A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born into a family who has, sadly, experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth. The rainbow symbolises the hope that this new baby brings to the family without forgetting the impact of the storm that is losing a child.
I was one of the lucky one. When I was expecting my second son, I had a very big scare at 13 weeks and really thought I had lost my baby. I cannot describe what went through my mind and my husband’s. It was scary, heart breaking and the worst thing that could happen to us as a family. Thankfully, after hours in A&E, I had a scan and there he was, still with a heart beat and perfectly fine. The relief and joy we experienced was extraordinary and we always felt blessed that he was still with us.
This is the reason why I decided to give away one newborn session a month to a rainbow family. I have always wanted to give back and this seems like an ideal way for me to be able to pay it forward.
I had the pleasure to photograph rainbow baby Alyssa a few weeks ago. Here is what her Mum Siobhan had to say about the session:
“When a rainbow baby arrives safely earthside, it’s usually a joyous time. After months of tension, anxiety and fear you can finally breathe a sigh of relief: your little one is here, alive and kicking, and in some cases, screaming! The weight on your shoulders is a little less heavy and perhaps you are able to smile and laugh a little more. It’s a precious time and one which flies by and is soon forgotten in a massive pile of laundry, trips out of hours spent shushing and rocking your baby, so when Sandra offered me the opportunity to make some beautiful pictures, so I could remember my precious rainbow baby at such a wonderful time, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
It was all arranged very quickly as it’s important to do a newborn shoot within the first few weeks. That was a blessing really as I didn’t have much time to worry about it – suddenly the day had come and off we went. I realised afterwards that I had been worried, because although much of the anxiety and tension that I had felt during pregnancy had dissipated, there was still a huge amount of anxiety pervading my thoughts everyday. I was petrified something terrible would happen to my precious newborn baby. Once you know the worst that can happen, it’s very difficult to stop your thoughts going to that place on a regular basis. Once you know, you know. So the idea of handing over your tiny, helpless, darling baby into someone else’s care is really difficult. It’s silly really: I was there the whole time and my rainbow was never more than a metre away from me in Sandra’s capable hands.
It was amazing to watch how she cuddled Alyssa and spent some time connecting with her before laying her gently on the scene she had prepared. Alyssa was sound asleep and was obviously very relaxed. I had made sure she was bathed and well fed before we left home that morning and that had worn her out sufficiently that she almost slept through the whole session (apart from when she did a wee and then later on a poo on Sandra!). It meant I could relax as much as possible and enjoy watching Sandra at work. It’s a funny thing to spend so much time looking at your newborn from angles you don’t usually look at them from. As a mother, you often end up holding the baby a lot – on your shoulder, in your lap, at your breast, so to see the back of her head (so much hair!), her back, her bottom, her shoulders, her curled up froggy legs, all from a distance, was amazing. I must admit it did make me want to go and look at pictures of my daughter Grace and compare: had she any similarities to Alyssa? Would she have looked like this at 20 days old?
And then seeing Alyssa with the subtle rainbow headband on, or swaddled surrounded by a circle of rainbow colours brought all the emotions to the fore. She really is here, she really is alive (its ok she’s just asleep… she is allowed to sleep), she’s ok. And I’ve got the pictures to prove it.”
From September 2018, I will be offering a Rainbow Baby Gift Session to a family every month.
Families will receive:
- a 2/3h newborn session
- 10 digital images
- any additional images can be purchased and the amount will be donated to Remember my Baby, which is a non-profit organisation offering remembrance photography to families experiencing a loss in maternity units and birth centres in the UK.
Rainbow Baby Session Information:
- Baby must be under 21 days old at the time of the session.
- These sessions will be offered on a first come, first served basis
- Props are included in the session
- Parents and siblings shots will not be offered during these sessions
- Specific requests cannot be accommodated due to the nature of the session
- A preparation guide will be sent to you ahead of the session
If you would like to apply or nominate a family for a Rainbow Baby Gift Session, please fill in the form below: