Rainbow Babies. If you haven’t heard the term, it’s one sometimes used to describe a baby that is born after a family has lost one too soon, just as a rainbow follows a storm. I’m actually not a big fan of the term. For me, I remember my youngest brother, at a very young age, asking my parents if they wished for the “other baby,” and I often wonder how I’ll answer that question if/when my son asks me the same. I wonder if the term puts something on a baby, before they even arrive, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I almost hate to share these thoughts “outloud,” as I know that the term Rainbow Babies is one that brings a lot of healing to many people. To be honest, I’m so glad it does. It’s just that for me, it doesn’t, but then again, can anything really and wholly heal the loss of a baby?
I recently, finally, got a decent picture of my three kids. As happy as I am to have it, and proud of myself for catching not just two, but all three of them, in the same picture, I noticed immediately that I feel uncomfortable calling it a picture of “all of my kids,” and I wonder if that will ever change. With all that has happened, I can’t help but think of the words of a friend who’s been there and said she wants to end “on a high note.” When you’re not sure what pregnancy may bring, or how far it will go, ending on a baby who made it sounds pretty good. So, while I’d love to have another, it’s unlikely we will. And while I’d like to have a “fourth,” my third is really my fifth.
Because when I look at the picture of my three kids, as much as I want to only see their beautiful smiles and the sunglasses on my wild middle child, I see who’s missing. I see the smiles, the sunglasses and those amazing baby cheeks, but in the middle of those faces, I see the two that aren’t there. I see Hattie and Emerson, or how I imagine they would be, and for a moment, I imagine a picture with five, not three, and all of the beautiful chaos that would come with the picture of five kids, ages 5 and under. Though our days seem crazy enough, how I long for the chaos of five. How I long for that picture. The closest we will ever come would be a picture of our three that made it standing at the cemetery near the names of the two that didn’t, and that picture will simply never be enough.
So, you see, my problem with the term Rainbow Babies isn’t always the term itself, but sometimes that the healing I’m looking for still hasn’t come, as the term seems to promise it will. My sweet boy means just as much to me today as he would have had we not lost two babies before him. And, as much as I hate to admit it, unlike some women, having another baby has actually made the grieving process harder for me, not easier. While I have no problems enjoying his sweet baby smiles, how he’s started baby talking, and his perfect baby toes, I have found, that two years down the road, the pain has not let up, and that having another baby makes me miss them more, not less. The thing with rainbows is that though they are beautiful, that beauty feels just out of reach. But just because the hope feels out of reach, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Maybe you were told that another baby would “fix you,” that you would feel better once you held another little one, that you would miss your lost baby less when the new one arrived. If that sounds all too familiar, but your feelings didn’t change, you’re not alone. It’s okay to still miss that baby, the one forever stuck in your heart. It’s okay if it’s two years, ten years, or twenty years later and you still hurt. It’s okay. And it’s even okay if you dream dreams where all of your babies made it. It’s okay to long for that picture. It’s okay to long for that chaos.
If you have lost a baby and you’d like a way to honor their memory, you can add your baby’s name to our Forever Wall by emailing their name and date of memory to info (at) twincitiesmomsblog (dot) com.