I have a rainbow baby.
She’s cute. She is adorable. She’s a trouble-maker; getting into everything. She’s stubborn. She’s an absolute gift. She’s our rainbow baby.
To many, that means she came after we lost our last child.
But I struggle with the term “rainbow baby.”
For as long as I can remember, I have always stopped what I’m doing, if even for a moment, to take in the sight of a rainbow. The beauty of a rainbow, with all its colours, set against the dark sky is something to be seen. It reminds me of God’s covenant that he made with Noah and his family to never again destroy all life with a flood. To me it’s a symbol of peace and love.
After we lost our son Ezra, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to love again.
Then we had Norah, our fourth. Our rainbow child. My heart split open and love poured out.
She was a sign that there was no limit on love.
She brought me new hope and reminded me that I was loved and therefore able to continue to love.
But Ezra wasn’t a storm to be weathered. He wasn’t a difficult phase that we had to “get through.” And that’s my problem with the term. It seems to reduce his birth into the hands of God as a difficult passage of time that we had to endure. Yes it was a difficult time in our lives. Yes, things are a little easier now almost three years later. But my grief isn’t going away. It isn’t just a phase that I’m going through.
Having a child, a rainbow child, doesn’t take away that grief. It doesn’t take away that pain. It doesn’t take away those thoughts. In my experience, it actually made some things worse. I wasn’t a very anxious person before we lost our son, but now I’m constantly worried that one of my children are going to get hurt, or that something is going to happen to them. I’m constantly warning them to be careful because I’m worried that I’m going to lose another child. I see the stages and phases of our “rainbow child” and I’m reminded of all the stages and phases that we never got to witness Ezra experience.
I may get better at walking with the grief, but I know it will never leave. So long as I love my son, it will never leave me.
Thinking back to Noah and his family, I can only imagine what they would have experienced the next time it rained following the flood. After those first few drops fell from the sky, I can picture Noah and his family running into their tents and hatching out a game plan to make it back to their big boat that they abandoned. I’m sure it was traumatic for them, all those memories of their world being destroyed by the flooding waters. The fears that they must have experienced. The terror it must have struck for them.
Even though God promised to never again destroy the earth by such a flood, he did not promise that we wouldn’t face suffering or difficult times in our lives. Even though we’ve experienced a rainbow, God doesn’t promise us that we won’t ever experience storms again in our life. What God does promise us is that God will be with us during them. I know this because God sent us a rainbow to remind me that suffering will happen, but She will not leave us.