Finding your rainbow
Written by Sunita Osborn, PsyD, MA
Published byPESI Inc.
Last updated: 08/01/2023
In the infertility community, a “rainbow baby” refers to a child you have after experiencing infertility or pregnancy loss. It’s thought that the baby is your rainbow after the storms you’ve endured. This is a beautiful sentiment, and there are numerous stories of courage and resilience in which people share how they have endured significant physical, emotional, and often financial stress to finally have their rainbow baby.
While it’s important to highlight these stories of hope that can follow pregnancy loss, it’s just as important to emphasize that the path to your “rainbow” does not always need to include a baby at the end. After someone has experienced miscarriage or infertility, there is often an assumption from loved ones, friends, and maybe even ourselves that we must try to have a baby again—and soon—whether that means trying to conceive again, using assisted reproductive technology, or exploring other options, such as adoption.
After my miscarriages, I was often asked when my partner and I were going to try again and told “don’t give up” when we started to wonder whether we wanted to continue trying to have children. While these words of support were given with the best of intentions, they also assumed that there is only one right path after pregnancy loss: Namely, to keep trying to have a baby. If this is the path you and your partner want to pursue, that’s amazing. However, it’s important to take a moment to reflect and to consider what next step you want to choose for yourself.
The key word here is “choose.” Pregnancy loss has a way of taking away our ability to choose. It can feel like control or agency is taken away from you after a miscarriage. You experience a painful emotional and physical trauma without any say in the matter. Additionally, certain choices in your life, such as when or how to have a baby, may depend on forces outside of your control, such as medical factors or financial limitations. Consequently, pregnancy loss can leave people feeling disempowered and helpless. This exercise will support you in recognizing your agency after loss so you can find your own unique rainbow.
Download the “Finding Your Rainbow” exercise from “The Miscarriage Map Workbook.”
Find more information on how to move forward from the trauma and grief surrounding pregnancy loss in “The Miscarriage Map Workbook.”
Navigating pregnancy loss and moving forward
After losing a pregnancy, many people feel alone in their trauma and grief. As clinicians, we should let them know that their feelings are valid and create a space for them to work through their emotions. In “The Miscarriage Map Workbook,” Sunita Osborn offers a straightforward road map to help people cope with pregnancy loss, allowing them to feel deeply understood, better equipped to handle life stressors, and more empowered to move forward.
Sunita Osborn, PsyD, MA, is a licensed clinical psychologist who practices in Houston, Texas, and works with adults and couples. Known as an expert on the treatment of pregnancy loss, she specializes in reproductive psychology and helps individuals and couples at all phases of the reproductive journey. She has been featured on media outlets including NPR, With Whit, and Psychology Today, and her books include “The Miscarriage Map: What to Expect When You Are No Longer Expecting” and “The Miscarriage Map Workbook: An Honest Guide to Navigating Pregnancy Loss, Working Through the Pain, and Moving Forward.”
Learn more about Sunita Osborn’s educational products, including upcoming live seminars.
About the publisher
For more than 40 years, nonprofit organization PESI, Inc., has provided cutting-edge continuing education to professionals across the nation. Working alongside the world’s leading experts, PESI educates and instructs the general public, public organizations, private industry, students, and professionals in acquiring, developing, and enhancing their knowledge and skills.