There are so many reasons why I love taking photos of families, but it’s sessions like this one with Val and Norm that really bring my purpose into focus. Val and I started out as coworkers in 2016 and have been friends ever since. We actually have worked at two completely different companies together, and thanks to her, I have a job (aside from photography of course!) that I absolutely love. During the time that we worked in the same office, I was fortunate to witness a lot of positive changes happening in her life. From dating the right guy, to starting a sewing business on the side, to buying their first home, getting engaged and everything in between. Eventually there came a time when we no longer worked in the same office. I vividly remember the day that she picked me up to go for coffee and shared the news that she was pregnant with not one - but TWO little angels! She showed me the ultrasound photo in the car and I remember feeling SO happy for her, and completely shocked at the news all at the same time. I’m pretty sure we even laughed (slightly) hysterically at the fact that there would be two of them 😂. But despite how overwhelming that must have felt for someone who was going to be a new mom, Val was completely ready to embrace the news and love them both with everything she had.
A few months later she was starting a new job, so I decided to send her a good luck text on the morning of her first day. I didn’t get a response, so I figured she was just trying to take everything in and get settled. The next day my phone buzzed with a message. She didn’t make it to work - her water broke at 22 weeks and she was rushed to the hospital. Shortly after that I received an update... the boys were born too small to survive. My heart broke completely in half for her, and I couldn't even begin to imagine the pain that they were going through. It was one of the most tragic things that has ever happened to someone close to me, and thinking about it now as I’m writing this more than a year later still makes my eyes swell up with tears.
If you’re still reading this post, don’t worry! As the title implies, this story is not about sadness and loss, but rather about overcoming heartbreak and finding a rainbow after waiting out the storm 🌈
Early last summer I spent another lunch hour with Val. It was near the end of our visit that she told me she was pregnant again. This time with just one baby instead of two. It was still very early on and she knew that the odds were stacked against her, but she chose to believe that there was a chance things would be different this time. I believed it too. We both knew that it would be better for the baby if she focused her energy on cultivating positivity rather than anxiety, and that’s exactly what she did. Her strength and faith were truly inspiring, and for some reason I had a feeling that everything was going to work out for her. If nothing else, she was deserving of a miracle after everything she had been through. I made a promise to her a little later on that if everything went according to plan, I would do a newborn session for her and Norm as a baby gift.
The pregnancy was not without its complications and touch and go moments, but fast forward to Christmas Eve 2019... and baby Elijah was born ✨ Although premature, he was healthy, and seeing their post welcoming him into the world over the holidays filled me with immense joy and relief. I couldn't think of two more deserving parents to be blessed with a baby at Christmas time.
Which brings me back to one of the many reasons why I love photographing families - after witnessing their heartbreak, seeing baby Elijah during our nursery room session, in Val and Norm's arms so peaceful and healthy, brought joyful tears to my eyes. I was filled with gratitude because I was able to capture those special moments of the three of them knowing that they will be cherished forever. Elijah was the rainbow that they found after waiting out the storm of losing his twin older brothers. He symbolizes hope, for Val and Norm, but also for all other parents going through similar heartbreak and loss. Losing a child is one of the most difficult adversities that anyone could possibly face, but I’ve witnessed first hand that there is merit in trying again, so long as you believe.
This session will forever hold a special place in my heart ❤️ You can literally see the love pouring out of them through the camera. I honestly can’t think of anything more inspiring than this. I know that Val has become a strong advocate for other mothers facing difficult challenges as a result of pregnancy loss, so I‘m writing this post with the hope that it will be shared with those who need to read it most - to bring them the glimmer of hope that they need to continue trying and to never lose faith in what’s meant to be ✨🌈 Take a look, and see for yourself!