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'Rainbow baby' photo captures beauty after heartbreak

Julie Ryan Evans is an editor and writer who has covered everything from Capitol Hill to the politics of preschool. A mother of two, a runner of races, and a gourmet chef wannabe, she currently lives outside of Orlando, Florida.

The bittersweet background behind this adorable baby picture

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this beautiful baby picture sums up many more than that — words of heartbreak, loss and, ultimately, joy. 

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Captured by Michigan photographer Jen Priester, it shows baby Charlotte, who is a "rainbow baby." If you're not familiar with the term, it's used to describe a baby born to parents who have previously suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. As Priester said when she posted the picture to her Facbook page, "a rainbow follows a storm and it gives hope that things get better."

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The photograph is an absolutely gorgeous way to express this sentiment.

The emotions are vast and intense after losing a child at any stage, and it forever changes a family. While everyone copes differently, it's common for women in particular to have complicated feelings about a pregnancy after loss. From fear to joy to guilt and back again, losing a child changes pregnancy. That's why the idea of a "rainbow baby" is so perfect. It celebrates the joy and awesomeness of this new life but also recognizes the stormy times in the past.

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Pictures like this also raise awareness about loss. As many as 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage; an average of 1 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. end in stillbirth. There are many people out there hurting after these and other unthinkable losses, and too often people see the topics as taboo.

The hurt doesn't magically go away when another child is born, but new life — like rainbows — does offer hope and the promise of the amazing things any child brings to one's life.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

The bittersweet background behind this adorable baby picture
Image: Monet Nicole Births
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