All of the women are married to firefighters at a North Carolina fire department, where the photographer formerly worked as a firefighter herself.

By Maressa Brown
Brianna Mitschele/Flashpoint Photography

April 2, 2019

Upon finding out that Chelsea Cline, the wife of Jeremy Cline, her former captain from the City of Salisbury Fire Department, was expecting, North Carolina-based firefighter-turned-photographer Brianna Mitschele was excited. Then, she found out that six other firefighters' wives were pregnant at the same time, and she knew she had to do something special to memorialize the happy coincidence. Over the past week, the beautiful photos have gone viral. 

Mitschele tells that she's friends with the expectant moms through her former co-workers/their husbands. "Once I found out that Chelsea was expecting, I then found out that Kaylen [Renfrow] was expecting," she explains. "And I saw on Facebook, one after the other announcing that they were having babies."

Cline, whose due date is Tuesday, April 2, explains that that after she and Jeremy made their announcement, it "seemed like an announcement was made every two weeks for the first month or two." The moms-to-be, in order of expected due date, are Cline, Stephanie Martin, Crystal Carter, Kaylen Renfrow, Brittany Summers, Amber Overcash, and Bridgett Roseman.

Cline says she knew some of the women had been trying to get pregnant for a while, and she and Jeremy suffered a miscarriage over a year ago. They found comfort in opening up about it to others in the department who said they experienced it, as well.  “I think the brotherhood within the department is such that you do share things like that—things that are difficult,” she told The Charlotte Observer. “In the fire service, (firefighters) see a lot of things that most people don’t see.”

Given the challenges faced by several of the department families, and the feeling of community they share, the recent pregnancy announcements were all the more heartwarming. "Seeing their announcements so close to ours was a blessing," Cline says. "We are thankful that our daughter will have kids to grow up with in the fire service. I did not have this type of support network with my first pregnancy [with my son] Jackson, who is now 7, so being able to share experiences and our journeys has been a blessing. It almost seems like I forgot what it was like being pregnant, so going through this again with first time moms has been helpful."

In an effort to celebrate the expectant moms' journeys, Mitschele proposed doing a photo shoot. She says she was was inspired to "get all the ladies together just to have a good time and show off their baby bumps. They were all very excited to do the shoot, so it made my job very easy!" 

Brianna Mitschele/Flashpoint Photography

Cline says that "given [Mitschele's] creativity and love for the fire department, I couldn't pass up the opportunity."

The other expectant moms were just as pumped to get together and capture the moment. Brittany Summers, who is due in June, tells that Mitschele "did fantastic job organizing the shoot."

Amber Overcash, who is due in August, says she was "excited to do the shoot to have something to look back on and eventually show all our children, letting them know they’ve been together since the beginning!"

Bridgett Roseman, due in September, "loved the idea of how everyone was wearing turnout gear; I thought it was very cool."

Brianna Mitschele/Flashpoint Photography

In addition to bonding over the shoot, the wives are elated to have a built-in support group and have shared tips and tricks on everything from morning sickness aids to breast pumps. Kaylen Renfrow, who is due in May, tells, "It’s been nice having at least one person in the group—Chelsea—that is already a mom, because she gives great advice on how her first pregnancy went and things she did to get through it as easily as possible." 

The department may be a brotherhood, but the sisterhood formed by these expectant moms couldn't be more apparent in Mitschele's photos. It's one of the main reasons they've gone viral. "I can’t believe how great the pictures turned out and how quickly [the shoot] spread like wildfire—pun intended!" Renfrow says. "It definitely went farther than I think any of us imagined that it would."

And this certainly isn't the last we'll see of these growing families. Mitschele says she already has plans to do a second, postnatal session, telling, "In September, once all of the babies are here, I will be doing a follow-up shoot with all 7 of the babies, their dads, their moms, and also two other babies that were born within the year."

Congrats to all the parents of the Salisbury Fire Department!



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