The sun was just peaking over the horizon, Rae snuggled her little one closer to her, and hummed into the morning air. The light felt so good after the darkness of night. A storm was just passing and as the light filtered through the early morning clouds a rainbow appeared just over Rae's nest. Several dragonflies flew by the nest and Rae thought of her little ones that she had lost, they would always live in her heart and flit through her mind like the dragonflies. She would always love those little ones. When she had first laid this egg, she wondered if she could love this little one as much as she had her other babies, then after he was born she wondered if she should feel guilty for loving him so much and being so happy. The bright colors of the rainbow that shown above her nest, made her realize that without the storm there couldn't be a rainbow and that everything was connected. There was no need for her to feel guilty for loving her lost children or for loving the little one that snuggled against her breast right now. They were all connected to each other and nothing would ever change that.
A little about Pregnancy and Infant loss:
Pregnancy and infant loss is a hard. It is hard to talk about, hard to think about, and even harder to bare when you have gone through it. Unfortunately, it is also a very taboo subject in our society, but it shouldn't be. Unlike some of the other issues that are depicted by the Awareness Critters, this is not a rare thing at all. Around 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Around 30,000 babies are stillborn every year in the United States alone. 2,500 babies die of SIDS a year. And nearly 90,000 children die every year in the United Stated before they reach their first birthday (statistics taken from Hiring for Hope). If you are like me at all, those statistics make me want to cry and cover my eyes and ears. I don't like thinking about death. I especially don't want to hear or know about babies dying. What if I hear about it and then my little ones die? Maybe it is catchy... That is why this subject is so taboo.
A child who comes after such a loss is referred to as a rainbow baby. They are hope after the storm. It doesn't mean they take away the grief of that previous loss, but they are a promise of hope and light for the future.
My two youngest children are both rainbow babies. Before I conceived each one I was pregnant with another little one, two beautiful rainbow babies and two sweet angel babies.
My first miscarriage was the most vivid in my memory and the most painful. It was right before Mother's Day and my husband and I had been married less than 6 months. I remember every detail of that hospital room, and how it seemed like it was a cruel joke that a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie was playing and that every commercial was about motherhood. Praying and pleading with God that I was wrong, that I had to be wrong, that I hadn't lost my little one. The moment when the doctor came in confirming my miscarriage. Wanting to scream and throw things at the TV as it spouted something meaningful and deep about the love you feel as a mother, when I felt like my entire world had just collapsed. Then the long ride home where the world seemed so dark and all light had disappeared. The weeks that followed were filled with tears and deep grief for the baby I wasn't going to get to know and all of the dreams that had died with him.
I was blessed to become pregnant again shortly after my loss, but I spent my entire pregnancy with my daughter absolutely terrified that I would lose her too. Having people to talk to about their experiences and knowing that I wasn't alone in my grief and fear really helped me.
Lost a Little One? Lost a little one? Here are some places that can help you and your family through an incredibly hard time.
Loss Doulas International. Much like birth doulas who help bring little ones into the world and nurture families. Loss doulas can help guide and nurture you and your family during a horribly difficult time. They can listen and share their own experiences, give suggestions on how to honor your little one, and they can think of things that in those early moments of deep grief you and your family may not think of. Many loss doulas donate their time as a way to honor the life or lives of little ones they have lost.
TEARS foundation helps families who have lost a little one and need/want help with burial or cremation details. They also have a lot of links to support networks and peer counselors.