Does The Fear Disappear After Having A Rainbow Baby?

I became pregnant 3 months after I lost my son TJ. Among other emotions and thoughts, my main thought throughout that pregnancy was to make it to the end of my pregnancy and to hold a living, healthy baby. I skipped learning the gender of my baby because I personally believe people make having a daughter a negative thing. That pregnancy was so personal to me, that I refused to have any negative conversations or thoughts surrounding it. But if I’m being honest, my anxiety and worry didn’t end once I held my son and rainbow blessing in my arms.

I had the immediate relief of “Yes. My baby is here!” I whaled when I held him in my arms and thanked God repeatedly, but a part of me still worried if it was too good to be true. I loved the sound of my son’s cry because it was an indicator that he was alive. When he slept for “too long” I worried. Why? Because when you become immersed in the pregnancy and baby loss community, your vail is removed. You learn that not all babies live after they are born. So I operated the same way I did when I was pregnant. I didn’t share many pictures of when my son was born. I didn’t talk about how he was born for a long time because I was still a little paranoid. What if I share the news of my baby’s arrival, and then I have to quickly share that he’s no longer here? But… THERAPY & GOD.

My therapist challenged me to stop my intrusive thoughts as quickly as I could. My intrusive thought would tell me “So many moms have birthed their rainbow babies who are no longer here on earth.” I would intentionally remind myself of what my reality was. “My son is here, alive, and healthy. I am grateful for his existence.”

I am very aware that everyone’s healing journey is not the same. For some women, the worry ends the moment they birth their healthy rainbow baby/babies. For me, it took me a little longer to accept that my baby wouldn’t be taken away from me again. I was still learning to trust God again. I had to take baby steps and have my support system remind me that my baby was here, alive, and well. What I appreciate the most was that my support system didn’t invalidate my feelings and tell me to “let it go, it’s not that big a deal.”

So does the fear disappear after having a rainbow baby? As with everything in life, it varies per person. Give yourself time and grace. Surround yourself with supportive loved ones and a village. Keep up with your therapy sessions so that you have help navigating motherhood after loss. Restore your faith and trust in God. Separate your fears from reality, and affirm yourself and your babies each day. By babies, I mean angel, rainbow, miracle, or whatever you deem appropriate.

I affirm that my son, Tobias, is alive and healthy. God has blessed me to hold him every day.

My son TJ,

I know that God gave you healing in heaven with him. You are safe in His arms.

Love,

Mommy…

Your Grief Is Not Mine

One of the biggest roadblocks I’ve had throughout my grief journey is feeling like my grief was “too much” or “unwarranted.” I’ve seen the baby loss community be silenced so many times on social media when users felt the grieving mother was oversharing. I’ve read how so many women felt trapped in their thoughts and feelings because the topic of miscarriage and pregnancy loss was taboo in their communities. In my personal experience, I’ve seen how some of the faces of people I’ve shared with turned flushed the moment I spoke about my loss and who my angel baby is. Can we blame them though? Hearing such a sad story about a painful experience someone has had will never feel good. I’ve also found myself comparing my grief to other women who’ve experienced a miscarriage and/or pregnancy loss. In the process I find myself shrinking my baby and experience because I’ve convinced myself that I made a big deal out of nothing. “I didn’t make it full term, so why cry a year later?” “This other woman suffered a miscarriage as well and appears to have moved on, you need to do the same.”

What I’ve learned through therapy (and what I keep telling myself) is that grief should not be compared. I’ve told myself several times that is a simple concept that should be understood, but my mind forgets it when I allow insecurity to set in. My husband made an excellent point one day I was feeling a little down. “Would you expect a person who lost their father when they were two months old not to grieve their deceased father just because they didn’t lose them at 35 years old?” Do you have to have someone in your life long in order for you to feel the pain of losing them? That’s not fair. He said, “It’s not fair to put that sort of restriction on yourself.”

The fact of the matter is that all of our grief is different. We’ve all lost our babies in different ways, and we are all different people. The grieving experience may be similar, but definitely won’t be the same. Family members will grieve loved ones differently, and strangers will grieve their deceased babies differently. Some women will not be deeply saddened by losing their babies, and that is OKAY. It shouldn’t be frowned upon. Some women will grieve their angel babies for the rest of their lives, and that’s okay too. Your grief is your grief, and the important thing is to make sure that you’re healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally. Grief is an ongoing cycle and has no destination. Grieving doesn’t mean being in a deep depression the entire time, but you may feel it from time to time depending on the season.

It’s so important to give yourself grace and to take it one second at a time.

Dear TJ,

The sun has been shining bright, and you have been shining bright in the night skies. These have been some of my better days, and I’m so grateful. I love you baby!

Love,

Mommy…

My Baby Was and Still Is A Big Deal

Many people fail to realize that when you experience the loss of a baby, life doesn’t continue the same. When parents (I don’t want to exclude partners who grieve with the mom) lose a baby, everyone else moves forward with their lives. The family who was expecting to grow by another heartbeat is grappling trying to figure out how to go on. It amazes and disappoints me how many women receive unsolicited advice to encourage them to move forward with life, get over it, try again, or hit you with “at least…” statements. You try so hard not to hurt that person’s feelings because they’re only trying to “help”, meanwhile it’s crushing your soul listening to them minimize the life you just lost. The life that was just inside you seems unimportant. You find yourself wondering if you’re being dramatic because your pregnancy was still early. You’ve had your rainbow baby now, so you should be ok. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is babies are a big deal and losing them in any fashion is life-shattering.

Experiencing a pregnancy loss is not just an emotional loss. The physical pain a woman goes through when losing her child is so intense. A miscarriage is not just a period. A stillbirth is not something you just snap back from. The physical experience during and after a loss is a reminder of the very beautiful life that was in you is now gone. Some women labor. Some women’s water break. Some women push. Some women birth vaginally or through surgery. Emotionally you’re a wreck, and mentally you’re not even hanging on by a thread. You’re simply there. 

No one prepares you for the loss of your baby/babies. No one tells you that you’ll have to decide on whether you will toss your deceased baby in the trash or flush them down the toilet after they’ve finally passed. No one tells you about the contractions during and after. No one tells you about having to make funeral/burial arrangements for your baby instead of scheduling their first pediatric visit. No one tells you about how the only time you’ll get to spend with your baby outside of your womb is holding their lifeless body. No one tells you how after you lose your baby, you have to clean yourself up and walk out of the bathroom to be a parent to your living children. No one tells you about the surgery you have to get to remove everything that existed with your pregnancy. I think it’s safe to say that baby was and is a big deal considering how life-changing losing them was. But “at least you already have children”, right? “At least you know you can get pregnant.” “I’m sure you’ll be ok the next time you’re pregnant.” “You’re pregnant now, you have to let the past go.” “I don’t count that baby, just the ones I can see.” “It’s been so many years, and you’ve had other children since then.”

If you’ve lost your baby/babies. Your baby was and is still a big deal. Your baby was and is important. You’re not being dramatic. You don’t need to nor have to get over it. Take it one second at a time. 

If you know someone who has experienced the loss of a baby. It makes a huge difference when you call their baby by name and acknowledge their existence.

Dear TJ,

You are so loved and missed. I am never ok around this time, but I’m trying to be.

Love,

Mommy…