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Portraits of Motherhood: Photos Celebrating Moms

  • What does motherhood look like? We asked and readers submitted hundreds of photos to our Portraits of Motherhood photo contest depicting their moving, poignant and personal definitions of motherhood. 

    A panel of judges determined the winner, who won a $2,000 Visa gift card courtesy of RetailMeNot, and two runners-up, who each get $250 Visa gift cards. Parenting editors also chimed in to recognize the photos that moved them most.

    Meet the judges:

    Winner
    "A sick child—it's every parent's worst nightmare. For premature babies, moms often turn to kangaroo care, which simply refers to skin to skin contact. Not only does it foster an emotional connection between mom and baby, it's also known to regulate baby's heartbeat and offer several other health benefits. For moms filled with worry, like the one pictured here, it's the few minutes each day when she gets to hold her baby and wordlessly reassure her that all will be OK. More than anything, I love this photo simply because it captures the first act of mothering outside the womb."  - Ana Connery

    Photo submitted by Natalia Quinto, Wake Forest, NC

  • Runner Up
    "It’s sweet and hopeful and I really like the layers offered by the reflection. The light is beautiful, the concept feels well thought out and the composition is so nice. It’s a window into motherhood (literally). I really love that." - Tracey Clark

    Photo submitted by Wes Eisenhauer

  • Runner Up
    "It's a very emotional image that sparks our empathy. Focusing purely on the baby, with the mother out of focus in the foreground, puts us as viewers in the position of the mother. I looked into the sparkling eyes and adoring expression of that infant and thought, 'So this is what it feels like to be a mom!' That's a universally appealing message. On top of this, the photo itself is beautifully composed and lit—it's just a terrific picture that feels as if it were shot with love, warmth and understanding. You get a sense of real intimacy—physical as well as metaphorical closeness." - Miriam Leuchter

    Photo submitted by Yeahia Ahmed

  • Editor Pick
    “The look in this mom's face and her loving touch remind me that moms aren't just there for the good times—we're also there during our children's lowest moments as their biggest cheerleaders and moral compass.” – Kim Hays

    “This one sort of sums it all up. Mom is there to comfort her child, to love and support him. He's her baby but he's also his own person and in some ways not easily reached. The bond is powerful and there is genuine, raw emotion here. It represents the love, the bond and the heartbreak of parenting.”– Brian Braiker

    Photo submitted by Lorena Mellado, McAllen, TX

  • Editor Pick
    "I love the pure happiness conveyed in this photo. The warmth and contentment in her expression as she gazes at her sleeping baby is contagious. You can't not feel happy when you look at this photo—and happiness is one of the great joys of motherhood." - Kate Goodin

    Photo submitted by Kathy Wittman, Boston, MA

  • Editor Pick
    “I think every mom could have been captured in this pose with their newborn. Yet this snapshot totally stops you in your tracks. Somehow, it's the most commonly unique mom moment there is.” – Shawn Bean

    Photo submitted by Natalia Ortiz, Astoria, NY

  • Editor Pick
    “Striking in its simplicity. It captures an everyday moment that reminds you that the connection between mother and child, though often silent and unseen, changes everything.” – Christina Vercelletto

    Photo submitted by Michelle Hunt, Sandy, UT

  • Editor Pick
    “This photo shows the real day to day as well as the fun. You have to go to great lengths to keep the kids busy in order to have a minute to yourself.” – Stephanie Wood

    Photo submitted by Katie Wadkins, Oakley, CA

  • Editor Pick
    “Motherhood is in the mundane things. The pack of cheerios in your pocket and the boogers on your shirt. It's not photoshopped to perfection but is as simple and everyday as walking the kids to the bus stop at the end of the street.” – Corinne Schuler

    Photo submitted by Tamralynn Dorsa, Medford, NY

  • Editor Pick
    “It’s artistic but also not too self-conscious. I feel like it embodies the spirit of motherhood because you know she's probably already been to hell and back raising the toddler, but she seems ready for more. Bring it!” – Deborah Skolnik

    Photo submitted by April Young, Dallas, TX

  • Editor Pick
    “For me, this photo represents what is so intimate and universal about motherhood. I always tell pregnant friends, ‘Welcome to 38 weeks of worry orientation.’ And if asked, I counsel that the worry train never stops; it's all about managing it, keeping it in its place, not letting it get in the way of the joy. The combination of this mom's expression—an intense plea to keep this precious child safe —and the pure, naked perfection of that sleeping baby in her arms, summarizes perfectly what I know to by at the core of my experience, and what I imagine must be true too all mothers.” – Julie Christie

    Photo submitted by Rick Takagi

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