My Rainbow Baby
A rainbow baby is a child who was born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other kind of child loss. The label comes from the idea that the blessing of a child following such a tragedy is alike to a rainbow, which only comes after a storm.
Not everyone knows that my son is a rainbow baby.
Women don’t share their stories of miscarriage or child loss much. It’s a difficult topic to bring up. Losing a child is not like other trials, where years later you can talk about it openly with just the memory of your pain. Losing a child is to grieve forever. The loss is always felt, and the pain always there. Time helps you get used to it, but it never fades into memory.
My miscarriage was an early one, the most common kind of miscarriage. I didn’t even know I was pregnant before the miscarriage started, it was even too early for a test. I awoke that morning with a sort of pit feeling in my womb. Later that day I started to bleed, which could’ve just been a slightly late period, but I knew what was happening was not normal. My body was not only in a strange and intense kind of pain, it seemed to ache with a sort of emptiness as I passed thick, bloody tissue. After consulting a trusted woman who I knew had miscarried before, she confirmed my fears that I was indeed experiencing loss of a pregnancy. My doctor later confirmed it as well.
I spent that day in the bathroom, moving back and forth from the floor to the toilet. If I left I would bleed all over. Besides, I didn’t feel much like moving around or doing anything. I was grieving the loss of a pregnancy I never had the chance to celebrate.
I called in sick to work that day, and my husband hurried home as soon as his work day ended. We had a quiet evening when it was all over. Today I am grateful it only lasted a day, but back then it seemed too long.
After a couple weeks of conflict over whether or not to “keep trying,” as people say, we did finally decide to continue with our plans, and I was pregnant on my next cycle.
How grateful I am to have been blessed with my son so quickly, and such a blessing that he made it full term and was born healthy and full of life. But my heart aches for the women who still struggle. Who have lost more than any one person should. Who spend month after month hoping for a little plus sign to appear on a stick, only to find a single line that seems to mock them with its flatness.
The wonderful thing about rainbow babies, is that they are never taken for granted. Every day I look at my son and I am filled with overwhelming gratitude that he is in my life. I know he is special, and I know how lucky I am to have a rainbow baby.
For all women who have lost a child, and for all women who long for fertility that may or may not come, you are not alone! Women surround you who know what it is to grieve. Who know what it is to find lines of disappointment once a month.
I wrote this poem in honor of my son, my rainbow baby, for his first birthday:
My rainbow baby…
The label is fitting.
More than one storm preceded your arrival.
Is it worth it? They ask.
Is it worth it? I asked.
I do not know if it is worth it.
But I know you are worth it,
My rainbow boy.
You will never love me
Quite as much as I love you,
Or in quite the same way.
I don’t mind.
It is a beautiful pattern
Which I am honored to be a thread in.
Would I go back and stop the storms?
Would I weather the storms again?
Because they brought you to me,
My rainbow baby.
Those of us with rainbow babies, may those smiling faces always remind us that women around us long for what we have, and may we have compassion for them.