May 26, 2010

"Rainbow babies"

My heart leaps up when I behold
A Rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!

It's fairly obvious that when I see a rainbow, I think of Ianto. One (two?) appeared the day of his funeral, and I took it as a sign from him.

The term "rainbow baby" means something for different people. To most babylost mums, it is what they call their next babies, the ones born after loss. The beauty after the storm. Completely understandable, and of course I wouldn't dream of telling them they're wrong - they're not! It's a very beautiful way of seeing it. I just see it differently, and that's okay.

I think of Ianto as my rainbow baby for a few reasons:
  • He was beautiful, but faded much too quickly.
  • Not everyone saw him, or knew about him, but those who did were touched by him.
  • The colours in a rainbow encompass every colour that can be seen by the human eye - this to me signifies the possibility of all he could have been. He could have been an angry red. A firey vivacious orange. A chilled-out, calm yellow. A down-to-earth green. A strong, proud blue. And I'm not going to go into indigo and violet, there's so much debate as to whether they should be included! But we'll never know what he might have been, so he's all of these, and none of these.

This is the original gay pride rainbow flag.
It was designed in 1978 for a gay pride march,
and each of the colours represents something.
Another group of children that get called "rainbow children" are those born to or adopted by homosexual parents. Again, completely understandable - the rainbow flag has been a symbol for gay pride since 1978 (I just looked that up - I thought it would be a bit more recent!) so of course any offspring would have some connection to rainbows.

Angelina Jolie, a few years ago, expressed her wish for a "rainbow family" - adopting children from different countries/nationalities. She's certainly gotten her wish, with six children - three adopted and three biological - all born in different countries (well, the twins were born in the same country, I'm fairly certain!)

Rainbows hold significance in many cultures around the world. Not all of them are good, but most are:
  • Norse mythology says that to get to their version of heaven (Asgard), you travel up a rainbow bridge called Bifröst.
  • Christians are told that their god sent a rainbow to prove there would be no more floods after Noah.
  • Most Australian aboriginal tribes celebrate the Rainbow Serpent as the creator of the world and all beings. It is also a sign of fertility.
  • Chinese folklore tells of two star-crossed lovers who can only meet when rainbows are in the sky - Hsienpo is the red of a rainbow, Yingt’ai is the blue.
  • Karens of Burma believe that rainbows are dangerous demons that eat children (lovely...)
  • Bulgarian legend says that if you walk under a rainbow you change genders (though Wikipedia tells me that most Bulgarians don't actually believe it)
  • And of course, the most well-known, the Irish legend of a leprechaun waiting with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
End of lesson, grab your books and I'll see you next class...


  1. I was driving home yesterday and in the sky was the most gorgeous rainbow and strangely my first thought was of you and your beautiful Ianto. Thank you for taking the time to share your journey with others. xo

  2. I am sure I saw this blog briefly a few months back and again today.
    I have seen your precious ~Ianto's~ name around too ... maybe on Teddy Love club or perhaps BB (yes it was BB...I just checked).
    It is a beautiful post about rainbow babies. Ianto has an unusual name, it's beautiful.
    Yes, I agree Rainbow babies can mean different things to all mums.
    I was a little taken back about the G&L connection but I included it too...just in case someone wanted to tell me too ;).
    I will continue to think of you and your precious little Cookie on board.
    I hope you continue to find comfort and light in rainbows and are surrounded by supportive friends & family on your journey.


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