Miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, SIDs: there are so many ways to lose a child, and it’s the type of heartbreak you never quite get over or used to. But sometimes you’re given the chance to do it over and try again. Though another pregnancy will never take away the pain of a loss, it can be a beautiful experience all on it’s own. That’s why we often call these post-loss pregnancies our "rainbows." If you want to do something special for the mom of a rainbow baby, we’ve certainly got some ideas for you.
I wasn’t even sure I wanted to try for another baby after we lost our daughter to prematurity. Her birth and subsequent death put me in a very dark place, where Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety all came to stay as rude house guests in my mind. When I found out I was pregnant again just a year later, I was terrified.
However, I was also excited. All the dreams I’d had of motherhood were slowly coming back to me and I was extremely grateful. I know how special it is to have a rainbow baby and that’s why I’m sharing some of the sweet things I know I would have appreciated with the birth of my baby boy.
Give The Family Enough Alone Time With Their Baby
After giving birth to a rainbow baby, all the mama wants is to be alone with her baby and enjoy them. After all, they worked hard to finally get to hold their rainbow.
That said, they might not feel up to company in the first few weeks (or even months) after their little one makes their arrival. Please respect this decision and don’t try to guilt your friend into a visit. You’ll have the rest of the baby’s life to come by, drop off gifts, and take pictures.
Bring Her A Beautiful And Congratulatory Gift
One of my best friends recognized just how much my son’s birth meant to me. She bought me a big chocolate cake and balloons and brought them to my hospital room. You can custom make a sweet care package, or buy a cake like my friend did, or make something completely original that you know the new mom in your life will love. Basically, anything that shows you’re not only there for baby, but also for mama.
Pay For Her To Have A Special Rainbow Baby Photo Shoot
Baby photo-shoots are huge these days. If you happen to have a little extra cash, consider booking a special rainbow-themed shoot for your friend’s baby. (Or if it’s still early, you can also have them do a rainbow-themed maternity shoot.)
Buy Her Baby Rainbow-Colored Clothing...
Sometimes it can be a struggle to find non-gender-specific clothing for our little ones. Your mama friend will certainly end up with way too much pink if she has a daughter (and blue if she has a son).
Set yourself apart and opt for some super cute, gender neutral, bright rainbow-colored duds.
...Or Cute Rainbow-Laden Baby Supplies
Plan A Rainbow-Themed Shower
Some mamas choose not to have a baby shower while pregnant with their rainbows. For some, they fear celebrating when there’s still no technical guarantee their baby will be born. Others end up on strict bed rest and can’t actually move around comfortably at a shower and opt to do something later on.
If you’re able to plan something special, though, consider making it a rainbow-themed event.
Gift Her A Sweet Memento Of All Her Children
Consider having a special keepsake made for the mama which celebrates her new baby as well as the one (or those) she lost. I’ve seen bracelets and necklaces and rings which can all be customized to have their names inscribed or birthstones (if you happen to know what the due date was for the one she lost). Or maybe just something handmade. Anything that lets her know you’re honoring all her babies.
Allow Her To Tell The Story Of Her Children However And Whenever She Likes
It will likely be important for your friend to discuss and process the birth of her rainbow, just as it can be important for her to do the same about the baby she lost. You can ask her if she wants to tell you about it, but don’t press if she’s not feeling up to it. No doubt giving birth can stir up a lot of emotions, so she might be excited or anxious or happy or even depressed. Simply be the friend she can talk to, and that will mean a lot.
Watch Your Language
When congratulating your loved one on their rainbow baby, you want to be sure to be sensitive to their previous loss. If this is their second pregnancy, don’t tell them you’re excited for them to "finally have a baby" (since they may very well consider their first loss their first baby).
Don’t immediately ask if they’ll plan to have more after this one (since a high-risk pregnancy is an incredibly taxing ordeal and the rainbow mama is probably not even thinking of that right now).
Make A Donation To A Pregnancy Or Baby Loss Organization In Her Children’s Names
One way to honor both/all the mom’s kids is by making a donation to an organization in her name. There are plenty of organizations out there that help support loss moms, including the March of Dimes (whose focus is on ending prematurity), First Candle (a nonprofit working to end SIDS), A Heartbreaking Choice (for women who had to terminate a wanted pregnancy due to a poor diagnosis), and others.