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Navigating the Emotional Landscape of Edmonton Rainbow Babies

Updated: 1 day ago

As a newborn photographer, I've encountered numerous Rainbow baby stories in my career. The loss of a previous child is a profound trauma that lingers, making it challenging for parents to move forward in their lives. Contrary to the common belief that a new baby will alleviate the sadness and guilt, the reality is often more complex. Welcoming a new baby can bring forth a mix of emotions, including anxiety, guilt, happiness, and nervousness.


Edmonton Rainbow Baby Support

What is a rainbow baby?

A rainbow baby is a child born after the parents have experienced the loss of a previous baby, which includes miscarriage. It symbolizes the hope and beauty that follows the storm of grief, similar to a rainbow emerging after a turbulent weather event.


Guilty:

Unlike a passing storm, the rain that comes and goes without leaving a lasting impact, the loss of a previous baby leaves an enduring scar in the parents' hearts. While the arrival of a new baby may bring feelings of happiness and relief, it can also intensify guilt. Questions like "Why do I feel happy when my previous baby did not have a good life?" and "Can I love my new baby as much as the previous one?" are common. I won't claim that your previous baby wishes you a good life or will somehow return to your life. I believe this acknowledgment reinforces the connection between you and your baby, which only make you hurts more.


In December 2023, I underwent a thyroid removal surgery, experiencing general anesthesia. The moment the medication entered my arm, I lost all feelings and memories. ALL of them. I waked up in a different room, different time, next to different people. I have no idea how I have been moved from surgery bed to patient bed, how I have been sent to a different room. It felt like I had time-traveled. I waked up because it was a surgery, but if I don’t wake up, I simply just died.  


So the reason I mention this is because, that is exactly what happened if we die. We don’t know anything, we don’t feel anything, we don’t experience anything. Just like I don’t know my mom feels guilty when the surgery happened. Similarly, your previous baby doesn't know your thoughts or actions. They won't feel unloved if you welcome another child and love them as much as possible.


Losing a loved one is an indescribable, overwhelming feeling that our brains instinctively shield us from facing directly. It’s too much and too heavy. In order to minimize the overwhelming feeling, we try to find a reason of why this is happening. This thinking logic has been trained since we were child. If something happened unexpectedly,  everyone told us to analyze why this happened, what step went wrong, and how can we fix it. But almost no one told us, a lot of times, things are just not under human’s control.


Losing your previous baby, especially to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), is one such instance beyond human control. No one, not even scientists, knows why it happens, and I'm pretty sure you did nothing wrong. However, this thinking logic may trap you in your memories, leaving you searching for a reason and blaming yourself.


Dealing with the pain:


So what can we do to dealing with such intense pain? I would say, take as long as you need to face it. Don't try to rid yourself of the feeling. Let your baby live inside your heart, allowing the pain to do its job as you continue living your life with it. When your baby comes to mind, let it happened. You may then feel a lot of emotions coming with your memories. That's ok, let it happen, and give your feeling it's name, acknowledge the hurt and sadness.


Fear:


Feelings of anxiety and nervousness are rooted in fear. I once photographed a rainbow baby, and his mother shared that she still wakes up suddenly at night to check if her baby boy is still breathing. Her sentences was like a knife stabbed into my heart. I can feel that huge empty and fear live deeply inside her.


Before I delve into this feeling extensively, I want to highlight a reassuring fact: the occurrence of two babies dying from SIDS in the same family is extremely rare. I didn't come up this conclusion, this was been said on What Every SIDS Parent Should Know – Baby's Breath Canada (babysbreathcanada.ca)


Even though the fact said your baby will be safe, but might not help a lot. Again an example from myself. In 2018, I haven beed diagnosis with depression and anxiety. In around 1 year, I cannot do anything but stay at home. These persistent symptoms, such as uncontrolled worry, fear, hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide, continue to resurface even in 2024. While medication helps me maintain a semblance of normalcy on most days, the fear that my depression might return looms large. The very thought of it becomes a trigger, nearly pushing me to the breaking point.


Fear is prediction:


In a conversation with my therapist, she posed a crucial question: "Do you have a crystal ball that can predict the future?" This was an "ah-ha" moment for me. No, of course, I cannot predict the future. But the crystal ball symbolizes our fears; when we view the world through it, it has the power to drive us to the brink of insanity. We end up living in anticipation of our worst fears, even when nothing has happened.


I share this perspective with you. Don't let fear become your lens, shaping how you perceive everything. We don't predict what will happened to our precious baby. We don't prepare ourself to the tragedy. Don't squander your energy and life living in the grip of anticipated fears. It's normal to experience worry and fear at times.


I've discussed this with almost all my clients, particularly with first-time parents who often find themselves concerned several times a week about whether their baby is still alive. It's okay to worry; it only becomes an issue when it becomes uncontrollable or overwhelms you.


Here I have a chart, might help you in those lonely night. It is also called CBT Sheet:


Thought

Evidence

Evidence against me

How my friend think

If I think differently, what will happened

My depression will come back tomorrow

I had depression in 2018

It haven't come back to me for so long; I'm very steady now

They don't think it is a problem even it comes back, because it will always go

Nothing happened, I only live happier







In sharing these insights, my aim is to provide solace, understanding, and support to those navigating the emotional complexities that come with welcoming a Rainbow baby into their lives. May your journey be one of healing and love.


If you would like to get your rainbow baby a newborn photoshoot. Please do not hesitate to contact me.




-Samantha

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