Mamma Sesay, 18, lies on the delivery table next to her first-born twin as she waits to deliver the second at the Magburaka Government Hospital, in Sierra Leone, May 20, 2010. Mamma Sesay was forced to marry at 14 years old to a man who was about 50, and delivered her first child at 15.
Mamma Sesay, 18, lies on the delivery table next to her first-born twin as she waits to deliver the second at the Magburaka Government Hospital, in Sierra Leone, May 20, 2010. Mamma Sesay was forced to marry at 14 years old to a man who was about 50, and delivered her first child at 15.Lynsey Addario—Getty Images Reportage
Mamma Sesay, 18, lies on the delivery table next to her first-born twin as she waits to deliver the second at the Magburaka Government Hospital, in Sierra Leone, May 20, 2010. Mamma Sesay was forced to marry at 14 years old to a man who was about 50, and delivered her first child at 15.
Mamma Sesay, 18, lies on the delivery table next to her first-born twin as she waits to deliver the second at the Magbur
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Lynsey Addario—Getty Images Reportage
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Christy Turlington Burns: The Photo That Influenced Me Most

To celebrate the launch of TIME's new multimedia project – 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time – we asked leaders in a number of fields, from technology to the arts to business, to share the single photograph that most influenced their lives. Purchase the 100 Photographs book now.

This photo and series by Lynsey Addario remains one of the most powerful for me because it captures the tragic reality for millions of girls and women who risk their lives bringing life into the world. The look on Mama Sessay’s face in this photo, having lost one of her twins and in a state of shock, says it all. She finally reached a facility to deliver but unfortunately it was too late. With better, more timely access to care, her life could have been saved.

Christy Turlington Burns is a maternal health advocate and founder of Every Mother Counts.

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