[Trigger warning — this blog post contains stories of loss, infertility, and miscarriage]
A rainbow after the storm. It’s this symbol of hope that gives children born after the loss of a previous baby the name “Rainbow Babies.” Because of this, rainbows represent so much to families who have lost babies due to a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death.
Unfortunately, loss during pregnancy is not uncommon. The American Pregnancy Association reports that between 10-25 percent of pregnancies result in unexpected loss or miscarriage. The mental and physical hardship that comes after a loss like this is unimaginable. And when a new baby, a rainbow baby, arrives, joy is often mixed with sadness, guilt, doubt, and countless other emotions.
Every story of loss is unique to the family who experiences it. And to honor those stories, we’re sharing rainbow baby stories and words of wisdom from four different women in our community:
Nothing can prepare you
“I found out I was pregnant in December 2017, I was a scared 17-year old that had no idea what I was in for, but the excitement quickly set in. All that happiness came crashing down two days later when I started experiencing an early miscarriage. Nothing can ever prepare you for what you go through physically and mentally, no matter how far along you are. It hurts.
My significant other and I decided to wait until we were older and more prepared to have a baby. Two weeks after deciding to try, I conceived my rainbow baby. He will be turning three next month.” ~ Renia T.
A rainbow to brighten our world
“My husband and I dealt with secondary infertility for five years. During this time, we experienced four heartbreaking miscarriages. Four times we would start planning for this new chapter in our lives, this miracle, only to be crushed.
In March 2019, we were blessed with our rainbow baby, Ellie. In our eyes, nothing was more perfect. She went back to be with the Lord in June 2019. There are no words to describe that time in our lives, feelings we will always have. After a year of grieving, we were blessed with the opportunity to try one more round of IVF. We were able to create three embryos, immediately followed by another miscarriage, our fifth.
Feeling defeated, we tried one last embryo transfer and became pregnant with our sweet double rainbow, Laynie. Laynie is almost seven months old and a light in our lives. I don’t refer to her as a ‘rainbow after a storm’ because that ‘storm’ will never pass. Our Ellie will always be on our minds and in our hearts. But she is a rainbow to brighten our world and fill us with happiness and hope for our future.” ~ Stefany W.
It made us stronger
“After 26 months of struggling with infertility, we not only found out we were pregnant, but we were pregnant with TWINS! We were scared to death, but our hearts were overjoyed, and the excitement exceeded all fear!
Thirteen weeks later, our hearts were broken. I knew the hardest part would be breaking the news to Kaleigh, our then 8-year-old. It broke her, but I quickly saw just how strong and mature she truly is. After about an hour, she did and said everything she possibly could to make me feel better! I knew at that moment that my baby was no longer a ‘baby.’ God has a plan for each of us, and his plan for our family made us stronger and closer than it has ever been!
Our rainbow baby Evelyn is such a bright light with a huge smile and personality to match! All of our struggles led us straight to her, and our family is so overjoyed. And her big sister is obsessed with her and so protective!“ ~ Erin M.
Cherish every moment
“There is not a day I take for granted. I tell other mamas that the pain is all worth it because you cherish every moment. Even the difficult crying baby moments because crying means they are breathing.” ~ Elizabeth M.
While a rainbow baby represents hope and new beginnings after the storm, there will always be sadness and grief. If you’re experiencing loss or expecting a rainbow baby, these resources may help:
- Parenting After Loss Support: this 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and community support resource for women seeks to help expectant mothers celebrate their current pregnancy by choosing hope over fear while still nurturing and honoring the grief over the loss of their deceased child.
- Grieving Dads: this blog written by a grieving dad is a resource for parents as well as a place for them to share their stories anonymously.
- Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support: Share is a national organization and community for anyone who experiences the tragic death of a baby, as well as the professionals who care for grieving families.
Thank you to Reina, Stefany, Erin, and Elizabeth for sharing your touching stories and rainbow babies with us.