Are you familiar with the term ‘rainbow baby’? A rainbow baby is a baby that comes after suffering a loss whether it’s during pregnancy, a stillbirth, or an infant loss. Babies are a blessing. There’s definitely no doubt about that. Rainbow babies are a miracle.
Losing a child is one of the hardest things a mom will ever go through. The emotions we experience are unlike any other. After some time passes, some moms begin to debate having another child or happen to get pregnant without planning for it. In those moments of planning to have a baby or learning that you’ll be welcoming another child into your family, a wave of new emotions is thrown your way.
In those moments of planning to have a baby or learning that you’ll be welcoming another child into your family, a wave of new emotions are thrown your way.
For a lot of moms, having a rainbow baby is supposed to be this magical experience. You lost a baby and you’re blessed with another child. It should be one of the best moments of your life. What people don’t realize though is that having a rainbow baby is hard. Having a rainbow baby brings up a whole slew of emotions, questions, doubts, and even anxiety. If you’re considering having a baby after a loss, here’s my experience of what it’s like having a rainbow baby after suffering a loss.
You’ll never stop grieving
You have to understand that just because you’re having another baby doesn’t mean that the grief of your loss automatically goes away. The grief of losing a child will stick with you forever. With time, you learn how to cope better but there are days when the grief is so heavy to bear.
Holidays, birthdays, family vacations are times when that grief will sneak up on you or sometimes hit you like a heavy wave crashing on the beach. The best way to cope with your grief is to make space to allow it to exist but never allow it to overwhelm. You have to allow that grief to escape through healthy outlets like journaling, exercising, reading, or therapy. Find a healthy outlet that works for you and allow that grief to hold space in your life for as long as it takes to heal.
You’ll question whether or not you made the right decision
For months before conceiving our rainbow baby, we debated whether or not it was the right decision. Our grief was still fresh. It never goes away. When that grief hits, you second guess wanting to have a rainbow baby. So many thoughts might rush through your head when you’re trying to decide what’s right for your family.
Ultimately my husband and I decided that the decision to have a rainbow baby wasn’t up to us. If it happened, it happened. About two years after our son passed away, we found out we were expecting. Our rainbow baby was on his way. It was crazy news for us to digest. I remember feeling so many different emotions. For months after conceiving and even giving birth, I wondered if having another baby was the right thing to do.
Everything will remind you of the baby you lost
This part was the hardest for me and, quite honestly, still is. After Trevor, our rainbow baby, was born I kept seeing his brother every time I looked at him. His face was so fresh and new and I was still getting used to him being here and not his brother. Over time as I began to know him and his personality, seeing his brother’s face faded. Little things remind you of the baby you lost. It could be a cloud in the sky, a song on the radio, or just a smell in the air. There will always be something there to remind you of them.
Mom guilt will set in
After a loss, some moms feel like it’s their fault. They worry about whether or not they’ll lose their rainbow baby and if they can protect them. You might feel guilty for being happy about expecting a new baby when you’ve lost a child. Mom guilt is totally normal. Try to remember that you have space to hold both joy and sadness in your heart at the same time.
There is no right way or right time to have a rainbow baby. Our rainbow baby has been with us for 18 months now and it’s been a wild but amazing journey so far. Rainbow babies do bring hope, healing, and love, so don’t be afraid to let them in.