Why I will not be using the term “Rainbow Baby”
If you haven’t already heard the news, I am pregnant! This is my first pregnancy after losing Henry and it comes with so many feelings. I wanted to take a moment and talk about expecting a child after loss and how I feel about the term “Rainbow Baby”. I hope you hear my heart. I have no judgments against others using the term, these are just my thoughts. I hope this offers a little window into pregnancy after a loss.
A “rainbow baby” is a term used for a child born or conceived after a loss. I know lots of mamas who use this term and find meaning in it. The idea is this baby is like a rainbow that reaches towards heaven where our angel babies live. It is a really beautiful idea and I love that there are couples who find joy and peace in its meaning. It just isn’t for me.
PAL is no Rainbow
Pregnancy After Loss (PAL) is TOUGH. No matter what caused a previous loss, there is worry around every corner. At every ultrasound, I assume this baby died too. Without the reassurance of kicks, I’m constantly left wondering if everything is ok. Personally, this experience has not felt very “rainbow-y”. I feel that the term makes light of something that is really hard on me. PAL feels more like kayaking near a waterfall and less like basking under a rainbow.
I’ll blog more about my PAL journey but for now, I just wanted to note that this is not easy. If you are finding yourself with similar feelings and worries, please know you are not alone. If you are fraught with worry but the hope of a rainbow is keeping you going, I love it. Fill that nursery with as many rainbows as possible!
Hank was not a Storm
The only difference between Henry and my future children is that he happened to die. He will always be my firstborn. I will continue to treasure and parent him even though he isn’t physically with me. I feel him in a sunset and when I stare into the stars. He’s with me in the joy and the sadness. He died, but he isn’t a storm.
Rainbows appear after rain. I don’t want to draw a distinction between Hank’s life, and this new baby. They are both my children. One isn’t more of a joy than the other (though Henry did make me a lot less sick!)
Hope isn’t Certainty
I do not know if this baby is going to live. I don’t know if I’m going to get into a car accident or get terribly ill (though that was so 2016). Life is full of uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have hope. I hope that this baby will live. I hope they are born happy and healthy and wanting to sleep eight hours a night. I have a lot of hope for this baby’s life and at the same time, I cannot feel certain they will live.
Rainbows can become angels. I know lots of people who have had multiple losses. While a high-risk pregnancy offers more reassurance with closer monitoring, I will not be so bold to assume everything will be ok. If Henry has taught me anything it is not to take things for granted and that can be a really beautiful lesson. I will have hope, but I cannot have certainty. I know that my uncertainty is uncomfortable but it’s my reality.
If you are in a similar spot please reach out. If you have questions about PAL and how to support someone in your life, I hope I can help. This journey is crazy and navigating it with others makes it so much easier.
I appreciate all my warm wishes and all the checking in by my friends and family. I really don’t know what I would do without you all.
So much love,