There's an entire movement around pregnancy and infant loss these days, and one of the biggest things to come out of it is a term: 'Rainbow baby' refers to a child born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death.
Being pregnant after a loss can be an emotionally loaded experience — and it's something hard to understand unless you've been through it yourself. Some moms feel even more fearful throughout subsequent pregnancies, which is a completely understandable thing when you consider what they've experienced. Many moms are filled with an even deeper sense of gratitude while carrying their rainbows. Every experience is different, but one thing is clear: Rainbow pregnancies are incredibly special...but they can also be scary and overwhelming.
We asked a few women what being pregnant with a rainbow baby is really like. Here's what they had to say:
You may take things day by day
'I wasn't prepared to have my prayers answered. One of the hardest parts of this fertility journey is the 'crossing over.' Since becoming pregnant I’ve been straddling two worlds, not sure where I belong. After experiencing loss, uncertainty, fertility battles and heartbreak, and then getting our miracle baby, I’ve had a hard time connecting, I’ve had fear of what happened before, fear of hurting others in their journey, fear of loving this baby because I might lose it, too. While I am overjoyed, I also know what it's like to have dreams dashed and so I'm stepping into this uncertainty feeling so thankful and blessed and taking it one day at a time.' - Jenna, @jennakutche
It can make embracing the pregnancy tough
'At first, there is an extreme amount of stress, worry and caution. When I found out about this pregnancy around five weeks, I was an emotional wreck! Even my own sister couldn’t understand why I was crying when I told her the news. But after being through so many losses, it was almost like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I truly couldn’t allow myself to embrace the pregnancy until I was in my second trimester and beyond that, because of having to go through IVF with PGD three times for my one successful pregnancy, I wanted to get through the amnio before I was fully invested in it. there has been so much joy. I just know that this pregnancy happened for a reason. This baby wanted to be here, and has already made his mark in our lives in a way I hope someday he will understand. I think I’ve been cautiously optimistic throughout the entire pregnancy. Fairly early on, I had decided that whatever happened with this pregnancy, it was out of my hands, so I’ve tried to enjoy every moment as much as I can. Now in my third trimester, I cannot wait to meet this baby!' - Monica, @monicahiggins
Sometimes it helps to get help
'I was anxious and worried the ENTIRE pregnancy! It was hard to stay present and grounded in the moment because I was so focused on the future, my due date and getting through this pregnancy. I was in therapy at the time, and it really helped me keep my stress level within the 'normal' range. clinically, it’s so important for people to be given time and space to grieve the loss of their baby, especially when they are often hearing from those around them that they simply need to get pregnant again and they will feel better.' - Heidi, @heidimcbaincounseling
A rainbow baby may help you heal
'It can be scary. You may be apprehensive with every doctor appointment. At the same time, it can be healing and exciting. When I was pregnant with my first child who was born term, I felt fearless, innocent. When I was pregnant the third time, after a loss, I was hopeful but cautious. The innocence was gone. I was pregnant again after she was born but I had another loss. The fear was greater the second time around. I thought it was just an anomaly the first time but the fear was deeper the second time. But the joy when he was born, so very healing.' - Leigh Anne
You may feel more grateful than you could have imagined
'Losing a child is the single worst thing a mother can go through. Being pregnant again is both exciting and terrifying. You know how precious life is and want to fully embrace this pregnancy, but also can't help but fear the worst. You never truly stop mourning the child you lost, even when you are so excited for this new baby. Even with all the support in the world, it can be extremely lonely. So, waking up each morning and being thankful is sometimes the biggest challenge - but is also the biggest reward. Each day I thank God and Liam (Our angel) for giving me and this baby another day and in doing so, is how I continue surviving.' - Ashley, @forgetmeknotblog
Pregnant with a rainbow baby? Congratulations! This is such a special time. We know it doesn't take away your loss, but we also know how sweet the rainbow after the storm is. Enjoy every second of it, Mama.
Check out our Rainbow Elephant print for your Rainbow Baby!