What It's Like Having a Rainbow Baby: Stories from our Community
Trigger warning — this blog post contains stories of loss, infertility, and miscarriage
You may have heard the term Rainbow Baby, but what does it mean? Children born after the loss of a previous baby are often referred to as "Rainbow Babies," giving the symbol of rainbows a special meaning to families who have experienced loss. Unfortunately, loss during pregnancy is not uncommon. The American Pregnancy Association reports that 10-25 percent of pregnancies result in unexpected loss or miscarriage.
Every story of loss is unique to the family who experiences it. And to honor those stories, we're sharing the experiences and words of five different women in our community:
I never thought it would be me.
"I never anticipated having fertility struggles after a somewhat easy and uneventful pregnancy with my first daughter. Over the next few years, I struggled with staying pregnant. One time, in particular, we had just told our family we were expecting. After all, I was well into my second trimester, so things had to be safe. That very same day, I started to miscarry. That experience led me to not reveal any future pregnancies." ~ Patricia L.
"When we started our journey to parenthood, I assumed I would get pregnant easily and have an easy birth. I was wrong. I got pregnant after only two months of trying, and we were so excited! A few days later, I miscarried. I was heartbroken but was told that it is common, sadly." ~ Lauren C.
"Every day I was in awe of my growing belly, the sweet baby flutters that turned into powerful kicks, and the true miracle that bringing new life into the world is."
~ Lexi J.
"Losing a child is one of the hardest things a parent will ever go through. The emotions we experience are unlike any other. I had a miscarriage in 2020. We were so excited to find out we were pregnant and welcoming a baby into our world. At just 9 weeks, we found out our sweet baby no longer had a heartbeat.
I don't wish this pain on anyone. I wonder every day what our baby would have been or where they would be. In July 2021, unexpectedly, we found out we were pregnant with our sweet rainbow baby. It was too early to tell the unknowns and the first trimester seemed like it took forever. We were so excited, although so nervous about what could happen. He was healthy and kept growing, and we welcomed him home in April 2022. He is our miracle, and I wish he could have met his older sibling, but we know they sent him to us." ~ Kait G.
Pregnancy after loss is so hard.
"In August 2021, we had our second positive pregnancy test. The next 9 months were filled with a constant battle between hope and fear as I waited for something wrong to happen. Pregnancy after loss is so hard, and I held my breath for 9 months, hoping for a chance to meet the baby I'd loved since the day I'd found out about them. Although it was a tough time mentally, it gave me the perspective to truly embrace and appreciate every part of my pregnancy. Every day I was in awe of my growing belly, the sweet baby flutters that turned into powerful kicks, and the true miracle that bringing new life into the world is." ~ Lexi J.
If you want a rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.
"October 2020 was when another miracle decided to stick around, and our rainbow son was born in June of 2021. After we had reached viability with him, I purchased our first sibling set of Little Sleepies -- Pastel Rainbows for big sister and Blue Rainbows for little brother! After he was born, we would continue to mark our milestones and occasions with sibling sets of our favorite jams month after month, year after year.
Every day, as I gaze into the eyes of both of my children, I remember the beautifully broken road that led me straight to them. As Dolly Parton once said: 'The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.' I would endure every storm over and over again if it meant holding the brightest hues of love and promises in my arms time and time again." ~ Renee R.
It was a healing journey.
"Our beautiful rainbow baby Theodore was born on April 8, 2022, and he has changed our world in every way possible. I am so thankful I get to be a mom to a baby here on earth, for the healing journey his pregnancy took me on, and for a healthy baby boy who is SO full of joy. I've always known I was meant to be a mom, but being Theo's mom is even better than I could've dreamed. I love making him smile and watching him grow, and I truly appreciate every day I spend with him." ~ Lexi J.
"After my second miscarriage, I went to the beach to try and come to terms with what happened. Exactly a year later, I was blessed to bring my son to the same beach with me and have a photo shoot with him wearing his Little Sleepies. This beach trip was healing, and I will forever cherish his blue rainbow zippy for what it means to me." ~ Lauren C.
I couldn't imagine my life without my brightest rainbows.
"Almost 8 years ago to the day, if you would've asked me what a rainbow baby was, I wouldn't have had a clue about it! Now, I couldn't imagine my life without my two brightest rainbows after years of tumultuous storms of infertility and many losses." ~ Renee R.
You're not alone.
"Like a rainbow, I always have to remind myself that sometimes the storm before the beauty happened for a reason. Through my experience, I have connected with many other strong rainbow families. Sharing in grief and celebrating with all the rainbow accessories when they have success. Happy rainbow day to all, and know you are not in this alone!" ~ Patricia L.
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 and 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.
- Birth Injury Center: Birth Injury Center is an educational website featuring articles written by experts.