Thinking about Mother’s Day

spring trees

A friend recently told me that she does not celebrate holidays. She had suffered much loss over the previous two years and felt that she no longer had any energy left for anything other than the most necessary aspects of life. While I thought this was shocking, and my heart went out to her, I realized we all get to choose how we live with grief.

Holidays take on a very different light after the death of a baby. For me, it means privately grieving more intensely, but simultaneously feeling gratitude and great love for my children and the traditions I cherish. It has meant re-evaluating Mother’s Day.

Like many bereaved parents, I have a love/hate relationship with this particular day. Some years are very sad and very bittersweet. Some years, there is tremendous happiness. Mother’s Day is a day of contrasts; the joyful parents and children celebrating and the bereaved families trying to build new lives from seemingly endless sorrow.

There is no one ‘right’ way to observe Mother’s Day. Every year brings challenges that we, as mothers, work hard to address. And that is the key. We are mothers. We deserve to celebrate our children in life while also honoring our children in memory. We deserve to speak about them, show pictures if we are lucky enough to have them, and to be angry, sad, grateful, prayerful and resentful. We deserve to share tears and to also share joy.

I hope this Mother’s Day is a kind one. I know our memories and our babies have changed our lives forever, and ultimately in ways that bless us. And for new families, in the early and very devastating stages of grief, I hope you can feel loved, cared for and cherished by friends, family members, fellow mothers and fathers in Rainbow, and by the knowledge that we are mothers every single day.

My hope is also that on this Mother’s Day we can give ourselves the gifts of tenderness, compassion and hope…that we can do whatever it takes to not only make it through a potentially difficult day, but to also celebrate our children with love and remembrance.

more mothers 2

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A Bereaved Mother’s Love, Support and Remembrance

heart rock

All of us as bereaved parents, hope to find ways to commemorate and remember our babies who have died. For some parents, this means telling our stories to family and friends, donating money to supportive causes, writing books, or doing whatever it takes to heal at the time of the loss, or even years down the road. For some of us, it can mean devoting time and energy to a special group or project that helps us feel like some good can be done in our baby’s name. We at Rainbow are very proud of the efforts made by families to honor our babies. Sometimes this is a very private process, and sometimes it is more public. A group member recently began a project that will benefit bereaved families now and in the future. This thoughtful and beautiful program carries the name of a much-loved daughter, and it will help bring peace and healing to others. Thank you Mindy.

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Solace in Seeking

big rock

Solace in Seeking

February can feel like the bleakest part of winter, yet it can also sometimes feel like spring is right around the corner. This time of year provides an opportunity to look back and exhale slowly, contemplating where we find ourselves right now. Spring will bring challenges for those of us who have experienced a pregnancy loss or infant death, but we celebrate too, that we have gotten through the sometimes difficult autumn and winter holidays. It feels like this time of year provides an opportunity to renew our faith in healing and gain strength in the process. And shouldn’t Valentine’s Day, this February, serve as a time to honor, remember and love our babies?

I have compiled a list of a few Facebook pages and national websites that are frequented by Rainbow families. Many of us participate in activities associated with these sites. Many of us simply take comfort in knowing support is out there whenever we seek that peace of mind and understanding. Please contact us if you would like to add any additional favorites.

These are not listed in any particular order:

green heart       Carter

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Finding Hope in the New Year

winter sunrise

The New Year is upon us and with it comes a reminder that we have made it through the previous year. For families who have experienced an infant death or pregnancy loss in 2015, it is with mixed emotions that it can now be said, “my baby died last year.”

I remember feeling astonished that I had physically survived such an unthinkable loss, and sad, too, to be moving forward into a new life without my child. Healing did come, slowly and with lots of false starts. But it took many ‘New Years’ and an abundance of tears to regain focus and hope. It sometimes meant moving slowly, alone and heavy with sorrow. And sometimes it meant finding support from others who had experienced a pregnancy loss or infant death and who understood and survived.

May all Rainbow families, new and long-standing, find that hope and healing, courage and peace, in the sunrises and seasons to come in 2016. To those of you considering reaching out for support and understanding in this upcoming year, please know we care and we are here to help and listen.

Too Soon (Mary Yarnall)

This was a life that had hardly begun

No time to find your place in the Sun

No time to do all you could have done

But we loved you enough for a lifetime

No time to enjoy the world and it’s wealth

No time to take life down off the shelf

No time to sing the songs of yourself

Thou you had enough love for a lifetime

Those who live long endure sadness and tears

But you’ll never suffer the sorrowing years

No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears

Just love – Only love – In your lifetime.

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December – a season of Hope

for Forrest and AnnieRainbow support group members take time in December to share stories of hope and healing and to talk about new or adapted traditions that have grown from our experiences with loss. These photographs represent our love for our children. Some of us create new traditions over the years, with full knowledge that there is no singular “right” way to heal. It is up to us to find our own way, but with the support of others, it can be somewhat easier and far less isolating.


merry christmas Carter Carter Powellbaby Drew Meissner Brooklyn Reichenbach

I will Light Candles this Christmas 
by Howard Thurman 

I will light Candles this Christmas;
Candles of joy despite all sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,

Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all the year long.

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A Season of Thankfulness – but sometimes it’s not that simple…

Signs of a changing season

November is a reminder that Thanksgiving, and the holiday season, is right around the corner. As bereaved parents, we sometimes place enormous pressure on ourselves to make those around us more comfortable with our sadness, sometimes even putting our own needs on hold. Instead, it might help to focus on how we can participate in the holidays (and every day) to the best of our ability and in the most honest manner we can muster. That process can include making new traditions, limiting our involvement to only the most important celebrations, or taking a break as often as needed. If you feel overwhelmed, another option is to ask friends and relatives if you can accept or decline social invitations closer to the actual date. You don’t have to make a decision immediately. The ups and downs of grieving can make it difficult to commit too far in advance. Grieving requires a huge emotional, spiritual and physical effort. And for those of us who are able to fully participate in Thanksgiving this year, we do so with gratitude for our continued healing.


by Marie Teague

Lord, I thank you for memories.

Memories of my children, living and gone.

Of hopes, dreams, love…not lost, just postponed.

Lord, I thank you for health.

Not just physical health, for we know that people who are perfectly healthy

(unborn babies) can just as easily die as the old and infirm.

No, I thank you for the health of my soul…a soul which has been torn and

left to die, only to find new life and vigor in the shadow of suffering.

A soul which dares to love beyond the grave.

Lord, I thank you for my babies who have gone to be with you.

Keep them safe and warm till we all meet again.

I would not ever want to suffer their dying again.

But would not trade them for life itself.


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October is Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Awareness Month

We celebrate our children and their impact on our lives through many personal customs. Some families have grave sites and headstones; some families have bricks purchased through Compassionate Friends, Inc., and placed in the Rose Park Memorial Sculpture Garden; other families create their own special places to honor their children at their homes. Regardless of how a family chooses to remember their babies, every personal option is important and meaningful.

Memorial brick with birthday balloon and flowers

Brooklyn’s brick – Traci Reichenbach, 2015

Headstone decorated with toys

Ramsey – Kori Keller, 2015

Memorial bench in centemetary

RAINBOW Bench – Molly Mills, 2015

Memorial Pin and ribbon with card

Kendall’s pin by Megan Cole – Molly Mills, 2015

Memorial walkway bricks

Forrest and Annie’s bricks, for Molly Mills – Traci Reichenbach, 2014

Memorial Garden with flowers and figurines

Carter’s Garden – Ashley Powell, 2015

Memorial brick with blue flower and blue butterfly magnet

Benjamin’s brick – Lindsey Erickson, 2015

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