Modern medicine has made huge advances in helping premature babies grow and thrive. Still, the first days, weeks, and months for babies born early are always a fight. One photographer knows that firsthand, and he created an incredible photo series to showcase the strength of these little warriors.
Red Méthot, a Canadian photographer who works under the name RedM, created a photo series called Las Premas (The Preemies) to show how far dozens of premature babies have come since their early births. His own two children were born premature, so he knows all too well how overwhelming and scary those early weeks can be.
Méthot tells the Huffington Post he started the series by photographing his own kids, then reached out to other families he knew. Eventually, he put a call out on social media and received dozens of responses. He had his subjects pose for portraits holding black and white images of themselves in the NICU. He then shared the photos on his professional Facebook page with the name of the subject and how many weeks gestation they were when they were born. The results are incredibly moving.
Here are Nathan and Noah, born at 32 weeks:
This is Eva, born at 29 weeks:
Charles, born at 26 weeks:
Andréanne, born at 32 weeks and now expecting her own child:
Méthot says he knew nothing about premature babies before having his own kids. For that reason, he tells the Huffington Post he wants the series to raise awareness and encourage people to get informed about premature birth. More importantly, though, he wants to let people know they’re not alone. “It’s a big message of hope to parents going through this tough time,” he says. “I wanted the pictures to say: Hey, look, they’ve also been there and look how awesome they are now.”
According to the World Health Organization, around 15 million babies — about one in ten — are born prematurely each year. We’re lucky in the United States to have access to incredible medical care that helps many of these babies thrive, but that doesn’t make preterm birth any less scary or diminish how hard these babies have to fight to survive. There are babies who don’t make it and babies who have lasting effects from their early arrivals. Nothing about preterm birth is easy.
Hopefully Méthot’s photos bring a measure of comfort and hope to the millions of parents whose babies are born prematurely each year, and let them know that no matter what, they’re never alone.
(Featured image via Shutterstock)