Why I Won’t Call My Son a ‘Rainbow Baby’

But I’ve never had that same reassurance God gave Noah. I’ve never been promised that my personal storm wouldn’t be repeated.

My first so-called “rainbow baby ” after Scarlett didn’t make it. My “rainbow baby” after Oliver didn’t live either. My “rainbow baby” after Ruby is now strong and full term and already engaged in my birth canal; he’s hiccupping as I write. But as long as I mother on this earth I have no guarantees that calamity will stay away from my family. I might view rainbows as a lovely reminder that this particular personal storm is over… but they in no way carry with them reassurance that another devastating storm isn’t around the corner. The metaphor is flawed for me and I’m okay with that. I don’t have to use it to appreciate the gift this child is.

My son is not my rainbow baby.

He’s my son — wholly and completely loved… just as my other babies are wholly and completely loved, though absent from our home. This child ready to join us in the outside world doesn’t replace them, he doesn’t make up for the heartbreak of death and loss and grief. Love doesn’t work that way. Love stands on its own while also bringing all things together. (That, friends, is a true miracle.)

Adriel Booker 38 weeks pregnant rainbow baby belly kiss

Miscarriages ensured I lost a certain innocence about pregnancy that I carried before. They also ensured I wouldn’t take cover under false promises or assume that life will turn out as expected. I am not entitled to happy endings, nor am I ungrateful for them when they come. If anything, suffering has made me appreciate joy more… but I will not demand it more. I can’t. I know too much.

I don’t “deserve” this baby or this happiness. I receive him and this happiness with arms and heart wide open. I open the gift with gratitude and — hopefully — I embrace it with the measure of wonder and humility the gift warrants. There’s no assurance my life will never be flooded again, but I’ve made peace with that and I choose to see and absorb the beauty anyway. I don’t need storms or clear skies to find rainbows anymore. I’m less interested in formulas and more interested [in] discovering hope in whatever form it decides to take.

Believe me, I realize my rejection of the “rainbow baby” term could sound negative. Perhaps it might make others uncomfortable to hear a hopeful person say things that could be interpreted as doom and gloom when I talk about the possibilities of more storms to come. But the way I see it, it’s not distain. Rather, it’s a depth of hope and trust that comes not in spite of the risks but because of them.

I have seen the faithfulness of God in the midst of the storm — while in the eye of it surrounded by eerie silence yet thankful to realize I’m still alive, and also while tossed in the fray of it, gulping and gasping for a lifeline, wondering if a rescue boat will come before I drown. I’ve also seen it while safely back on shore, recovering under a blanket and wrapped in the comfort of love and sustaining grace.

There he is — God faithful within it all. (It’s who he is. He can’t not be.)

Adriel Booker
Adriel Booker
 Adriel Booker is a writer, speaker, and difference-maker living Down Under with her Aussie love and littles where they lead an inner city missions community in Sydney. She writes about motherhood and parenting, miscarriage and loss, faith and spirituality, social justice, women's issues, tiny house living, creativity, and making the most of our everyday lives on AdrielBooker.com. Adriel also leads the Love A Mama Collective—an online community of women empowering women in the developing world, particularly in the area of maternal health. Sign up for Adriel’s Love Notes or find her on facebook or instagram.

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