As usual, I believe each person will have a different opinion and perspective on whether a rainbow baby will help bring healing to a person who has lost a baby.
Let me share my personal experience, based on the three weeks that our rainbow baby has been a part of our family…
While pregnant with Tobias – our son born after we lost Briela, I imagined the moment I would first hold him would be an overly emotional experience. I thought for sure it would bring some healing or closure to the nightmarish birth experience I had with Briela. I knew that it would be the best feeling to hold a healthy baby as opposed to one that had deceased.
When Tobias was born and placed on my chest, the feelings I had were comparable to what I felt when my first two sons were born. There wasn’t an overwhelming wave of emotion based on his birth order – knowing he was a rainbow baby. I just had the ‘regular’ love and joy that I had experienced with each son previously. It was definitely a joyful and wonderful moment, but it wasn’t what I had expected it to be. Tobias wasn’t a replacement of Briela, he’s his own person, and I think that’s why Briela hadn’t come to mind when I first experienced my new son.
As the days past, I found that I started thinking a bit more of Briela, and there were moments when I would see her face in Tobias’s. I started looking back at her pictures, and pictures of my pregnancy with her, and I really started missing her. Thoughts started coming to mind; “If she were here, Tobias might not be.” or “I wonder how life would be if she were still here.” and even imagining what it would have been like if it were Briela nursing instead of Tobias.
With him being born, I started experiencing some visual “what-if’s” of what could have been, which I didn’t expect! I started visualizing what Briela would have been like based on how Tobias was acting. It was almost as if I started to compare the two… which sounds a little absurd, but that’s the reality of it. These thoughts were short lived, and fortunately they only came to my mind a few times.
Even with these thoughts I’d been having, though, it’s clear that Tobias was not born to replace Briela. Like I said, he is his own person with his own purpose and personality, and Briela had her own too. Tobias will not take on the person she was supposed to be, and I wouldn’t want it that way.
I think it’s important that we choose to have a rainbow baby when we are ready. If we choose to have one simply to replace the baby that was lost, we are making a mistake. If our new baby is a replacement, they will then have so much to live up to! They would need to become the baby that was lost, and be themselves, and that’s just not realistic. Each baby is their own person, and we can’t expect more from them.
Having a baby has opened up emotions that I thought were behind me. Maybe it’s having a newborn or the hormones that come with it, but this season has been one of further healing and growth that I did not anticipate.
Do I feel like I have completed my healing/grieving process with Briela through having another child? No. These new feelings I’m experiencing are being stirred up from one of my emotional triggers – a newborn. Experiencing them is allowing me to further think about Briela and come to further acceptance of what is.
However, with having a natural, uncomplicated birth experience with Tobias, I feel that there has been restoration in my view of birth. I’ve always been a natural-minded person in regards to birth, and with having a c-section and seeing how necessary it actually was, I started to become much more open-minded toward medicated/surgical births. I became much more aware of the dangers that can surround births, and that it’s not always a smooth process. With Tobias’s birth, I feel like I was able to go back to my ‘natural’ roots, without fear, and have the birth that I dreamt I’d have. And that’s a good feeling!
I still miss my little girl and wish she were with us here on earth, but I can see how blessed we’ve been, and adding Tobias to our family has been such a beautiful journey so far. I can’t wait to see the kind of man he will become and the road that lies ahead for us!
I’d love to hear your stories of Rainbow Babies! If you have one, feel free to share your own experience below 🙂