Birth of My Daughter

“I open, I transform, I bleed, I scream and I smile.”

In 2005 artist Ana Álvarez-Errecalde responded to a recurring dream she was having and decided to take self portraits of herself, and her newborn daughter.  The resulting images she has titled “Birth of My Daughter (or El Nacimiento de Mi Hija)

Ana Alvarez-Errecalde on the birth of her daughter says: "I open, I transform, I bleed, I scream and I smile"

Ana Alvarez-Errecalde on the birth of her daughter says: “I open, I transform, I bleed, I scream and I smile”

I am moved to share her photos because I feel birth is a monumentally inexplicable alteration of reality and in our culture it is too rarely revealed as such.  If you are having a child, please explore your options of how your family can truly experience the beauty of birth.

If you are curious about the origin of the images, please watch the short documentary “Umbilical Self-portrait” by MiNuShu.

To see some of Ava Álvarez-Errecalde current work, where she has created bodysuits  representing nude forms (called the More Store), review this article at Empty Kingdom and this piece at Elephant Journal.

Visitors to the "More Store" try on different body images.

Visitors to the “More Store” try on different body images.

Thanks to Brooke @ Violicious for bring my attention to Bauhauswife’s post sharing her thoughts on the work.

ana álvarez-errecalde's Simbiosis

ana álvarez-errecalde’s Simbiosis

35 thoughts on ““I open, I transform, I bleed, I scream and I smile.”

  1. Kathleen Byers

    Very brave and honest! Women have been convinced that it’s not safe and also dangerous to take control of your birthing experience! It is also not accepted. I applaud her!

    1. Post author

      I’m pretty sure the suits were created just for her installation piece. Follow the link above to the ‘More Store’ and she has contact info on her site.

  2. Jennifer Arnold

    when i gave birth in spain, the DOCTOR asked the father of the child, if he wanted to take the placenta home for the dog. I am glad that this precious woman is doing this , into that mind set , it is a beautiful expression, as beautiful as the child in her arms and as beautiful as she , and , as beautiful as the placenta — what is that thing , that makes it all possible ? perhaps , a meditation on that — the watcher exists, in the physical … sometimes .

  3. Anton1a

    Amazing! Inspirational. Just shows what our bodies are capable of. I wish I had seen this before I gave birth to my first. I was terrified and had a scary and traumatic birth. My second and third were gentle births as I knew that I was capable of giving birth. Thanks for these images.

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  5. Ben

    Although I’m a farmer and birth, life and death are part of my every day this shocks me and I’m surprised at that. I think it is, like the previous comments suggested, because we are made to believe that childbirth needs to be in hospital and a very private affair. A cow or sheep will go to the farthest point of the field where she would ready herself for the advances of labour then the subsequent birth. So I believe that mammals do require peace and privacy. It is human nature to help, and I should imagine that women have been helping one another with child birth since the daw not time. Very interesting, I thank you for giving me something to question and think about

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  7. Fred Bandack

    At first I was shocked! Forgive me, I am a man, a father of 2, I am still in shock, but I am feeling better with every moment passing by….ok, I can breathe easier now!
    I understand your point and I support your efforts in educating men and women about the acceptance of the woman’s beautiful body in all its forms and experiences.
    Thank you,

  8. birthintobeing

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    There are still many countries where women never see the naked truth of birth. This is awesome that these photos can be shared. My gratitude to Álvarez-Errecalde.

  9. Marie

    Sorry – this is not doing it for me at all and I am a mother of four. Birth is a personal experience that I believe should be shared with the ones you love.

    1. Daniel

      It seems very contrived to me and does not take from the supposed “taboo” around child birth. I was there for my son’s birth and it was not anywhere near as bloody as this. Looks like shock value was the goal here. Blood deliberately smeared etc. It does nor represent the “normality of childbirth” in any way. It bears no resemblance visually or emotionally to what child birth is.

  10. Ana Álvarez-Errecalde

    Thanks for sharing my work Chris and for everybodies wonderful comments. I just want to say that birth is a personal experience and should be shared with the ones you love 🙂 Personally, I love Humanity and I believe that this is my contribution to enrich a very poor cultural imaginary of birth. I believe that a respectful birth is a good start for the lives of babies and can be extremely empowering to many families.
    To Daniel, I can only say that each birth is different. I gave birth at home 4 times (one of them was a miscarriage) and this birth (the Birth of my Daughter) was the only one that was this bloody and the only one that I felt like doing a self-portrait. The umbilical cord was twice as thick than my other babies. Trust me, there was no blood added to create any visual effect.

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  12. Ruby

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience with us. I am a mother of three, giving birth is bloody and there is nothing wrong with that. That’s how we all came into this world.I have nothing but respect for you, i am shore it wasn’t easy for you to give up your privacy and i truly hope that you contribution can help more women have this beautiful experience of giving birth too. I gave birth in the hospital, i didn’t get the chance to see the placenta and i would never do this again. Birth should be completely natural. Thanks to women like you we can have a better world with more and deep respect for woman and mothers. All my love is with you.

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