“The phrase ‘Rainbow Baby’ is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of colour, energy and hope.”
Many people may not know what the phrase ‘rainbow baby’ means. I know I certainly didn’t a few years ago. In simple terms, a rainbow baby is a baby that’s born after a miscarriage, still birth or infant loss. It’s the joy after the heartbreak. The brightness after the darkness. To me a rainbow baby symbolises hope, determination, strength and love.
Between 2011 – 2015 we suffered a heartbreaking 6 miscarriages, each one physically and emotionally draining. I’d never personally been aware of anyone to miscarry a baby so when it happened to me it was the unknown. Some people would offer sympathetic words but most just avoided the subject, not knowing what to say. I remember someone at work saying to me “you’ll get your rainbow baby one day, you just have to fight that little bit harder for it”. They were right, I’m a determined woman, so fight I did. And it all paid off when I became pregnant for the seventh time, via IVF, in September 2016.
I felt terribly guilty when I was pregnant this time around. I felt like I was betraying the memory of our six pregnancies before. I felt guilty for wanting to erase the heartache and replace it with joy. I felt like I should still have been grieving instead of actively trying to get pregnant for all those months. But I didn’t want the heartache to have been for nothing. I wanted to turn our sadness into happiness.
I realised it was OK to be afraid. It was OK to take it day by day. It was even OK to not get excited. I had learned, in the worst possible way, that nothing in life is guaranteed. But people taught me that it was also OK to have hope and look forward to the future.
There will always be a hole inside of me, aching for the life of my babies that never made it. I’ll always wonder what they would have looked like, what they would have grown up to become. I’ll never forget the babies that came before Max and one day we’ll tell him all about them, his brothers and sisters who were too precious to walk this earth. Because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have our very own rainbow baby, the most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen.