When Jessica Mahoney and her husband Kevin found out they were expecting their second child, they wanted some very special maternity photos to mark the occasion. After welcoming their first child four years ago—a son named Corbin—the Connecticut couple struggled with infertility. Jessica endured six miscarriages on the couple’s journey to having a second child, so she wanted her maternity photos to capture how powerful this pregnancy is for her family. Kevin reached out to photographer JoAnn Marrero of From Labor To Love Photography about a shoot. She and fellow photographer Mary Maloney put their heads together to come up with a beautiful idea: An outdoor photo featuring every color of the rainbow.
A baby conceived after miscarriage, stillbirth, or other type of loss of an infant is sometimes referred to as a rainbow baby, because the child’s arrival can feel like a glimpse of a rainbow after a difficult storm. Miscarriages are sadly very common, with as many as 10-15 percent of known pregnancies ending in one. The experience is rarely discussed publicly, which leaves many women feeling like they’re alone in what they’ve gone through. Infertility struggles are also common—about 12 percent of American women of childbearing age have a hard time getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, and 7.5 percent of sexually experienced men under 45 have seen a fertility doctor during their lifetime.
“Jess wanted something rainbow-inspired because of the many fertility struggles she and Kevin had encountered,” Marrero shared in a statement provided to SELF. “I knew I had to do something extra special for her family.” Marrero and Maloney teamed up to create a photo-ready rainbow backdrop using colorful smoke bombs. “It sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?” Marrero said. “It was, but also picture lots of coughing, color-stained clothing and a rainbow wash in our hair.” Through it all, Mahoney remained poised. “Through our rainbow haze, Jess stood with composure and her pregnancy glow came shining through like the sun. A whole lot of laughter made the moment even more vibrant and brilliant.”
The process of creating the picture wasn’t without a few funny hijinks. “Mary shot off the first colored smoke bomb and—oops! I forgot to tell her they were double-sided,” Marrero explained. “There was dense, vibrant smoke everywhere. (Note to everyone trying this: Pull the ring and run!) It was quite the explosive surprise and really funny!”
All the effort and creativity was worth it for the beautiful end result: A surreal image of Mahoney gazing up at the sky as she celebrates the new life that will soon be joining her family. It’s almost too gorgeous for words. Take a look at Marrero’s Facebook post about the photo below. Best wishes to the Mahoneys on this beautiful new chapter in their lives.
SELF – Culture