What is a Rainbow Baby?
What's a Rainbow Baby?
There are a lot of terms you'll encounter when during pregnancy that you've never heard of because you've likely never been exposed to them before. Rainbow baby is one. This special term, rainbow baby, is given to babies born to parents who suffered the tragic loss of a child due to miscarriage or who had a child die shortly after birth. National Rainbow Baby Day takes place every year on June 5th. Please use this as a day to remember with your partner or family.
Where Did the Term Rainbow Baby Come From?
Rainbows have long been a symbol of hope and that's where the name rainbow baby comes from. After the sadness and grieving of a loss, you get a miracle. It's no wonder there's a special term and ways dedicated especially to celebrate this special life.
Rainbow baby applies to any baby that's conceived or born after the loss of another infant, whether from a miscarriage, SIDS, health issue, or stillbirth. Millions of mothers welcome these miraculous babies each year, and they're so special that they have their own coined term. They bring the light after darkness, giving parents hope once again.
If you are pregnant with a rainbow baby, congratulations! Here are a few things to consider that might be a little different for you from a traditional pregnancy.
Involving Your Doctor
If you change doctors between pregnancies, it's important to share your history with your new physician. Even if you've had a single miscarriage, it's something that they should be aware of, so they can help assuage your fears. If you lost a baby due to a chromosomal or defect, they can do early testing to determine if your current pregnancy is at risk for the same.
Be honest with your doctor about how you're feeling. Let them know how you're handling the pregnancy, your fears and emotions as your pregnancy progresses.
A Cacophony of Mixed Emotions
One thing's for certain when you're pregnant with your rainbow baby, you're likely to experience a mixed range of emotions. On one hand, you'll be elated that you're pregnant again. That's a reason for celebrating in itself, though nobody would blame you for waiting until after the first trimester to tell people you're expecting.
There's bound to be a lot of anxiety, too. When you come off the loss of a baby, whether it's during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth, it's only natural to be nervous about being pregnant again. The doubts and fears will undoubtedly take over your mind. If it starts affecting your quality of life, though this is a good time to let your doctor know so you can get the help you need. Sometimes, counseling can be a big help, especially during a time when your hormones are taking control.
You may ask yourself how you can celebrate the impending arrival of a rainbow baby when you recently grieved, but it's important to take the time to recognize that you do have something incredible to be happy about.
It's Important to Support Your Partner
This is equally true for both partners. The expectant mom will need the support of her partner to help her deal with the highs and lows that are sure to occur throughout the pregnancy. However, oftentimes men feel left out. They feel the loss as well in addition to sometimes feeling helpless. They need support from their partners as well.
The most important thing to do is to have an open line of communication. Each partner should feel comfortable talking to one another about all of the emotions that arise from anxiety and fear to excitement and nervousness. Not only will this keep one partner from feeling as though they're going through this experience alone, but it can also foster a stronger bond, which will come in very handy when the baby's born. A stronger relationship will make the journey into parenthood easier.
It's absolutely okay to celebrate this pregnancy, even though you've had a prior loss. With a good support system, both you and your partner will make it through, coming out with a stronger bond.
Supporting a Friend Having a Rainbow Baby
Maybe you have a friend who's gone through a loss and you're wondering what you can do for them. When you hear about their pregnancy it's great to be excited, but approach it cautiously, because they're likely feeling a strange mix of emotions.
One of the best things you can do as a friend is be there when they need someone to talk to. Reach out regularly through a phone call or text, let her know you've got her on your mind. You can even buy a gift to honor her rainbow baby, to help boost her spirit.
Honoring Your Losses
Some people think that just because you're pregnant now that you have to forget your past losses. This simply isn't true. Your excitement today doesn't erase your grief for babies you never got to hold or held for far too short of a time. Rather, it's important to honor these losses. There are a myriad of ways to do this, once you're comfortable doing so.
For example, if you have sonogram photos, it's okay to frame them and hang them up. It's okay to create a memory book for a baby you only got to be a parent to for days, weeks or months.
Then, later on, when your rainbow baby grows up, you can share these memories with them, too, ensuring their memory and place in the family lives on.
Rainbow Baby Announcement
It may take you some time to come to terms with spilling the secret that you're expecting — partially because you don't want to jump the gun and also because you don't want to create those awkward family moments. However, when you decide the time is right, there are a multitude of ways you can share the joy with those close to you.
- Smoke Bombs — Gender Reveal Smoke Bombs are commonly used in a gender reveal, but you can be really creative with these when celebrating a rainbow baby. Instead of doing the traditional blue or pink to represent the gender, go for a rainbow backdrop. Find smoke bombs in the different colors of the rainbow and set them off in the background, while you and your partner smile it up for the camera.
- Rainbow Handprints — if you have children already, this is a great way to get them involved. Paint their hands in the shades of a rainbow, then have them press their hands on your belly, creating rainbow prints on your baby bump. It makes for a great photo opportunity as well.
- Social Media Posts — when you're revealing the pregnancy online, you can be as creative as you want. A rainbow-colored pair of baby shoes, for example, laid out with a chalkboard announcing you're expecting is a cute way to get the message across. Others do a maternity shoot with a rainbow dress on or a rainbow heart sticker affixed to their belly. This is one place where your creativity will reach so many at once, so kick it up a notch!
- Balloon Box — what better way to let your family know you're expecting than by gifting them a box of balloons in all shades of the rainbow? Invite them over and have the box sitting in the living room. Think of the gender reveal parties, but this time you're just announcing that you're expecting. For added fun, attach a pair of baby booties at the end of the strings, just in case they don't get the message right away.
These are just a few ways that you can make the blessed announcement that you're expecting after a loss. Keeping it upbeat will encourage your friends and family to kick caution to the wind when it comes to approaching you. After all, you want them to be happy for you, let's face it, positivity goes a long way in boosting your overall attitude and outlook.
Baby Shower/Gender Reveal Party Ideas
When you're holding a baby shower for someone who's having a rainbow baby, you have the perfect theme already! Rainbow streamers, cake and decor are so easy to find and it makes for a colorful party backdrop.
If you're holding a gender reveal party, the rainbow theme is still a great one to use. It can be used in decorations like a baby shower. If you're doing a cake reveal, you'll want to have the frosting showcase the rainbow, while the cake or cupcakes have the gender-appropriate color filling inside.
Celebrating After the Baby Arrives
After the baby's born, you'll definitely be in the mood to celebrate. One of the perfect ways to create memories is to have a rainbow baby photoshoot. If it's a girl have a rainbow tutu or outfit created, with a baby boy a cute vest, bowtie or even suspenders make the perfect props.
It's important, also, to find a photographer who knows the intricacies of working with parents of a rainbow baby. It's important to be delicate and sensitive at the same time since it's likely to be an emotional shoot.
Rainbow babies are truly special for the parents who bring them into this world. After a period of grieving, there's finally a light to look forward to, albeit with a little bit of nervousness. In the end, though, they are a blessing — the hope after the storm.