There’s a funny picture of the book, What to Expect: The Toddler Years, that occasionally pops up in social media feeds for parents of young children. It shows the book’s cover – ruined by a blue marker, which the toddler used to scribble all over the front of the book. A funny joke showing the telltale sign of having a toddler in your house.

If you’re a parent – expecting or raising a child – you’ll inevitably see articles and memes with obvious signs that you’re pregnant or raising a child (of any age). They’re sometimes funny and always true. Every time I see them I think about my pregnancy and parenting after loss journey and wonder what the obvious signs are in my house that I’m raising a rainbow baby, a child born after loss.

little girl with rainbow umbrella and chalk rainbow - Signs There’s a Rainbow Baby in the House

Shutterstock/Irina Wilhauk

So I looked around my house for signs that I’m a rainbow mom. And I asked my friends to describe things in their home that show they’re expecting or raising a rainbow. A sort of “tell me you’re a rainbow parent without telling me you’re a rainbow parent” game.

And here’s the list we put together:

1. Rainbow Baby Pregnancy Announcement or Maternity Photos

Many parents who find out they’re expecting again after loss embrace the rainbow baby theme for their pregnancy announcements and/or their maternity photoshoots.

The sign in your house showing you are a parent to a rainbow may be a framed picture of your pregnancy announcement with a rainbow somewhere in it and mention of the dear baby who came before.

Maternity photo with rainbow train - The Sisterhood of the Traveling Rainbow Train

Photo credit: Jennifer Prisco Photography, Shared with permission from Jessica McLaughlin. Read about her Sisterhood of the Traveling Rainbow Train

On your wall, you may have a maternity photograph where you’re caressing your pregnant belly while wearing a rainbow dress. Or you are pictured with a rainbow behind you, or with billowing rainbow clouds around you.

2. Pregnancy After Loss Support Books

Pregnancy After Loss books with rainbow pitcher of flowers

Your nightstand is full of books about pregnancy after loss: from pregnant after loss moms’ memoirs to actual pregnancy after loss guidebooks. Anyone looking at your current reading list will know you’re expecting a rainbow.

3. Birth Announcements with a Rainbow Theme

Rainbow baby newborn photo

Author’s Personal Collection/Rebecca Markert

Once baby is here, you’ll inevitably have a rainbow-themed birth announcement for your child. Or newborn photos. Or both.

4. Fetal Heart Rate Monitor or Baby Sleep Monitor

baby monitor

Shutterstock/Julia Albul

A lot of us expecting again after loss or parenting after loss need extra reminders and confirmations that our babies are thriving whether in the womb or while they’re sleeping in their crib. Often, you’ll find a doppler or baby sleep monitor in the house.

5. Rainbow Baby Apparel

Little girl wearing "You're looking at a rainbow" t-shirt

Whether you’re setting up the nursery, or putting away clothes for your baby or toddler, you’ll always find a rainbow-themed onesie, shirt, socks, or jacket.

6. Family Pictures

Family photo with Molly Bear representing their baby who died - signs there's a rainbow baby in the house

Author’s Personal Collection/Rebecca Markert

Your family pictures include something to show there’s someone missing, but never far from your heart.

7. Bears or other Stuffed Animal Getting Extra Love

little boy with his sister who died's Molly Bear - signs there's a rainbow baby in the house

Author’s Personal Collection/Rebecca Markert

There’s a stuffed animal – whether it be a Molly Bear, or a plushie you received after your baby died – that’s always in your room. It’s the stuffed animal you never give away. It’s the stuffed animal you let your kids play with but must be returned to you afterward. It may even be the prized possession in your house that your rainbow baby just knows needs to be treated with respect and extra love.

8. Rainbow Baby Books

reading perfectly imperfect family

Photo Credit: Valerie R. Meek – “Stitch” reading Perfectly Imperfect Family by Amie Lands.

Your child’s bookshelf includes children’s books about being a rainbow or having a sibling that came before them.

9. Rainbow Art

a child's rainbow baby artwork - signs there's a rainbow baby in the house

Author’s Personal Collection/Rebecca Markert

You save every picture of a rainbow your baby born after loss draws, colors, or paints. Some may even get framed and put up on the wall.

10. Jewelry

Peapod jewelry with rainbow and angel wings - signs there's a rainbow baby in the house

Author’s Personal Collection/Rebecca Markert

Almost every mom I know has a piece of jewelry that depicts all of her children. Whether it be birthstones, pendants with their initials, or some other symbol for your children, most moms have bought this for themselves, or gotten it as a gift. It’s no different for the pregnant and parenting after loss mama. The only real difference is that it’s a way of wearing a constant reminder of the baby(ies) in your heart. So for another sign that there’s a rainbow baby in the house, check out the jewelry box.

These are just some of the obvious signs that you’re expecting or parenting a rainbow. What are the signs in your house?

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