Photographer Ashley Sargent recently received an unusual request for a newborn photoshoot – one that involved capturing snapshots of a “rainbow baby”.
For those of you who are not familiar, a rainbow baby is “a name coined for a healthy baby born after losing a baby due to miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death.” The term comes from the idea of a rainbow appearing in the sky after a turbulent storm or rain.
In accordance with her client’s request, Ashley sourced different colored flowers and placed them around the baby to create a rainbow pattern. When she uploaded the photo on her photography Facebook page, she didn’t expect that it would get much attention.
But the exact opposite happened. Many people – especially mothers – resonated with the image. Soon after, she began receiving requests from moms who also had rainbow babies and through her photos, mothers from all over began to connect online.
That’s when the idea of organizing a rainbow baby photoshoot came to her mind.
“I wanted to see as many mothers as I could possibly handle all together – all standing as one, as a vision of hope – and to see all of them who have gone through those struggles and who have overcome,” Ashley said.
Though she is thankful that she has not suffered a miscarriage, Ashley and her husband struggled with conceiving a child and had to wait four years before their “miracle” son came into this world. She said that this experience allowed her to relate to the pain that these mothers felt.
“I understand how it feels to feel lonely and to feel ashamed of yourself and to not want to talk about it when you are in your deepest and darkest time of your life. And you need to talk about it, but you just physically can’t,” she said.
When she was in her lowest moment, she made a vow to God that she would be a voice and speak hope. Photography then became the medium for her mission.
For the “rainbow baby” photoshoot, Ashley gathered 40 mothers and their children and made them dress in their favorite shade of the rainbow. The women also held balloons that symbolized their departed babies, and a commemorative balloon release was also held later that day.
The emotional moment was captured on video, with Ashley telling the women:
“I wanted you to remember the children that you have lost because they mattered. They were a person and they meant something to this world, even if it was just to you, it meant something.”
In addition to being photographed, Ashley asked the mothers to share their stories, which she included in the captions of the individual photos of each participant.
Ashley hopes that these photos make women realize that it is not taboo to talk about pregnancy loss.
“We want to bring hope and we want to spread a glimpse of joy that even in your darkest times, you can overcome and you can get through it. Our biggest message is just ‘You are not alone.'”
Watch the video below to catch a behind the scenes glimpse into this memorable and emotional rainbow baby photoshoot.
What a beautiful message of compassion. We hope that these images bring not only inspiration, but also courage to those women who need it the most.