When people say nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent, it’s true. You can say the same about losing a child, too, and about having a baby after a loss. When it happened to me, I was the only person I knew that had been in that position. In retrospect, it would’ve been nice to have someone else around who understood what I was going through. In lieu of that, there are certainly some things I wish I could have told my pre-rainbow baby self.
Part of me thought that getting pregnant again and after I lost my daughter to premature birth would be this wonderful, healing thing. That I would immediately welcome it with open arms. That I would not be able to hold back my excitement. That it would undo all my pain and grief and make everything "right" again. Another part of me was fairly certain I’d freak out the way I did the first time I got pregnant, still unsure of what to do.
In reality, it was both and neither of those things. Looking back, there are probably some aspects of pregnancy, labor, and delivery after a loss that I should have been warned about. After all, it never hurts to get a little perspective from someone who’s been there.
Your Rainbow Baby Won’t Take Away All Your Grief
A pretty common thought for those who really want a rainbow baby (as well as for their loved ones) is thinking maybe they will somehow make them “happy” again. While a rainbow will surely bring you lots of joy and love, they are simply not a replacement for the child or pregnancy you lost. They will not take away all that pain or return you to a version of your former self. It’s hard to hear and even harder to accept, but it's true.
You Won’t Be Hurting All The Time
The trauma of losing a child is powerful. While a rainbow baby won’t rid you of all your pain, they will help heal some of the hurt go away. I’m not even sure if heal is the right word, but rather they will just bring in new feelings and thoughts. Positive ones that you’ll focus on more.
Your Rainbow Pregnancy Is Going To Be Incredibly Rough...
Most everyone who’s experienced a loss will automatically be labeled high-risk for any subsequent pregnancy they may or may not endure. Therefore, your pregnancy will be filled with lots of precautions, procedures, and doctor visits.
Even if you lost your child through outside circumstances (like SIDS), just the process of being pregnant again will wear on you mentally and emotionally. Be prepared. Surround yourself with lots of loving people if you can.
...And It Will Also Make You Ridiculously Strong
I’m convinced that if you make it out alive after losing a baby, you are one of the strongest people on the planet. Whenever I fear something in my life, I always remember that nothing could possibly be as bad as losing my daughter. My rainbow pregnancy, which was wrought with complications and trauma, also added to my resilience.
You’ll Develop A New Appreciation For All Things Rainbow
Rainbows signify the joy you experience after such a dark and turbulent time of loss. You’ll find yourself wanting to pick out rainbow onesies, rainbow art, and other happy signs when you’re pregnant and after you’ve had your baby. It’s cool. Rainbows rock.
You’ll Have Lots Of Mixed Feelings
If you haven’t gathered from the other points yet, rainbow pregnancies and rainbow babies bring up a lot of emotions. I know I was both happy to be pregnant and also terrified and also cautious about getting attached (for fear of losing another). I also had mixed feeling about finding out I was having a boy and not a girl, but then I remembered none of that actually matters.
Your Baby Will Be An Incredibly Great Source Of Comfort
Once you have them in your arms, you will find so much comfort. Every little gaze, every time they reach out for you with their tiny fingers, and whenever they coo will impact you in a way you couldn't have possibly imagined. It’s all so sweet and you’ll fall heavily in love.
You Will Become Their Fiercest Defender
I’d say most if not all parents are fierce defenders of their children. But with rainbow parents, it’s kind of a two-fold scenario. They’ve experienced what it’s like to lose their child (or children) already, so they have a deeper understanding of what’s at stake. They will often be slightly more protective of their brood as a result (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).