Why this mum won’t call her son a ‘rainbow baby’

"I would focus on him solely, as his own person, not as a product of the loss and sadness I'd felt right before him"

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The term ‘rainbow baby’ has become more and more popular over recent years.

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It refers to a baby born after the loss of a child through (usually) stillbirth or miscarriage.

And many, many mums we know have found it to be a helpful phrase to communicate the loss they’ve had. One mum even designed a rainbow t-shirt to encourage parents to talk about loss.

And another mum did an incredible rainbow-themed photo shoot, which pretty much broke the internet, to celebrate her ‘rainbow’ pregnancy.

So here at MFM HQ, as it’s become something we’ve heard so much about as a good thing (because it allows people to open up about what they’ve been through), we were interested to hear a different perspective on it from mum Angie Grace, writing for Romper.

Angie already had 3 children – a 9 year-old girl, and 6-year-old twin girls – when she and her husband decided to try for another.

She had experienced a miscarriage, when her oldest child was 2, then went on to have her twins.

When she had a 2nd miscarriage, while trying for a 4th child, she came across the term ‘rainbow baby’ on various online community groups and message boards.

And at this point, she says, she had “mixed feelings” about the term.

“I thought the sentiment was sweet, but most of the posts focused so much on the loss and the sadness associated with it,” she writes.

“So when my fourth child was finally born, I decided not to refer to him as my rainbow baby. I would focus on him solely, as his own person, not as a product of the loss and sadness I’d felt right before him.

“That said, I understand why women who have lost a pregnancy use the term ‘rainbow baby’. Finding out that your pregnancy will not continue is an incredibly dark moment, and knowing there is a rainbow after the storm probably helps a lot of women deal with the pain.

“But I feel uncomfortable with the term, because it serves as a constant reminder of the loss I felt before the birth of my son. I don’t want to look at his smiling face and think, “You’re here because another baby isn’t.”

“To me, the term is steeped in grief and darkness. I’d rather live my life, with my children, in the light.”

We have to say, we’ve not heard a mum express this side of things before, so thought Angie’s story was well worth sharing, and we really respect what she’s said.

On the other side of the coin, we reckon that if using the language of a ‘rainbow baby’ has helped you to open up or talk about painful experiences, then that’s really important too.

Each to their own ?

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