In April I blogged about a local community outreach project that I worked on called the Rainbow Baby Maternity Event. This event featured seven local mothers that had lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or death in infancy and were carrying their “Rainbow Baby”. A Rainbow Baby is ‘The rainbow at the end of the storm, the light in your life’. The storm being the miscarriage/still birth/infant death & the rainbow being the baby they have successfully carried to term without problems/complications. I blogged each mother’s story individually to highlight their beauty and perseverance despite such heartache. The purpose of this series is to shine a light on this sensitive subject, and hopefully help other mothers going through the same loss to be able to open up about their experience and begin the healing process.
I worked closely with several vendors to help make this event extra special for each mommy. I brought in The Wave Salon & Spa to do hair and makeup to try and make the moms feel pampered. They had 3 of their artists come in on their day off to donate their services for this cause, with one even being the owner of the salon. I reached out to several vendors to request donations for the event to try and personalize their swag bags and make them feel like they were not just another story in a sea of tragedies. Heart and Arrow Boutique donated customized newborn onsies with each mother’s due date and rainbow baby graphic, KNOTSLLC donated newborn beanies with cloud graphic with RAINBOW hand-stitched on it, Dock-A-Tot donated a deluxe safari dock to raffle! Also included in the swag bags were Gift Certificates to Maggie Mae’s Cafe, a homemade sugar scrub made by Jennifer Norton of Semonin Realtors, a hand etched wine glass by Specially Yours, a dozen fingerprint cookies in rainbow colors from Sweet Stuff Bakery, and discount codes to Basic Invite and Made by Mary. They also received a $100 discount for a newborn session and 20% off of a custom album from my studio! As if that wasn’t enough, they also received a FREE 20″ x 30″ x 1.5″ thick canvas of their favorite images from the day’s shoot from Canvas HQ!
I think all of the mommies-to-be looked absolutely stunning! A special thank you to Light Box Louisville for donating your studio space to shoot this series in1
Lastly, we drew for a FREE Newborn Session with my studio, Jennifer Rittenberry Photography! Sheena Ford won this grand prize and we just photographed her sweet little baby boy, Jayce, on July 6, 2017! I’ll be posting his session images to the blog soon, but here’s a sneak peek!
You can read each mother’s story by clicking on the hyper-linked names, but here are their comments about how this special day has affected their lives. When I first read each one, I can’t tell you the overwhelming joy it gave me to see that I actually helped someone throughout this process. I am so humbled to have been able to play such a small role in making their tragic journeys a little brighter.
This experience was definitely a once in a lifetime type that I will always cherish and remember! Being 39 weeks pregnant, I was at the point in my pregnancy where I certainly wasn’t feeling very pretty, but thanks to Jennifer I got to feel beautiful, and have pictures of myself feeling the most beautiful I had in a long time! After losing two pregnancies this baby was extra special to my husband and I, and it was so wonderful to get to document it both with pictures and with telling my story. My losses weren’t something I had ever hidden, but also wasn’t something I openly talked about that often, so getting to share this with friends and family was very freeing. I also LOVED getting to meet Jennifer, the other six girls and getting to share all our stories; I feel like we all genuinely care for each other and will rejoice in the births of each of our babies!!
What Jennifer did was amazing not only for the mommas who got to be apart of the event but also for family’s all over who are suffering with the loss of baby. This event Jennifer did brought 7 women with completely different backgrounds and stories of how they are currently carrying their rainbow baby. Each story from each mom shows the world that infant loss and rainbow babies happen in many different ways and to so many different people.
This event not only allowed me to be pampered for the day, receive amazing photos of my rainbow baby bump, and bring awareness to a topic that no one speaks about, it did so much more. It allowed me to realize I am not alone and I don’t have to suffer my miscarriage in silence. People might not always know what to say but they care and other people who have experienced infant loss know the pain and suffering you are struggling with. So from this event I was able to realize it’s okay to talk about what happened and it’s okay to be celebrating my rainbow baby!
When Jennifer posted my story and photos on social media from this event, the reactions I received were amazing and beyond what I expected. They brought me support from people who were unaware of my miscarriage and that my baby I currently have is my rainbow baby. It also had others who I was unaware was suffering a loss come out and share their stories with me. This event over all was amazing and a blessing to be apart of. Jennifer is very talented and was able to make memories none of us will forget.
The Rainbow Baby Maternity Event that Jennifer so lovingly put together was such an amazing experience. Meeting other women who have also experienced a loss, that were so open and willing to talk about their experience was beautiful. Miscarriage, infertility, and infant loss is rarely openly talked about, so seeing the outpouring of love and support from all of my family, friends, and even strangers was heart warming. I’m so happy that Jennifer choose me to share my story and be a part of something that will hopefully raise awareness, but most of all help another woman who is silently struggling with her own loss.
What a great way to showcase and bring light to something that no one talks about! I honestly myself didn’t know what a rainbow baby was till about a year ago. I loved how Jennifer brought all 7 of us women from all different walks of life together and with all different experiences. I absolutely loved getting pampered for a day and getting my pictures taken. The whole experience is something I will never forget! So grateful there are people out there wanting to give their own personal time to tell our story for others to hear.
While at the shoot it was more like a celebration than anything! When each blog came out about each girl I bawled my eyes out. Not every woman has a happy ending unfortunately. By the grace of God I feel like I do and am so appreciative of it. I hope the blogs that Jennifer had put together with the photos has helped someone get through or at least talk to someone about their loss.
When Jennifer posted my blog on social media I had such an outpouring of support and others telling me their stories. All around an amazing experience and feel so blessed to be apart of it.
I truly hope the concept of Rainbow Baby Maternity Events catches on and spreads like wildfire! It was a tremendously thoughtful thing for Jennifer to organize and orchestrate an event to bring awareness in such a bright and happy way to such a dark place. As anyone who has experienced any kind of loss knows, the aftermath is completely uncharted territory…being pregnant after a loss is extremely difficult to navigate. Inside, somewhere deep down, I wanted to celebrate this baby but the fear of the unknown and the million “what if’s” were weighing so heavily on me. By participating in this event I was given a chance to not only celebrate hope but also encourage and support others. It was like a broadcast saying even though bad things happen and we never really know why..there can also be good blessings.
I feel like each woman was truly heard. The pictures were beautiful and the accompanying story was an extremely personal ‘behind the scenes’ look at the heartache that lead to that moment in time. So precious! All of our stories were different, and by having a platform to share, our community was made so much more aware of the helpful things to say or do to support women after a loss. I’m sure some people were also made painfully aware of the things they may have said or done that were hurtful, but hopefully this gives everyone an opportunity to grow and to better understand, love, and support bereaved mothers!
The Rainbow Baby Maternity Event that Jennifer did for us was such an amazing experience. Everything was provided for us from light breakfast, snacks, to our hair and make up, to our outfits to awesome gift bags filled with goodies. I felt like a model, which being pregnant and the biggest I have ever been in my life is a lot to say.
Being in the room with the other girls and knowing that we had all been through the same thing, you could feel the pain that we all had from our experiences being lifted just from being surrounded by people who had experienced the same thing. That for me personally was the first time in my “rainbow” pregnancy that I felt fully understood, which was insane to me because I had never met these women, but I felt so supported and understood by them. Words honestly can not explain this feeling. I would have never shared my miscarriage story with the world if it wasn’t for Jennifer putting on this event for us. When my story posted to the world I was terrified. This was something so personal and tragic for me and it was out there for the whole world to see, but the comments from family and friends were beyond what I could have imagined. So many people opened up and said that they had experienced loss or that my story helped them understand how someone they knew who had experienced loss felt and what they were going through.
I will never be able to thank Jennifer enough for this experience!
The Rainbow Baby Maternity Event was an extremely special experience for me. It was so encouraging to meet all of the other mamas who have been through infant loss and yet were baring signs of hope in their full bellies and smiling faces. We fell into easy camaraderie right away and bonded quickly over our shared experiences. I am somewhat of a tom girl and hadn’t had my make up or hair professionally styled since high school prom, but I felt like a princess getting made up and pampered by the lovely ladies at the event. Topped off with the lovely, feminine dresses Jennifer made each of us, I felt royally arrayed, like a lily of the field.
Jennifer’s friendly demeanor put at ease my self-consciousness in front of the camera. Even though she had so many mama models to shoot, she still made me feel personally seen and significant. Her sharing of our stories on her blog has also been a healing process for me; to know that my family’s first-conceived child is being remembered and celebrated even in the face of our loss is a huge blessing. I have loved reading each of the Rainbow Mommy’s stories and was so encouraged by the outpouring of support I received after people read mine. This event and the resulting pictures and blog posts have played significant roles in my healing process. I am so grateful to have been included!
One of the most important things I have learned through this whole process is that these babies are forever in their mother’s thoughts and no amount of time or other joys in life will ever take away the longing for their child to be with them. They leave a whole in the hearts of the parents they left behind that can ever be filled. It’s really difficult for someone that has never experienced this tragedy themselves to fully understand what these woman have gone through, and continue to go through on a daily basis, but I hope you can take away some knowledge about how to address the subject in the future after reading each of their stories. Women that have lost a baby don’t need to be handled with kid gloves or avoided because you don’t know what to say. Just talk to them and really listen. They want to talk about their child and tell you about how wonderful their love for them is, just as you would want to about your own children.
I want to personally thank each of these courageous women once more for being brave enough to share their stories. I know the pain is there and never goes away, but through your willingness to open up your hearts and souls to your community, you have forever changed me in the process. I have a newfound respect and admiration for this silent community and hope that we will desensitize the subject so that more mothers out there can start to heal. You ladies will be on my heart for decades to come and have enjoyed watching each of you give birth to your new bundles of joy over the last few months. 5 of the 7 have reached their due dates and had successful deliveries with healthy babies. We are just praying that the remaining 2 women have just as successful births. I’m definitely watching and praying everyday.
More about the photographer:
Jennifer Rittenberry Photography is an award winning photographer based out of Mount Washington Kentucky. She has been photographing clients throughout the greater Louisville area since 2010 and recently acquired a brick and mortar studio space in the heart of downtown Mount Washington. Jennifer is passionate about her work and strives to achieve the highest level of excellence in her work, which has earned her a Click PRO status with Clickin Moms Magazine and elite membership with NAPCP. She is also a published artist in Beauty & Lifestyle Mommy Magazine and Newborn Photographer Magazine, as well as named 2016 Parent’s Choice Award winner for her fine art portraiture. In 2013, she focused her client base to Newborn and Maternity as she created a niche for herself after mentoring with three of the nation’s leading photographers in these industries. She has spent countless hours on continuing her education and sharpening her skills each year with the sole purpose of creating beautiful artwork for her clients to share with their families and preserve as precious heirlooms for generations to come. Located in Central Kentucky, her new studio is only 6 minutes from the Gene Snyder Freeway off the Bardstown exit, and only 6 minutes outside of Louisville. Jennifer Rittenberry Photography session fees can be found on the website but detailed pricing and availability may be requested by email using the contact form.
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We have MOVED! As of May 1, 2017 we are now located at 1200 North Bardstown Road – Suite 1-A, Mount Washington, KY 40047. Get in touch at (502) 523-2180!