I am a mom of a rainbow baby.
He restored so much color to our dark world after losing our daughter.
While everyone told me of the elation I’d feel with a rainbow after the storm, no one prepared me for the one question that plagued me most of my pregnancy: How do you celebrate one child while mourning the loss of another?
It is such an emotional paradox. I was pulled into so many corners of myself.
It was at my son’s gender reveal party that I cocooned. I didn’t want to have a big reveal this time around, but we did. I could feel my fragility and I knew that no matter the color of the cake slice, pink or blue, my heart would ache.
With all of our friends and family surrounding us, smiles and excitement on their faces, I tried to pull it together to celebrate the growing life inside of me while also deeply grieving the life that left me.
Everyone saw the confetti of blue, the cheers and overjoy. But there, in the mix of all of it was me, a mama who was gasping back her tears, trying to make it through.
The car ride home, I didn’t say a word. My husband didn’t know what to say. There was nothing he could. This was between me and my babies.
Sitting in my daughter’s lilac-painted room, I crumbled to the floor and let go.
I let go of the dam that had been holding back the flood behind my eyes.
I let go of what people thought, which was that I should be excited, I should feel blessed. I was, and I did, truly. I felt all of that. I was also terribly sad and hurting. And I was allowed to feel both. My emotions were an enmeshment, blurred together like an abstract painting.
I stayed on the floor of the nursery for three hours, ugly crying, knowing the frills and room I made for her would soon be covered up in paint for him, dolls swapped for baseballs.
I slowly packed up what was not meant to be to make space for what was.
Then, I took a moment to speak to my babies.
I told her how much I loved her, and always would. That the 28 weeks we had together would carry me a lifetime. That it was she who made me mom. That her future siblings would know her name, and that she would live on through me.
I told him how much I loved him, and couldn’t wait to meet him. That the lifetime we would have together would be my greatest endeavor and purpose. That to be his mother was an honor. That I would spend my every breath doing my best for him. That I would slow down to savor the accumulation of seconds we were gifted, and the gift that he was.
Lastly, I talked to myself. I said that it wasn’t my fault. That I was safe to feel it all. That I was a good mom to both of my children. I was enough. I was loved.
There was a rebirth of myself that happened that day, a shedding of skin where I crawled out a different person, both flawed and beautiful, both tormented and transcending.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and I wanted to share a piece of my story with parents, because the worst thing to feel is alone. And that is exactly how I felt for so long. But not anymore.
When you look at my family, you see a family of four. A mama who was blessed with two robustly healthy boys.
What the world cannot see, and what some don’t know is, I actually have a family of six. A mama who was blessed with two daughters born to Earth who weren’t meant to stay.
I celebrate my storms and my rainbows.
And when I close my eyes, in the lullaby of the wind and the warmth of the sun, she’s there. She has answered my prayers.
When I open my eyes, I see the life of movement and laughter and morning time snuggles. He has answered my prayers.