So, I’ve mentioned the term “rainbow baby” several times already in this blog, but I realise it’s one which those outside the baby loss community may not be familiar with.
When writing this post, I spent some time (longer than I care to admit) trying to find the best way to explain what it means. Then I thought ‘Hey, why reinvent the wheel?’
so instead have included the very eloquent definition of a rainbow baby from the Kicks Count
“A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.
The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery. A rainbow baby brings light but by no means replaces the angel baby.
Those who have not experienced a stillbirth or loss sometimes assume a rainbow baby ‘cures’ the parents and is some sort of closure. We firmly believe that not to be true as they by no means eliminate the storm and the rainbow wouldn’t be here without it.”
After Findlay died, my world was plunged into darkness. I felt as if my heart had been irrecoverably broken, and I would never again feel happy. I vividly remember the sensation of being disconnected from the world; I felt like I was merely a spectator to my life, able to see what was going on around me but unable to participate, unable to feel anything other than the suffocating weight of my grief. I could find no pleasure in the things which used to bring me such joy and it seemed as though the storm would never end.
When I discovered I was pregnant again, I was overwhelmed by a mind-numbing cocktail of emotions:
Paralysing fear – will this baby die too?
Grief – I’m still grieving for Findlay.
Joy – could this baby help to mend our broken hearts?
Guilt – what if Findlay thinks we’re replacing him? Will I be able to love this baby as much as I love him?
A rainbow pregnancy has so many mixed emotions, I look away, embarrassed, when people congratulate me on being pregnant. I chastise myself for lingering too long looking at sleepsuits in John Lewis, or Even now, with only a few weeks to go, I say ‘if everything goes OK’ and ‘hopefully, if the baby is here’ when talking to friends and family about future plans. I dare not let myself believe that we will bring this baby home, for fear that we won’t; yet I know my heart will not survive another loss.
I hope that this baby will be our rainbow after the storm. Only time will tell.