"These images portray birth as the miraculous occasion that it can be," Leilani Rogers tells PEOPLE

By Gabrielle Olya
Updated December 01, 2020 11:30 PM
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Credit: Leilani Rogers/PhotosByLei.com

While photos of pregnant women and newborn babies have become commonplace, rarely is the actual process of giving birth captured and shared.

Texas-based photographer Leilani Rogers is changing that by documenting birth – whether at-home or in a hospital bed – in a series of photos.

“These images portray birth as the miraculous occasion that it can be,” Rogers, 40, tells PEOPLE. “They are part of a beautiful story that reminds you that our bodies are miraculous, and that birth is a transcendent experience.”

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Rogers categorizes her images as “equal parts enlightening and fascinating,” as they show some of the lesser-discussed aspects of births, such as umbilical cords, amniotic sacs and placenta.

“I hope that these photos help normalize birth, which is one of the most normal things we do,” she says. “I also hope they open minds and make people feel something, because we are conditioned to think it is ‘gross.’ We have a long way to go with the acceptance that the female body was created with function in mind, not just beauty.”

Rogers began by photographing her own birth, using a tripod to capture the birth of her third child. A few years later, she documented the birth of her niece, which she says was a life-changing experience.

“Now documentary photography is where my heart is,” says Rogers, who has now photographed about 60 women. “There is something so magical about snatching a special moment before it flees. And it’s rather exciting anticipating what s going to happen next.”