This Photo Perfectly Sums Up the Bittersweet Moment Before a Mom Gives Birth to Her Next Child

After you've had one kid, the idea of giving birth again might not seem quite as tear-jerking of an experience as that first time. But a single photograph offers definitive proof that having a second child – or a third or fourth – is perhaps even more rife with bittersweet emotion.

Portland-based birth photographer Laura Paulescu beautifully captured such a moment between a mother, Nikki, and her young daughter before the mama went off to deliver her next child.

"Pure sweetness," Paulescu captioned the photo, which she shared on her Crowned Photography Facebook page. "Last hugs before saying goodbye to momma and the last time she would sit on that big round belly with her sister still inside."

The little girl, along with her older brother, were playing in the hospital room before a babysitter came to get them, all while Nikki was in early labor. Paulescu confirms it was a truly natural, spontaneous exchange.

"When the girl climbed up on the bed to say goodbye, she scooped her up over her contracting belly and they just held each other so close," she told POPSUGAR. "They stayed like that for just a few sweet moments before her daughter quickly climbed down and was off playing again with her big brother, oblivious to how much her life would be changing overnight."

The photo has unsurprisingly gone viral – with many moms sharing similar moments they experienced:

"My son loves my belly and I just hope he can understand everything that is about to happen," wrote Erin Ventura, a fellow pregnant mom. Another, Theresa Powell, commented: "I remember feeling so sad before our son was born. [My daughter] and I have this special bond. And it would no longer be just us."

Even Paulesco related on a deeper level, as a mother herself.

"You understand even more how quickly life changes with that 'baby' when you bring another into your family, after you have two. So this momma knew even deeper in her heart how much things would be changing and how much she wanted to hold onto that moment just a little longer, because she had experienced this once before," she told us. "Holding your little one so close one last time, before they aren't the little one anymore. That's a moment that stays with you forever – the gut-wrenching mixture of overwhelming joy and anticipation, coupled with heartbreak letting your baby go, and scared every time as you wonder how your love can grow even more. Clearly a lot of mamas out there related to this moment!"