What is a rainbow baby?
A rainbow baby is a baby born after miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, termination for medical reasons, stillbirth or neonatal death.
The rainbow symbol has been used by members of the baby loss community for many years. For some parents, the symbol of a rainbow over-simplifies their experience because the arrival of a rainbow baby doesn’t take away the grief they feel about their loss. But for many parents, rainbows symbolise hope and light after a dark time.
“The use of this term doesn’t mean that mums and dad regard their previous babies as a ‘storm’. My husband and I do not consider Guy as a storm at all, we love him dearly.”
Parenting after loss
“We don’t talk enough about how traumatic pregnancies after loss are – even if they go well. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but no woman pregnant after loss can be sure that things will turn out well. Many will be convinced that they won’t, but even if they do, she is still a grieving mother.”
The arrival of a rainbow baby is an emotional time in many ways and can bring up many conflicting feelings of happiness, grief and even guilt. It’s important to allow yourself to acknowledge and accept these feelings – there is no ‘right’ way to feel.
Some parents also find it can be painful navigating questions, however well-intentioned, that come after the arrival of a rainbow baby. If you are finding things difficult, talk to someone you trust, whether a family member, friend or health visitor, or consider keeping a journal to help express what you’re feeling.
“We’re all different so the only advice that will apply to everyone is to focus on your physical and mental health, doing things you enjoy or find relaxing. Grief, pregnancy and parenting are all very tiring so take it a day at a time and be kind to yourself. Talk to someone you’re close to, or release emotions into a journal, but don’t keep things in – asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, so reach out for support if you need it.”
Sophie King, Tommy’s midwife
Many parents find it helpful speaking to other families in similar situation. If you would like, join our baby loss support group on Facebook – offering a safe, supportive environment to discuss what you’re feeling. We also have more information and guidance on parenting after loss on our baby loss support hub.
Our state-of-the-art clinics provide specialist care to women at the risk of pregnancy complications or loss. Referrals to our clinics have helped hundreds of families, like Sam and Martin, go on to have their rainbow baby.
“The research that Tommy’s carried out means that we have our rainbow baby, and for that we will be forever grateful.”
Louisa and Seb
Supporting families who have experienced loss in getting answers, and finding treatments to help them have their rainbow babies is a key part of what we do.