This Mom Posed for An Emotional Maternity Photo Shoot With Her Egg Donor

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(Instagram / @Dueat42)

There is no one foolproof way to successfully become pregnant and carrying a child; sometimes it takes a village. Dr. Shannon Clark, who is the founder of a group called (a support group for older women who are trying to conceive) knows the struggle and the need for the village all too well. After having trouble conceiving, Clark and her husband Rene Harris turned to egg donation— they would use another woman’s egg, Harris’s sperm and Clark’s uterus.

After reconciling with the reality of needing an egg donor, Clark knew that she had to know the egg donor on a personal level, and set about meeting her. “From the first moment I saw her, I had this overwhelming sense of calm. I knew immediately that we had picked the right donor.” Clark explains in an essay written about the experience for Glamour.

After the first embryo transfer failed, Clark, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist who focuses on women with high-risk pregnancies decided to try again. The second embryo transfer resulted in a twin pregnancy. At the 20 week mark, Clark and Harris decided to do a maternity photo shoot. And Clark knew that their egg donor Tara had to be included in the photo shoot.

“This was my husband’s first time meeting her. She was so beautiful and gracious and made us feel so at ease. We spent an afternoon taking photos and casually talking about my pregnancy. Again, I studied her face, her hair, her eyes, her walk, her voice, and her mannerisms, just trying to memorize what one day I may see in my babies in case I would never see her again.”

The photo shoot, which took place in the bayou where Clark and Harris would take walks, features Clark, Harris and Tara all in light colors (Clark and Tara wearing white flowing dresses.) Since Clark was only 20 weeks and in a flowy gown, her baby bump is barely visible. In a series of photos Clark is seen being handed a box by both her husband and their egg donor as a representation of the gifts they gave her on her journey to motherhood.

The rest of Clark’s pregnancy wasn’t easy; she’d spend the next ten weeks on bed rest. After a difficult delivery, her twins, son Remy and daughter Sydney were born at 31 weeks. Clark also suffered from postpartum depression, but is coming out on the other side and felt the importance of sharing her beautiful photo shoot and experience with Tara.

Such a beautiful idea to honor her egg donor and it definitely makes for gorgeous, and unique images.