Honoring a Rainbow Baby
In case you’re not familiar with the term, a rainbow baby is one born soon after the loss of a previous baby due to miscarriage or stillbirth, the word used because a rainbow typically follows a storm, indicating optimism and hope.
By Melissa Willets
Since suffering a recent pregnancy loss, my family has done everything we can to honor the baby we so desperately wanted. From planting a tree, to naming a star after her, to creating angel baby necklaces, even in the midst of our grief, we find deep comfort by channeling our myriad of painful feelings in positive ways.
We hope to conceive again soon, which I have come to believe is the greatest opportunity to honor our beloved baby. For she would be gifting us with a life we would never have known, had we not been forced to say goodbye to her far too soon.
We’ve started to think about how to use the name we picked for our angel as inspiration for a rainbow baby name. Of course, we’d never reuse her exact name; I think I speak for all parents who have experienced loss that this feels beyond wrong.
Instead, we are considering these ideas:
Using initial inspiration. Our baby’s name was Cara. Picking a name that begin with a “C” would honor her, and offer another way for us to cherish her in everyday life. Some “C” names for us to ponder for a girl: Cady, or Christy. For a boy: Colum, Cody, or Crosby. Or, gender neutral: Casey, Cameron, or Chandler.
Getting in the middle. Cara will forever hold a special place in our hearts, no matter what happens, and we would plan to teach a future child about her, and how she sent them to us. In that spirit, a rainbow girl could have Cara as her middle name. For a rainbow boy, maybe Carrick.
Remembering the good times. It was during a visit to Disney World that we announced my pregnancy. I’ll always remember this magical week as being full of joy, and long before we ever suspected our story would end this way. Selecting a Disney character name could remind us of the special time we did have with our angel. Perhaps Ariel, Flynn, or the unisex moniker, Dale.
Choosing hope. There are times my loss feels so overwhelming, I don’t think I can go on. When I encounter these moments, one word plays over and over in my head: Hope, as in I’ve got to have it. I’ve thought about how a baby named Hope would be so meaningful, after what we’ve been through.
Looking to the heavens. What better way to honor an angel baby than to bestow a name meaning, or inspired by, an “angel,” upon a rainbow baby? Angel names worth considering: Dina, Angelina, Evangeline, Gabriel or Ingram.
Going literal. When in doubt, perhaps the name Rainbow would be a perfect fit!