In the immediate years after my loss and with half of my family in heaven, I had a hard time staying in the land of the living. Every day my mind would wander to the land of the dead, wondering what my babies were up to in heaven and who was with them at that moment. Yet a rainbow baby has a way of pushing us back into the land of the living and finding hope again.
Growing up I never experienced any type of significant loss other than that of pets. It’s hard to say I was lucky though when I had to say goodbye to my babies before we even got to say hello. We lost our firstborn son, James, suddenly at 23 weeks of gestation when my water broke and an unsuccessful emergency c-section left him stillborn. I was hit again one year later when our daughter Josie passed away four days after birth.
This was my first real experience with any type of death close to my heart.
Their deaths led me to think about dying in a whole new way. My husband and are religious and believe our children are in heaven. I started to think about heaven in a curious and more concrete way. What does heaven look like? Who is with them? Was James awake early in the mornings like his dad? Was Josie enjoying the swing as much as I did when I was a baby? My mind would frequently wander to heaven and I’d dream about my babies being rocked by a grandpa and great-grandparents whom I had never even met, or playing with my sister who passed away before I was born.
While thankfully I didn’t want to die, I did wonder if I’d be better off in heaven with them.
It may sound sad, but even if my body was in the land of the living, my mind was always in the land of the dead with my babies. After all, whether children are here or not, a mother’s thoughts are always centered around her children. I had ‘mom brain,’ it was just in a different way than most new moms.
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Day and night I yearned for my two sweet babies, picturing them and what they may be doing in heaven. Would they be reaching the typical baby milestones like smiling and sitting up on the same timeline as earth babies? Were they missing their mommy as much as I was missing them?
Our adopted miracle came one month before our daughter’s first angelversary. She was our first living baby at home. Soon after I found out that rainbow babies have a way of forcing you back to the land of the living – ready or not. With her came the typical loads of baby laundry, the endless bottle washing, the lack of sleep, the sound of newborn cries, and every other distraction you can name.
And just like that, I was pushed back into the land of the living.
Instead of wondering what my angels were up to in heaven all of the time, I was focused on this new little life and all that went along with her. Every time my mind would wander to the land of the dead, I was forced out by a cry or a giggle. Instead of focusing on the past and my regrets, I was now focusing on the future. I was centered on figuring out when she needed her next feeding when I’d be able to pump again, and even when I’d next be able to go to the grocery store for some staples.
If you are new to the profound sadness of losing a child, the feeling of faith in the future could seem impossible. If you are not new to this ‘club’ of child loss and have been here for a while, I urge you – just hang on. As cliché and as frustrating as it may sound, time does help. If you are in a place of questioning yourself about having a rainbow, through pregnancy, adoption, or other means, I can give you hope that another step of healing happens when that baby arrives. And if not a baby, perhaps you will find what your rainbow might be, perhaps a new pet, a new job, or service to others. A rainbow baby doesn’t heal all wounds, but they can give you that push to live in the land of the living and focus on the future again.
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So if you, dear mama, find yourself often dreaming about the past, worry not, I will pray that a rainbow will be on the way to help lead you back to the land of the living. And if a rainbow baby is not in the cards for you, I wish that you find a way to emerge and live with hope in the future once again.
Photo by: dimitrisvetsikas1969/Pixabay CC
Emily is a very proud mom to two babies in heaven and one adopted miracle on earth. She is endlessly curious about feelings, emotions, and the ways of the world-much to her husband’s chagrin. In her free time Emily enjoys traveling, baking, and spending time with those she loves.