What is a rainbow baby? Such a beautiful thing after a difficult loss

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  April 17, 2020

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It's important to understand why rainbow babies born after miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death are a beautiful thing after a scary and dark experience.

The term rainbow baby may not be familiar to people who have not experienced loss.

But for those of us who have known it, it has very deep and even life-changing meaning.

What is a rainbow baby?

A rainbow baby is a baby born after a miscarriage, stillborn, or neonatal death. It's called a rainbow baby because it's like a rainbow after a storm: something beautiful after something scary and dark.

Losing a pregnancy (or baby) is an extremely emotional and devastating experience. Creating a life or bringing a baby into the world after such a loss is as wonderful as a miracle for these parents.

We now have a rainbow baby together and I do indeed feel like I am walking around with a miracle next to me.

The first time being pregnant again after a miscarriage was very exciting to me and I could only be happy after the ultrasound where we could see that everything was going well.

Rainbow babies can honor an angel baby

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Not that I knew what a rainbow baby was then, but it's the perfect term.

With us, the pregnancy had already ended quite early twice before it worked out for the third time, but there are also people who have already given birth to a child and then lose it after a few weeks or months, an angel baby.

The feeling of making sure your baby is not forgotten, even though you as parents may be the only people who have seen him other than hospital staff.

You can't help but keep wondering what life would have been like if you could have taken your baby with you, but a rainbow baby helps to put it all in perspective as parents.

When things get tough: feeding problems, sleeping problems, mild illness, it's important to take a step back and remember that things can be so much worse.

Sometimes things are of course just as exciting when there is really sickness again, but small things seem to slide off you much easier.

Parenting a rainbow baby can feel different

Raising a rainbow baby can be different in many ways. You may love him a little differently because you went through so much grief and pain before you got him.

It is even more of a gift than is normally the case with a sweet, beautiful and healthy child. He really is the light at the end of the tunnel, the pot of gold under the rainbow and the rainbow after the storm.

I have also seen that parents did spoil and mother their rainbow child too much, because of this extra feeling of joy. And although a lot of love is a beautiful thing, this is also something to watch out for.

Read also: safe sleeping bags for your sleeping baby

Pregnant again after a miscarriage

But the birth and newborn stage of a rainbow baby will be different for parents who have already suffered a loss. They can expect a wave of strong and complicated emotions.

Parents can swing between this great awe of their new baby and strong fear that something could happen and that they could lose this new baby too.

Especially around the same time as where things went wrong before, something that we have certainly experienced.

Once he or she is there, you can hopefully enjoy it again.

Welcoming a Rainbow Baby can be emotional for parents.

Guilt is a common feeling for parents welcoming a rainbow baby.

Parents may feel that being excited about the new pregnancy or loving this new baby when he or she arrives is somehow a betrayal of the baby they lost.

These parents need a lot of emotional support during pregnancy and birth.

For me, support has come in part in the form of knowing that I am not alone.

The term “rainbow baby” is becoming more common and this has helped raise awareness of loss and healing.

These babies are a great example of how women's bodies and minds can heal after pregnancy or neonatal loss.

Healing does not mean forgetting.

Don't be afraid to keep the child you lost as part of your life in whatever way is special and important to you.

Rainbow Baby Birth Announcement

That's why so many parents also want to pay special attention to it with a birth announcement:

Rainbow Baby Birth Announcement

Read also: did you know that baby hiccups are very normal?

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child, he came into contact with everything around games when his mother started the Tin Soldier in Ede. Since 2016, he and his team have been creating helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.