On the Cover
This month's cover photo, taken by Alice E. Proujansky, shows Liza Ramlow, a certified nurse midwife, holding Virginia Leigh Glick Krezmien, a baby she delivered at the Birthplace at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Ramlow was instrumental in the implementation of the Birthplace's unique collaborative care model in which nurse midwives are the primary caregivers during deliveries and physicians are called in only if there are complications. The center performs few medical interventions and gives delivering mothers more say in their care.
"The Birthplace's midwifery model allows patients a measure of control over the narrative of birth: that it is not an illness, that (barring complications) they can decide how it's managed, and that they have the innate knowledge and strength to do it," says Proujansky, who is also the author of this month's photo-essay, "Birthplace: A Model of Collaborative Care at Baystate Franklin Medical Center."
Ramlow was on her rounds when she picked up the baby and "sat down in beautiful light," Proujansky recalls. "Liza gently held Virginia and began to tell the story of the birth to the baby's parents.
"Before giving birth, the parents had told their midwife the story of how they wanted to give birth. During labor, Liza worked with the baby's mother to realize that narrative, and afterward Liza told her side of the story back to the parents." She adds, "I look up to Liza for her expertise, hard work, compassion, and adherence to her values. This photograph speaks to the way I see her."
Proujansky, a photojournalist based in Brooklyn, New York, grew up across the street from the Birthplace. She's photographed "birth and culture" for four years: on a Navajo reservation, in an underresourced facility in the Dominican Republic, with a nongovernmental organization in Nigeria, and in her hometown. "Birth is a universal experience," she says, "but one that varies immensely. In my photographs, I try to understand the reasons why."—Alison Bulman, senior editorial coordinator