Baby J // Southern California - Riverside, California Newborn Photographer
You hear a lot that "time heals all wounds" and that may be true to a degree, but for someone who is going through being wounded, that isn't always what you want to hear. It's been almost nine years since my first pregnancy. I remember getting all of the parenting books my arms could carry & signing up for the pregnancy tracking websites (apps weren't as advanced back then.) I had so many hopes and dreams for my baby to be, but at 8 weeks I was told that I had suffered an ectopic pregnancy and the baby didn't survive. I can say with experience that while time may not heal all wounds, it absolutely helps make the pain bearable, livable. When I found out we were pregnant with my now 7yr old "rainbow baby" I didn't want to have to throw away baby books again, so instead I bought a ceramic cross. My faith wasn't strong then, but I knew that even if he didn't make it, that cross could remain. Looking back with a lens of faith, God's hand was so perfectly in everything that has come to be and I am thankful, especially for the hope that some day when my time has come to an end on earth that I will be able to hold my baby that never was for the very first time.
For a long time I felt guilty talking about my loss. I knew women who had delivered stillborn babies, had painful miscarriages, babies who passed shortly after birth, and in my mind, losing a baby before I even saw them on the ultrasound didn't compare. It took me a long time to realize that although the loss may be different, every loss is significant and speaking about it can be so healing. I had the privilege of photographing a rainbow baby for a family recently who shared a little bit of their journey to parenthood with me:
MIT: Your family just welcomed a beautiful baby girl, but the path to her wasn’t an easy one. Can you tell me a little bit about what the journey to parenthood entailed for you guys? And how long you had been trying for a baby?
M/P: "The journey to parenthood for myself and husband was definitely a rollercoaster. In the beginning we had hope because we did not know about my infertility issues. Once we found out what the problem was it went to eagerness in finding ways to have a baby of our own which brought us to our decision to do IVF back in February 2014. It was unsuccessful and we were devestated. It is an expensive procedure so we only had one shot. I had 3 embryos frozen and we were able to transfer those in March 2015 which was also a bust. After those 2 experiences i was completely hopeless and decided that motherhood wasn’t meant for me and we would just have to live life and enjoy it without a baby."
MIT: Our stories of loss are pretty similar. Being my first pregnancy, there was so much I didn’t know about what happened but at the same time, I felt that mourning in silence wouldn’t let my healing begin. If you could share something with a woman suffering or who has suffered the loss of a pregnancy/child what would it be?
M/P: "Everyone handles loss differently. Some women need to talk about it and others won’t talk about it. I did not want to speak to anyone for the first 2.5 years. I felt ashamed that I could not have a baby. It almost felt like a failure and I felt less of a woman. My advice to any woman going through this is go through your process the best way you can. Allow yourself to feel all of the emotions your going through which can be sadness, anger, resentment etc.. You don’t have to apologize for any of it. When you're ready to get past it and talk be choosy with who you open up to. It is a delicate subject and not everyone will empathize with you the way you would like. Once you find your people talking it out will a source of therapy but only if you're ready!"
MIT: What was it like when you found out you were pregnant with Baby J?
M/P: "When we found out we were pregnant we were obviously shocked at first because we were already at a point in our lives where we weren’t expecting or trying for children. Having suffered a ectopic pregnancy 5 years earlier we were weary at first and needed to be sure it was a normal pregnancy. Once it was all confirmed that it was normal we were very happy and excited. I was also nervous and scared because again, wasn’t expecting it and pregnancy entails a long journey of 9 months and you just never know what can happen along the way."
MIT: How has the first few weeks of motherhood been for you? Is it any different than you expected?
M/P: "Motherhood has been joyful, intense and tireing! I am in awe in love with my baby girl and so is my husband. Our motto is teamwork makes the baby dream work. We have eachother to take on parenthood and we are excited to be finally be a family & to watch our baby girl grow into all we hope she will become."
Thank you to this strong mama who shared her story with us! You can see some of the photos from their beautiful baby's newborn session below.