9 Things I Won't Expect My Rainbow Baby To Fix

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It’s hard to lose a baby, but it’s also hard to have another baby afterwards. When I lost my daughter, I didn’t know how to go on living and everything was a long, hard struggle. Not long after I lost her, though, I got pregnant again. As I watched my belly grow, I had so many thoughts running through my mind about my little rainbow. However, and rest assured, I knew there were certain things I didn't expect my rainbow baby to fix for me.

Parents sometimes project a lot of themselves, including their dreams, onto their children. Rainbow babies or not (rainbow babies being the babies that are born after a loss), there will come a time when you’ll try to coax your daughter to become a baseball great, or your son to become a famous singer. We all want success for our kids, sure, but we should allow them to make their own decisions and carve their own paths towards whatever success, to them, looks like.

The same goes for parents who sometimes see kids as a way to remedy what’s wrong in their lives. Children are many things, but a cure all they are not. So, in my opinion, it’s important to remember not to put so much pressure or responsibility on rainbow babies . It’s not up to them to make everything better for those of us who have suffered a loss. Instead, it’s up to us to make sure they are happy, healthy, and cared for. With that in mind, here's what I didn't, and won't, expect my precious rainbow baby to fix for me. Ever.

My Grief

Sometimes it seems like people think having a rainbow totally absolves you from feeling any more grief over the loss of your previous child. This is, of course, completely and totally bogus. Grief comes in waves, and the grief of losing a child is something you hold in your heart forever.

Your rainbow baby is not a replacement child. They cannot and will not make you feel 100 percent again.

My Guilt

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One aspect of losing your baby is feeling a strong sense of guilt. Even though reality will tell you otherwise, you can't help but feel as though you caused their death. Even when there’s absolutely no way it could have been even remotely your fault, you will still fear that it was. Your rainbow baby will not help you get rid of this guilt, just because they are alive and well.

My Anxiety About Being A Mom

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I’ve always had anxiety, but when I lost my daughter it became nearly impossible to deal with. It also grew with the birth of my son, since I knew I had to do all in my power to keep him alive and well. My son is not responsible for helping me alleviate this affliction.

My Birth-Related PTSD

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All of these reasons are more or less tied together by the death of my daughter. My son is not responsible for causing me to experience even more Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms since he was born. I had a very difficult delivery with him, which resulted in lots of trauma, but absolutely none of that was in his power to control.

My Birth Injuries

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My daughter was born premature, so she was too small to result in any injuries for me. My son, however, was quite large and resulted in lots of painful tearing. That said, it was not his fault in the least, nor is it his responsibility to make my body feel better.

Embodying The Hopes And Dreams For A Lost Sibling

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I had a lot of expectations about what it would be like to raise a daughter. When she died, though, that all went out the window, and when I found out I was having a son I felt conflicted. I knew the experience would likely be different, even if I tried to raise him neutrally.  After all, the world is not gender neutral.

Still, I should never project my hopes for my daughter onto my son.

My Relationship Issues

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Losing a child can be rough on a marriage. My partner and I have endured more than a few extreme ups and downs since losing our daughter. We are on a much better path these days, but even if we weren’t, it wouldn’t be on our son to fix these problems.

Making Me Happy

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In case you think having a child (rainbow or otherwise) will be the key to your happiness, stop right there. Having a baby doesn’t automatically “fix” your life. If anything, that life choice both complicates your existence and fills it with love. Parenthood, however, is not a cure-all for depression or sadness or for simply being jaded. I don’t expect my son to make me happy. He does bring me joy, yes, but he is not the key to making everything perfect in my life.

Making Me Feel Like A Good Mom

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Babies don’t come out of the womb giving a thumbs up and saying, “Good job, mom!” They cry, they pee and poop, and they sleep. A rainbow baby will not suddenly make you feel like now you’re a good mother because you have a baby that's alive. That is not your baby’s responsibility.

If you want to feel like a “good” mom, then put in the work. Make sure your child is cared for and loved on. Make sure their needs are all met. Give them the best shot at a good life. That is how you’ll feel like a good mom.