If you ever thought giving birth is incredibly difficult, just imagine doing it outside in subfreezing temperatures? That’s exactly what the Nenet women of Siberia do, and understanding exactly how they do it is what award-winning explorer, ethnographer, and photographer Alegra Ally set out to do. Ally is the founder of the Wild Born Project and has spent over 20 years traveling the world and spending time with indigenous people, focusing her work specifically on pregnancy and birth.
Through her travels, Ally notes that her eyes have been opened as to how other cultures don’t treat pregnancy and childbirth as a medical condition, the way Western citizens do. The explorer adds that she is particularly inspired by the women she has met. The Wild Born Project celebrates women and cultural diversity, with special focus on the resilience, roles, and power of indigenous women and girls from around the world. Over the past five years, Ally has focused on the rituals and initiations surrounding transformations into womanhood, birth preparations, and postpartum traditions.
The nonprofit invites midwives, doulas, students, and women to take part in projects focused on documenting and revitalizing the traditional knowledge of indigenous women, building birthing stations, empowering local women and girls, and exchanging knowledge with traditional midwives.