A Rainbow in the Darkness

By |2017-09-05T17:04:43+00:00September 5th, 2017|Loss After Loss, Parenting After Loss, Pregnancy, The First Year|5 Comments

My rainbow baby recently turned one and I find myself reflecting on those dark days of pregnancy.

Referring to pregnancy as “dark” probably isn’t socially acceptable. After all, shouldn’t I have been grateful just to be pregnant? Especially after burying a baby less than a year earlier? I was given another chance! Society reminded me time and time again that I was supposed to be excited about this pregnancy. People, advertisements, pregnancy announcements, maternity photos on Facebook-all of these things a reminder that pregnancy should be joyful! However, spending the better part of a year wondering if the baby I was carrying would die, and maybe even expecting it, wasn’t exactly bliss.

Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of joy. A time for celebration. A pregnant woman is expected to be glowing and giddy, proudly sharing the excitement of new life, and patiently awaiting the birth of her beautiful baby. She isn’t supposed to be depressed, scared, and isolated. But for the loss mom, these feelings are real, and they are valid. I knew all too well that there was no guarantee of bringing a baby home. My mind was too clouded to extract moments of joy from the darkness of this rainbow pregnancy. The joy would come when I could see the rainbow for myself.

I sometimes wish I would have handled my rainbow pregnancy differently. With courage and strength. With grace and optimism. Why wasn’t I more like those other pregnant women? You know, the happy ones? The ones who spend their pregnancies planning for and decorating beautiful nurseries, the ones who show off their baby bumps in trendy maternity clothes, the ones who have a year’s worth of baby clothes laundered and hanging in the closet. I was living day to day in sweatpants, planning nothing.

Could I have risen above the depths of my anguish and at least pretended to be happy? The answer to that question is a simple no. I was weak. I was exhausted. I was empty. After grieving the loss of our second baby for nearly a year, I was emotionally broken. The grief process was debilitating. And the fear that this pregnancy might result in that process starting over was paralyzing. I simply did not have the energy to pretend. I spent many of my days watching TV by myself and Googling various statistics about pregnancy and loss. I napped as often as I could, wishing that I could just sleep for the duration of pregnancy and wake up with a sweet, living baby in my arms. I was completely overwhelmed by the range of emotions involved. Grief. Fear. Panic. Worry. Anxiety. Depression. I detached from life simply because I did not have the capacity to interact with the world around me.

I was repeatedly asked questions about preparation for my son’s birth. “Is the nursery ready?” No. “Do you have his hospital outfit picked out?” No. “Is the crib set up?” No. I did very little to prepare for his birth as I refused to risk the possibility of having a nursery full of baby things, but no baby. I wasn’t able to celebrate my rainbow pregnancy because I didn’t feel there was anything to celebrate. After all, my baby had yet to be born alive. I was unable to process that this baby might actually come home with us. Indeed, there would be no nursery until I had a baby to put in it.

When I finally did see my son, there was relief before joy. He was alive and well! I could breathe. Brilliant light broke through the cloud of darkness as he let out his first cry. Life had taken a turn for the better. After nine months of pregnancy, I was surprised to be taking my baby home.

While I don’t necessarily regret my lack of enthusiasm during my rainbow pregnancy, I do wish it could have been different. But for it to have been different, my life would have needed to be free from loss. I lost a baby halfway through pregnancy and went on to endure another long, difficult pregnancy. I dared to try again and that is enough.

*Photo Source: “Magic rainbow in the dark night” by maria at Superior Wallpapers.

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About the Author:

Jenny Albers
Jenny Albers lives in Colorado where she mothers her sunshine baby and rainbow baby. She also is mom to two babies who are with Jesus; one who was lost due to an ectopic pregnancy and one who was lost due to Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM). She has found healing through writing and feels called to bring awareness to the topic of pregnancy and child loss. You can follow her on Facebook to read more about her incomplete family and imperfect motherhood. She can also be contacted by email .

5 Comments

  1. Karen September 5, 2017 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Oh gosh. THANK YOU for this. I had a baby shower at 32 weeks with my rainbow this past weekend, and I spent the entire week leading up to it crying because I didn’t want to celebrate at all; it’s too soon. It ended up being really good, and I’ve been able to finally start pulling out things to prepare for this little man, but one of the greatest things I did for myself was give myself freedom to NOT enjoy this pregnancy. This is my last kiddo, so I want so badly to treasure it like I did with my others before my loss, but I just find nothing enjoyable about it–physically, mentally, emotionally–all draining. I wish it were different, but there is no point in beating myself up over holding my breath until I deliver. So… thank you for writing this. I never understood this before my own loss; I assumed rainbow pregnancies would be so hope-filled. But maybe it’s okay if it is merely a means to an end this time. I know it will be worth it.

    • Jenny Albers
      Jenny Albers September 5, 2017 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      Karen,
      Blessings to you and your sweet family. I know it must have been so hard to show up for your baby shower and I’m so glad it ended up going well! It is okay for this pregnancy to be different than your others before loss-you are different, your family is different, and past experience has changed you. You have hope and that’s all you can do!

  2. Liz September 7, 2017 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you for being so open! I lost my baby boy end of May at 21 weeks due to an “incompetent cervix” and it has truly been the most difficult thing I have ever had to endure. Took us over two years to get pregnant so imagine my surprise when I found out I was pregnant again under 2 months since our son’s death. This pregnancy was not planned and I hadn’t even considered trying again! I am currently 8wks pregnant and even though my Dr. has assured me that a cervical cerclage will ensure this will not happen again I cannot seem to get excited or feel safe with this pregnancy. Having to start over and be pregnant again with my original due date being so near has been very hard to wrap my head around. I honestly think I won’t feel joy until I hold my full term baby! Knowing I am not alone in feeling that way is such a relief.

    • Jenny Albers
      Jenny Albers September 8, 2017 at 10:53 am - Reply

      Liz, I am so sorry for the loss of your baby boy. The PALS journey is so, so hard and I encourage you to take care of yourself the best way you know how. Your feelings, good or bad, are totally valid! I wish you the best in your pregnancy and hope you have supportive doctors.

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