Maple Ridge Maternity Photography: Rainbow Baby
Just the other day I was searching through my blog posts, trying to link to this Maple Ridge maternity photography session when I found out I had totally forgotten to blog it! I can hardly believe this as it’s seriously my favourite maternity session to date!
Trigger Warning: Leah has given me permission to share her story of pregnancy after loss. The rest of this blog post will tell the story she shared.
I met Leah and Scott as a past client sent them my way when I was looking for someone to model a few dresses I was adding to my client closet. I particularly wanted a pregnant mama, preferably with a family. Leah wasn’t planning photos for this baby for a very personal reason, which she’s given me permission to share below. But when the model call opportunity came up, they jumped at it, and I am so glad they did.
Leah was to model two different dresses for me. As she and I walked back in from the field so she could change, she shared with me that she hadn’t planned photos for Baby Girl. They hadn’t announced the pregnancy either, as just over a year before our Maple Ridge maternity photography session, they had experienced a devastating loss of their second son, at just 18 weeks pregnant.
When I planned this blog post, I asked her if she was comfortable with me sharing a little of her story. She immediately said yes. “I think it’s important to talk about and normalize it for families,” she told me. And I agreed. There are so many parents out there, grieving for the child they had planned and hoped for, and Leah and I both hope that, by sharing her story, those parents won’t feel alone in their grief, but will be reassured that there are others experiencing what they are experiencing. I’ve used a lot of Leah’s words, as only she can accurately describe her experience.
“Max was our ‘rainbow baby’. We had a miscarriage at 8 weeks before we conceived him. That was really hard in and of itself. The moment you get pregnant, you start to dream and plan the future,” Leah told me. She went on to say that within a month, they were expecting Max after that first loss, and while they were thrilled, she never felt easy or at peace about the pregnancy.
“I chalked it up to being scared and tried to act like everything was fine. There was a never relenting feeling though that something wasn’t right. Fear is a tricky emotion. It scars you and makes you second guess yourself. I really was trying to talk myself out of worry the whole pregnancy.”
Leah told me that, while she was reassured each midwife appointment after hearing his heartbeat and being told that pregnancy after miscarriage is always difficult, the feeling of doubt never really went away. She remembers confiding in her best friend that she was really worried that something was wrong. She decided to wait until her 20 week ultrasound to tell people about the baby.
After not feeling well the day before, at 18 weeks she woke up bleeding, knowing immediately she was in labour. “Labour and delivery with loss is really tricky. It’s a strange rollercoaster of emotion. You are numb but feel really everything,” she shared. 3 hours later, she held her tiny son, Max. “He fit in the palm of my hand. His tiny hands and feet are something that remain ingrained in my memory.”
“The thing about loss that people don’t usually think about is that you really go through everything: labour, delivery, postpartum. But you do it without a baby. It’s gut-wrenching” she told me as she wrapped up her story.
Her body eventually healed, but of course the pain and grief continues to affect her. “I think sharing stories about our babies that are born sleeping is so important. I’ll be a mom of 3 very soon and while that’s hard for people to understand it doesn’t make his life not real. He existed and lived in me. He may never have had a breath outside my womb but he was still my baby.” She shared with me about how hard this pregnancy after his loss had been, and how difficult it had been to accept and celebrate, even after the 18 week mark had come and gone.
She shared with me that it wasn’t until our session that this pregnancy really became something she could be excited and hopeful for, and I was honoured to be able to play a small part in her story. Leah is one extremely strong mama, and I couldn’t be happier for her, Scott and Dallas as they wait to meet Baby Girl any day now.
Check out another maternity session here.
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