If you’re a part of the infant and pregnancy loss community you probably already know the term Rainbow Baby. A rainbow is a baby born after the storms of grief from miscarriage, still birth or death in infancy. It’s supposed to give us hope of new coming.
It’s hard for me to explain how a rainbow pregnancy/baby are not all happiness and smiles. It’s hard to explain how an expectant mother can’t be absolutely excited every moment, especially after enduring so much loss.
There’s the fears that now there is a new baby to focus on that everyone will think we’re better or now we’re normal again because we’re having another baby. It’s the fear that we’re having another baby to replace the one who died. And the biggest fear that now there’s a new baby everyone will have forgotten the ones who’ve died.
The anger that comes when people say, “Now you’ll know how hard it is with 2 kids.” or how they ask the living child “Are you excited to be a big sister now?” I don’t know how to answer these unknowingly curel questions. I do know what it’s like to have 2 kids. Do I answer with, ‘Do you know how hard it is to parent when one of them lives in heaven?’ Or do I answer, ‘I know how hard it is to be up all night crying for a newborn who isn’t crying?’ It’s questions during pregnancy that completely have forgotten there was another one in between.
It’s complicated because we fear being happy for this baby, while at the same time wishing our other child was here. It’s a fear that this child will have unreasonable expectations to live their life and the life for their sibling(s) who couldn’t.
The pregnancy after loss is nothing like the one before. The innocence is gone that every pregnancy ends in a happy and healthy mom and baby. We had hoped our first rainbow pregnancy would be this child, and ended in more of the storms of grief for what couldn’t have been.
A rainbow doesn’t come without the rain and the storms of grief. Just because you see a rainbow, doesn’t mean the storm is over. Even in the eye of the storm there is quiet for a moment to recognize this pregnancy as its own, not tangled in the memories of the past. It’s not always a long moment, but when it comes the moment of peace and rainbows is so welcomed.