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To the Mom Who's Pregnant With a Rainbow Baby

Photograph by Twenty20

This isn't a story about a miscarriage. That's something that happened and devastated us for a time. But this story isn't about that. It's about what happened after. Its about the fear and the hope that fills you to the very brim when you become pregnant again.

A rainbow baby is a baby born after a miscarriage or infant loss. I had never heard of this term until I became pregnant with my very own rainbow baby. This experience opened my eyes to the extreme mix of emotions that these circumstances bring on, accompanied by the loneliness of worry.

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This letter is what I would write to any woman going through what I felt:

Dear Mama-to-be,

Condolences and congratulations are in order and I'm sure you're wondering how to handle both of these contradicting sentiments. It's OK. There is no right way.

It's confusing having something so devastating precede something exciting. Don't worry that you're having trouble being happy. That guilt you feel for trying to forget about this pregnancy or the one that was lost is normal and will eventually fade. For now though, your feelings of denial or numbness are how you're coping with a challenging situation.

Don't get me wrong, you probably won't ever go back to the rose-colored glasses, nothing-can-touch-me excited that you once were.

You've been determined to keep it a secret because maybe it's not real if no one knows. And maybe you don't need to worry quite so much if it's not "real." You realize it's all a game in your head, but can't seem to stop it all the same.

While you know it's crazy, you've become completely superstitious and worry that doing the wrong thing will result in devastation... again. While you know you shouldn't, you Google every strange sensation to make sure it's not a sign of something bad. You've become a person you hardly recognize: a non-feeling, obsessed worrier and you don't quite know how to stop.

But you will. Trust me.

Time is an amazing healer and you'll somehow remember how to be yourself again. You'll gradually get to the point that you're excited and start allowing yourself to think about plans and nurseries and names.

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Don't get me wrong, you probably won't ever go back to the rose-colored glasses, nothing-can-touch-me excited that you once were. There's no such thing as slight cramping or harmless spotting. Every tiny feeling or sensation will put you a bit on edge.

But you will be able to get past it.

While it feels like it will never come, when that miracle baby does finally arrive you will be filled with overwhelming feelings of hope and happiness. That's the promise that your rainbow baby represents.

Love,

Another mom who's been there

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