‘The first time I heard ‘rainbow baby,’ I was pissed. This storm doesn’t end.’: Mom details acceptance of term ‘rainbow baby’

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This is a follow up story documenting Stephanie’s ongoing grief journey. Read Stephanie’s full back story here

“I was scrolling through Instagram a while back when I came across a post about the term ‘rainbow baby.’ This post was from a Mama who was very clearly expressing her dislike for the term which got me thinking…

As you know, I was surprised to be pregnant shortly after losing Blake. I remember the first time I heard ‘rainbow baby,’ I was pissed. It felt like another attempt to leap over losing my daughter. One more way to say, ‘I know your baby died, but look, you get a NEW one!’ I did not want people saying we were having a ‘rainbow baby,’ because to me this equated to forgetting. A fresh baby wasn’t going to replace Blake. I would never stop loving her or take her piece of my heart and give it to someone else. I vividly remember asking my family members to ditch the phrase ‘new baby sister’ when talking to my 2-year-old and use ‘next baby sister’ instead. I could not handle anything that conveyed a replacement.

I had heard a rainbow (baby) was a ‘reward’ for making it through the storm. Let me tell you my truth: There can’t be a rainbow at the end of the storm because the storm of your child dying does not end. The bullsh*t you’ll heal and make it to the other side is a false idea which is pushed because children dying makes the world whisper and feel discomfort. The real version is you will learn how to weather the storm for the rest of your life. You will learn to live with a broken heart, and it will f*cking suck.

And during all of this, at some point, there can be bits of joy. I think we have to try to celebrate this joy as best we can.

Late in my pregnancy I chose to embrace calling Ayla our ‘rainbow baby.’ My feelings shifted when I realized the phrase was the opposite of forgetting or replacing. I started to feel like it honored Blake and our pain in missing her, all while celebrating Ayla’s presence. I couldn’t imagine not including Blake in the growing of her baby sister. For me, this was a way to love them both in an outward fashion. Ayla was (and is) so special, not more or less than her sisters, but she arrived at one of the most difficult times possible. Acknowledging her as our first rainbow baby was a way to say we’re going through h*ll but we’re still thankful and hopeful (also terrified, in case you forgot) in welcoming our third daughter.

I can understand why others may not feel this way. I never ever want to make someone feel like what they’re doing in their grief is wrong.

If you know me, you know I acknowledge all four of my babies as the unique and amazing people they are. They all came under drastically different circumstances to evolving parents who wanted them. Each of them has changed my life, our family, our world, for the better.”

Courtesy of Stephanie Reid

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Stephanie Reid. Follow their journey on Instagram here. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Stephanie’s journey:

‘I took a big deep breath. ‘So she was born yesterday?’ We were meant to meet her.’: Couple adopts baby born on late daughter’s birthday, ‘She gave me courage’

‘I know your story. I know what happened to your daughter.’ I felt sad for him. Ours is not a story of triumph.’: Mom shares emotions on child loss, ‘Everything DOES NOT happen for a reason’

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