked by separation and death, these stories of connection, care, and birth are especially healing. Childbearing and the work of midwives is not well documented; the realities of childbirth are still taboo. When a difficult process is made even harder by a global pandemic and restrictive laws, the need to be honest about childbirth and our own bodies is even more important. Each of these stories is unique and it is crucial to this project to present a diversity of mothers and birth workers, and not just a whitewashed version. This pandemic has disproportionately affected women, and this project illuminates some of the burdens they must bear.<\/p>","body_raw":"After much of the US went into lockdown in early March 2020, I began following midwives in Los Angeles as they navigated new protocols caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. By photographing the midwives, I explored what it means to bear life in a time of sorrow and grief. The midwives\u2019 phones rang endlessly with calls from terrified women hoping to deliver safely in their homes. With hospitals flooded and many banning partners from the delivery room, the possibility of going through childbirth without a mask and in a familiar setting seemed, to these women, like the only option. \r\n\r\nAmid a Covid surge in late 2021, I started documenting midwives in West Michigan. Many of their patients have tested positive, refused to get vaccinated, or wear masks during their appointments. They are on the frontline of seeing Covid complications in pregnant women. The midwives are understaffed, overwhelmed and burnt out after the two years of working under extreme stress.\r\n\r\nMidwives provide guidance and guardianship rooted in generational wisdom, combining medical expertise with emotional support. This work takes place under the shadow of the movement to overturn Roe vs. Wade. The midwives are adamant about empowering women to make their own choices and shape their own bodily experiences by terminating a pregnancy or giving birth at home. \r\n\r\nAt a time marked by separation and death, these stories of connection, care, and birth are especially healing. Childbearing and the work of midwives is not well documented; the realities of childbirth are still taboo. When a difficult process is made even harder by a global pandemic and restrictive laws, the need to be honest about childbirth and our own bodies is even more important. Each of these stories is unique and it is crucial to this project to present a diversity of mothers and birth workers, and not just a whitewashed version. 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Midwife Patrice Bobier kept the pool at a steady temperature during the entirety of Lauren\u2019s long labor at her home in Muskegon, Michigan.","caption_raw":"Water boils on Lauren\u2019s stove to fill the birthing tub and keep it at a warm temperature. 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Barbie, a member of the Amish community, worked with midwife Patrice Bobier on both of her births.","caption_raw":"Barbie\u2019s son\u2019s highchair with a hymnal pinned to the wall at her home in Fremont, Michigan. 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Barb has been working as midwife Patrice Bobier\u2019s assistant for years and helps out on births.","caption_raw":"Midwife assistant Barb Olsen slices an apple for Barbie during her early labor at her home in Fremont, Michigan. 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Shelby worked with midwife Patrice Bobier but had to be transported to the hospital due to high blood pressure. Patrice was able to stay with her the whole time during her labor.","caption_raw":"New mother Shelby Branch nurses her infant at home in Walkerville, Michigan. Shelby worked with midwife Patrice Bobier but had to be transported to the hospital due to high blood pressure. 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Lauren\u2019s labor wasn\u2019t progressing and she made the decision to head to the hospital, with the support of her birth team.","caption_raw":"Student midwife Anna Stowie helps Lauren out the door and into her car so she can be transported to the hospital. Lauren\u2019s labor wasn\u2019t progressing and she made the decision to head to the hospital, with the support of her birth team.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":613771,"filename":"\/users\/13843\/grant-submissions\/44225\/r7rs41cd5a76e4a6.jpg","has_tried_to_detect_moderation_labels":0,"has_moderation_labels":0,"moderation_label_json":null,"is_explicit":0,"is_not_explicit":0,"explicit_percentage":0,"created_at":"2022-02-23T18:16:49.000000Z","updated_at":"2022-02-23T18:16:49.000000Z"},"story_block":null}],"cover_block_image":null,"user":{"id":13843,"firstname":"Maggie","lastname":"Shannon","username":"maggieshannon","can_skip_grant_payment":0,"is_unsubscribed_from_grant_emails":0,"disabled_at":null,"gender":"female","has_agreed_to_newsletter":0,"has_agreed_to_newsletter_at":null,"timezone":null,"is_legacy":1,"is_collateral_juror":0,"legacy_id":"2d6fc7e0-9cac-11e3-9aad-456215c303b5","accepted_tandcs_may18_at":"2021-01-28 20:11:23","last_logged_in_at":"2022-01-15T18:47:58.000000Z","last_logged_in_country":"US","registered_country":null,"is_not_spam":0,"when_legacy_potd":null,"delete_at":null,"created_at":"2015-12-01T16:13:27.000000Z","updated_at":"2022-01-15T18:47:58.000000Z","deleted_at":null,"profile":{"id":13833,"user_id":13843,"born_in_id":128885,"based_in_id":140462,"currently_in_id":null,"nationality_id":4,"avatar":"\/users\/13843\/avatars\/qhwqw566234734de.jpg","cover_image":null,"born_at":"1987-11-03T00:00:00.000000Z","profession":null,"bio":null,"long_bio":"<p>Maggie Shannon is a photographer specializing in portrait and documentary work. Hailing from Martha's Vineyard, she received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and is now based in Los Angeles, California with her husband and cat, Lester. Maggie aims to tell stories of smaller communities and social rituals, with the goal of lifting edge voices and building a more inclusive world. Her approach is reflexive and anchored by honesty, empathy, and endless curiosity. \r<\/p><p>Maggie was selected as a 2018 PDN emerging photographer and has been recognized as part of Magnum's 30 under 30. She is a member of Women Photograph and her work has appeared in American Photography 35 and 36. Her first book, Swamp Yankee, told the story of New England shark fishing. She otherwise spends her time camping, baking pies, and trying her hand at growing veggies. Maggie loves a good Seinfeld reference and encourages you to use one in email correspondence.<\/p>","long_bio_raw":"Maggie Shannon is a photographer specializing in portrait and documentary work. Hailing from Martha's Vineyard, she received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and is now based in Los Angeles, California with her husband and cat, Lester. Maggie aims to tell stories of smaller communities and social rituals, with the goal of lifting edge voices and building a more inclusive world. Her approach is reflexive and anchored by honesty, empathy, and endless curiosity. \r\n\r\nMaggie was selected as a 2018 PDN emerging photographer and has been recognized as part of Magnum's 30 under 30. She is a member of Women Photograph and her work has appeared in American Photography 35 and 36. Her first book, Swamp Yankee, told the story of New England shark fishing. She otherwise spends her time camping, baking pies, and trying her hand at growing veggies. 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