Pregnancy photo

A very special thank you to Brenda for helping launch Extraordinary Love and for sharing what the project means to her.

When you’re growing up as a child, or even in your early adulthood, it’s easy to take for granted the path to parenthood. The choices about how many children you’re going to have or at what age you’re going to have them all seems to be a part of the choices that you will be able to make as an adult.

When the time is right for you the plan is to become pregnant and once you are you will spend the next 9 months eagerly anticipating the moment you hold your new baby in your arms.  We envision a pregnancy with maybe a bit of morning sickness and stretch marks but for the most part we are excited to enjoy the amazing experience of growing a little human being within ourselves. We are excited for doing all of those things we expect during pregnancy like nursery painting, baby clothes shopping, and picking out a name for our baby.

For some people this imagined reality of what pregnancy will be is not what ends up happening. Before starting to grow our families most of us are completely unaware of the possibility that our path to parenthood will not be as easy and as joyous as we had always thought it would be. Many of us have been shattered to find out that our path can include infertility, miscarriage, and the loss of our babies. Pregnancy for the families who have gone through this pain will not be the same as they had first imagined it would be. What one had thought would be a joy-filled time of excited anticipation for that moment your baby arrives is instead a much different experience.

Maternity Photography by Sara McConnell Photography

For many of us who have experienced infertility, miscarriage, or infant loss pregnancy is more of a time of anxiety, fear, what ifs, but above all else- hope. For families that are trying to emerge from the trenches of loss and despair a new baby on the way only represents a hope of a baby to hold in their arms. There are no guarantees in life and for these families that includes no certainty that their baby will join their family alive and well.

When Sara came to me with her idea for her Extraordinary Love project I was immediately inspired by her idea and keen to be a part of it. My family, like many families in our community, has experienced the heartache and stress that comes when the path to holding our new baby in our arms is not what we anticipated. We navigated a road we had no understanding of, blinding bumping into walls that would appear in front of us, and not knowing where to turn or who to turn to to get the help and resources that we desperately needed. It was a lonely and pain filled road that we never could have imagined when making that decision to add to our family. When our littlest was finally on his way we held back in our excitement of the pregnancy, we could not fully believe he would be in our arms one day and were only hoping that he would eventually be there.

We were very lucky to welcome him safely into our family and were relieved we no longer had to rely on only our hope to get us through the pregnancy. The day of his newborn session was a big day for us as we watched Sara photograph him with his sisters. The feeling of him being photographed as a part of our family was an emotional experience that helped us truly realize that he was here to stay.

Children holding new baby brother

Extraordinary Love will offer newborn photography sessions to families who have experienced infertility, pregnancy loss, or infant loss to both celebrate the arrival of their baby and to honour the struggle and pain of their journey. Newborn sessions after loss and infertility are not only a way to beautifully capture a pivotal moment in a family’s story but it can also be a part of a healing process. The tangible and visible images created are a realization of the hope that was held before and during pregnancy and are so important to families experiencing all of the mixed emotions that come along with the birth of a rainbow baby or after infertility.

Families that are gifted an Extraordinary Love newborn session will also have the opportunity to share their family’s story. Infertility, miscarriage, and infant loss is unfortunately not uncommon but all too often it can feel to families who are experiencing it that they are all alone in their struggle. This project will help to create a dialogue in our community amongst families and help us all to better understand the differing realities we all experience in our journeys. It is our hope that by sharing stories we not only better understand the grief and anxiety that many of us experience but that we can also create connections between each other to ease the feelings of loneliness and to help connect families with community resources.

If your family thinks they may like to be a part of Sara’s Extraordinary Love project or if you know of a family who may like to participate please visit Sara’s website for more details and to apply.

Baby boy sleeping