I have some mixed feelings about the term “Rainbow Baby.” For those of you who don’t know, a Rainbow Baby is a baby born after miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. The term is pretty simple: A rainbow appears after a storm. It is a symbol of hope and better times to come. It cannot change the storm, but it brightens your world in the aftermath. When I have another baby, I will indeed refer to that child as a Rainbow Baby, but I would like to make one thing very clear: Lincoln was not the storm. Lincoln is a bright, shining rainbow all on his own. Before him, I was not in the best place in my life. I was at a stressful job. I was panicked about my career path. I was struggling to find purpose in my life, and he provided me that. Lincoln’s death has been my life’s greatest struggle. His death is my ongoing storm. A Rainbow Baby will not end the pain, but will provide some peace in my life.
I was still in the hospital when the first person asked me, “Will you have another baby right away?” I think it was a grasping at straws. Find the positive. My husband said, yes. Another baby right away. I said, no. I need time to mourn my baby, not to replace him. It only took me 2 days to change my mind. I knew that another baby would never replace my angel. The mixed feelings came very early on. I looked at Lincoln and I could not imagine that another child would ever be so beautiful; that I could ever love another as much. I talked myself down. I know that’s not how it works. I’ll love another just as much, and it won’t falter my love for this sweet boy. We would try as soon as possible. The first 6 months were all leading up to a doctor visit. I would find a new OB, tell him my story, and make sure I was healthy enough. I was a nervous wreck. My fear was ruling me. I was having anxiety attacks. What if my body can’t handle it?
My body has truly taken its time with the healing process. I dealt with anemia, and therefore dizzy spells, muscle spasms, and overall weakness. I still deal with occasional back pain around my epidural sight. Depression maximized these ailments. Still, 9 months later, my body isn’t quite what it used to be; and it terrifies me. I think of the exhaustion that pregnancy brings. I think of how I fell asleep on the couch every night by 8:00. I think of my aching hips and back. I think of my scar tissue stretching to accommodate a child. Will I make it through this again?
I say the feelings are mixed because the idea of another baby is not all fear and dread. I quickly decided that having another baby would be in Lincoln’s best interest as well. We want to be able to remember him in a positive light. We want him to be a part of our family and our traditions. When we have another baby, they will know their big brother. A friend of mind told me, “When you get impatient, remember that Lincoln is hand-picking his brother or sister.” I cried tears of joy. Our next child will be a younger sibling. Baby #2. They will give us more opportunities to talk about Lincoln as a member of our family, while also providing us a whole new love of their own.
My feelings can go back and forth. I get impatient, scared, frustrated, and I get excited. When I think of a rainbow baby for us, I picture a girl. My husband always wanted a boy first and then a girl. A big brother to watch over his little sister. I think of a cute bedroom with rainbow decor and gold accents. I think of my closest friend taking newborn pictures, helping us make beautiful moments and including both of our babies in family photos. I think of another friend who has plans of making tiny baby clothes for us. I have things to look forward to. The first 7 months were very stressful for me. I processed all of these varying emotions, some lasting longer than others. I’m finally in a place where I feel a little more relaxed about Lincoln’s sibling. They will join our family at the right time. I think this has happened as a direct result of me finding joy in other things. I have lifted some of the pressure off of another baby. I can find happiness through sharing the baby we already have. Our family will grow whenever my body is ready for it. At least, that’s how I feel right now. I could feel differently next week.