This Rainbow Maternity Shoot Has A Powerful Story

Celebrating a pregnancy with a professional portrait is nothing new, but a breathtaking rainbow maternity photoshoot honoring one couple's fertility struggle has taken the Internet by storm, spreading feelings of joy and hope across social media. Hartford, Connecticut-based couple Kevin and Jessica Mahoney started their family four years ago with the birth of their son Corbin, but growing the family proved harder than ever imagined. After weathering the storm of six heartbreaking miscarriages, Jessica, a pediatric nurse, found herself pregnant with her rainbow baby. (The term "rainbow baby" refers to a baby born after a miscarriage, or infant death.) Come November, Corbin will finally get to be a big brother!

Kevin approached professional photographer JoAnn Marrero of From Labor To Love, who specializes in birth and newborn portraits, and asked if she would consider lending her considerable talents. Marrero, a friend and neighbor of the couple, quickly agreed and started designing a spectacular shoot. "I was touched by Kevin's words and his goal of making sure that, this time, his wife would get all the maternity photos that she always dreamed of having," Marrero told Bustle in an email.

The couple wanted to mark the miraculous event in a special way, as well as honoring what they had been through over the years. "Jess wanted something rainbow-inspired because of the many fertility struggles she and Kevin had encountered, and so I knew I had to do something extra special for her family," Marrero said. "My vision for part of their session was to create our own rainbow with colorful smoke bombs." The resulting image was nothing short of magical:

Marrero teamed up with fellow photographer Mary Maloney of Pebbles & Polkadots Photography to create the effusive and vibrant shots. "It was crazy fun!" Marrero told Bustle. "One by one, each smoke bomb was set (not without some duds, too) and with each burst of color we watched this portrait coming to life behind my lens." The smoke bombs, while visually brilliant, proved to be surprisingly explosive. They stained clothing and hair, and filled the air with dense smoke, making everyone cough. Marrero's advice for anyone wanting to try this effect at home: "Pull the ring and run!"

Despite the volatile nature of the shoot, the mom-to-be for the second time remained calm and unfazed. "Through our rainbow haze, Jess stood with composure and her pregnancy glow came shining through like the sun," Marrero recalled. "It was as if we were shooting a Skittles commercial, but sweeter." The emotional final shot stands as a beautiful tribute to the Jessica's strength in the face of loss, the brilliant rainbow after the rainfall.

October is international SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Click here to find an event near you and lend your support.

Images: Pebblesandpolkadots/Instagram, Pebbles & Polkadots Photography, From Labor To Love