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This mom-to-be did a rainbow photoshoot to honor her 6 miscarriages.

Losing a baby is hard. Remembering them shouldn't have to be.

This mom-to-be did a rainbow photoshoot to honor her 6 miscarriages.

When Kevin Mahoney asked photographer JoAnn Marrero to photograph his wife Jessica's "rainbow pregnancy," Marrero knew she had to find a way to make the shoot particularly special.

A "rainbow pregnancy" is what a pregnancy after a miscarriage (or several) is often called because it's the embodiment of hope and light after what may have felt like a storm of grief and loss.

By this point, Jessica and Kevin had already weathered six storms.


Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images.

The couple have one son, Corbin, but when they tried for a second child, they miscarried six times. So when, on the seventh pregnancy, it looked like Jessica was going to carry to term, Kevin wanted to do something special to commemorate their rainbow baby and all the ones who came before.

Since JoAnn was their friend and neighbor — and an accomplished birth photographer who offers free photo sessions to new parents weekly at the Yale New Haven Hospital NICU — she was the perfect person for the job.

JoAnn stumbled upon the idea to use smoke bombs to create the rainbow-inspired photo shoot while looking for a gift for her own son's birthday.

She knew the smoke bombs would create an extraordinary effect, so during a day of newborn mentoring with her friend Mary Mahoney of Pebbles and Polka Dots Photography, she set out to make it happen.

"Bringing this photo to life was definitely a concerted team effort," JoAnn wrote in an email.

"Mary shot off the first colored smoke bomb and — oops! I forgot to tell her they were double-sided," she explained. "There was dense, vibrant smoke everywhere."

"Note to everyone trying this: pull the ring and run!" she added.

Notice the woman being inundated by smoke. Photo by JoAnn Morrero and Mary Mahoney.

The photo shoot was a bit of a trial by fire, with several duds and everyone choking on smoke at one point or another, but...

The end result was spectacular:

"Through our rainbow haze, Jess stood with composure and her pregnancy glow came shining through like the sun," wrote JoAnn.

According to the American Pregnancy Organization, 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Despite that awfully high number, society still seems to treat miscarriage as a taboo subject, which makes it that much harder for those who experience them to grieve the loss.

The photo shoot was a huge success in so many ways; it brought joy to expecting parents and cast a brilliant light on weathering the storm of miscarriages — a subject that is too often kept in the dark.

The numerous women (and men) who offered up their own rainbow baby stories in response to the photos are a testament to the power such meaningful symbolism can have.

"This touches my heart," wrote Becky Rose Dailey. "I was blessed with 3 rainbow babies including the one I'm pregnant with now. Such an amazing picture. Thank you for sharing."

"I'm currently pregnant with my rainbow baby and this picture is so meaningful and stunning," wrote Marie Annin.

"Holding my 10-day-old rainbow with tears in my eyes. This is breathtakingly beautiful," wrote Erin Johnson.

Hopefully JoAnn's inventive work and Jessica's experience will inspire others to find a way to open up about their miscarriages. As products of love and hope, they deserve recognition.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.