Everyone knows the colors of the rainbow as ROY G. BIV: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
Two photos involving the colors of the rainbow are especially heartbreaking. The first is of seven pregnant women – right to left in a different color of the rainbow. Each has a corresponding flower painted on their bellies, where their babies are growing. The next photo shows the women as moms. They are dressed in white dresses and their children are dressed in the color of the rainbow their mother had been in the previous photo.
The term “rainbow baby” was coined after these photos exploded onto the internet via a Facebook share from a mother in Texas named Chasity. The term means a baby that is born after the mother has had a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or an infant loss. It’s still a relatively new term, but more rainbow baby pictures are showing up on the internet. They range from pictures of their babies themselves to heirloom pieces such as a white onesie that says “After every storm there is a rainbow of hope…Here I am!” in the colors of the rainbow.
Erikah is one of the mothers in the original rainbow baby photos – the one in purple. Her son Liam was born 18 months after she experienced a miscarriage. The photographer who took photos for her heard her describe her son as “proof that there is life after loss”.
Another photographer – one who did not work with Erikah – said that “I had not heard of this term before meeting this wonderful woman and mother. After hearing her story and that this was her Rainbow Baby, I wanted to create an image that acknowledged such.” The photo that came from that shoot shows the mother in jeans and a white tee shirt. Her belly is exposed, and her right hand is resting on top of her baby bump. Her left is resting on the side of her baby bump. Smears of red, orange, green, and blue finger paint are on her belly, representing her rainbow baby.
The series burst forth unexpectedly, but the photos are giving hope to mothers who have lost their babies everywhere. From the United States to other parts of the world, women experience miscarriages, stillbirths, and other reasons their babies and infants die before they can mature. These mothers get to love their children for only a few hours or months before they loose them. The rainbow baby series shows that there is a reason to be happy, a reason for hope, and a reason to endure the pain. Babies do come to those who try, and the experience of getting to hold the baby after losing a first is one of the sweetest things on this earth.
And the rainbow baby series shows the sweetness of these moments in perfectly candid photographs.