As a small business focused on celebrating the joy of pregnancy and parenthood, we receive messages from many Moms. While most write to us with happy news or feedback, the reality is that we also receive heartbreaking stories of loss or infertility.
While many suffer in silence, it is important for women going through this to know they are not alone. The American Pregnancy Association estimates that 10-25 percent of pregnancies result in loss, so it is sadly a more common experience than most realize. We dedicate this blog to women who have battled this storm. We hope you get your rainbow baby soon and find strength in the sharing of other similar stories.
Photo Credit: @specialk_3
What is a Rainbow Baby?
If you've ever seen a rainbow appear in the sky after a turbulent storm, you know how magical its vivid colors can be. For parents who have experienced the loss of a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or other natural causes, a baby born soon after can bring a similar light and joy to their lives after a particularly dark time.
These special children born or adopted after a pregnancy loss are called "rainbow babies" because of the healing impact they can have on parents' lives. The name also highlights the rainbow as a symbol of luck and hope. This term has gained greater popularity on social media, with rainbow baby communities cropping up throughout the country.
August 22nd Is National Rainbow Baby Day
The first National Rainbow Baby Day was launched in 2018 by a website called "What the Fertility." Since then, it has become an annual holiday in the United States to commemorate these magical rainbow babies.
It is a day to raise awareness and destigmatize pregnancy loss while also celebrating the new life that comes after. National Rainbow Baby Day is a chance for moms struggling to connect with others who have been in similar circumstances and now have a beautiful story to share.
How To Celebrate National Rainbow Baby Day
Whether you are new to the rainbow baby community or have been involved for some time, this day can be very emotional. That is perfectly normal and okay! Don't feel pressured to post your story if you aren't comfortable. It can simply be a day to listen to others, acknowledge your angel and rainbow babies, and take comfort in knowing you are not alone.
For those still struggling with loss, reading other mothers' accounts can offer hope that you too might be able to conceive again one day. However you decide to celebrate or not celebrate is entirely up to you.
Photo by Anna Baranova from Pexels
Here are some ideas if you prefer to celebrate privately:
- Honor your angel babies by planting a tree, lighting a candle, getting flowers, releasing balloons, hosting a naming ceremony, or writing a note to your angel baby.
- Take a moment with your partner and family to reflect on what your rainbow baby means to you.
- Acknowledge the path your beautiful family has taken to get here.
- Make an anonymous donation to a pregnancy loss charity like First Candle, Tommy's Funds, or the Baby Quest Foundation.
- Purchase from companies that support pregnancy loss education and funding.
If choosing to celebrate publicly, your story will likely impact someone going through something similar. Here are some ways to do that:
- Post your story on social media using the hashtag #NationalRainbowBabyDay.
- Advocate for education about pregnancy loss within your community or online.
- Join a support group for rainbow baby families in your neighborhood or on social media.
- Contribute to grants that assist others with fertility treatments.
No matter how or if you choose to celebrate this memorable holiday, be sure to treat yourself kindly today. Mixed emotions can arise, and you need to give yourself space to feel them all freely. Let today be the beginning of a new routine to celebrate the loss of your angel baby and the new life of your beautiful rainbow baby well past this commemoration.
Mixed Emotions Of Having a Rainbow Baby
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
While getting pregnant after a loss might seem like an entirely positive experience, it can bring mixed emotions. This is quite normal. Relief, excitement, and joy can sometimes be accompanied by feelings of anxiety, guilt, or even grief – and that's okay! Complex emotions are a fact of life, so lean on your partner, consult a medical professional, and touch base with other moms who share similar experiences.
As more women open up about their pregnancy journeys, it is clear that feelings of self-doubt or fear that others might think you've moved on from losing your child are widespread. The joy in welcoming a new rainbow baby does not replace feelings of grief for the loss of your angel baby.
If regular medical appointments bring about heightened emotions and anxiety, please know that this is also a shared experience for many mothers-to-be during rainbow pregnancies. Doctor visits and routine labs might feel more threatening given the circumstances. Try your best to follow the doctor's advice and take time to listen to your own needs. Ask as many questions as you deem necessary, and make your health and well-being a priority.
On the plus side, rainbow pregnancies might allow you to feel a greater sense of relief for less typically enjoyable moments during pregnancy, such as morning sickness. These milestones are important, and if you gain a greater understanding, happiness, or comfort from them, that is certainly something to be celebrated.
Honoring The Loss Of A Child
Grief after a pregnancy loss can be particularly intense. Experts agree it is crucial to honor that grief and share with others the conflicting feelings of joy and fear you may feel when getting pregnant again.
If it helps to honor the loss with a funeral or memorial service, do so. While you may not be given the opportunity in a traditional sense, consider holding a service for you and your partner, even if it is an informal one in the privacy of your own home.
No matter what happens, know that your rainbow baby is not a replacement for your loss, and this beautiful new life will not take the place of your angel baby in your heart. Your angel baby will always be with you, in your mind, heart, and spirit.
New Bill For Pregnancy Loss Leave
Earlier this year, New Zealand approved legislation offering paid leave after baby loss, joining a small but growing group of countries that acknowledge the need for pregnancy bereavement. In response, Senator Tammy Duckworth and Representative Ayanna Pressley have proposed a similar bill in the United States called the Support Through Loss Act.
If passed, this legislation would compel workplaces to offer at least three days of paid leave to any employee who has suffered a pregnancy loss while establishing a $45 million investment in miscarriage research and related community education. This bill would also offer protections and resources to those who have endured significant challenges in growing their families, such as a failed adoption arrangement or an unsuccessful fertility procedure.
"Pregnancy loss should be met with care, compassion, and support," expressed Pressley in a joint press release. "It is a common experience, but many struggle in silence due to the lack of awareness and cultural stigma. Our bill sends a message to families that they are not alone, and would support those experiencing the loss of a pregnancy by providing them with the resources, workforce supports, and care necessary to recover and heal." We applaud this effort and couldn't agree more with the message.
Helpful Resources for Moms
If you are struggling with the aftermath of a miscarriage or anxiety from a new pregnancy, don't be afraid to ask for some extra support. The loss of an infant can sometimes lead to an increased risk of postpartum depression in women. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a close friend, a family member, or a therapist can be a big help.
Just know that whatever you are feeling, your emotions are valid, and you are NEVER alone. There are support groups in every corner of the internet, and many hospitals or birthing centers offer resources.
Here are some of our favorite support resources:
- The Compassionate Friends
- Bereaved Parents of the USA
- Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
- International Stillborn Alliance
Why Rainbow Babies Are Special
Photo Credit: @thebellybundle
Rainbow babies are a wonderful gift bringing hope and healing into parents' lives following the storm of pregnancy loss. These miracle babies are treasured reminders to parents who have endured loss and a beautiful example of the resilience of women.
When things get hard, whether it's feeding or sleeping challenges or just a rough day, take a deep breath. Step back and remember how blessed you are to have your rainbow baby.
When the time is right and your rainbow baby is old enough, don't be afraid to share your story with them and let them know how special they are to you.
Pregnancy Announcements for a Rainbow Baby
Photo by Alex Jackman on Unsplash
Announcing a rainbow baby can be difficult, and parents might be cautiously optimistic in sharing the good news. Some parents may be excited to spread the word right away, while others will wait until the second trimester or later.
Celebrate this moment; there are plenty of fun and creative ways to announce your rainbow baby to the world when you are ready.
Here are some unique ways to announce your precious rainbow baby:
- Paint a rainbow on your tummy
- Draw a rainbow on the ground with sidewalk chalk
- Take a family photo with flags or balloons in the colors of the rainbow
- Use rainbow-colored smoke bombs in the background
- Place a rainbow stacking toy on your belly
- Wait for an actual rainbow to appear in the sky and snap away
There is something extraordinary about rainbow babies, and there is no one way to celebrate their arrival or honor the angel babies who came before them. This National Rainbow Baby Day, take the time and space necessary to experience your emotions fully and remember to be kind to yourself.