Complicated emotions: loving my rainbow baby

In the beginning, there was joy. Two excited big sisters. The dream of life as five. My big girl patting my tummy, giving it kisses. Resting her head on my bump, telling me that you were kicking her. Excitement, anticipation, joy.


Then utter desolation.


Joy turned to sorrow. Excitement became numbness. You moved, you wriggled. I felt nothing. You were still unknown. I could not bond with you. My heart ached for your biggest sister, my focus day-to-day was your other sister. I could not picture you. You had not been part of that other life. You were new, alien. Your arrival meant moving on, leaving her behind. I was frightened.


And then, you arrived.


Thomas lying on a quilt with pictures of cars - "Complicated emotions: loving my rainbow baby"


In that moment, grief hit first. I could not welcome you until I had wept for her. For the little girl who had longed for a brother; the brother she was never to meet. I cried for her, for you, for me, for all of us. For the dream that had been snatched away; the family life forever shattered.


And then I saw you and love filled my aching heart. I felt joy once more. Joy mixed with pain. But joy nevertheless.


My beautiful boy. My rainbow baby. A ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds of my grief.


Darling Thomas, you are such a happy baby. Your eyes light up when you look at me and you have the biggest, most beautiful smile. You look at me when I feel sad as if you are trying to do your best to make me happy once more.


Thomas smiling at me from his swing


My little boy, my rainbow baby. I love you so very much.


But my love for you is a complicated thing.


For each moment that my heart overflows with love for you, there comes that ache, that guilt.


It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She should be here too.


How can I feel joy when she has gone? How can I be happy without her? My heart breaks once more. I cry.


“He doesn’t replace you Jessica. My love for him takes nothing from you.”


Loving Sophie does not come with guilt. I loved her and Jessica together. They knew they were both loved, together and as individuals. I am free to love Sophie as I always did.


But loving you is complicated. I should be able to love you freely, but I cannot. My love for you and my grief for your biggest sister are two sides of the same coin. I cannot separate them.


Me cuddling Thomas at his christening


My rainbow baby, my darling boy. I love you so very much. I love your sisters. Each of you has your own place in my heart, each of you is precious to me. You all bring joy in different ways.


When I look at you, I see you. All the wonderful things that make you who you are. But I also see your sisters. I see all the little ways in which you are like them. I hear Jessica in your coos, I see her in your face. When you snuggle against me, I remember my first baby, and how she once did the same.


I watch your sister with you. That beautiful sibling bond. It makes me smile and then makes my heart break. I am so aware of the bond that has been lost even while I cherish the new bond that is growing. How lovely Sophie is with you, how kind and caring. I love the way you look at her, the way you save your biggest smiles for her. Just like she was with Jessica. Each time I watch you together, I wonder how it would have been for you with two big sisters to love you. How gentle your biggest sister would have been.


In the night I watch your sleeping face and marvel at the wonder of it. For a moment I almost feel content but then that ever-present ache overpowers me. Memories flood back, thoughts of another night when I did not sleep. When I gazed on another face; one with eyes that were closed forever. I relive a lifetime of memories of her, question once more whether I failed her. I hear her little voice in my head, her calling me mummy and my heart breaks. In the darkness, I cry once more for her.


And then I look at you and Sophie. I watch you sleep. How thankful I am for you both. My aching broken heart fills with love.


With love comes pain.

With joy comes guilt.

Nothing is unclouded any more.


This was not how it should have been.


But you are here and you are loved, darling boy. More than I could ever say. Loved by me, loved by daddy, loved by your big sister. And I know how your biggest sister would have adored you too.


Hubby with me holding Thomas and Sophie holding Jessica's picture


A Blogging Good Time

10 thoughts on “Complicated emotions: loving my rainbow baby

  1. Reading this with tears in my eyes. I don’t have the right words, and I know that nothing anyone says will change how you feel. But I wish you wouldn’t question if you failed Jessica, you most certainly didn’t. She had six and a half years with the most amazing family who gave her the best opportunity from before she was even born. Sending love to you all.


    1. Thank you so much Gemma. I think that question stems from the two different answers that come from the questions “did I do everything I could have done?” and “did I do what I thought was best?” In those last few weeks, I know that I made decisions based on what I thought was best at the time based on what I knew then. Did I do everything I could have done though? The honest answer to that question is no. I could have gone back to hospital on that last day, I could have asked different questions. It probably would have made no difference but in my darkest moments the knowledge that I could have done more still haunts me. But I keep reminding myself that I could only act based on what I knew at the time. Had we been in hospital when Jessica collapsed, I would have almost certainly been alone with her. It is a small comfort to know that we were all together in that moment; that Jessica was somewhere she felt safe and loved. There wasn’t a day of her life that we didn’t let her know how wonderful, and how very loved she was.

  2. Such a beautiful post. I feel like I understand your emotions from reading this, but I can’t imagine how it must feel going through this every day.
    Thomas looks such a lovely, happy boy and I know just how much Jessica would have loved him.

    1. Thank you Sarah. Daily life can be a rollercoaster – but some days are easier than others. Thomas brings me a lot of joy as does Sophie and Jessica is never really far away x

  3. Oh Louise, I am so sorry that you feel this daily. Your joy at having Thomas is so marred by losing Jessica. It is so sad that you feel so torn every day. I just hope that you find more joy and peace than sadness. x #ABloggingGoodTime

    1. Thank you Jo. It can be quite a rollercoaster. Thomas does bring me so much joy even if there is often sadness that comes with it x

  4. Thomas is absolutely beautiful, I adore seeing his beautiful face on Instagram, and you are always so grateful. This post is beautifully written and so heart wrenching, I struggled to read through my tears as your love for all 3 of your amazing children shines. I can not begin to imagine your pain. Like you I have 2 girls and a boy, the thought of not having my eldest here is unbearable and I am so sad you have to live with that. It is so unfair, as you say it wasn’t supposed to be this way, Jessica should be here with her siblings. After loosing 3 pregnancies I remember when I was pregnant with Aspen how I felt guilty all the time because I didn’t want my angels to feel like I was loving her more, or wanted her more. I hope one day all 6 of them will finally meet, and I will get to hold those babies never born alive. You my darling have nothing to feel guilty for, I understand why you say that, but you truly have no reason too. You have so much love inside you, so much love to give all 3. I wish I knew what to say, I feel helpless as I know I can not ease your pain, just know that you are an inspiration to so many families. Sending so much love xx

    1. Thank you so much Mackenzie for your lovely words. I can relate to that feeling of guilt and I have no doubt that your three angels are just as loved as your three children here on earth too. I too hold on to the hope that one day we will all be together again x

    1. Thank you Natalie. It is quite an emotional rollercoaster at time. Thomas does have such a beautiful smile and he really is a little ray of sunshine x

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