I had never heard the term “Rainbow Baby” until very recently. I saw social media posts and looked up the definition. According to thebump.com, “A rainbow baby is a baby born shortly after the loss of a previous baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or death in infancy. This term is given to these special rainbow babies because a rainbow typically follows a storm, giving us hope of what’s to come.” I immediately saw the connection with the people who had posted – friends and family members who had gone through the ordeal of miscarriage, only to eventually have a baby. But it didn’t dawn on me until today that I too was a rainbow baby.
My mother had my sister at age 24, and for the next 11 years, Momma had 5 miscarriages, most occurring only after a few weeks, but the last one reached 5 1/2 months gestation. The last one was too much for her and my father and they decided to stop trying to have another baby. But lo and behold, my mother was almost 5 months along before she realized she was pregnant! Her doctor was happy, but concerned, and took several precautions to make sure she carried me to full term. After 9 months, 36 hours of labor, and a C-Section, I was born at 10:42 pm on Monday, July 28, 1969 at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. My mother had complications that almost resulted in life-threatening hemorrhaging, but fortunately her doctor acted quickly, God intervened, and both mother and baby survived.
Having had my own infertility issues before having my two children, I often thought about Momma’s emotionally and physically painful ordeal over those 11 years, and silently expressed concern about the possibility of my having to endure what she did. As painful as my journey through infertility was, I did not have to lose a child in the process. However, as I get older, I often think about my 5 siblings – and yes, I consider them my unborn siblings, being a firm believer that life begins at conception. Infertility can really do a number on your brain – I went through stages of grief and many thoughts of inadequacy and self-doubt. I expressed this to my mother one day and she spoke to me in a tone I had never heard her use before. Her voice strong and stern, she said, “Don’t you ever think less of yourself like that! I went through 11 years, 5 miscarriages and 36 hours of labor to bring you into this world. So don’t you EVER think you have no purpose!” I sat up straight and never forgot those words. She had just given me a charge – I knew that from that moment on, I would never feel less than adequate about ANYTHING I had to endure. I was a SURVIVOR. I was a rainbow baby. And I was now committed to doing what my 5 brothers and sisters could not. They didn’t survive. They weren’t able to be all they could be. But I could. So I was, and still I am, determined to be a “rainbow of hope at the end of a storm…” and believe that if I can be that hope, then I can have hope for any storm I face in life.
Rainbow babies have a special purpose in life – I plan on continuing to rise above the storm!