This Maternity Photo Is So Bittersweet We Almost Can't Take It

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A few months ago, photographer Traci Lynn Fugitt got a special request from a mom-to-be. A woman named Nicole wanted to hire Fugitt to take her maternity, birth, and newborn photos, Fugitt wrote on her blog. But she wanted to include her husband, who was deployed 7,000 miles away.
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So Fugitt and Nicole got creative and, with the help of Nicole's husband Wesley, photographed and photoshopped an image that perfectly represents what the couple is going through.
Fugitt posted the photo to her Facebook page on April 5 with the caption, "Waiting on their sweet little love."
The photo has since gone viral, after it was picked up by the Love What Matters Facebook page. Commenters on both the original post and the Love What Matters post have mentioned how perfectly the photo fits this couple. He's reaching for her in the image, but not quite touching her.
Fugitt said in a comment that the distance between them in the picture was intentional.
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"I wanted to show how they're in two places but still waiting together," she said.
And, unfortunately, their situation isn't rare. Families with one or more partners in the military often go through long periods of separation — and sometimes that means one parent missing the entirety of another's pregnancy.
Many commenters on the Love What Matters post shared how they were in similar situations and may need to copy Fugitt's idea.
"Love this idea!! I am in the same exact situation as my husband is currently deployed and I am pregnant," one woman wrote. "He will be back just in time for the birth! ❤❤❤ thank you for your service!"
Nicole and Wesley's plan was that he would also be home in time for the birth of Pyper — the name they chose for their daughter — but they were worried that wouldn't happen when Nicole was having some complications with her pregnancy, and was told she'd have to deliver early.
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"We talked about having him on video chat, recording the birth on an extra camera, and things started to seem like it would be a little easier, with him not being there, that way," Fugitt wrote in her blog about their plans for birth photos.
But Wesley was able to make it home in time. Baby Pyper was born on April 13.