The Bittersweetness of a Rainbow Baby

In November 2019, my husband and I experienced a tragic miscarriage of what would have been our second child. We were devastated. Not long after we decided to take time off trying and I got an IUD. I previously wrote about my experience getting pregnant on an IUD with my son. In that post, we found out about his existence the very week our miscarried baby was due.

I am happy to say that in January 2021 we welcomed our son into the world. He has been such an amazing blessing in our lives and has changed our whole world. While his surprise appearance came with its own challenges, his appearance also brought up challenges so soon after our miscarriage. 

My entire pregnancy was riddled with anxiety that I could lose him just like we lost our other baby. And then he was finally in my arms crying, breathing, and earthside. For a few days I didn’t have anxiety about him or our former loss only with sleeping and adjusting to life as a family of four.

Then one day I had the realization that this sweet, loving baby in my arms almost didn’t exist either. Had I not experienced that miscarriage, this baby would not be snoozing in my arms. It’s an incredibly weird realization that there was almost an entirely different baby in my life. To grapple with that loss but also the gain from it can nearly send someone into an existential crisis. 

It’s a hard process to understand unless you have been in it yourself. You have feelings of grief still, but so much elation that this new little person is with you. Maybe you have a touch of PTSD during the postpartum period and then you hear that beautiful cry from your newborn in the next room.

And then what would have been a milestone for your miscarried baby hits, and you wonder what life would have been like. When, what would have been, our miscarried child’s first birthday date came around I struggled with my feelings. Here I had this amazing little 6-month-old playing, laughing, and enjoying life and I couldn’t stop thinking about what could have been. With every coo and laugh from Tommy that day, I snapped back to reality and was grateful he was here with us. There is a weird balance that you must find and navigate as your journey marches on. 

Now that it’s been 2 years since our loss, I have found my way in my grief. I haven’t buried it; it still lives well in my heart. However, I know I cannot dwell on the pain. There is an acceptance that it happened but something good did come from it. The anxiety it caused is here to stay, but so is an amazing child. Some nights may bring flashbacks and then the next morning your child learns a new skill. 

Tommy is our surprise rainbow baby that I count as a huge blessing. He was truly that rainbow after a horrible storm. For all you parents out there struggling through a similar phase, you’ve got this! There may still be hard days to come, but these rainbow babies sure do bring so many good ones.

*This post was originally published on Triad Moms on Main

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