This post was written by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous and has been published under this profile to share a unique perspective.
I hate National Rainbow Baby Day. Each year, August 22nd (tomorrow) is celebrated as National Rainbow Baby Day in the USA, and each year it brings me anger and sadness. Don't get me wrong, I think that the tiny rainbow photoshoots are adorable, I appreciate that an entire day exists to celebrate "miracle babies", and I can understand why parents are so thrilled to bombard social media with photos of their precious tots, but man, I hate this day.
For me, the issue grows out of someplace between jealousy and heartbreak, because in watching my friends and family members share their little miracles, I am constantly reminded on this day that I will never have my own. A "rainbow baby" is a baby born following a miscarriage or other form of child loss. The term is used to signify the hope and joy that these children provide following dark times (aka, a "storm"). I will never have a rainbow baby. I will never get to experience the joy that these parents are so fervently willing to share online. From the time that my partner and I started trying to have children, we have been trapped in the "storm", and there is no conceivable way out.
View this post on Instagram
Do you have a rainbow baby? When I miscarried the first time, it broke me in a way that I didn’t think was possible. The overwhelming emotions took over every inch of me. The second one was even worse. And the third, worse still. The sadness and physical emptiness are incomprehensible unless you’ve lived it. Just as I recovered from the emotional toll of my final miscarriage, Daniel and I discovered we were pregnant once again. I still remember the joy. The excitement. But despite it being exactly what I had hoped for, I worried about everything. Every cramp. Every kick. Every lack thereof. Those nine months of waiting to meet our baby girl were hard. But nine emotional months after we learned we were pregnant for the fourth time, our beautiful Audrey arrived!!! Our baby girl! Our rainbow after our dark storm! Audrey is proof that there IS life after loss. She made me a mom. She came into our lives and changed them for the better. I still remember seeing this quote shortly after we discovered we were pregnant with Audrey, and it has always stuck with me… “It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow doesn’t negate the ravages of any storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened, or that we’re not dealing with its aftermath. It means 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.” After every storm, there is a rainbow of hope. And Audrey is our rainbow. -Rachel . . . . _______ #audreyandbear #swaddle4swaddle #rainbowbaby #rainbowafterthestorm #miscarriage
I am one of the 10% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 who struggles with both getting pregnant and staying pregnant. I have experienced 4 devastating miscarriages in the past 5 years. I have done rounds of IUI and IVF that have not been successful. I have been poked and prodded with needles for ovarian stimulation, and I have considered (and reconsidered, and debated, and reconsidered again) every option under the assisted reproductive technology (ART) umbrella, and I remain childless, as much as my heart desires to become a mom.
Yes, my partner and I have discussed surrogacy and adoption, and every other option in the book, but frankly, ART is extremely costly, and it's just not a possibility for us.
But, as much as I hate National Rainbow Baby Day, this year, I'll be celebrating the rainbow mamas in my life to the best of my ability. I will be the best auntie I can be to my niece and nephew, I will hug those babies a little extra tight, and I will be grateful for the opportunities I have to help my closest friends and family members raise their own little rainbows. I will remember to congratulate and post well wishes on rainbow baby photos posted on social media, and I will remember to count my blessings, even though they do not include motherhood. I will acknowledge the struggle that other parents went through to be able to celebrate this day with their own children and recognize that while this day is full of joy, everyone has their own cross to bear, and my own sadness that comes with being childless is no more or less important than the hardships of anyone else.
Rainbow mamas, hug your tots a little longer on National Rainbow Baby Day and feel no shame in going above and beyond to celebrate your tiny miracles, but don't forget about those of us who are still stuck in the storm.