Why I Won’t Call Our Baby a Rainbow Baby

Rainbow baby: a baby born after the loss of a child through miscarriage or stillbirth.

When I announced that we were having another baby on social media, I had comments congratulating us on our rainbow baby – a baby following my early miscarriage back in October. While the intentions were well meant and appreciated, it made me realise that I don’t want our baby girl to be a rainbow baby.

She is quite simply a much wanted and an already much loved baby.

I know for some parents, the idea of calling a baby conceived or born after a miscarriage or a loss a rainbow baby must be incredibly comforting, I guess even more so if the loss happened at a later stage and I totally understand why they might do it, and I would never judge anyone for wanting to call their baby that. Your new baby is something beautiful after a time of gut-wrenching sadness. However, I don’t want this baby to be associated with what has been the most horrible experience I have ever gone through. It isn’t fair on the baby we lost and isn’t fair on this baby.

For me, calling baby girl a rainbow focuses more on the sadness that surrounded the previous pregnancy than it does on the happiness of the new one. I don’t want to forget the baby that never made it – it will always be there, at the back of my mind, despite it never making it past seven weeks gestation – but I don’t want to be reminded of it every time I think about our new baby. I don’t want to look at her face and think ‘You’re here because another baby isn’t’. I don’t want her to ever feel like she is living in a shadow.

Photo by Dewang Gupta on Unsplash

Why I Won't Call Our Baby A Rainbow Baby

9 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Call Our Baby a Rainbow Baby”

  1. That is a lovely post Rachel. I understand what you mean too. I don’t love the term, but respect a persons choice to use it. ‘You’re here because another baby isn’t’ – that is how I tend to think about it. <3 much love x

  2. I had never heard of the term until a year or so ago on facebook and had to look up what it meant, I dont blame you for not wanting her to be a rainbow baby, as you said she is her own self and will be very much loved anyway, and I also agree it can be comforting to others especially with a loss later in pregnancy, my friends little boy was born at 42 weeks still born so you can understand it then xx

  3. Enjoy your pregnancy. Your little girl doesn’t need any labels x

  4. Didn’t know what a rainbow baby was until now – must say I agree with your decision

  5. I am on th fence personally for weither the hopefully healthy baby I carrying is a rainbow baby. I like that they are a light after the storm and I like the idea of a signed compact like Noah that g_d will not test me again by needing my baby for other pirposes. But I absolutely hate the after every storm there is a rainbow statement because as much as their is light after a storm has passed, a rainbow baby is not assured to anyone. I feel when people post that yes it might comfort them but for someone struggling with fertility or reuccurent miscarriages that is hurtful to them. I have decided so far I will call this little one my rainbow but will not make it their only trait. They are most definitely not a replacement for those lost, and they don’t have that hole or crack in my heart to fill. So I totally agree to support either way but right now I am balencing on a fence between liking relating the beauty and mistical nature of a rainbow to this baby, heavens allowing, and not focusing on the bad and letting my personal comfort hurt others knowing that not every storm is followed with a rainbow, sometimes it’s another storm, sometimes it’s a massive clean-up, sometimes it’s clouds and doom and gloom, but eventually with hard work and perseverance the light of hope will shine on you again and in that light might be a rainbow baby, it might be a brave new begining in a new direction, it could be a new job or opportunity, it’s up to fate but there will be sun again. And that is why I like the term rainbow for my baby but with strict stipulations on context.

  6. As a rainbow baby myself I’m going, to be honest; what term you use isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference, they’re going to feel that shadow regardless. In my case especially, my brother died and I lived. My mum has a weak cervix and my parents only found out because she was unable to hold him to term. I was literally stitched in, and even then I was born early (20 days early, 1 day off what is the definition of premature). Without him passing I wouldn’t be here. It’s a heavy burdern that nothing will ever change, and his loss has never been forgotten by any of us, including me even though it happened a few years before I was even conceived.

    I found the definition of a rainbow baby as an adult and it makes me feel better. It makes me smile because in being born I was able to give my parents some joy. That’s what being a rainbow baby is about. It’s not about shadows, it’s about the joy of new life.

    I just thought I’d share my view from the other perspective.

    1. It is really interesting to hear about it from a different perspective – thankyou for sharing your thoughts. Now that my rainbow baby is here (nine months old!), I think I possibly feel differently again now. She is our little rainbow and brings us immense amounts of joy as you did your parents. It’s a tough one, isn’t it? x

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