A set of photos featuring moms and their babies is inspiring “rainbow baby” comparisons. (Photo: Every Child is a Blessing: The Journey Through My Pregnancy/Facebook)
An unknown photographer has captured the beauty of “rainbow babies” — the nickname evidently given to infants born after their moms have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth — in a set of viral Facebook images.
The first photo features seven pregnant women, each dressed in a different color of the rainbow, with their exposed bellies painted a matching hue. The second photo shows the women again, this time dressed in all-white clothing, holding their “rainbow” babies, each dressed in a rainbow-colored outfit. The images, which were posted to the Facebook page Every Child is a Blessing: The Journey Through My Pregnancy on Sept. 20, have racked up almost 80,000 likes, 79,000 shares, and more than 8,000 comments. “Still praying for my rainbow baby!” wrote one Facebook user. “So amazing and beautiful!” wrote another. And many users uploaded photos of their own rainbow babies in the comment section.
The Facebook page belongs to a Lufkin, Tex. mother named Chastity Boatman, 24, who blogs on a website of the same name. “I have not experienced the loss of a baby myself but I am adopted and the purpose of my blog is to help heal women from child-related loss,” Boatman tells Yahoo Parenting. “Without my adopted parents, I wouldn’t have the happy, healthy life I have today.”
Boatman, who is studying for her masters in history, is not the photographer, and clarifies that the origins of the photos are unknown. “I found them during a random Internet search on a Russian website,” she explains, “and while their meaning is open to interpretation, many people have associated them with rainbow babies.”
The idea behind “rainbow babies” is that after a storm (a miscarriage, still birth, SIDS), a rainbow — in the form of a healthy baby — often appears. In June 2014, a doctor in Boise, Idaho delivered a rainbow baby for a couple who had experienced a tragic loss a year prior, when their newborn had aspirated meconium (inhaling a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid) and lived for only six days. After the second birth, an emotional photo of the baby’s father hugging the doctor who had delivered both babies went viral.
“The best part about sharing these photos is that it’s started a conversation about pregnancy loss, which women don’t really talk about,” says Boatman. “There can be joy after tragedy.”