A baby born to a mother who has previously experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss is often referred to as a “rainbow baby.” It's a fitting term because a baby born after the pain of the ultimate loss is a like a rainbow after a storm.
Alex Bolen, of Shutter Darling Photography in Saint Peters, Missouri, became aware of the term “rainbow baby” after joining several online groups for mothers. She was so touched by the stories of moms who had lost their babies that she came up with the idea of creating a photograph that would honor their loss and help spread awareness.
To create the image, Bolen put a call out on her personal Facebook page asking for friends to tag any rainbow moms they knew. She got more than 60 comments. After reaching out, she says, she found six unique stories she wanted to share.
Those six stories turned into a photograph of moms Heather Terranova, Hillary Funk, Kaila Marie, Sara Markivee, Ashley Jones and Hannah Peltonen wearing custom gowns created by Sew Trendy Accessories.
Bolen captioned the phenomenal photo:
"A rainbow is a promise of sunshine after rain of calm after storms of joy after sadness of peace after pain of love after loss. A rainbow baby is a baby born following loss. These mommas are just 6 out of the millions that experience pregnancy/infant loss every day. Some speak out. Some stay silent. Some have lost many. Some try for months or years. Some meet their sleeping angels. All loved and never forgotten.❤️💛💚💙💜"
Once she shared the photo on the Shutter Darling Photography Facebook page Nov. 10, the response was incredible. The post has more than 17,000 shares and 22, 000 likes so far, and it’s no wonder. The photograph is stunning any way you look at it. Six beautiful women stand resplendent either lovingly holding their baby or gently cradling their bellies. Behind them, rainbow-colored clouds of smoke rise to the heavens.
Even if you have no idea of what inspired this photograph at first, it’s mesmerizing. But once you know the pain that preceded this beautiful moment, it gets you right in the feels. It’s like the colored smoke behind the mothers is a tribute to their never-to-be-forgotten lost babies.
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Photo via Shutter Darling Photography