After Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson lost her 28-year-old husband, Stuart, in a tragic motorcycle accident on Dec. 14, 2017, her world came to a standstill. As a decorated military veteran, Stuart's death took the community by storm. And as a mother to son Dominic with another baby on the way, she admits she was lost without their father. But rather than become mired in grief, Stephanie decided to honour Stuart by reaching out to photographer Phoenix Sipin to take maternity photos and photoshop Stuart into them.
Although the grieving widow admits that the photo shoot was beyond bittersweet, she's happy she made the decision.
"I was overwhelmed while we were shooting because as I held onto my growing belly, I knew that he wouldn't be there to watch our children grow older," she told POPSUGAR. "I kept thinking about everything we talked about as far as how we would raise our children."
Rather than dwell on her current situation, Stephanie decided to conjure up some her fondest memories of Stuart during the shoot, like when she told him she was expecting.
"I kept thinking about what it would be like if he were there taking the pictures as well."
"He was so overjoyed when he found out we were pregnant for a second time. I kept thinking about what it would be like if he were there taking the pictures as well," explained Stephanie. "He always loved to laugh and have a good time, so I knew that he would have probably pinched my butt in order to make me truly smile."
Stephanie admits that doing the maternity shoot made her feel like her husband was back with her again, even if only for a brief moment. She ended up naming her new bundle of joy Stuart Jackson II in honour of his father, as reported by Love What Matters.
This maternity shoot allowed our family to have a piece of Stuart back. It helped me realise that he is always with me even if that meant he was no longer physically there. It also let me know that Stuart Jackson II could have some photos with his father and know that he was not only wanted but planned for. It did help me because it was such a beautiful and thoughtful gift. When I first reached out to Phoenix, I had a different vision because I didn't think that what she did was even possible. What she provided for us was amazing.
Scroll through to see the gorgeous photos, and try to fight back the tears.