After enduring six miscarriages, an expectant mother celebrated her rainbow baby with a breathtaking maternity photo.
In August, Kevin Mahoney asked photographer JoAnn Marrero to take pictures of his wife, Jessica, who was pregnant with the couple’s second child. The Connecticut parents struggled with fertility issues after having their first child, a son named Corbin.
When Jessica and Kevin tried to have another baby, the mom suffered six miscarriages. After so much loss, this rainbow baby represents a glimmer of hope for the family.
When Kevin tapped JoAnn for his wife’s maternity shoot, the photographer knew she had to do something “extra special” for the family. She and Jessica emailed back and forth and ultimately decided to celebrate this happy time with a fun photo shoot.
Working with her mentor Mary Maloney, JoAnn organized an outdoor shoot that would incorporate a literal rainbow, formed with colored smoke bombs.
“It was quite the explosive surprise and really funny!” JoAnn told HuffPost. “One by one each smoke bomb was set (and not without some duds too), with each burst of color we watched this portrait coming to life.”
Admittedly, the photo shoot was also quite messy ― with lots of coughing, stained clothes and colorful residue in everyone’s hair and nostrils, the photographer added.
But, she said, it was all worth it. “Through it all, Jess stood with composure and her pregnancy glow came shining through, along with a whole lot of laughter,” she recalled. “This was definitely her moment ― such a proud mother-to-be for the second time.”
JoAnn and Mary shared the epic smoke bomb photo on their Facebook pages, From Labor to Love and Pebbles and Polka Dots Photography. The positive response was so overwhelming that the popular Facebook page, Birth Without Fear, reposted the image as well.
JoAnn said she and Mary were “proud and honored” to work on this photo shoot for a “very deserving” family.
“It was both exciting and insane to see this lovely portrait go viral and not just for Mary and I, but for the family who had felt so many losses prior to this pregnancy,” she said.
“The response has been overwhelming,” she added. “I’m so happy with the end result for numerous reasons, both personal and professional. Jess also happens to be my friend and neighbor, and I am so proud of her for never giving up hope and Corbin will finally get to be a big brother!”
The photographer said she hopes the photo brings “light, inspiration and hope” to others struggling through similar experiences.
As for Jessica, she beautifully summed up her wishes in a photo caption she shared with JoAnn.
“Six babies lost to have the honor to carry this rainbow baby,” the mom wrote. “I hope my story helps someone else to know they are not alone, as the journey of loss and infertility is dark and lonely.”
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and HuffPost Parents is committed to helping to end the silence around miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDs and other infant loss. If you’d like to share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org