The loss of a child is life changing. You are changed. Your loss is felt forever.
But you’ve learned that joy can return after one of the worst storms in your life. A rainbow.
You’re pregnant again. Your new “rainbow baby” is a gift of light and love.
You’re finding that this child is joy and hope — who you are now.
And he or she is a very good thing.
That’s not to say that it isn’t hard to feel that sometimes.
Don’t worry, it’s normal to experience mixed feelings.
You have the opportunity to cherish another child, but you never want to forget the one you lost.
Not so long ago, you may have even thought your heartbreak was too traumatic to even consider pregnancy again. But your rainbow baby is here now. Renewal is here now. And honoring that child is not a betrayal of your lost baby. It’s okay to honor them both.
Honor your rainbow baby with truth and mindful acceptance.
Acknowledge your need to process the meaning of this rainbow baby.
As you accept a new child into your life, tell yourself the truth about your emotions. It’s okay and completely natural to take time for this. Taking measures to examine what you are feeling provides perspective as you experience pregnancy and birth again.
Accept your feelings as they are, so nothing is buried and resentments don’t grow.
Acknowledging the feelings of grief and fear, as well as the joy and excitement, helps ensure healthy honesty and close bonding. This honors your rainbow baby’s need for a whole and engaged parent who truly wants to be present and intentional going forward.
Honor your rainbow baby with adjusted expectations.
Rainbow babies enter the world as individuals but their arrival is nuanced and complex. He or she cannot and should not function to erase the past, though the preparations and birth can restore the celebration of family to you and yours. Honor your child’s dual functions in your family story by resisting the urge to put him or her in one box or the other. Allow each member of your family to get used to this new child in their own way. Enjoy your baby, not as a replacement person or buttoned up “happy ending” to your family tragedy, but as a new person to love and a gift of healing.
Honor your rainbow baby with celebrations that don’t inspire anxiety.
To maintain focus on the joy and gift of your rainbow child, you may find it serves you well to treat your gatherings, preparations, and announcements differently. You may also find that your loved ones don’t know how to treat the news of your pregnancy having witnessed your loss. Some may express relief that you can put your loss “behind you.” Some may assume you don’t want another shower or will simply use the nursery items meant for your lost child.
It’s important that you honor your child by doing what welcomes him or her best.
Perhaps a post-birth shower with an intimate group of loved ones that celebrates your baby’s safe entrance into the world. Encourage gifting from a registry or gather for a nursery makeover that speaks to the fact that your rainbow baby is not simply a beneficiary of items meant for your lost child. Give yourself and your loved ones permission to personalize this celebration for your rainbow baby with the memory of your previous child tucked away in your hearts.
In your heart and history, both of your children will be forever connected…your “sunshine” baby and your “rainbow” baby. Be compassionate to yourself and take each day at time.
Honoring your rainbow baby is beautiful. It is your right as a parent to claim the joy of renewed promise and your growing family.