The term rainbow baby may be new to modern culture, but moms of rainbow babies have been around since the beginning of time. A rainbow baby is a child who is born to parents after the loss of another child, either due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or child or infant loss. The rainbow baby is the light and beauty after the storm of grief and pain caused by losing a child.
The widespread acknowledgment and acceptance of this term is bringing rainbow babies and their moms out in the open, and that is helping other parents who have gone through loss know that they are not alone. In fact, rainbow baby photo shoots are now common, where mom incorporates the loss of the previous child with the upcoming birth of the rainbow baby.
These photos shoots often incorporate rainbows somehow into the photograph.
Moms and photographers have come up with breathtaking ideas for how to honor the child who has passed, and the pictures that come from these shoots are heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. This gives moms a way to remember what they have been through but also offers a picture of the hope the future offers.
So many women around the world have suffered losing a child that statistics of how many moms have rainbow babies are impossible to find. However, with photos of moms who capture images of their rainbow babies, the child loss community is finding tangible ways to come together, and women are realizing they are not alone. Amazing photographs are also being created along the way.
15 Play Dress Up
Once mom is holding her newborn in her arms, a flood of emotions will of course rush in. There is gratefulness for the child who lived, sorrow for the one who did not, and the stress of trying to fit so much good and sadness into one life. Moms are strong beings who can do it, but it's not easy.
Images of moms dressed up as princesses, warriors, or otherwise using any props or outfits that give them strength or shine a light on their role as survivors are wonderful. Stepping into a different role or an outfit that makes mom feel empowered and beautiful is perfect for a photo shoot, and she can hopefully carry this feeling throughout her everyday life as a mother.
This mom not only has her rainbow baby in her arms, but embraces the powerful meaning of motherhood and loss in this absolutely gorgeous photo.
14 Honoring A Lost Sibling
Though some people may wonder if it's a good idea to base pictures about an upcoming child's birth on loss, moms know that not only did she lose a child but her soon-to-be born baby lost a sibling. Honoring and remembering the child who passed in no way takes away from the celebration of the one who is about to be born. If anything it adds an even more potent reminder of the miracles of each and every birth.
As children grow older, they will be able to look back and see how their parents loved their lost sibling, and they will be able to learn about this child from their mom and dad. This helps create a bond, and it will help the living sibling look forward to the time when they will finally meet the sibling who passed on before they arrived.
Pictures are an excellent visual way to show surviving children the journey to their birth, including the loss and pain along the way to the joy and new life.
13 Hoping For The Future Together
When the moms who are part of the loss community come together for photographs, the results are stunning. Though some pictures have moms holding their rainbow babies after they are born, others simply have women expectantly waiting on the arrival of their rainbow children.
These pictures are full of hope, but they can also serve as a source of strength for moms as they wait to see how their pregnancy will end. Women who have already lost a child can't help but feel anxious as they feel the kicks and movements within them when they become pregnant again. They hope that this pregnancy or situation will be different, but there can be fear shadowing their entire experience.
Moms who are pregnant with rainbow babies who come together while they wait can offer comfort to each other. In the case of this picture, they can also capture a beautiful moment of expectation.
12 The Loss Community Is Real
The loss of a child, whether it comes from miscarriage, stillbirth, or child loss after a live birth, can be isolating. Those who have never lost children may not know how to offer empathy, so the mom who lost a child ends up feeling alone or avoided.
Even when people attempt to offer words of solace, no one truly knows what it's like to lose a child if they haven't been through it, and even then each mom's journey is different.
Some rainbow baby shoots, where moms come together, actually help moms of loss bond over their experiences. It allows them to capture a moment with other mothers that serves as a reminder that they are not alone in life. These pictures, where some of the rainbow babies are already born and present, also offer tangible proof that good can come, even after so much bad.
11 The Beauty Of The Mom Body
Women who experience loss during or after pregnancy have a lot to recover from emotionally and physically. In the case of stillbirth, women carry a child and their bodies respond as if they have given birth to a live baby. Milk comes in, and all the issues any woman has with her body after birth occur, except mom doesn't go home with a baby.
Rainbow baby shoots where mom chooses to reveal her body are powerful because they remind us all that women's minds, bodies, and hearts are stronger than we can ever imagine. Even after loss, our bodies can try again, and we can go through more morning sickness, aches and pains, and hormone spikes for the hope of new life.
These pictures celebrate mom and the beauty that is the pregnant body.
10 Loss Happens To Both Partners
Sometimes nature cooperates and mom and dad have an actual rainbow that serves as a backdrop for their photo. However, the most important part of this picture is who is in it: both mom and dad.
While it's common for people to focus on the loss mom experienced, not a lot of people know how to help dad mourn. In fact, many people don't acknowledge that the loss for a father is just as potent as it is for a mother. Men often suffer quietly without a loss community to offer support.
That's why including dad in the rainbow baby shoot is so precious. It shows that he has suffered, but that he also gets to be a part of the hope that comes when expecting a new baby.
9 Subtle Is Okay
Sometimes mom wants the rainbow part of the story extremely prominent in a picture, and other times it's a subtle part of the overall image. Either way is fine. Pictures with hints of rainbow elements, like the shadow of a rainbow or multiples colors rising slightly from the background, add the awareness of a prior loss while still mainly focusing on the current pregnancy.
There's no wrong way to memorialize a child or to celebrate the birth of a new one. Mom should feel free to play with images and settings until she feels all of her children are being honored in the way she wants.
This photo is so inspirational because the mother shows off her baby bump in a gorgeous Hawaiian inspired gown with a slight rainbow at her feet. It almost has a phoenix rising from the ashes feel to it. This is an incredibly powerful image.
8 Tell A Story
Mom should not be afraid of a little dramatic flair during the photo shoot. She should also feel free to interpret the situation any way she chooses and find a photographer who will work with her.
This photo used special effects, lighting, and an overall dramatic feel to memorialize the child who was lost while prominently displaying the child who is to come. This picture may be drawing from spiritual images, such as the Crucifixion, or it may just be moms way of showing she's mourning while still open to the possibilities in front of her.
Either way, it's beautiful, and this photo can stand as art even if the person viewing it doesn't have any idea of the background story. You have to love the effect of her floating above the ground, it's so heavenly.
7 Incorporating Loss
Another image that showcases both dad's mourning and his role in preparing for the new child, this picture has an overall feeling of sadness, but is lined with hope. The rainbow umbrella serves as the shelter pulling the family through the loss and protecting them.
Using items that were used by or meant for the child who was lost helps intertwine the loss with the hope and provides a view of how the siblings lives may overlap even if they never meet earth side. Mom and dad's simple white ensembles symbolize a new beginning, a blank slate, while the rest of the picture pays homage to the past that they will carry forward with them and never forget.
Such a powerful image for couples who felt their loss deeply, and what a wonderful way to memorialize their lost child while celebrating their baby to come. Love it all around!
6 Let The Hope Shine
Another approach to the rainbow baby photo shoot is unabashed joy at what's to come. Though mom will deal with the grief of losing a child as long as she lives, she also has permission to be excited about being pregnant and bringing new life into the world. That is allowed to come through in her photos.
Mixing rainbow baby symbols in with mom's joy over the future is appropriate since a rainbow means the storm has passed and better days are waiting. There's not many people who can look at this picture and not smile along with this mother, wishing her blessings and hope as she starts her next journey.
We can't help but to smile along with this momma, look at how happy she is, it's the best present she could ever ask for and we bet she'll be a fantastic mother too.
5 On The Outside Pictures
Moms don't forget the child they've lost when another arrives. To symbolize this truth, many moms take rainbow baby pictures when the baby emerges, showing the sibling connection even though the children never met.
Again, this may be a very tender time for mom and dad, so it's perfectly fine to incorporate hands or feet but leave out faces if that makes everyone more comfortable. These pictures are hopeful, and the choice to incorporate the white, cloud-like material in the background creates an even more beautiful image.
The paint on the feet not only makes a cheerful photo, but a colorful one too. Even though this image is simple, you can almost feel the happiness and pride of mom and dad in the photo. What a great idea!
4 Hands And Belly Only
If mom wants a picture showing her pregnant belly with evidence that she is carrying a rainbow baby, she can always opt to simply have a belly shot. Getting creative with paint allows her to show the rainbow status without actually having to appear in the shot.
Some moms may still feel too tender to participate in a full-on photo shoot, but they may want to do something to celebrate this pregnancy, and they know they'll regret it if they don't have pictures. Asking a photographer to work within the boundaries that mom is comfortable with is acceptable. Some stunning shots come from unique vantage points.
This mother and photographer was so excited for her rainbow baby that she wanted to memorialize this pregnancy in a meaningful way. She asked for her assistants help and together they came up with this simple yet lovely photo to celebrate her rainbow baby.
3 Incorporate Nature
When nature willingly works with mom's plans, it's amazing how beautiful a shot can appear. With this photo, the rainbow in the background makes it obvious to anyone who has ever heard the term rainbow baby that that's what this picture symbolizes. However, it's subtle.
The varying shades of blue and gray are toned down beauty at it's best, highlighting mom's smile and her expectant expression. A simple backdrop and a happy mother make some of the most memorable pregnancy pictures.
This image is a personal favorite. Mom looks so serene as she poses beside the sea. The rainbow overhead and the dark clouds being chased away by the sun is so appropriate. The use of natural colors and subdued colors really makes the rainbow overhead pop from the photo. Really what's not to love about this picture?
2 Water Pictures
Just like there are water births, there is water photography. As mom enters the end of her pregnancy, pictures taken in the water are an obvious choice since being in the water makes mom feel lighter and like she can move more easily.
Adding a rainbow element to an underwater shoot is simple using different materials. Water is also reminiscent of the womb and the emerging of new life, which makes it another perfect choice for pregnant women. Besides a baby emerging from the womb, mom coming out of the water can also symbolize her coming into her new life after loss and starting the journey through motherhood again.
This option is also unique, and water pictures almost always look graceful because of the water's effect on the flowing fabric, giving it a mermaid feel.
1 Simple Colors
The right colors add even more beauty to a photo shoot, and using the colors of the rainbow guarantees a lovely outcome since they highlight any surrounding mom chooses. Some moms also choose to change the red to fuchsia or to use more than one type of green or blue to create a certain ambiance.
There are no rules for how mom chooses to memorialize and celebrate her children.
The true beauty in every rainbow baby photo shoot comes from life, the short life of the child who passed, the life of the child being born, and the life of the parents who fight for their little ones, no matter what.
The best part is this gown and many more are available on Etsy for moms who want to do something similar.