The Sibling Bond

By |2017-12-14T10:42:45+00:00December 14th, 2017|Parenting After Loss|0 Comments

Dexter’s picture of a rainbow bridge to a sky full of heart stars

I’ve been thinking a lot about siblings during this holiday season. My heart is full every time I watch my three living children engage in all the holiday activities: seeing Santa, Christmas tree decorating, finding Elf on the Shelf, baking cookies, and running up and down the aisles in the toy store making mental notes for their Christmas lists.

Of course I wonder what it would be like with another child here. The older sister they never got to meet.

It’s said that there is no stronger bond than the bond between siblings. But what happens if one of the siblings dies? What if they never got a chance to meet their brother or sister? What happens then?

I don’t think it changes all that much. There’s something about a sibling bond that goes beyond what any of us can understand. And it begins early! I recall how much my living daughter would kick and move around in utero whenever her older brother would sit on my lap, giggle, or talk. She became active when he entered the room. If ever I was worried about her movement, I’d call Dexter in! He was always the one to get her attention more so than anyone else. Still is!

Never the one to cuddle with me, I also remember how she snuggled with my lower belly suddenly days before I found out I was pregnant with her little brother. She also demanded to be the first to hold him when he was born (she announced that weeks prior to delivery – “I get to hold him first, mama!”)

Even though Lily came before them, I swear they have a bond with her too. It goes beyond the angel’s kiss birthmarks they were all born with. It’s evident in how respectful Dexter is with anything belonging to Lily. He would put everything in his mouth as a baby – but not her blanket. He knew not to touch that. It’s how Audrey tells me her favorite kitty is best friends with the bear the hospital gave us after Lily died even though kitty had plenty of other stuffed animals to choose from in our house. The baby brother Owen steals the older kids’ toys and runs away as fast as he can, and he’ll do that will Lily’s blanket, bear, and (yes) even her urn.

I have to believe Lily is part of that sacred bond. I know they know each other and they’re connected in ways I’ll never understand.

Your rainbow baby knows their older sibling too.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Markert
Rebecca Markert lives in Verona, Wisconsin, with her husband, Mike, and their three living children, Dexter, Audrey, and Owen. She gave birth to her first child, Lily, on Mother's Day 2010 after she went into preterm labor at 20 weeks. Rebecca had a septate uterus, which put her at risk for preterm labor and an incompetent cervix, among other things. Lily was a beautiful baby girl with her daddy's nose and her mommy's feet. She was stillborn. She was proof that love at first sight does exist. After another high risk pregnancy, Rebecca welcomed her rainbow, Dexter, in 2011. During her second pregnancy after loss, Rebecca realized how anxious and fearful she still was and sought out other women expecting again after loss. She, along with four other courageous mamas, formed the Rainbow Pregnancies of Madison group, which supports women pregnant after loss. Rebecca is still the facilitator of that group, which meets monthly and has an active, private Facebook page.

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