The latest issue of National Geographic contains a heart-wrenching article titled, “Too Young to Wed: The Secret World of Child Brides,” that has haunted me for about two weeks. It profiles several young girls who have been forced one way or another — if only by cultural norms — to marry before adulthood. In some cases, they are wed as young as 5 years old. Unlike many stories on the subject, Cynthia Gorney’s article delves into how dangerous pregnancy and childbirth are for young girls — another reminder of the complex, multi-faceted nature of maternal health.
The story is accompanied by a gallery of powerful photos taken of child brides before and after their weddings. The one above, of 5-year-old Rajani being carried to her midnight wedding ceremony, is especially jarring. Kudos to photographer Stephanie Sinclair for capturing the emotional subtlety of her subjects and their circumstances.