When Alex Bolen, a photographer from Saint Peters, Missouri, became pregnant with first child and joined several Facebook groups for moms, she began to hear story after story about women who'd lost their babies. "I was terrified and anxiety set in," she said.
Although she ended up giving birth to a healthy baby girl, she couldn’t help but think of all the women she’d encountered throughout her pregnancy who weren’t as lucky. “It really just got to me,” she said.
So when Alex learned about “rainbow babies,” a term used to describe the baby that’s born directly after a miscarriage, stillborn, or neonatal death, she decide to recruit a handful of women who’d delivered rainbow babies for a special photo shoot. “The idea was to find six unique stories that covered the whole loss spectrum,” she said of choosing her models.
Once the women were selected and dressed in gowns from Sew Trendy Accessories, Alex asked some friends to help make the portraits extra eye-catching using colored smoke, setting off two colors at a time to be Photoshopped together later on.
“Behind the scenes was pretty magical,” Alex remembers. “The dads were all there on the side lines wrangling their other children, helping with smoke bombs, even catching the occasional baby spit-up with smiles on their faces, and cheering on their beautiful wives.”
The final product is breathtaking, but it’s the moms’ stories that are really eye-opening.
In red is Heather Terranova, who miscarried twice with her military husband and posed while 38 weeks pregnant with her third child.
In orange is Hillary Funk, who had a miscarriage between the births of her two sons, just weeks after finding out she was pregnant.
In yellow is a pregnant Kaila Marie, who had a miscarriage after trying for a year, to the disappointment of her other five children who’d been expecting a new sibling.
In green is Sara Markivee, who was devastated when her accidental pregnancy at age 19 ended in miscarriage.
In blue is Ashley Jones Behrle, who had six miscarriages in eight years, due to various health conditions discovered late in the game.
In purple is Hannah Peltonen, who delivered a stillborn baby 35 weeks into her pregnancy after 17 hours of labor.
While Alex’s photos can’t possibly replace any of the babies these women lost or heal their pain, for that matter, they serve as a beautiful reminder to women who are mourning for the children they never had the chance to enjoy: You’re not alone, and with time, this too shall pass.
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