Having a baby after losing a child can be a mix of unimaginable joy tinged with grief. Many families call these babies “rainbow babies” to describe a new pregnancy after baby loss such as stillbirth or miscarriage. It can be both bittersweet and difficult to welcome and celebrate the new baby while still grieving the loss of another. One mom’s rainbow baby maternity photo shoot is a powerful example of this unique experience.
Massachusetts mom and photographer Chelsea Karr is celebrating the arrival of her rainbow baby with a stunning photo showing off her growing baby bump in front of a dramatic backdrop of rainbow-colored smoke flares.Karr has a three-year-old boy named Oliver, and less than a year ago, she lost her daughter, Chloe Jade, when she was 24 weeks pregnant. She is now 32 weeks pregnant with her third child.
View this post on Instagram
"I’m numb to this pregnancy. I still have a wall built up between me and this baby. I can’t help it. I need to still be grieving my daughter. Never tell a mother how she is grieving her child is the wrong way. You never ‘move on,’ or ‘get over it.’ You simply learn how to cope.” Mom's emotional story in our bio, and on LoveWhatMatters.com ❤️ . . . #LoveWhatMatters #RainbowBaby #Family #Love #InstaLove #LoveWins #LoveAlwaysWins #BelieveInLove #CherishEveryMoment #LoveEachOther #Kindness #Hope #Joy #Compassion #FindYourJoy #LoveIt #ShowLove #GiveLove #Giving #BeKind #SmallActs #BeLove #WeAreLove #AlwaysLove #LoveAlways #ChooseLove #SpreadLove #LoveMore #MomLife #Motherhood ❤️
Karr discussed her grief in a powerful post for Love What Matters:
“You never hear about leaving the hospital empty-handed after the loss of a baby. Having your milk come in, with no baby to feed, and enduring the added physical pain of drying yourself up. Having the empty nursery that was supposed to be filled by your child who is no longer with you. The phantom kicks you feel. Getting your first period when you were supposed to still be pregnant. The pain of all of these triggers on top of the pain of not having your child in your arms.”
Then, just two months after suffering her devastating loss, Karr was surprised to discover that she was pregnant. She had planned to wait a little longer to try again and after the loss of her daughter, she was both terrified and hesitant to get excited about another baby and the possibility of experiencing another loss.
Now at 34 weeks, Karr still has anxiety about her pregnancy and explained that she feels “guilt anytime I get any sense of joy from this pregnancy. Like I need to still be grieving my daughter.” She wanted to do something to illustrate this feeling and how hard pregnancy is after a loss. That was how her rainbow baby photo shoot came about.
“What I have learned is there is no same way to grieve,” Karr wrote. “Never tell a mother how she is grieving her child is the wrong way. You never ‘move on,’ or ‘get over it.’ You simply learn how to cope.”
Featured photo: StockSnap via Pixabay