I am a mother of 4. If you were to see a photograph of our family, this might seem confusing so let me explain. I am a mother of 4: one an angel baby and one a rainbow baby. I didn’t even know these terms existed 5 years ago. An angel baby is one that lives in Heaven due to infant loss, whether that be miscarriage, stillbirth, or illness and a rainbow baby is the baby born after a pregnancy resulting in loss.
Pregnancy after loss can be the longest 9 months of a woman’s life. And as fellow infant loss moms will tell you, it’s a forever sisterhood—a club you would never choose to join. I’m walking through my second pregnancy after loss and believe me, I do not discount the miracle of a healthy pregnancy and delivery, yet all the feelings of my loss are still present and very real.
During pregnancy after loss there’s so much happening emotionally, mentally, and physically and it shows up in unexpected ways. Just the other day an innocent stranger said, “So this makes number 3, huh?” And without even considering it I snapped back, “No, this is number 4. I have a daughter in heaven.” Poor guy; as we say down in the South: bless his heart.
I’ve had to learn to give myself permission to feel all of these moments. The unpredictability of life in general is so overwhelming, but in pregnancy after loss it can nearly leave you breathless. It can dominate the joy of a healthy pregnancy. A subsequent pregnancy after loss can just as easily put you right back into the heart of the pain-filled moment when you had to say “goodbye” to your angel baby. And no matter how much healing and progress you think you’ve made…it’s there, again…surfacing the memories and leaving you breathless. It’s a continual trigger, easily pulled, that leave you feeling caught between the storm and the rainbow.
The triggers have made me realize I simply must choose to abide under the shelter of God’s sovereignty. That I ought to expect the unexpected. He is all in all and all things are under his authority. It is sufficient that our heavenly Father knows and sees. But he doesn’t just know and see—he cares, and he wants our hearts poured out unto him.
Exodus 2:24-25 says, “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.” He looked on the people of Israel and He showed Himself strong on their behalf. Matthew Henry’s commentary says this: “He knows the burdens they grown under and the blessings they groan after, and that the blessed Spirit, by these groanings, makes intersession in them.”
I can recall being told many times after our loss, “This too shall pass. Oh, time heals all wounds.” The more I reflected on those cliché statements the more I realize they’re not biblical. Because really, if I’m only living to see relief from an earthly given trial, then I’ll be constantly disappointed. The truth is, we’re likely to encounter future trials beyond our losses that will be equally as painful and awful to walk through.
My goal and my heart’s aim is heaven- the permanent release of trials, where my reality is the face of Jesus, in all of his glory, forever and ever. If I am not living for this, then what am I living for? In the storms and the rainbows, Heaven stands.