A rainbow is the symbol of brightness and the end of the storm. But what is a rainbow baby? For parents who have lost their child at birth or during pregnancy, this phrase has acquired another more profound meaning – renewal, gratitude, and hope. And expecting a rainbow baby means expecting a healthy baby.
Although stillbirths and miscarriages are, unfortunately, a common issue nowadays, parents usually feel alone in their pain. There are communities on social networks for moms who have lost their children and who share their experiences and encourage others not to give up. There is a National Rainbow Baby Day on August 22 that gives parents a chance to share their grief, honor those small lives that were lost, and celebrate the joy they have for their long-awaited rainbow babies.
Expressed in emojis and words, rainbows can be seen on groups on Facebook, Instagram stories, birth announcements, baby products, etc. They are the image that stands for excitement, grief, anxiety, worries, and on the contrary, joy, gratitude, and hope to be healed after a loss.
So What Is a Rainbow Baby Exactly?
The symbolism behind the notion of a “rainbow baby” is no less beautiful, as rainbows have been the symbol of light that comes after a storm and the beauty they bring when they light up the sky with their bright colors. In the Bible, God gave Noah a rainbow after the flood which stood as a promise and a symbol of rebirth.
And so it is now when parents unite in the so-called rainbow communities to foster unity, seek empathy in blogs, forums, and social media, share rainbow baby stories and show others they are not alone with their grief of loss.
Why Parents May Have Mixed Emotions with a Rainbow Baby?
Pregnancies that come after a loss are more difficult emotionally as they include feelings of guilt, grief, and anxiety coupled with excitement and relief.
According to the results of a study, women with a history of miscarriage and loss of infants after childbirth are more vulnerable to suffering from depression during the first month postpartum.
It is important to enlist the help of a partner as well as communicate with other women who have been there and consult a medical professional: a mental health doctor or a counselor. And while it will seem that it is impossible to completely recover from the loss and the pain that accompanies it, you can use the assistance of the following organizations:
Some women prefer not to tell others about their rainbow baby pregnancy to avoid extra talks while others share the good news with the nearest and dearest as soon as they see a positive pregnancy test. All women are different, and it’s okay.
Rainbow Baby Monitoring
Women pregnant with rainbow babies tend to be more careful and attentive when pregnant. Your doctor will tell you what tests and other ways of monitoring your and your baby’s conditions you will have to undergo. Knowing that your baby grows and develops brings comfort to women, so it is important to follow all of your doctor’s recommendations.
What can be done to monitor your rainbow baby’s health at home? Watching the baby’s movements and counting the kicks are the most popular ways. The latter is of vital importance because any changes in the kicks during the third trimester may be the signs of fetal distress.
If you have any concerns about baby kicks or movements, inform your doctor about it at once.
Anxiety While Expecting a Rainbow Baby Is Normal
It is totally fine and understandable to feel anxiety and worry when being pregnant with a rainbow baby. If you are unable to cope with the fear and overwhelming emotions, you’d better ask for help – reach out to your partner, family, friends, support group, or a counselor.
It is important to talk the situation out to release those fears and negative emotions and let in peace of mind. You may want to write down all your thought in a journal or a diary to cope with mixed feelings or talk to complete strangers who don’t even know what is a rainbow baby.
However, remember that caring for yourself and your inner state is vital because you are carrying a new rainbow life inside. Grief is exhausting and devastating, and this tiredness and distress can even double while you are expecting. And here it is okay to learn to ask for help and try to take things one hour or one day at a time.
Your rainbow baby will bring you lots of joy and happiness and will be the light after the darkness. Moreover, rainbow babies are the reminders. You will always carry that grief in your heart because you have lost part of yourself, however, it is totally normal to overcome the sadness after giving birth. Find the ways to remember and honor your lost child. Share this story with your rainbow baby as they get older and let them know they have a sister or brother in heaven and show them how special they are for you. And never let others decide how you should grieve. Take time and do whatever makes you comforted.