Yesterday was National Rainbow Baby Day, and as I reflected so many different things came up for me. If you aren’t familiar with that term, it means the living child you had after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. In a sense, it is a day to celebrate the beautiful rainbow that appears after the storm. It is a very emotional day for me having a Rainbow Baby my self. It is a day of very conflicting feelings and thoughts. Actually, most every day is with my Rainbow baby. Please note as you read this, that I don’t speak for every mother who has a Rainbow Baby, only for myself.
I love the idea of a day to celebrate the living breathing miracle that I thought would never be! It is a day to reflect on just how miraculous her existence is, and just how thankful I am for it. Her birth definitely was a rainbow in the midst of my greatest storm. I could cry a million tears of joy, and smile a million smiles, and it could never express the gratitude I have for my Rainbow Baby. But it is not only a day to express my gratitude for my living child. It is also a day to reflect on my great loss.
I’ve heard many people say that now that I have my rainbow baby, I should be all good! My heart should be full, and I should just be thankful that I was able to become a mother at all. I hear you. I am thankful. I am thankful in a way that most couldn’t even imagine. My heart is so full. My heart could explode because of how full it is with love for my precious girl. I’m not “all good” however.
Call me selfish, call me ungreatful, call me whatever you want, but having a Rainbow Baby didn’t fix me. I wanted all those babies to be here in my arms. I wanted to see their faces, and hear their voices, and nurture them, and love them. I wanted it all. It didn’t heal me having a Rainbow Baby. Only God can do that, and that takes time. You see, it was a Rainbow in the midst of the storm. My Rainbow didn’t erase, or even stop the storm. It didn’t erase my loss of two precious babies before her when I had Lydia. It didn’t erase all the pain I felt, and all the tears I cried, and all the prayers I couldn’t even find words for. And guess what? When I miscarried again AFTER the birth of my first Rainbow Baby, the loss wasn’t any easier to bear. I could never expect her to bear the responsibility of healing my heart, and to suggest that is the case is ludicrous.
I’m sorry that it makes some people uncomfortable to recognize that I am grieving the loss of my 3 babies I never got to hold, all while exploding with excitement for the girl I do get to hold. I’m sorry they can’t understand how conflicting it is to love a little girl so much, and be so incredibly thankful for her, all while being so extremely sad longing for those other babies. But that is my reality, and millions of other women around the world. I am not complaining about any of it, I just want to be free to experience all of these emotions and feelings and thoughts at the same time, without catching grief about it from people who don’t understand.
Oh, and while I am on the subject of complaining, can we please stop the judgement?
Let me explain. You see, since I have a rainbow baby, I’ve heard I am not allowed to ever talk about anything but the joys of motherhood. In fact, every single second of it should be a joy to someone like me, because I should just be thankful I even have a baby at all, right? I should NEVER complain! STOP with this mess. Just stop.
Please hear me out. I prayed to be a mother. I prayed so long and so hard, and so much about it that every angel in Heaven knew about my desire to be a mother. I stormed the throne room of God on a daily basis to be a mother. I meant every word, every cry, every tear, every single thing I prayed. I suffered miscarriage, and went right back and did it all again! I suffered miscarriage again, and that still didn’t stop me from petitioning Heaven to be a mother! I ASKED for this. But (with obvious exceptions) so did every other mother! So what in the world disqualifies me from saying that I’m tired, or that my kid is driving me insane, or that being a Mom is a really hard job, just because my baby came after loss, and I really had to ask for her? Does that even make sense? It sounds pretty ridiculous as I type the words, but that is surprisingly how a lot of people think. I have felt and heard the judgement time and again in just nearly three short years any time I “complained” about motherhood. Any mama, whether by way of a Rainbow Baby or not, should be free to speak about the woes of motherhood without being judged as a complainer.
Want to know the craziest thing? I’m not really complaining when I tell you being a mom makes me more tired than I knew was even possible. When I say that i’m about to loose my mind with these tantrums, or the 1 millionth “why”, or the endless requests to fulfill different needs, I am actually not complaining. Complain by definition is to express dissatisfaction or annoyance with something. I am overjoyed about being a Mom! I wouldn’t trade a thousand nights of peaceful uninterrupted sleep for this honor! I wouldn’t trade a life of luxury, and being waited on hand and foot all day and night for this thing called motherhood! I’m not complaining at all! I’m just trying to keep my sanity by expressing that some of this motherhood stuff is really hard. But don’t you think for a second that I am dissatisfied, or annoyed or “complaining” about being a Mom. I’m not.
So for me, having a Rainbow Baby is a struggle. I am still sad about not meeting my other three babies. I am sad that Lydia doesn’t, and most likely never will have another living sibling. My heart hurts. But my heart is also bursting with joy over my precious Lydia, the rainbow in the midst of the storm that is infertility and loss. I thank God for her, and the opportunity to have her. I guess what I am trying to say here, is that its okay to celebrate one thing, and still be grieving another. I think it would benefit us all if we really began to encourage and uplift each other in our struggles even if it isn’t one we understand. So I will leave the job of healing my heart to God, and the job of Rainbow Baby to my sweet Lydia.