It's no secret that having a new baby brings with it an undeniable sense of joy, hope, and purpose into a family. Sometimes, however, that joy is offset by the pain of a loss, making the baby's presence feel all the more important. You might have heard the terms "rainbow baby" or "sunshine baby" tossed around by parents or in the media, but what do they mean exactly? What is a sunshine baby and what makes them so special?
Although the term rainbow baby is more common than sunshine baby, there is actually a significant difference between the two. Both refer to the way a new baby can soothe the pain of a loss, but the timing of the loss is where the terms diverge. According to the Baby Center community forums, a sunshine baby is a baby that is born before the loss of a loved one, whereas a rainbow baby is born after the loss of a baby or loved one.
Of course, parenting a rainbow baby is special from the moment parents find out they're expecting — not that every pregnancy isn't special and exciting, there is just a heightened combination of anticipation, excitement, and fear after already experiencing a loss. Whereas a sunshine baby doesn't take on same comforting roll as a rainbow baby until a loss is experienced after they're already conceived or born. A sunshine baby will turn into even more of a godsend, bringing the family hope and comfort with the loss of a loved one.
It might seem a bit ominous to have a term for a baby before the family has even experienced a loss, but in reality, the term "sunshine baby" will take on a very needed and important role once the loss happens, be it expected or unexpected.
Of course, each and every baby has a significant role in their families lives, but in the face of loss, a baby takes on a whole new sense of comfort and security for a grieving family and their presence should never be taken for granted.