"At that moment, the world as I knew it came to a halt and as I slowly moved forward in my life, my surrounds had forever changed."
A rainbow baby is a baby that is born after a significant loss – whether it be a miscarriage,stillbirth or infant death. They are the beautiful and hopeful rainbow that comes after the storm.
I had my first two daughters in blissful ignorance about all that could go wrong in a pregnancy. My third pregnancy ended at 14 weeks at a scan which showed a lifeless baby - a moment ingrained in my heart and memory forever.
At that moment, the world as I knew it came to a halt and as I slowly moved forward in my life, my surrounds had forever changed. 8 months after that baby would have been born, I was blessed with a healthy 'rainbow' baby. These beautiful little creatures that come into the world after such a heartbreak bring so many emotions, both wonderful and sombre.
The fear I experienced was crippling and all-consuming. Something was just torn from me with no warning. I had never experienced such a feeling then that hopelessness. I was adrift in my own life. I felt empty. And the fear that it would happen again was agonising. I feared losing my two older children. I was afraid when I fell pregnant again that I would suffer another loss. When giving birth to my little rainbow, I was so anxious something would happen and that my hope and excitement would be ripped away that my birth was clouded with fear. I truly believed I could not survive another heartbreak.
Reduce the pace. Speak with your child in an unhurried way, pausing frequently. Wait a few seconds after your child finishes before you begin to speak. Your own easy relaxed speech will be far more effective than any advice such as “slow down” or “try it again slowly. For some children, it is also helpful to introduce a more relaxed pace of life for awhile.
When my rainbow was placed into my arms after coming into the world, the relief and joy I succumbed to was indescribable. I had my two girls before this bub and their births were perfect. I felt overwhelmed and it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. But having a baby after losing one? That joy and happiness is something else altogether. I didn't care what gender she was. I didn't look to see how much hair she had or what her little face looked like. I closed my eyes and I felt her breathing. I felt her heart and I listened to her cry. I wondered if she was her own being or if the soul of my lost babe had come back. I held her and my husband held me. It was heaven. Joy in its purest form.
After losing my baby, I felt so exposed and vulnerable. I realised that I really didn't have any control of what could happen to me. Things can change in an instant and I hated that. If I allowed myself to feel happy and excited, I immediately felt too open to becoming hurt. This vulnerability pathed the way for fear. It is only now that I have my beautiful baby girl, that I can accept that being open and vulnerable to the world and circumstances out of my control is the only way to live. Trying to close myself off from being vulnerable meant closing off joy and hope and it wouldn’t allow me to be the mother I want to be. I understand now, the hurt and loss I may feel again won't be easier because I braced myself. Closing off myself would only take away the excitement in life.
By acknowledging small improvements in behaviour you make it easier for big improvements to follow.
When you suffer such a profound loss, you gain an understanding of what you have. To gain this realisation is a true gift and can help you find solace in a time of sadness. I carry the child I lost with me throughout my life. I bring meaning to what happened by drawing back of the memories of heartbreak and being happy in those times when I would usually struggle. Days entrenched in tears and tantrums can be made a little softer when I step back and remember that although my little sass-mouthing tyrants are making me go grey, I wouldn't have it any other way. The love of having a child and the heartbreak of losing one have made me who I am. And although I wouldn't go as far to say I wouldn't change a thing, I know that I am a better person and an even better mum because of it.