Photo by Natalia Karpovovy, Elena Gannenko
Rainbows bring hope and to see one in nature, many people feel revitalized, recharged, and calm.
One mom, Chasity Boatman, came across a series of photos on Pinterest this month, and felt inspired to share “rainbow babies” with her own social media pages. The pictures which inspired her show seven pregnant women each dressed in a different color of the rainbow, and another photo of the same women wearing white and holding babies wearing rainbow-colored outfits.
Boatman is an active blogger in the pregnancy and parenting communities, particularly in the miscarriage support teams. When she shared the images last week, they quickly went viral and inspired many families to post pictures and share stories of their own rainbow babies.
The term “Rainbow Babies” is used to describe children born after miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, or infant loss. Many times we won’t know if a child is a Rainbow Baby, because many families don’t share their experiences with those they’re close to. Many families are told to not announce their pregnancies until they’re past the first trimester because many losses can occur during the first twelve weeks.
Hopefully you have not experienced such terrible loss, but both Priya and I have met, talked to, hugged, and cried with parents who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or a child. My husband and I have even felt the horrible sting of the words from our obstetrician when I was expecting our first child – “We are sorry, Mrs. Harrison, but you are no longer pregnant.” They encouraged us to wait and try again in a few months.
I was devastated. I cried for days, took some time off from work, but couldn’t tell anyone why. I was at a charity benefit for a family friend and I just wanted to crawl under a table and cry when I saw other people with their babies. I was at the mall and saw parents yelling at their toddlers and I wanted to scream at them – didn’t they know how lucky they are to have a baby to love?
My story was a bit of a miracle, though – I felt like I was still pregnant even though the tests and sonograms said I wasn’t. I had a gut feeling everything was OK, and my husband started to worry that I was in denial. I called my OB and asked for more blood work and they said they’d do more testing “to set my mind at ease.”
My prayers were answered when the blood work came back as “typical for a 6-week fetus” and a follow-up sonogram showed the magical heartbeat of my own Rainbow Baby. The baby my doctor told me I miscarried is now in second grade and enjoys karate, soccer, and Cub Scouts.
I know my story is not of a physical loss, but the emotions of feeling the loss and wondering why things can’t be easy for everyone are still with me. I also know the joy of parenthood after feeling the loss and how much I appreciate all three of my children as a result. My sister put in such nice words, “Imagine everything you’ve ever wanted is stripped away – and then handed back to you – that’s what you went through.”
How wonderful that we are not alone in the loss and the joy. Moms, celebrate the Rainbow Babies because the storm is over and you can see the hope ahead.