Moms everywhere deserve to be thanked for a lot of things, from tying shoes to cutting endless crusts from sandwiches. But what they endure just to become mothers deserves some major recognition. It’s lucky that many don’t remember in vivid detail the excruciating pains they experienced during contractions, but some moms can reflect on exactly what their bodies went through thanks to talented birth photographers. The sheer pain captured in these powerful photos is unexpectedly beautiful — they perfectly illustrate a mother’s dedication and what she will do for her child. But most importantly, they prove that through the blood, pain, and tears, childbirth is the ultimate labor of love.