Rainbow Baby: Why Some Moms Are Not Comfortable With Using the Term

Photo: (Photo : Amy Elizabeth Quinn/Pixabay)

Some mothers do not think that babies born healthy after a miscarriage or infant death should be termed a "rainbow baby." While "rainbow" is symbolic of hope after a storm, there are mothers who expressed discomfort for the label.

Mom Teresa Mendoza told Today that she first heard of the phrase rainbow baby at support groups for parents. However, as a mom who lost a child after 24 hours of labor, Mendoza, who has since had three kids, didn't want to refer to Sylvia, the baby who died, as the "storm" or "darkness" in her life before she had other children.

"For a long time, I rejected the title, feeling protective of Sylvia and hurt by the idea that anything surrounding her was a storm," the mom posted on Instagram. "She is perfect, not a storm, we are heartbroken, but she is not a storm, it was a great tragedy, yes, but she is not a storm."

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Flawed Metaphor

Mom Adriel Booker wrote on For Every Mom that she prefers not to refer to her son as her rainbow baby after three baby losses. Booker said that the rainbow baby carries a flawed metaphor, and she does not have to use this term to appreciate her son. It also won't discount the babies she lost nor "make up for the heartbreak" of her miscarriages.

She also believed that calamities and storms are parts of life, and a rainbow isn't any assurance that these will no longer happen. The mom said she doesn't need to find a rainbow in her life and will instead embrace and receive what happens with a wide-open heart.

Liz Winters also confessed that she doesn't like the term rainbow babies as they should not be seen as the cure for the grief and pain that happens with a loss. However, she understands that this term is both grief and joy for some mothers, as rainbows only appear when there is both rain and sunshine.

Meg Konig also told Today that her daughter's death was not something they have to get over or move on, as much as storms pass. Losing Hope still has an impact on her years after she gave birth to her son, Everett.

Some mothers reject the label to serve as a reminder of the tragedy that came before the baby who survived. For them, a baby is a baby and shouldn't exist in the shadow of a sibling who didn't live.

Sunshine Baby, Angel Baby

Online parenting communities have other terms for their children. A "sunshine baby" is the child born before a baby loss, bringing light and happiness to the family. For most parents, this is the first child and the first pregnancy.

The baby who didn't make it due to a miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death is called an "angel baby." It's a term grieving parents use in community boards to refer to the loss, especially if they want to share or discuss their experiences with other moms and dads.

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