I was contacted a couple months back to do a portrait session for a couple who would be visiting Madeira Beach in September. I, of course, was elated (as I always am when I get to meet new clients) and hoped they would pick me to capture their time here. When I finally spoke with Laura on the phone, I was surprised and excited that I might get the opportunity to create a secret pregnancy announcement. We discussed pinning ideas on a secret pinterest board, how she would announce the big news and location of the shoot. Everything just 'clicked' between us - a match made in photography heaven.
Eventually, she shared with me something that made this pregnancy announcement even more delicate: This wasn't their first pregnancy. This couple, like many others that I know, had been trying desperately to have a child yet fate had turned away from them - leaving them with loss, disappointment and fear that they may never accomplish this dream together.
Nick and Laura celebrated their 2 year wedding anniversary the day they got to announce this pregnancy to the world - a bittersweet moment for them. This sweet couple has been together for 8 years and began trying to add a new addition over a year ago. Laura did everything right - stopped drinking alcohol, downloaded apps to help keep track of her body and sure enough - she found out she was pregnant almost 6 months later. After reading several books about what to expect Laura had several worries, as I'm sure many new moms do, about things that might affect her pregnancy. She worried about drinking coffee, eating habits and being in contact with chemicals at work that might not be good for her. Not expecting any special treatment, she became worn down from attempting to keep up with her responsibilities but remained elated about her new task of being a mom and kept moving forward.
On Valentine's Day, Laura and Nick planned to share the news with their parents over dinner. This special moment for them was derailed when she woke up that morning in excruciating pain. After several tests and a meeting with her doctor, she got the news that she had almost already expected to hear: she had experienced a miscarriage. After hearing the news, she blamed herself, "Could it have been the long hours at work?", "Could it have been all the caffeine I was drinking?" The doctor informed her that about 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and the cause is unknown. She and her husband did their best to try to make sense of it and, being the determined woman she is, started trying again a few weeks later.
After all the time and struggle, they finally conceived for a second time. Instead of excitement, fear and worry set in that this might not be real. When describing her first ultrasound appointment, Laura said to me, "Finally there he or she was on the screen! You could see what looked to be an arm moving very slowing. I immediately began crying and it finally felt real." During our phone conversation to schedule their portrait session, I could tell they were scared to share the news too early - scared still that it might not be real. I was happy to be a part of this moment and to see the hope in their eyes as I took their portraits. Laura was absolutely glowing during our hour together on the beach. I asked her if she had any advice for other couples who may be having difficulty having a baby. Her response was simple, "If I had any wisdom for people struggling to become a mother and father it would be: relax. When the time is right, it will happen and it will be a very special moment for the both of you."
I'm so happy for them and feel so lucky to have met such a kind and courageous couple willing to share their story in the hopes of inspiring others. I asked them what they think they will have: a girl or a boy. Mom thinks boy and dad thinks it will be a girl (as signified by the image above). I shared with them my theory regarding the blue herons walking into an image of a previous client I had which, to me, predicted they would have a boy (and they did!) Needless to say - I'm predicting it will be a boy ;)
Amanda K. Pratt