Rainbow Baby

August 23, 2023
Written by Chelsea Ohlemiller. (2020)

An unpopular opinion: I don’t relate or particularly like the term “rainbow baby”. 

For many it’s a beloved title. For me, it doesn’t sit well. It never has. No matter how much I’ve tried to embrace it. 

Maybe because it brings up pain and loss, and circumstances out of my control. Maybe because it reminds me of a child I’ll never hold or kiss. A child lost, so soon after it was found. 

I’ve tried to understand my belly ache from the word. To some, it’s a beautiful title. To me, it sounds like deep responsibility. I have three beautiful children. Three precious blessings. But when I answer questions at the doctors office, it’s four pregnancies that I acknowledge and honor. Something most people don’t know. 

Between my firstborn and my second born, there was another. A beautiful, unplanned, surprise baby. A baby that successfully entered the second trimester. A baby suddenly gone before the third. A baby born in a way that I’d never describe to anyone because the details would haunt you, and the gore and pain would send me back to relive that unexpected and debilitating moment. A baby lost, but still loved and wanted. 

Later, when I became pregnant with my son, people would refer to him as a rainbow baby. It felt wrong. It felt like he was born with a purpose other than his own. A purpose to cover pain and heal hardships, ones he was never meant to know or endure. 

He wasn’t a rainbow baby. He was a miracle. Just like every baby that was created within my womb. Each one unique in their own way. Each one loved beautifully, yet different. 

He wasn’t a rainbow baby. He was my baby. Born out of love and longing. Born, not in replace of something else, but beside something else. Not to heal or comfort, but to allow my love to be used and given. 

I don’t have a rainbow baby. I simply have babies. Four to be exact. One that soars beyond the clouds and three that make me feel like I’m soaring beyond the clouds. 

I don’t have a rainbow baby. Some do, and that is a beautiful gift. 

For me, I don’t need a rainbow baby, because each one of my children is a light, mighty and bold, no relation to what came before or after their arrival. 

xox, Chels

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A wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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