Saturday, May 14, 2011

rainbow babies

Baby toesphoto © 2008 sabianmaggy | more info (via: Wylio)
Emotions after bringing home a new baby from a pregnancy conceived after a prior loss (sometimes called a "rainbow baby") can be pretty messy. I mean all those normal hormonal things are going on, but then there's these other emotions that are a mix of relief, sorrow, excitement, and a million other things, all brought on because of a prior loss.

I found this description for what a rainbow baby is and thought I'd share, since she put it so beautifully poetic:
"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope. Courtney
I have a friend that just had her rainbow baby. She is dealing with a mixture of feelings (in addition to a ridiculously painful case of mastitis) and spoke to me about some of them this week. What she said rang true of my experiences 18 months ago, although at the time I didn't give it any thought that it was due to my losing Nathan.

Now this may be the case with all second-born living children, but when you bring that little brother or sister home, you think you should just intrinsically know what to do because well, hey, so far so good with the first one, right? But, as days and nights go on and the crying doesn't cease and sleep doesn't come so easily with that little baby, you being to wonder what this alien is that you brought home. "Surely that's not what my first child did!" "I don't remember this," you think. Anyone identify? No? Ok, well for me and my friend Rachel, that is what we experienced. :) In my case, after being pregnant for 36 weeks with Nathan then 38.5 weeks (induced early) with Zane (9 mos between the two), I felt like I had been pregnant long enough to be more than ready to handle having a newborn at home. :)

What I think might be true to rainbow babies or babies that are born after a period of infertility, a mom will build up the coming child as "the one we waited so long for" or "the extra special baby." The problem begins when that little precious sinful child enters the world and does not live up to that expectation. Just because a baby is conceived after a loss, it doesn't mean that baby won't act like any other newborn. I didn't think about it in those terms until my friend shared that she realized she was doing that. I didn't think that I put that extra pressure on my Zane, but I do remember thinking, "Wait. It's not supposed to be like this. Why is he crying sooo much? Every night!?" So maybe I did... In my case, it took my best gal friend saying to me, "Don't you remember that Lynn did that?" She recalled several evenings when she and her hubby came over for dinner when we just had Lynn in her swing and she was crying. She remembers that after asking us what was wrong with her, we just threw up our hands in frustration and confusion. Long awaited for babies aren't perfect, just highly anticipated :)

Something I did remember feeling... unexpected sorrow. Thinking more about Nathan. Why should I be thinking of the son I lost? I had my new son, perfect, healthy, and breathing in my arms. My empty arms were now full! I knew in my head all along that my new baby wouldn't replace my lost baby, but when he finally arrived, it was like my heart finally caught up with my head. It said, "Wow, you're right. You have another son, but your first son is still gone. Oh. Gone. Yeah. That's right. He's still gone." Weird thing, those female emotions. Truth is, sometimes still I see these stages that Zane is in and wonder what Nathan would have looked like going through them. We'll be remembering his birth day in another week or so. Three. He'd be three. That just blows my mind. What would he be getting into?! Anyways, I digress. More on that on the 24th, I guess.

I write all this to reassure any new rainbow moms that you're not crazy. That baby you are holding, the one you have waited for? It's just as precious as the day the Lord placed him/her in your womb. Hang in there, mom, those first few months will pass and life will settle into routine.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

beautifully written and very interesting to read your deep thoughts on this subject.