Rekindling Hope When You’re Expecting A Child After Losing A Baby. The concept of a rainbow baby is among the most beautiful and empowering aspects of modern day parenting. A shining beacon of hope for the most distraught parents, it is a long-overdue acknowledgement of the worst parenting experience of all - the death of a baby.
A rainbow baby represents hope for parents who have lost their previous baby to miscarriage, prematurity, stillbirth, SIDS or anything else. It is the baby born right after one has been lost. A rainbow baby is different from a sunshine baby, and is often also known as a spirit baby because it is said to carry the spirit of the baby born before it.
One of the most gruesome part of losing a baby is that there’s no clear and healthy way to grieve for the loss. Marriages often fall apart after the demise of a baby. The guilt and need to blame someone/something eats into the relationship between grieving parents. Unlike the loss of a family member, this is a loss experienced directly only by the parents. While everyone else may be extremely sympathetic towards them, the parents are the only ones actually feeling the loss.
After losing a baby, some couples opt to try again and they’re often blessed with another baby. The anxiety, pain and stress of having a baby after losing one can be dangerous to the mother’s as well as the baby’s life. The concept of a rainbow baby can help massively in dealing with such situations.
A rainbow baby is said to have a guardian angel - the baby born and lost before it. The belief is that the spirit of the previously demised child or children is present in the rainbow or spirit baby’s pre- and post-natal life. The deceased baby plays the role of this baby’s guardian, watching over and ensuring the safety of its younger sibling.
The concept has helped countless couples hold on to the lost life and give it a place in the family. This is not something they have had a way of doing in the past. Since the little life may never have existed for long enough to become a part of anybody else’s life, the parents would have no way of sharing their grief. They have months of memories attached to the deceased baby that they can’t openly grieve for or express. When the baby is given a specific form and role, it becomes easier to properly grieve for the death of a baby.
Expecting parents are primed for happiness and satisfaction. They’re ready to take on new roles and make massive changes and sacrifices for their newborns. When the baby dies, it therefore causes way more profound grief and pain than the death of any other loved one. A new baby coming to life in this background is then in many ways like a rainbow that typically appears after a storm. Rainbows are a sign that in spite of the utter devastation of a storm, better times lie ahead. Similarly, a rainbow baby is the bearer of hope that even after losing a baby, there is hope for a happy future.
There are endless ways to celebrate a rainbow baby honouring and involving the elder sibling it should have had. Indulging in these celebratory rituals may be frowned upon as ‘excessive’ or “unnecessary” be certain elements of society. However, parents must remember to do what they need to for themselves without being bothered by such inconsiderate opinions. Here’s to celebrating the rainbow babies of the world and to cherishing the short lives of the siblings-turned-guardian-angels they’ll never meet.