After a storm, a rainbow may appear – a symbol of hope. When we are fortunate enough to see a rainbow, we’re awed by the breathtaking colors. You might be less familiar with the term rainbow babies. A rainbow baby is an infant born after a tragedy such as a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Needless to say, such a tragic event casts a dark cloud in the proverbial sky. The birth of a child afterward carries with it hope and the same feelings that go with witnessing a beautiful rainbow. A new life has emerged from tragedy.
Some women undergo multiple miscarriages before bringing a healthy, new life into the world. After months and years of frustration, disappointment, and heartbreak, a new baby, a rainbow infant, is cause for celebration. The path to delivering a healthy child is a long one for some women and when a rainbow baby enters the world, you long to share the experience. A rainbow baby shows there is life after loss and hope for the future.
According to the American Psychological Association, a miscarriage can impact a woman and her family for years after the event. The blow of a miscarriage or loss of a baby is often underestimated by those who have never experienced it. What they don’t realize is a mom-to-be often bonds with an unborn baby early in pregnancy.
Also contrary to popular belief, women who lose a baby early in pregnancy often grieve as much as those who lose one later on. The impact of any pregnancy-related loss can linger, no matter when it occurs. It’s not uncommon for women who have lost a baby to feel guilty or blame themselves for the loss. In fact, on the stress scale, loss of a pregnancy qualifies as a significant life crisis. Some couples fear trying again, believing that the second baby will meet a similar fate.
As most women point out, a rainbow baby doesn’t replace the baby that was lost but is a cherished birth that arises out of tragedy – and that’s a cause for celebration. The online world has adopted the concept of rainbow babies too. Women take part in special online forums and groups to share their experiences and, just as importantly, photos of their rainbow baby. These photos often portray bright colors symbolic of what you would find in a natural rainbow.
Rainbow babies are uniquely special, as are all babies that come into the world. Moms who deliver a rainbow baby at long last have the experience of bringing a healthy baby into the world. A rainbow baby symbolizes life and renewed hope for a couple who once knew the pain of loss.
American Psychological Association. “Miscarriage and Loss”
J Perinat Educ. 2002 Spring; 11(2): 33–40. doi: 10.1624/105812402X88696