He's (Been) Here! Why These High School Sweethearts Took 'Newborn' Photos with Their 21-Year-Old Son
"This is a story about love after loss," photographer Duffi Crowson of Chaotic Perfection Photography tells PEOPLE
That’s one big baby!
Rebecca Jensvold Hayes and David Ward recently partook in a unique photo shoot to belatedly announce the “birth” of their 21-year-old son, Clayton Jensvold. The pictures quickly vent viral, with confused commenters calling the images “creepy” or “weird.”
But for Hayes, Ward and Jensvold, the goofy pictures have a much deeper meaning.
The California couple dated in high school, but broke up before Hayes gave birth to Jensvold in December 1995.
The high school sweethearts went on to marry different people and lead separate lives — in fact, the only thing that kept them in touch over the years was their son.
When their respective spouses passed away, however, things changed and the two reconnected.
“This is a story about love after loss,” photographer Duffi Crowson of Chaotic Perfection Photography tells PEOPLE. “And embracing your life with laughter.”
The couple began talking on the phone, grieving together and supporting each other.
“We had texts and phone calls and long talks over coffee about the crazy thoughts you have and the ridiculous things people say to you and what it feels like to be in this horrible club of the widowed,” Hayes, 38, shared on her Facebook page.
Hayes’ husband died in 2013 and Ward, 40, lost his wife one year after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2015.
The parents began to fall back in love.
“It was the real deal,” Hayes says on Facebook. “We miss and love our spouses still and will always love them. So this… this is scary and wonderful and crazy… but real.”
So, how did the couple decide to express their newfound love? With a newborn photo shoot, of course!
“I’m so happy Rebecca came to me with this request,” shares Crowson. “And that we were able to bring it to life.”
Hayes posted pictures to her Facebook page with the caption: “Announcing Clayton Denes; Born 12/12/1995; 240lbs 4oz 75 inches long; Proud parents Becca and David.”
The mother thanked Crowson for going along with their “silly idea and for truly capturing the love and fun” of their newly reconnected family.
Ward, who has been dating Hayes for a few months now, said their relationship feels very full-circle.
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“It’s weird,” he told ABC News. “But it’s a good weird.”
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