Coping mechanisms at times of personal tragedy or trauma are truly fascinating.
Some of us need to share our thoughts and thought processes; some of us need to remain private; some of us need to internalise; some of us need to create a safe space for others who have undergone similar experiences, maybe by running a support group; some of us go on to educate and work to support others who have experienced similar trauma; some raise money for charity, or even set up their own charity.
Each and every intention that is born out of a trauma or tragedy will come from a place of authenticity and a drive to cope. And each will also play a role in the healing journey of the person involved.
Losing a baby or child is a trauma that illicits many diverse and individual responses.
Support groups are available, some in person, many online and thankfully with the space created by social media there is more and more opportunity for offering or receiving assistance. Within this network sometimes what emerges is a name that unifies those that are coping with the same situation.
Rainbow Babies are those precious souls carried and born following a pregancy or baby loss.
It’s utterly beautiful to connect your next precious pregnancy or baby you can actually hold, feed, take home and nurture, to a phenomenon that occurs after a storm has broken and the sunlight that has been allowed in to break the darkness.
And there is such darkness to weather when you’ve been left with empty arms and a broken heart.
When I googled Rainbow Baby, endless search results came up; there is clearly a huge amount of support that comes with the term – many pages, images and services are on offer to bring comfort to parents.
But what of those who grow up being Rainbow Babies?
They are the much longed-for child, who has grown, has filled their parents lives, has been able to offer cuddles, giggles and hopefully joy.
But, what other weight is being held with this name?
The constant reminder of loss; I am here because my sibling or siblings died. Could this name carry guilt? I live, but my baby brother or sister didn’t. Do I want to be recognised by this label that will always refer to the baby before me? Can I not be my own person?
I wasn’t aware of the term when I was pregnant with my daughter after losing Baby Harry. I decided to ask her what she thought of the name Rainbow Baby/Child (she’s 10 years old) and shared with her its meaning. Her reaction was that it was a lovely name. After this conversation, we had a busy afternoon, a period of time passed, so I tested the water and referred to her again later as my Rainbow Child. This time she began to get upset, and made it clear that she didn’t want me to use the term again. It was hard for her to verbalise why her reaction was so strong, but she did ask me to use pet names I’ve had for her in the past instead. I’m assuming they felt safer.
There is certainly no right and no wrong in using the term Rainbow Baby. The comfort for parents is palpable, but so was the strength of rejection of it by my daughter.
Our methods of coping when faced with recovering from trauma will always remain highly individual.
To all who are on their healing journey following baby loss, I wish you peace in your heart.