Even though she has since welcomed a healthy baby girl, Michigan mom Cathy Matthews still grieves the child she lost in March of 2015.
In an emotional blog post, she elaborates about her pain after losing the baby:
"I think of you every day and the sweet little baby you will always be to me. I only carried you in my belly for a few short weeks, but I will carry you in my heart for the rest of my days. When I saw those two pink lines – I instantly knew you were a girl. On the day you left us back in March – I wasn't sure I could ever go on. How would I move on? I needed time and I needed to adjust to having my baby live in heaven instead of here with us. I was slightly comforted in the fact I wasn't alone – that there are lots of mommas whose babies go to heaven all too quickly. And I know that while all of my dreams for you may not be realized, I do know that I will someday be reunited with you and hold you in your sweet pinkness and for now, that is enough."
But Cathy says the term "rainbow baby," which refers to a child born after a miscarriage or stillbirth, really helped to comfort her as she mourned what could have been. She was overjoyed to learn she was pregnant again in May of last year, and delivered the baby girl she'd dreamed of, and a little sister for her son Cameron, nine months later.
"They put her on my chest and I just burst into tears," the overcome mom, who documented each month of this pregnancy with a rainbow collage of bump photos, said.
In fact, the rainbow theme meant so much to the Matthews family, they decided to use it as an inspiration for a newborn photo shoot of their daughter, Charlotte. With the help of Michigan-based photographer Jen Priester, a stunning image was created, in which Charlotte is nestled in a cloud-like swaddle, at the end of rainbow shocks of fabric. The effect is absolutely beautiful, symbolically connecting Charlotte to her sister who went to heaven.
Priester told People.com, "These angel babies are certainly never forgotten, and what a beautiful way to memorialize these special babies in a photograph," adding, "One of the greatest parts of my job is the honor of watching families grow."
And we are honored to share these moving images, which resonate with so many parents who understand that when you lose a baby, he or she is always in your heart, and will forever remain a part of your family.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.