This Woman Posed For A Striking Pregnancy Shoot, But Its Power Comes From The Trauma She Suffered

As expectant mom Chelsea Karr posed in front of an explosion of color, she created an image that was undeniably powerful. But it was the story behind her pregnancy shoot that really made it poignant. Karr had experienced a heartbreaking trauma – but she was standing strong through it all.

Karr is from Ashby, Massachusetts and works as a professional photographer. The 29-year-old is wife to Hollis Brodmerkle, 28, and they have a son – three-year-old Oliver, or Ollie. The family recently posed together for her stunning pregnancy shoot.

One image showed the mom wearing a long white dress and turned to the side while cradling her baby bump. As she looked off into the distance, colorful smoke filled the air behind her. In the images, the bright clouds create a rainbow effect that contrasts with Karr’s neutral dress.

ADVERTISEMENT

Other snapshots were of Karr walking through the long grass in a strapless black dress and cuddling her toddler son. And in some photos, she and Ollie posed with Brodmerkle. While it was easy to see that the images were captivating, it was the story behind them that really seized everyone’s attention.

The story begins in June 2017. Ollie had just turned two when the couple received some delightful news. Karr discovered that she was expecting another child. But a few weeks later, the photographer got the news that she had a low amount of the PAPP-A protein that forms in the placenta.

ADVERTISEMENT

The couple were concerned because this meant the baby had a greater chance of abnormal development. But Karr and Brodmerkle couldn’t help but feel thrilled when they found out they were having a girl. And she told the Love What Matters website that “everything looked perfect” during their 20-week scan.

ADVERTISEMENT

“At 22 weeks, I finally announced our pregnancy to the social media world. Everything was going amazingly,” Karr shared. The expectant mom posted a photo online of Ollie wearing a T-shirt revealing that he was about to become a big brother.

ADVERTISEMENT

In the image, Ollie is standing in a field beside the family’s pet dogs and a sign. It reads, “My role as an only child is coming to an end because… Mommy is due with my new best friend!” But just two weeks later, Karr’s world would never be the same again.

ADVERTISEMENT

On the morning of October 25, 2017, Karr felt that something wasn’t quite right. “I was crampy and had a headache but played it off as just another pregnancy symptom, so I drank a bunch of water,” she explained. However, when it became clear that the baby wasn’t moving around, her doctor recommended that she get checked out.

ADVERTISEMENT

The physician told Karr to go to the hospital. Following their advice, she even drove the 30-minute journey to get there herself. However, the expectant mom began having severe cramps and was unable to walk by the time she arrived. Before long, she was receiving pain medication under the watchful eye of medical professionals.

ADVERTISEMENT

Karr revealed that doctors had checked and found her baby’s heartbeat. However, she then got the news she had been dreading from a midwife after an ultrasound was performed. “[The nurse] said the worst five words ever said to me in my life: ‘They couldn’t find a heartbeat.’ That sentence, and her face when she said it, is forever engraved in my brain,” the 29-year-old confessed.

ADVERTISEMENT

The devastated mom then had to gave birth to her stillborn child. “They were going to perform a C-section but decided against it since my body was so weak. I would have died on the table, and I had already lost my daughter. I was so close to death,” Karr shared.

ADVERTISEMENT

Karr explained that she delivered her “sleeping angel” at 3:20 a.m. She and her husband had already picked out the name Chloe Jade for her. The photographer was able to hold the body of her baby before having her cremated so that she could be buried with her parents one day. Physically, the 29-year-old recovered quickly from what happened, but she found it extremely difficult to come to terms with the loss emotionally.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I was p***** [and] sad. Hatred for myself filled my body for failing the one thing I, as a woman, was supposed to do,” she wrote. “Not a dry eye ever left my room – whether it was a doctor, nurse or medical assistant. I was numb. It really hadn’t set in that my daughter was gone even as I held her lifeless body in our postpartum room.”

ADVERTISEMENT

As time went on, Karr knew that she had to keep going and be the best mom she could for her son. However, she was told that her placenta had detached itself from the womb while she was pregnant with Chloe Jade. And then she discovered that the low PAPP-A levels in her placenta likely contributed to the miscarriage. Then, about two months after losing her daughter, the photographer found out something surprising.

ADVERTISEMENT

Karr learned that she was pregnant again, this time with a baby boy. “I was terrified as I wanted to wait a few more months before even thinking about trying again,” she shared. “Hollis was terrified because he almost lost both me and our daughter just two months earlier.”

ADVERTISEMENT

While the pregnancy should have been good news, Karr struggled with her feelings of guilt over Chloe Jade. And making matters worse was the fact that she still had low PAPP-A levels to contend with. In the meantime, though, she was taking medication and being monitored closely. “It sounds horrible to say, but I was so numb to this pregnancy,” the photgrapher wrote. “I didn’t want to build a bond because I just knew something was going to go wrong.”

ADVERTISEMENT

So when Karr finally felt ready to announce the news, she wanted to do something special to honor Chloe Jade. At which point the mom-to-be came up with the concept of the photo shoot. “A rainbow is a promise of sunshine after rain, of calm after storms, of joy after sadness, of peace after heartbreak, of love after loss,” she explained on Facebook. “Our little rainbow after the storm will be here in early September and we can not be happier.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Karr told Love What Matters that she hopes to help other moms going through something similar. In addition, she wants to decrease the stigma around talking about miscarriage. After the 29-year-old shared her story online, it was reposted over 8,000 times. “My daughter will always be part of my life, and I will always love her, until I meet her again in the wind or among the forest,” the mother-to-be wrote. “I keep her alive by telling her story, by sharing her pictures.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Karr added, “What I have learned is there is no [one] way to grieve. Never tell a mother how she is grieving her child is the wrong way. You never ‘move on,’ or ‘get over it.’ You simply learn how to cope.”

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT