You might be a pregnant woman right now or just a curious individual who has heard of the word “rainbow baby” and is dying to know what it means. You must have seen the word in a picture in your social media feed of a pregnant woman, rainbow decorations and a rainbow baby announcement adorning the pregnant woman’s background. It piqued your curiosity, and now you’re here, reading an article that resulted from your Google search “rainbow baby meaning.”
The good news is we have all the information you’ll need. So, keep on reading to find out.
What is a Rainbow Baby?
The word and concept of a rainbow are often associated with positivity, inclusivity, and belongingness. So, when you hear the word “rainbow baby,” you can’t exactly pin its meaning, but you can assume that it is something positive.
If you’ve made the same assumption, then you are halfway to getting a clue about what a rainbow baby is. To explain what this term means, first you have to understand one of the most associated concepts with this term. That is pregnancy loss.
Miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, or blighted ovum – all different forms of pregnancy loss – all equally traumatic experiences for parents, especially mothers. Some say the grief that follows the loss of a baby is even longer than any other type of loss.
And, it doesn’t matter whether the mother lost the baby early on in the pregnancy or later – the feeling is the same – an immense kind of pain that is often hard to describe because that‘s how painful it was. It can become so traumatising that some women who have experienced it no longer want to have children or get pregnant.
What you need to understand about this situation is that it’s actually pretty common. We’re saying this not to downplay that kind of grief but to let you know that if and when it happens to you, there are women who can understand the exact kind of pain you are feeling. So, although it will feel like you are alone, you’re not. Women who have experienced the same loss will never invalidate your pain.
So, we’ve cleared up what pregnancy loss is, but how does this relate to rainbow babies? We said it was something positive. Well, it is, because a rainbow baby is a child born after their parents have experienced pregnancy loss. Much like how a rainbow appears after some dreadful rain, the rainbow baby comes to the lives of grieving parents as a gift or, in most cases, an angel.
But, why is it important to talk about rainbow babies?
It’s because having a rainbow pregnancy is often a big bag of mixed emotions. On one hand, you are grieving the loss of your baby and on the other hand celebrating the birth of another. And with mental health becoming more important today, it’s vital that you know what to expect when you’re having a rainbow baby.
What to Expect In a Rainbow Pregnancy
Image Source: iStock
First off, you’ll experience a whirlwind of mixed emotions. You’re more vulnerable when you’re pregnant, so these thoughts will make themselves at home in your mind. It’s grief, excitement, nervousness, fear, guilt, and anxiety. We know what grief and excitement are for. But, why is there nervousness, fear, guilt, and anxiety?
There’s nervousness, fear, and anxiety, because you were traumatised from your last pregnancy and are scared you might experience another loss. So, this fear might cause you to be extra cautious (even paranoid) this time around. And, you also might feel guilty because your excitement for another baby might look like a betrayal for grieving the loss of a child.
Heightened Appreciation for the Journey
For mums who are pregnant with their rainbow babies now, they (or you, if you’re going through one too) might remember the first time they were pregnant and absolutely hated all the cons that came with pregnancy, such as nausea, sudden mood shifts, frequent feeling of tiredness, bloating.
But with a pregnancy following a miscarriage or a stillbirth, some women think of those dreaded things differently – even appreciating them because they further validate the fact that their pregnancy is normal. That it will not be another loss.
And for the pros that come with pregnancy, an even higher appreciation for them is experienced while being pregnant with a rainbow baby. Those kicks become even more precious now. Seeing your baby through the ultrasound machine brings on the waterworks. And such experiences enrich the journey even more.
At Risk of Postpartum Depression or PTSD
As described earlier, pregnancy loss is a loss like no other. So, you can’t be expected to be the same right after. You are definitely not exempted from not feeling that trauma once you get pregnant again. So, while you worry about your pregnancy and doing all that is necessary to keep your baby alive, you should never forget to take care of yourself too.
In this day and age, depression is no longer an unfamiliar concept to us. So, whenever anyone mentions the D word, we take it seriously, because if we don’t, it might lead to the loss of another life. So, if you are going through a rainbow pregnancy, don’t ignore the signs of postpartum depression or PTSD.
The Impact Of Miscarriage, Understanding The Loss
Cryptic Pregnancy: Is It Possible to Be Pregnant and Not Know It?
Pregnant After A Stillbirth And Scared? Here’s What To Do
How to Deal with a Rainbow Pregnancy
Given everything we’ve said you might experience during this round of pregnancy, you ought to make preparations.
Make Sure You Have a Solid Support System
This means reaching out to your husband, your family
, and your friends and asking them to help you should you experience any moment of instability.
If you feel that your partner, relatives, and friends might not be able to give you the support that you need, reach out to professionals; they might be able to tell you what you need.
Talk to mental health professionals, go to counselling, or go to support groups. Now is not the time to act brave and endure your feelings of fear and anxiety. Get the help that you will need ready on your speed dial, so you won’t have regrets later.
In the beautiful digital age we live in, so many tools and resources have become more available to us that will help avoid bad outcomes. That includes pregnancy loss. You can ask your OB for their recommendations of tools and tests
that you can take to check if your baby is going to full-term.
On that note, do not be afraid to bombard your OB with questions. They (should) know about your history and the impact of this rainbow baby on your mental peace. So, they will answer your questions.
This is advice that applies to pregnant mums whether they are having rainbow babies or not. The idea that you have to be a selfless person once you become a mother is an ancient mindset.
When mummies take care of themselves, they can take care of everybody else. So, if you feel the need to take breaks, sleep all day, go on a staycation, or indulge in mani-pedis, by all means, go for it.
At this point, you should already have a better understanding of the concept of a rainbow baby and what to expect if you’re having one. And even if you don’t ever experience pregnancy loss or give birth to a rainbow baby, we hope that if another picture of a pregnant woman with a rainbow baby announcement makes its way to your social media feed again, you’d know what to feel and how to see that pregnant woman.
Image Source: iStock
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.