Losing a baby is one of the most awful things you can ever experience. It's a devastating loss that can tarnish all future pregnancies and, for some, it ends up being the only kind of pregnancy experience you have. Those who are fortunate enough to have another baby, though, will often call them their "rainbow baby," meaning the baby born after the storm of loss. They brighten our lives when all we could see and feel was darkness and pain, which is why you deserve to celebrate your rainbow baby without apology.
When I lost my own daughter to prematurity, I never thought I would recover. I fell into a deep depression and was still dealing with the repercussions of that insurmountable loss, when I found out I was pregnant again. My rainbow pregnancy was full of ups and downs and was labeled high-risk because of my previous loss. I had doctor’s visits, ultrasounds, and hormone shots every week. Halfway through my pregnancy I had an emergency cerclage, also known as a cervical stitch, placed, which is mean to help avoid pre-term labor or miscarriage. I was then placed on pelvic rest and bed rest.
However, when I was finally able to hold my son for the first time, none of it mattered and I’ve celebrated the hell out of him ever since. These are just some of the reasons you, too, deserve to celebrate this wonderful new little rainbow in your life.
Because You Didn't Get To Celebrate The Baby (Or Babies) You Lost In The Same Way
While you can celebrate the memory of the baby you lost, it's not the same as being fortunate enough to celebrate a baby in life. I continue to honor the daughter I lost in my own ways, like by walking yearly in the March for Babies, talking about her with loved ones, and writing about her, loss, and letting others know that she was my baby.
With my rainbow, I get to celebrate in other ways, like going all-out for his birthday, surprising him with new toys and books, or taking him to the zoo and the park and simply enjoying his existence.
Because It Might Have Been A Challenge To Conceive Again
Though this was not my experience, I know many moms who struggled to conceive after a loss. Infertility affects 10 percent of women here in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (and that’s not including all the infertility issues in men). Why wouldn’t you want to celebrate your beautiful rainbow if it was so difficult to get pregnant in the first place?
Because Your Pregnancy May Have Been Incredibly Stressful
As a loss mom, you have been through enough stress during your subsequent pregnancy (or pregnancies) to age you a solid 10 years. That’s not an approximate number, but it certainly has felt that way for me. So I see nothing wrong in allowing myself to de-stress once in awhile and enjoy the hell out of my little rainbow toddler.
Because Your Body Has Experienced A Lot
I truly felt my body get put through the ringer with my rainbow pregnancy. Sure, I gained weight and got stretch marks like most, but I also had bruises and lumps at my weekly hormone injection sites. I endured not only having a cerclage placed (under local anesthesia) but also having one taken out (without any pain medication). Have you ever had someone literally pull out stitches from your cervix while you were wide awake? Worst pain ever.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that I had fourth degree tearing from giving birth to my son. Yeah, I get to freaking celebrate.
Because It Might Help You Heal From Your Grief
A rainbow baby does not replace the baby you lost. They can, however, help you with your grief. You will be busier, more distracted, and certainly full of a lot more love than you ever thought possible. Celebrating your baby only helps aid in this lifelong healing process.
Because This Might Be The First Child You Didn't Lose
This is especially for those who have had multiple losses. Each loss is a devastation, and if and when you’re finally able to birth a baby that you get to see grow, it is worth shouting about it from the rooftops. Some might think this is your first baby, but you know how long it took you to really get there. Celebrate, mama!
Because This Might Be The Only Child You Have That You Don’t Lose
Sadly, having a rainbow doesn’t exempt you from never losing another baby again. I’ve known people who lost a baby, had a rainbow baby, then lost the other babies they had afterward. It is incredibly difficult for these parents. So yes, they, too, deserve to celebrate their rainbows as much and as often as possible.
Because There’s No Reason Why You Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Celebrate Your Baby, Rainbow Or Not
At the end of the day, everyone should have a chance to celebrate their baby. Whether they happen to be a rainbow, or whether you’ve been lucky to never lose a child, your little one is worth celebrating. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.