Still Standing Magazine

When Hope is Distant: Searching For Rainbows

There’s a term in the baby loss community known as “rainbow babies,” a baby born after the loss of a child. I’m not here to debate whether or not we should refer to these children as rainbows. Some feel this term is offensive to the baby that was lost or don’t feel as if it fits their situation. It can carry with it a lot of false hope.

I understand those feelings but I also do not believe that my daughter was the storm (her death was) and I certainly don’t believe another child would heal all of the pain families continue to endure. But I am here to talk to those who have been chasing a rainbow only to be left empty-handed.

Everywhere you look women are pregnant. Your friends. Your family. The woman at the bus stop. Everyone but you. You were left shattered after your child died. You break a little more every month there’s only one line on that little stick. You’re crushed the moment your doctor tells you the embryo transfer failed. And now the world is taunting you. Target’s adorable baby clothes are taunting you. Even those in the same baby loss community as you are taunting you with their news of rainbow babies. And you’re happy for them. You really are.

But you’re jealous.

And it’s not fair.

And you’re angry at the universe or God or mother-nature.

And you think it’s all your fault.

Your doctor says it isn’t. Your husband reassures you that it’s not. But then, why? There has to be an explanation. What have you done wrong?

Everyone wants to tell you “you’ll have another” and “you can try again”. Reality shows us that’s not how it works. Some women do get their rainbow in the form of a beautiful little child that looks just like them.

And some don’t.

The rainbow that appeared after we spread Zoey’s ashes.

Some struggle for years timing sex. Taking pills. Giving herself shots in the stomach and leaned over the kitchen counter as her husband injects her hip with hormones one more time. And crumpled on the bathroom floor when it doesn’t work.

Some try adoption, but maybe don’t get chosen. Maybe the financial strain is just too much. Maybe they’ve tried so long that they feel like they’re too old now. It’s just too hard to keep trying. If that’s you, I get it. I know not everyone understands. But trust me, I know it can be too overwhelming, it can feel like there is no hope. And that’s okay.

I wish I had greater words of wisdom. All I can say is “hold on”. Hold on to hope. Hold on to each other. Hold on to believing that there’s some sort of rainbow out there for you.  Maybe you don’t get another baby. You are allowed to grieve that. But don’t let it stop you from believing that light can shine through even after the darkest skies. My husband and I tried infertility treatments and they failed. We’re in the process of adoption, but know there’s no guarantee. I’m tired. Grief is hard. Adding a child won’t cure that grief, but I still believe in rainbows. I believe in joy and laughter and hope. And I believe we’ll find all of those things again. And I believe you can find a rainbow too.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash