Should I Tell My Child They Were My Rainbow Baby?

Watching your kid experience raindrops, caterpillars, or dandelions for the first time is a true joy of parenting. Unfortunately, parents also bear the burden of introducing children to the more sorrowful aspects of life as well. If your baby was born after a loss, you may wonder: should I tell my child they were a rainbow baby?

Dealing with loss in the face of new life can stir up complex emotions for many people. To give these parents a simple way to explain their situation, the term rainbow baby is used to refer to children born after a loss, as noted by Kicks Count. If a baby is lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death, then the child born afterward is considered the rainbow after the storm.

Deciding whether to tell your rainbow baby about the lost siblings, and when to reveal this news, is an intensely personal decision. For some families, in particular those who have struggled with infertility, the recognition of prior children is an important part of their story. In these cases, creating a newborn photo shoot that incorporates rainbow imagery may be fitting, as shown in the website for Woman's Day. When the rainbow baby is older, looking back over these photos together could offer a natural conversation opener about the past siblings.

If you do decide to tell your rainbow baby about the prior losses, it's important to keep the kid's developmental abilities in mind. After all, most adults have difficulty addressing the heartbreaking loss of miscarriage or stillbirth, so it's important to introduce the idea to your children in an understandable way. According to the website for Psychology Today, there is no concrete, one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to discussing death and loss with children. Your rainbow baby's temperament, age, and cognitive abilities will inform your decision to discuss this topic.

Because no one knows your kid like you do, though, chances are you'll know when the time is right to bring up these prior children. And if you decide to wait until your kid is much older to broach the subject, or even just keep the story of these previous children to yourself entirely, that's also understandable. Whether you discuss the children who came before regularly, or decide to save that conversation for much later (if at all), you will know what's best for your own family.