Friday, March 21, 2014

On Rainbow Babies

 


***Warning I need to vent and when I vent I tend to get feisty.

For those of you who don't know rainbow baby is a term for a baby after loss. The idea is that a rainbow doesn't negate the storm but is something that is beautiful after it.

Okay. Thanks.

I am just going to be frank here. I hate the term. It's stupid. It's similar to when people say it happened for a reason.

Newsflash: EVERYTHING happens for a reason and saying my daughter's death did not only makes not feel better it often makes me feel worse.

I digress. Back to the topic at hand. Or maybe I was talking about the topic at hand. Here is the thing, a lot of people mean well. They want to make sense of it. We think if something so senseless makes sense then somehow the logic will help us grieve, but in reality the exact opposite happens. We coin silly little phases to oversimplify something horrible and tragic. We do it over and over with lots of different little phrases. I made of list of ones that really bothered me last year in this post: Words/Phrases that Drive Me Nuts.

Rainbow baby made the list then and it is coming back up again. Here is why...

Like I said in the previous post Claudette was my rainbow baby, so maybe I am just mistrusting of the promise that term gives. Perhaps, bigger than that is what rainbow assumes. Rainbows happen after storms, therefore; it is assuming having a living baby is a part of the process of having a deceased one. As if you have to have at least one living baby to be a mom.

Any mom who has lost knows what I am talking about because inevitably they have got the question, "Do you have other kids?"

Whew! You have two other living kids. Oh good. At least you have other kids.

or

Oh, no! You don't have any living children. Are you trying for your rainbow?

These are the types of questions and comments we get from others and thoughts sometimes we give to ourselves as baby loss mommas.

Yes technically we are trying for another baby via adoption. But this baby is not a rainbow baby. It doesn't negate any storm. It doesn't even have to do with any other storm. Yes, it could be argued that without the loss of twins, Claudie would not have been and without the loss of Claudie a future child might not be. This is true one some degree. But that is silly to make the inference that directly. It's like saying without my first born my second born would not exist. Yeah, it's call birth order! It's a simple as that. Yes, some go on to try for more babies than they would have normally because they have lost their babies and yes after loss a lot of mom's have the strong hormonal pushes to try for another. But babies don't cancel each other out based on their lifespan.

I know I might be offending some, but I think it devalues a child that dies to call the next child a rainbow baby. Just as my mom will always be my only mom. I don't need a rainbow mom since she died, my daughter wasn't a storm and I don't need some colorful rainbow to come bring something positive out of the negative. See as sad as I am Claudette is gone, her presence as short as it was, was enough.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is truly meant from the heart but at some point, do you think that you will ever be able to be happy with your two beautiful kids and be ok if that is God's plan for you? I'm just concerned if you will be ok if the adoption doesn't go thru.

Anonymous said...

At some point dear one you need to find peace and happiness. Yes, what happened is tragic, horrible and not fair but you are living in the past under a very dark cloud. You don't need to forget, no one needs to forget. But allow God to move you forward and not live in the past.

Anonymous said...

So beautifully said....I think its hard for me, especially to say, because I know you so well but I love you and want you to enjoy your time with your beautiful kids and amazing husband. No one will ever say that you haven't experienced loss but the loss has consumed you and you are now focusing so much on another baby that it is consuming and devastating you. As you know, tomorrow is not promised so make sure Henry and Amelie know and that daddy feels needed too. Sometimes ya gotta move on....for your own good. Love ya

Paula said...

Hugs, you are a beautiful mother. Continue to carry your children with you....all of them. I pray the adoption process goes smoothly and quickly for you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the first three comments on here are perfect examples of things you DONT say to the mother of an angel. I take it you three have never lost a child?! SMH, you are the people who need to keep your opinions to yourself!

Anonymous said...

I read the comments and they dont sound insensitive so much as concerned maybe. I have had two miscarriages and know loss myself and know what its like to try and fill an empty void but eventually you have to choose happiness with the life you have. Its not fair to the children you have to see their mom constantly in a state.of sadness.

Alyvia Elliott said...

I am not sure how to even comment on the comments above. Honestly, whoever said they know me so well, just simply DOES NOT! I LOVE my living children EQUALLY as the ones that have passed. I am not consumed in the baby loss community, but rather voice my opinion that I think many share. As far as being "moving on" Claudie is a part my narrative, my world, and my every thought. She is my child. I won't move on until I am dead and get to see her again. This does NOT mean I don't spend adequate love and time on my current children or husband. As far as the adoption statements, adoption is all-consuming for ANYONE! It has taken us longer b/c of our grief. I believe the comments may have come out concern, but are VERY INSENSITIVE and I am very hurt someone who supposedly knows me took time on my blog to anonymously write them me rather than use time in person to do so. This was just a little rant about a term. I don't care about having or not having a rainbow baby so I am not sure where this all came from.

Audra Sherman said...

Who are the cowards behind the first few comments? You claim to know Alyvia, but you do not know her!!! She is the best mother, sister, and wife anyone could ever know.

Mindy said...

Wow, you people are such cowards that you have to bully her behind an anonymous name! Obviously not true friends or family at all. If you can't say anything kind, don't say anything at all! You have clearly never lost a child. Everyone grieves differently. It's HER baby, HER blog, HER grief. You have no right to tell her how to grieve or when to stop! I pray to God none of you have to walk in our footsteps. Love you alyvia, stay strong lady!

Mindy said...

Wow, you people are such cowards that you have to bully her behind an anonymous name! Obviously not true friends or family at all. If you can't say anything kind, don't say anything at all! You have clearly never lost a child. Everyone grieves differently. It's HER baby, HER blog, HER grief. You have no right to tell her how to grieve or when to stop! I pray to God none of you have to walk in our footsteps. Love you alyvia, stay strong lady!

annye said...

If you can't say who you are then don't say something so cold and rude. Livy is a wonderful mother, sister wife and aunt and friend to many.
She is using this blog to help her through her grief and it has touched so many people and will continue to do so.
Noone knows the pain until they have lost a child.
She is not constantly in a "state of sadness"
Please talk to Livy about your feelings if you are a family member or good friend as you say you are
Love you sis and keep blogging. Praying for a peaceful weekend!

Anonymous said...

I aactually wrote the first comment and did so anonymous because this is what happens if anyone tries to express honest concern. Everyone goes overboard and crazy. There was honestly only good intention and concern because you cannot replace a baby with another baby. I have expressed many times how sorry I am for your loss but will let everyone rally and attack for no reason. I hope one day you find peace and sorry for any anguish I caused

Amanda S. said...

Obviously someone who has never lost a child wrote the first few comments because even though you write on a blog or air your grief on a public forum doesn't mean you live underneath a dark cloud in front of your living children. Yes, they may see you cry once in awhile but they are your purpose for waking each day and living each one to its fullest. But when you lose a child your life takes on a new purpose for keeping the memories of the children who are no longer with you alive. As a mother, you do what you have to do. As a grief stricken mother it is HARD, but you are still a mother to be there for both your living and dead children. So be supportive instead of critical....

Alyvia Elliott said...

With all due respect to the first commenter, but you wouldn't have to feel everyone was going overboard and crazy if you had come to be personally and not posted on my blog. And did you actually read the blog?!? That's exactly my point why I don't like the term rainbow baby. One baby does NOT replace another. I am not sure where you comments come from, but I trust they were a good place. I just think it shows you don't understand me or my perspective.

Sam said...

The term bugs the hell out of me too. I get the sentiment, but like you I feel like people are trying to gloss over Aubree's death or trying to think that this makes things all better. MY BABY DIED. Nothing makes that "all better". No child will replace her.

I saw a great quote earlier this week. "My baby died. There is no 'At least...'"

I am sorry that some commenting on here don't understand and their words are terribly hurtful. Claudette's death doesn't diminish your love for your four older children. But it is an event that changes you, as it should. Because her life was meaningful and it changed you.

I hope you are getting some rest and that you can find a way to ignore the ignorant comments above. <3

ksmommy26 said...

I have been out of town and I am just getting caught up on my emails, etc. and saw this. I am so sorry Alyvia that people seem to all of a sudden be experts on your life and what you should and should not be doing. You are so right when you say that you will never be over Claudette dying until you are reunited with her. Time does not heal all wounds. You hold your head high and continue to speak what is in your heart and on your mind. Those of us who love you and understand this journey appreciate your honesty, the world needs to hear more of it and maybe then people will understand how hurtful their ignorance and words can hurt. You are a beautiful person and you and your wonderful family have changed my life forever. Don't let a few people get you down, you have a wonderful blog that helps so many people through their own grief. If they are troubled by it then maybe they shouldn't be reading it or if they are that concerned for you then maybe they should do the right thing and talk to you face to face or better yet, support you, listen to you and let you grieve your baby girl all while you are still being an amazing mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, nurse and so much more> Love you my friend.

Judy Vance said...

I cannot say that I know you well but I know you well enough to say that this is how you process things. Talking about them. All the time. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It.is.a.blot.people. You choose to read it. And rather than take potshots at Livy from behind the anonymous sign in the name of concern maybe you should talk to her face to face. Or try praying for her. Because the whole anonymous thing makes me crazy too. That and the word orientate but that is another post. Peace.

Rochelle said...

PS: I love how riled Audra got. Sweet sisters. :)

Anonymous said...

5 posts or updates about 3 comments,...Seriously!?

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for this post. I also dislike the term "Rainbow Baby". I didn't know I had one until about 4 years ago - she's a teenager now! I didn't understand it when someone first told me that she's my rainbow baby. I googled "rainbow children" and found all sorts of links that made no sense at all to me in the context my daughter had been described (links took me to sites explaining indigo and crystal children come before rainbow children and children's hospices). Then months later came across it on a stillbirth site and realisation dawned...

My feeling on it (trying to be brave enough to say here now given I haven't read any other of your posts (will rectify that)) is that my living daughter has no connection to the previous two children we have had other than that they shared the same parents. I don't want her living her life under their shadow. She should be free from any obligation other than to be the best person she is for herself. I don't want her labelled especially when the label foisted upon her directly relates to the death of two children she never met.

It's made me privately unsettled for over three years but I felt I couldn't tell anyone as it would be insensitive to say I don't like a term that means so much to them. I came across it in another blog today and decided to see if I could find out when the term "Rainbow Baby" originated. I didn't have much joy in discovering when it came into use but found crossness overwhelming me. That's how I found your blog, by googling "dislike the term rainbow baby"!

Funny where one ends up. Hope I haven't written anything to upset or offend. It will certainly give me lots of pondering over the weekend.

Jen Aguilar said...

I get it. You are not alone. This journey is complete crap. I'm writing this after visiting my son's grave 20 minutes ago.

People want to slap pretty labels on things and make it better. Nothing takes the pain away from a lost child. We don't get over it or move on. We figure or how to function and survive with a huge chunk of our heart missing. Hearing that this is "God's plan" is one of my most painful triggers. Even as a cradle Catholic, not a single bit of my heart feels any comfort in that statement. It makes me feel burdened be even more guilt for not being able to simply "let go" as some would like me to magically do.

Keep putting the truth out there. You are not alone! Some of us may never hold a "rainbow". Does that mean our storm is never ending compaired to other families?? Seriously.... The term is crap.

#doitforcj