When I lost my daughter Naomi, I felt desperate to be pregnant again. It didn’t matter that I had been so sick, and had months of recovery ahead of me. I didn’t care that my midwife wanted me to wait a year. I had gone from pregnant to not pregnant in a moment and I longed to have life in my womb again instead of loss.
And so I did. I talked with my husband about resigning from my job so I could stay home and prepare to homeschool our daughter the next year. I threw myself into writing my personal blog and began to expand our Naomi’s Circle website and ministry. I started to research what training I could get to work with other bereaved parents. I began a website to encourage other parents of only children. I started to see that I could have a rich life even if I did not get the rainbow baby that I wanted.
And then I got pregnant and went through an anxiety-ridden nine months, waiting to see if this was my take-home baby or not. Amazingly, he lived. And he was, and is, the light of our lives.
When he was two, miraculously, we got pregnant again, only to lose that baby within a week. The same thing happened three months later. And once again, I found myself agonizing about the possibility of ending my fertile years on a loss. Defeated again.
Or am I? Thankfully, the lessons I learned the first time around are with me still. Just because my last pregnancy was a loss does not mean that I am down and out for the count. I am not defeated, nor am I destroyed.
After all, the whole idea of the rainbow in the babyloss world is that something beautiful has come after the storm, not negating the pain of loss, but giving hope and light for the future. And there is more than one way to do that. It can be with and through your spouse or other family members. If you have living children, it can be through them. It can be through the nurturing of a gift that you discovered through or after your loss. It can be through a project to help others. It can be through anything that is a vehicle for life that needs your attention to flourish.
The other idea of the rainbow that is meaningful in my faith background is the promise from God that he would not ever again flood the earth in judgment. It is a reminder of God’s mercy and salvation, and of his presence that carried me through my losses and can carry me through the disappointment of secondary infertility, too.
That is the biggest lesson I learned the first time I thought I was done, before our son came along. And no, I don’t think God waited for me to learn that lesson before he let me get pregnant. But I am glad that I did, because for me, finding my faith and joy and hope again in other ways helped me get through the anxiety of being pregnant after loss, and it helped me place my hope in God, and not in the baby I so dearly wanted. Now that I am looking at that possibility again, I am looking back and drawing strength from that time as I wait, month after month, to see if there might still be another take-home baby for us.
So I haven’t given up yet. But in my waiting, I am trying not to let my hope and joy be dependent on having another rainbow baby. I want to find it in the other people I love, in my God and my faith, in my own personal growth, and in the comfort and satisfaction of reaching out to help others.
Because yes, there is more than one way to have a rainbow.