Hey. Thanks for listening today. I am Deborah from the blog, NaptimeTheologian.com and today we are talking about pregnancy after loss, sharing pregnancy news, Noah and the Flood, and whether or not we should use the term “Rainbow babies” as Christians.
So I am nearing the end of another pregnancy and I have learned a lot so far. I just haven’t been able to write it out, blog about it, or put it online because I’ve also been very sick! But now that I’m coming into the home stretch of the third trimester, I have felt a bit better and had some time to write out my thoughts and experiences. So that’s what I’m sharing with you today. It’s a little bit of everything from miscarriage, pregnancy after loss, to Noah, the flood, and using the term “rainbow baby” as Christians. Don’t worry, we’re still talking about theology, but it may be a bit different than the podcasts I’ve done in the past, but I hope it will be encouraging to you today.
Celebrate Early Life
So, this current pregnancy is actually my 4th pregnancy. I have one daughter who is 5-years-old and then I had two pregnancies after her birth in 2018. They both ended in very early miscarriage. My miscarriage experiences have taught me a lot of things, they’ve changed my life, really.
One thing I’ve learned from having miscarriages is that every life, no matter how long, should be known and celebrated. I only knew about my two other babies for a few short days before they were gone. Those two little lines on the pregnancy tests told me they were there, but then they were gone before the first ultrasound.
But as their mama, those little lives are still precious to me. They still lived and they were little persons for those days that they lived. And I know that those lives are precious to God because He created them.
Being pregnant again this time has really made me wonder, “Why is it still common practice to wait until the 12-week mark before telling people that you are pregnant?”
That seems so backwards. I mean, think about it… the mom has a life inside of her, a very fragile life, a life that is MUCH more likely to die in the first 12 weeks, and she’s not supposed to share it with anyone until after that fragile window is over? And why?
As Christians, we believe what the Bible says in Psalm 127:3, “Children are an inheritance from the Lord and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” And we know that God knits every human life together in the womb from Psalm 139. So, why wait to share such good news with others?
Just because she doesn’t want people to know if she has a miscarriage.
Maybe this is really what it comes to, the fact that we don’t talk about miscarriage enough and it is still too taboo in most circles. I think we need to get over that as well because 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage in their birthing years… that’s a lot of people going through something hard! And sharing hard things in life, like miscarriage, is important. How are we supposed to love one another and pray for one another when we don’t even know what the other person is experiencing?
Miscarriage Twice Over
I know I feel especially passionate about this because of my own experiences. My first miscarriage happened around 6 weeks along. I had just found out two weeks before and I was very excited. But I had a trip planned to see my parents and I wanted to wait and tell them in person, so I didn’t tell anyone except my husband, my in-laws and my older brother who was going to travel with me. Well, before I even went on that trip I had lost the baby.
I was devastated. Of course I was sad, you moms know what it’s like when you find out you’re pregnant. Right away you start planning and dreaming of this baby that the Lord has given to you. But I was also isolated and alone. I remember calling my mom to tell her what had happened and I couldn’t even say the words, I had to hand my phone over to my brother and he told her. When our friends found out, I found it awkward, like, “Hey, I was pregnant and didn’t tell you, but now I’ve had a miscarriage and I’m hurting.” What are they supposed to do with that? I look back on that first heart-breaking experience and I wish I had told more people of my pregnancy. A simple text to a group of friends from church would have been so helpful. I know they would’ve helped me right away or at least made sure that I was okay. That’s exactly what I needed, people checking in on me.
Then when I had my second miscarriage, I was even more devastated. I assumed that because I already had one miscarriage, the next pregnancy would be fine because my chances had lowered. Well, that wasn’t the case and I lost that baby at 7 weeks. This all happened during the covid lockdowns in Los Angeles. I had to get a special appointment with my Dr. because they weren’t really seeing people in person. But I remember looking at the ultrasound screen and seeing an empty womb, now for the second time, and I was so sad. Thankfully this time, we had told a few more friends and they were very kind to check in on me and even dropped food and flowers at our door.
Telling Friends Early
In both of my experiences, God showed Himself to be faithful. There were little ways that He encouraged me and held me fast in my grief. But in looking back on both of my experiences I now see the need to tell other people early on about pregnancy and I wish I had done that then.
There’s a certain assurance in telling other people you are pregnant that I really needed. Not assurance that the pregnancy is going to go through without a problem. But assurance that your friends, church, and family will be there for you if it doesn’t.
This time around, I did tell people a lot earlier on. No, it wasn’t a big announcement on social media with a cute onesie. But I did text my family and in-laws. And then I also texted the ladies at my church, telling them I had just found out and asking them to pray because I have had miscarriages before. Those messages back from family and friends were nothing special, they mostly said, “Congratulations! We’re praying for you!” But those simple words were profoundly encouraging. They knew about this little life that I had inside and they were part of it with me, for worse or for better. And, I knew that they would be praying alongside me for this pregnancy and baby.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage
And, trust me, I really needed the prayers, it’s scary being pregnant again after a miscarriage. The first weeks and months of this pregnancy were very hard. I would feel any kind of pinch or pain or cramp in my stomach and immediately think, “Okay, it’s happening again.” And every visit to the bathroom brought a chance to find the true signs of miscarriage.
And, on top of that, the routine here in England is to have your first appointments and ultrasounds later in pregnancy than my last experience in the states. So it felt like a very long time before checking that everything was okay with the baby. I was filled with worry and anxiety so much so that I was actually very thankful for the intense feelings of nausea and tiredness because they reassured me that things were happening in my body! It was hard to trust God in those first weeks and leave it in His hands.
In the back of my mind, every day, I wondered how long this pregnancy would last and if I would get the chance to hold this baby in my arms.
And that brings me to the next topic I’d like to talk about today: rainbow babies. I was really wondering if I’d have a rainbow baby or not. Those wonderings and thoughts have brought me to several conclusions.
The term “rainbow baby” describes babies who are born after the mother has lost a previous pregnancy or multiple pregnancies. They are supposed to be a symbol of the “beauty that comes after a storm.”
There is also, of course, the more Christian definition from the story of Noah. God sends a rainbow after the worldwide flood as a sign of His promise to never flood the earth again in such a way. You can read about it in Genesis chapter 6. And maybe we should read it over more often because I have found this Christian definition rather problematic for two reasons: (1) We don’t fully realize the impact of the flood in Scripture, and (2) it gives you the idea that having another baby after a miscarriage or loss proves God’s faithfulness to you.
Rainbow After the Flood
When we read the story of Noah in the Bible and when we picture it in our head, we think of Noah and his family in the ark with the animals, the rain coming, and then, once the waters subside, the world being beautiful and happy, lush and green, the perfect place to live.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that the vegetation under the water from the flood was green and growing when Noah and his family came off the ark. But the reality of the situation after the flood is that the earth would’ve been covered in the remains of death. The flood killed everyone and everything that wasn’t on the ark. All those bodies and debris were still somewhere. So, there probably was grass growing, but growing with the signs of destruction and chaos everywhere.
When Noah and his family stepped off the ark, they didn’t immediately give offerings to God in worship because it was so beautiful. They did it because they had been miraculously saved from the destruction that surrounded them. So God gave Noah the sign of the rainbow to show His faithfulness in preserving His people. Noah and his family could continue looking for the seed who would crush the serpent’s head that God promised in Genesis 3:15 because they were alive and not killed in the flood.
So, the flood was not just any other storm and I think it is not wise to compare the hard things in our lives, the storms as we call them, to the flood that totally destroyed the world. The sign of the rainbow in the Bible is much, much more than simply the beauty after a storm.
Rainbow Baby as a Sign of God’s Faithfulness
The second reason I’ve had a problem with using the term rainbow baby is because it gives you the idea that God is only faithful if He does indeed give you a rainbow baby, another baby after loss.
The rainbow baby is supposed to show that God is still faithful after sending a storm into your life. But what if you never have a rainbow baby? Is God still faithful?
That was a question I had to wrestle with even before getting pregnant this time. My chances statistically and medically of having another baby after the two miscarriages was actually pretty high. But on the inside I had to ask, Would I be okay if I never had another baby? If I never get a rainbow baby, never have more children, perhaps even have more miscarriages, is God still faithful?
God is Still Faithful
And I just have to quickly answer those questions now: YES! God is still faithful. God’s faithfulness does not rely on anything we do or anything that happens to us. He is always faithful for He is always true and trustworthy.
I came to the realization that even if it did happen again, if I did lose this baby too, God would still be faithful. I have already walked that road with Him two times and I can do it again in His faithfulness. Of course, it would be sad. But I trust God. He knows whether or not I need to hold this baby in my arms or only in my womb. In fact, He knows exactly what each one of us needs every hour of every day. So, instead of letting my heart worry, I purposed to rejoice in His kindness to give me another baby for however long He wills.
Resting in God’s character from Isaiah 40:11 really helped me when I would have anxious thoughts. It says, “Like a shepherd He [God] will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing lambs.” That verse shows God’s tender care for us moms, He knows what we deal with in each pregnancy inside and out. And that truth tells me that should the worst happen in my life, whatever it may be, God will carry me in His arms, He will be faithful.
And that is true for you as well. Maybe you’ve had a miscarriage, or more than one, God will carry you in His arms as well. He will always be faithful to you. Even though it may feel like chaos all around, God is there. And He’s actually there for us even when we have storm after storm after storm too.
I love the Old Testament book of Lamentations. It is a very sad and chaotic book. Even the structure of the chapters is chaotic. The Israelites are being afflicted, their enemies are overtaking them, and it seems as if there is no hope. But right in the middle of the whole book, in the middle of all of that tragedy and chaos, it says in Lamentations 3:21-24, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail, they are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’”
In the middle of the tragedy and chaos in our lives, in the middle of storms, in the times when there isn’t beauty after a storm, in the times when we just have storm after storm, we can still have hope. God’s lovingkindness is there and He is faithful.
And even if we never have another child after loss or never have children at all, God is faithful. We’re not promised a certain number of kids in Scripture, but we are promised that God is for us and not against us, that Jesus gave His life for us, and so much more. So we can trust God and His faithfulness. I’m so thankful that it’s not dependent on what happens in my life. He will be faithful with or without a “rainbow baby.”
So, just to be clear, I won’t be calling this baby my rainbow baby, but I will be constantly so grateful for this new blessing, this new outworking of God’s lovingkindness that He is giving to me and my family. It is more than anything I deserve.
What do you think?
Well, I would love to hear your thoughts about what I’ve shared today. Have you thought about Noah and the flood that way? What do you think of the term “rainbow baby?”Leave a comment down below with your thoughts.
I can’t wait to share more with you about what God is teaching me through being a mom and having another baby. Thanks for listening today!