Rainbow children: babies who arrive after the loss of a child

After the storm comes the calm. And sometimes, after a perinatal loss, a rainbow baby arrives. We tell you what makes these children so special.

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: September 11, 2022

Losing a child is one of the most painful experiences in life. And when we refer to this loss, we also include the experience of an abortion. For parents, illusions collapse and pain inevitably enters their lives. They will have to face a duel and integrate this hard experience in the best possible way. Nevertheless, after the storm the sun rises; and, sometimes, after a perinatal loss, the rainbow children arrive.

Although this term is not collected or recognized by any scientific discipline, it is the one used to designate those babies born after abortion or neonatal death. They come to renew hope in their parents, to fill their families with light after the darkness experienced. If you want to know more about it, we invite you to continue reading.

Who are the rainbow children?

Although the term “rainbow children” does not respond to any scientific qualification, it is widely used today.

As we have mentioned, rainbow children are those who are born healthy after the family has lost a previous child. His name is symbol of hope, of renewed illusion, of new joys after the storm. And this is precisely what they mean to their parents.

According to some spiritual currents, these children have some specific characteristics:

  • Are loving, kind and compassionate. They are sensitive and care about the people around them.
  • They have one great ability to manage their emotions. They are able to forgive very easily and rarely get stuck in anger.
  • They are creative and determined. They learn easily and can easily excel in those areas that are of interest to them.
  • They are full of energyThey are active and brave.
  • It is believed that they are usually born into harmonious and functional families.

In reality, there is no need to label or pigeonhole children. Each of them is wonderful and special in its own way, and the above qualities may simply be typical of a healthy childhood. However, taking them into account can help adults appreciate, consider and enhance these characteristics of their children that are sometimes overlooked.

Rainbow children are not substitutes or replacements

Rainbow children are special to you, but they are not a substitute for their missing brother.

Given the particularity of these children (they are born after the loss of a previous child), it is important to emphasize that they do not come to be substitutes or to fill in the gaps. They are independent human beings, with the full right to develop their individuality and to be seen and loved for who they are.

For this reason, it is very important that parents can grieve before seeking a pregnancy again. It is common that the environment (friends and relatives) in an attempt to help, encourage the couple to have another child as soon as possible, but this is not positive.

By doing this, we are denying ourselves the right to feel pain for the loss, we are forcing ourselves to erase that son from our history that although he did not get to be born, or to live, he was desired, expected and loved. And, at the same time, we are condemning the future baby to carry some expectations, to fill some gaps, that do not correspond to him.

The time that each woman and each couple needs to process the pain may be different. But it is important to respect this stage, name that child and symbolically include it in the family tree. By giving him his place, by acknowledging and crying without guilt, without fear of judgment and without rushing, we are opening his own space to the next baby.

It has been seen that, if this process is not carried out, when a new pregnancy occurs, the mother may feel guilty for having moved on and having a new baby. In addition, it is possible that these feelings color the upbringing of this child, limiting him under the overprotection.

The calm after the storm

Although it is a silenced reality, perinatal death is much more present than we think. It is estimated that, in Spain, some 2,000 babies die after 24 weeks of pregnancy and during the first month of life; And to these figures we must add miscarriages, which mostly occur during the first trimester.

In many of these cases, a new pregnancy will come and this will generate mixed emotions. It is very common that, in these cases, the parents fear suffering a new loss, but at the same time feel excited and hopeful about this new life.

Fortunately, in most cases the pregnancies and births of rainbow children are extremely healing; and, having them at last in their arms, supposes the calm and the light that those parents longed for so much after the darkness.

The pain for the loss of that son who departed is terribly complicated to overcome; nevertheless, rainbow children fill their homes with joy, love and harmony. If you are lucky enough to have one of these very special little ones in your life, tell him his story; Talk to him about his little brother who is no longer here, explain how much joy his arrival brought to the family and, above all, allow him to be without carrying the shadow of unhealed pain.

Rainbow children often become teachers of love, kindness, and joy. Allow yourself not only to enjoy it, but to learn from it, and accompany it in its growth, being sensitive to that purity that it brings with it.

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