Over the past week I came across a new term, when scrolling through Facebook. I saw a post about “rainbow babies” that sparked my curiosity. As I read the article I learned this is something people reference when dealing with miscarriage or infant loss. People who have a baby following such a loss refer to this second child as their rainbow baby. The idea is that rainbows are beautiful gifts that follow a storm, in many ways like being given the blessing of a child after the terrible loss of another. While I would never want to take anything away from this kind of loss, because I cannot even imagine the heartache, I believe this positive idea of “rainbow babies” fits perfectly with my own story. Adoption is a completely different kind of loss, but a very real and deep loss none the less. I think for many birth mothers this is a fear as they carry on with their lives and may later find themselves at a place in life where they are able to provide everything a child needs and they are given another gift.
For me, my second pregnancy was one that brought about more emotions than I ever dreamed possible. I was afraid I couldn’t love the baby I carried as much as my son, because I was not going through the same adoption journey the second time around. I worried it would cause more sadness to have one baby with me, while my son was not there to share in our family. However, when my daughter, Ava, was born everything became perfectly clear; somewhat like the calm after the storm. She was by no means a replacement for my son, but rather a special gift I was given after a loss. She was my rainbow baby. She offered a piece of my son through their connection, and physical resemblance. However, she was entirely her own person. Any fears of confusion or inability to love both children was immediately quieted. She was my angel. She came to me and allowed me the chance to be the mother I dreamed I could have been for my son. It did not replace that which I missed with Aidan, and would always be missing, but it filled a different void in my heart. I feel that because of the loss and heartache I felt at not being able to parent Aidan, I was able to fully understand the gift I was being given. I was even more grateful because I knew the pain it was to sacrifice for your child.
When you know great loss, I believe you are able to love even more fully. Knowing what I had given up for my son, allowed me to be an extraordinary mother to my “rainbow baby”, Ava, as it has to all my girls. As I prepare for the birth of our newest daughter in next weeks, I am reminded of this gift I am being given. I would give anything to have the chance to have those moments with my son and be his one and only mother, everyday, all the time. Knowing what I gave up reminds me of the blessings I have with me in my girls, my very own rainbow babies.