9 Things I Will Always Thank My Rainbow Baby For

Every single day my son provides me with endless love, beauty, and wonder. He also tests my patience, and can drive me a little batty on more than one occasion. It would be easy to get frustrated, sure, except for the fact that my son is a rainbow baby. He is my only living child, after having lost my first daughter. He taught me a form of gratitude I never knew, which is just one of the things I will forever thank my rainbow baby for.

This isn’t to say that my rainbow son is responsible for fixing anything in my life, including the insurmountable loss I experienced when my daughter passed due to prematurity. There’s no pressure, and never will be any pressure, on him to be the best at anything other than being himself. I am simply all kinds of thankful to know him, to know he exists, and to have him in my life. I had imagined such a different life for my daughter and I and, when she passed away, I felt empty and aimless. My son has been both an anchor and a set of new sails when I was being tossed around in the depths of the ocean of mourning and pain and despair. He’s held me in place, propelled me forward when I needed it, and his mere existence has made everything in my life better.

For this, and all the following reasons, I will forever be thankful to my son.

For Allowing Me To Experience A Full-Term Pregnancy...

After losing my daughter, I questioned whether or not I would ever give birth to another baby. Well, to a full-term baby. It was terrifying when I almost lost my son around the same gestation as my daughter, but he held on and he made it. He was 40 weeks and 2 days when I gave birth and, well, it was one hell of a trip.

...And A Second Chance At Giving Birth

My daughter’s birth was so unexpected, because I was just five months into my pregnancy. It was all whirlwind, and I was medicated almost immediately because I was experiencing tachycardia (meaning my heart was beating faster than normal).

The second time around I got to experience the full extent of my son’s labor and delivery, sans medication, and I am truly thankful for that once-in-a-lifetime moment.

For Fighting Hard To Stay Alive

My son had a rough start to life. In fact, according to his doctors he was pretty much "touch and go" during his first few days while he was in the NICU. Still, my little dude fought hard and stuck around and I am forever grateful.

For Letting Me Hug Him As Much As I Want

Since he’s only 3 years old, my kid still lets me hug on him plenty. It’s really the best thing ever. I know that’ll change as he gets older, but I’m hoping I can at least get the occasional hug in the future.

For Every Single Kiss He Ever Blows My Way

Nothing melts my heart faster than my son blowing me a kiss. I mean, I think most moms feel that way, right? Toddlers are just so damn cute.

For Bringing Joy Into A World That Had Gone Dark

Before I got pregnant with my son, I went into such a dark depression I never thought I would make it out alive. Everything felt hopeless and futile. While I was finally beginning to climb out of that hole prior to his conception, once I finally had him and brought him home, he really helped me find the perspective that had evaded me for so long. I’ve celebrated that light in my life ever since.

Please note that I am in no way suggesting babies are the cure for depression, because they definitely are not. Instead, I'm simply saying my son brought me a lot of happiness, which helped me on a personal level. If you are depressed or experiencing signs of depression, be sure to call your doctor immediately.

For His Patience When I Simply Can’t Be The Mom I Want To Be

I hate disappointing my son, but I know I do sometimes. While I am certainly better on a mental health level than I was after losing my daughter, I still struggle. There are still hard days. There's still an emptiness.

However, it’s almost like he knows it, understands it, and tries to find ways to push against it. More often than not he will go and play alone during my difficult days, giving me the space I truly need. That's incredible. He's incredible.

For His Ability To Make Me Slow Down & Pay Attention

I admit that I can often be fairly distracted. Between writing and meeting deadlines and keeping a semi-presentable home and working through my personal mental health issues and trying to stay active and be a good mom, sometimes I rush through things. That's usually when my son will grab me by the cheeks, look into my face, and smile. Then he brings me onto the floor to play, and I realize he is right: I need to slow down and appreciate the moment.

For Making Me Into The Best Possible Version Of Myself

My son has been an inspiration for me. He makes me want to be a better human, not just a better mom. Because of him (and my daughter), I started writing more and putting my work out there. Because of them, I have been published in publications I never would have dreamed of seeing my own byline in. Because of them, I was flown out to a conference on a scholarship. Because of them, I’ve traveled, for free, on assignments. Because of them, I am actually becoming a better yogi. Because of them, I am more honest and open about the things I know matter most. Because of them, I have become more politically active, because I know I can’t leave this world in shambles for my son. Because of them, I continue to work on myself each and every day.

For this, I am so, so grateful.