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Mom Shares Touching Story Behind Selfie: ‘I Didn’t Know If It Was Appropriate to Take a Picture’

Jennifer Baker and Justin Baker
Courtesy Baker Family

To passersby, Jennifer and Justin Baker looked like just another couple snapping a selfie. There’s a good chance someone spotted the nurse and her handsome surgeon husband cuddling on a park bench and thought: They must have it all.

But there is so much more to the photo that was taken in Baltimore, Maryland, July 20. That morning, Justin, 38, received a life-changing diagnosis: pancreatic cancer. Days later, the Fairfax, Virginia-based father of two would learn it was stage IV, inoperable and spreading aggressively. With treatments, Justin’s oncologist gave him a one-year-median survival.

Jennifer Baker and Justin Baker
Courtesy Baker Family

Jennifer shared the photo in Facebook post published earlier this month. “So this is us . . . the day our next chapter really began,” the mom of Annabelle, 3, and Jamison, 7 months, began. “We were walking through the harbor and you wanted to sit for a while. I didn’t know if it was appropriate to take a picture, but knowing me I asked anyways. We had both been crying for hours but you still smiled and said yes.”

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The 34-year-old continued: “Maybe you knew that this moment would show our love like no photo ever had before. That kind of love, the love that we have, you can’t get it just anywhere. It takes years of hard work and dedication to grow. It’s the kind of love that picks you up when you were broken so badly before. It lights up your darkness and calms your storms. It begins with our kids’ smiles and it stretches farther than the Cliffs of Moher. It has survived long call shifts and many messy toddler dinners. It has taken us over hills and through the depths but yet we’ve always come out on the other side together!”

Jennifer Baker and Justin Baker
Courtesy Baker Family

Jennifer went on to admit she is terrified of what the future holds. “Not any doctor in the world can tell us,” she wrote. “I’m scared to death as I’m sure you are too. I even contemplated for days if I wanted to share this photo rather than keep it for myself. But then I think, maybe, just maybe, in a year when this memory pops up on our timeline we can look back and say ‘Wow, look at that love. OUR LOVE. It has read us another story and just like every time before, came out stronger than ever!”

Jennifer will never forget that moment on the park bench outside National Aquarium with her love of nearly five years. “It was the first time in months that our world had slowed down enough for us to really connect with what was going on and with all each other. I was working, taking care of the kids, taking care of him and and running a household,” she tells Us Weekly. “I never had a chance to stop and think about how little time we could have left.”

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Justin, who had his first chemotherapy treatment on August 16, confided in Jennifer that he worries his infant son won’t remember him. “I am doing what I can to prevent that. In the mornings it’s a crazy train at our house. I try to get ready and then get the kids ready and off to daycare. But Jamison always comes first because after he is fed and dressed, he is put in bed so he and Justin can have an hour together. Justin talks about guy things with him, always as if he’s getting it out of the way now,” Jennifer tells Us. “Jamison was our surprise baby. I wonder now if God knew what was coming and gave us our second when he did because we wouldn’t have had time later on.”

A YouCaring page has been set up to help the Baker family with medical costs associated with his cancer diagnosis.

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