Sean Cate
Sean Cate
June 26, 2019 ·  6 min read

Rainbow Babies: Children Who Heal Their Families of the Most Inconceivable Pain

In 2005, when my little brother died two days after his birth, we watched our lives crumble right before our eyes. My mother had still been in the hospital, recovering from her C-section. The pain we felt was physical, our hearts were literally broken into pieces, and we never thought we’d recover from it. After a difficult pregnancy, all the hopes, the dreams, struggling over who’d get to name the first boy, preparing the nursery, and nursing mom all through the stress, the little angel passed away from an undetected disease only two days later. 

We all grieved heavily. It was too painful. For several months, there was an atmosphere of thick melancholy in our home. The sadness was palpable. Everyone was equally heartbroken, and no one could console the other. My grandmother was our saving Grace. She came in from London to help the family with the healing process. She spoke to everyone, counseled and comforted us. She started with my father, spurring him on to rise out of the pain and be there for his family. Mom took the longest time to recover. It wasn’t until a year later that she was able to return to work.

The pain will never really leave completely, but we helped each other get through the worst of it. It drew us closer and made us realize how strong the family bond was. 

A few years later, we found joy again when another baby came. Our very own rainbow baby. She’s 9 now and all feisty and ferocious, but she’ll always remain our little ray of hope. When mom was pregnant with her, we tried not to get too enthusiastic, which for some reason, will always seem wrong to me. We were terrified that we’d never recover if we lost her too. But when she came, our fear flew out the window and it was replaced with love. She was all pink and burpy, perfectly healthy and happy. The love consumed us and our home became a bright haven of joy. 

We still remember the late baby’s birthday every year with a small memorial. We have a small garden nurtured in his memory in the backyard, filled with mom’s favorite flowers, lilies, and bluebells. A few relatives based in London would find their way back to Scotland to join the memorial. We cry, we smile, we hold each other, and we relive the joy of the couple of days he’d spent on earth.

Why are rainbow babies so special?

The rainbow baby healed us. Rainbows follow a storm, and she came after the worst we’d ever seen. She was a force that dulled the pain from the loss of the late child. We would always miss him, but not as painful as we had when there was no one to fill the void his death created.

Rainbow babies are children born after the loss of a child to a miscarriage, stillbirth or death in infancy. Also, moms who have had failed rounds of IVF and finally had a successful delivery have rainbow babies. Rainbows signify brightness, brilliance, peace, and tranquility. These children revive their homes and heal the scars in their parents’ hearts. They’ve come to stay after the worst time of anyone’s life – renewing, reviving, and rejuvenating the home.

The 22nd of August National Rainbow Baby Day, a day specially set out to celebrate children who came to the world to heal broken hearts [1]

Mothers who have lost children come together to celebrate the ones who pulled them out the worst of the pain.

 Moms who had miscarriages are usually very heartbroken, but the general idea is that if the baby hasn’t been born yet, the mother shouldn’t feel so sad. This is one of the worst things anyone could think or say to a mom who has miscarried. It’s usually assumed in good faith, but it doesn’t do any good. It only breaks her heart further.

The pain of losing a child

The moment a woman finds out that she is expecting a child, the love would take root and the expectation would begin to build. It doesn’t matter if the baby is a three-month-old fetus in utero or a five-year-old firecracker tearing up the house. The love is the same, and it keeps growing. Miscarriages are painful, and moms who get through it to have other babies safely afterward would welcome them with a special kind of love.

For every woman, miscarriages can occur at different stages of pregnancy and for different reasons, the most common being chromosomal abnormalities [2]. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is another common cause of miscarriages [3]. About to 10 to 15 out of every 100 pregnancies end in miscarriages, usually occurring during in the first trimester [4]. About 1 out of every 100 women will have recurrent miscarriages.

Mothers who have miscarried tend to blame their bodies for failing them, for not keeping their children safe. Depression, self-hatred, self-harm, and in rare cases, psychosis could arise from miscarrying a child [5]. Being rushed to her ER while her baby leaving her body is a daunting experience.

Amanda Colbert, a contributor on Baby Gaga, shared her experience with a miscarriage caused by PCOS [6]. Her heart was broken and her days were gloomy, but less than a year later, her rainbow baby case.

Every mother who experiences a miscarriage feels a rush of emotion – but it’s a mixed bag,” she wrote. “Some women grieve the baby they lost, others get angry with their bodies for not doing “what it’s supposed to do”. There’s no right or wrong way to feel about a miscarriage, and there’s no time limit on grieving a child you’ve lost. It’s fitting that the day is so open – National Rainbow Baby Day – no requirements, no conditions. It doesn’t dictate that mothers feel any which way about their losses.”

Celebrating rainbow children

Mothers all over the country come together in groups to hold gatherings or parties and celebrate the children who brought their joy back. Bigger get-togethers are held on social media platforms. Everyone gets herself and her child(ren) dressed up in rainbow-colored outfits, sharing pictures, videos, and experiences to mark the holiday. Babies miscarried, stillborn, or lost as infants are remembered, and the living ones would soothe the pain that would stir in their mothers’ hearts.

Moms celebrate this holiday by sharing their stores on social media to encourage other moms and form a chain of solidarity. From anywhere in the world, rainbows can be seen. Not physically, but the ray of hope that would be incited in someone’s heart is exactly what is intended. 

The moms who are still waiting on their own rainbows will draw strength and hope from the experiences shared. Their dark clouds can begin the receding process from other moms’ stories. Hope is strengthened, love is created, and support systems are formed.

Rainbows serve as an obvious symbol of peace, serenity, and the promise of joy. Rainbow babies are all that and more.

  1. Brusie, Chaunie. Top 7 Causes of Miscarriage. Retrieved 25/06/19
  2. Admin. Miscarriage. March of Dimes. Retrieved 25/06/19
  3. Nyas, Johnna. Depression and Anxiety Following Early Pregnancy Loss: Recommendations for Primary Care Providers. PMC. Retrieved 25/06/19