Rainbow baby is a healthy baby born after losing a baby due to miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death. Rainbow babies are considered ‘miracle’ babies due to the powerful impact they can have on helping parents heal after a loss. However, rainbow pregnancies can also be emotionally complex and involve feelings of grief and guilt along with relief and excitement.
Why Call Them a “Rainbow Baby”?
The term Rainbow baby has gained popularity among parents in the baby loss community. It symbolizes hope, healing and something beautiful after a dark and turbulent time. This is much like the rainbow’s symbol of promise and light.
Expecting a Rainbow Baby
Most women who lose a baby will get pregnant again. Your body takes time to heal, but it’s your mental state that will often take the longest to recover.
Expecting again can raise a slew of conflicting emotions like guilt, relief, excitement, and sadness. You can go through every emotion, grieve the way you want to grieve, and celebrate this new pregnancy however you like. You might want to keep it to yourself until your pregnancy becomes visible, and that’s OK, too.
Honoring a Pregnancy Loss and Celebrating a Rainbow Baby
It’s important to take time to grieve after the loss of a child and to understand the grieving process. Grief is a very personal and complex emotion. Even if you’re anticipating a joyful new arrival, you can still mourn for the baby you lost.
Some steps may help you through the grieving process:
- August 22 is Rainbow Baby Day can help you commemorate by encouraging you to share your story, in social media, with friends, in a support group.
- Create a memory of your baby. Plant a tree or a garden in honor of your child. Some hospitals offer to make hand and footprints of your baby as a keepsake, take pictures, or give them a christening.
- Seek support. This could mean joining a grief group, talking with people you know who have lost a baby, or even just talking with your spouse. M.E.N.D. is a good starting point.
- Grieve with your partner. We all deal with grief differently, and during this time, our emotions can be everywhere at once. Talk to your partner about how they’re feeling and communicate throughout the pregnancy about your wishes and worries.
If you’ve experienced infant loss, please check out the following resources: