Mother's Day invites women to reflect on their experience of labour, the life-changing event that conferred upon them that hallowed title. For many women, motherhood is a deeply personal and intimate journey into the unknown, at least the first time around. But there's no escaping the ubiquity of the experience – after all, without it, we wouldn't be here – which has the potential to unite women from around the world.
For a new photography series commissioned by international children's charity Save the Children and GSK, five world-leading female photographers travelled the world to capture the universal experience of motherhood. Sian Davey, Diana Markosian, Bieke Depoorter, Dana Popa and Carlota Guerrero were privileged enough to be granted access to five women's experiences of birth and early motherhood – in Nepal, Kenya, Guatemala, Romania and the UK.
Their efforts aren't just a tender portrayal of the miracle of life, however. They also highlight the necessity of all women having access to essential healthcare. In 2016, 30 million women gave birth without a trained birth attendant, according to the World Health Organization, while 2.6 million mothers lost their newborn babies – that’s 7,000 newborns every single day, according to figures from Unicef. Click through to see five photos that showcase the universality of motherhood and giving birth.