Life with a rainbow child comes with many challenges and many questions. Some come out of the blue and knock the wind right out of you. Out of all my mumma loss friends, my rainbow is the oldest, at 5 and a half years old, so I have not had many people to turn to for how to answer these difficult questions. And unfortunately they need to be answered when asked.
It’s difficult to ask for help as well, as everyone’s beliefs differ when it comes to what happens when we die. But what I have found first and foremost is that honesty is the best policy. I have never sugar-coated the truth, and on occasion, have copped some backlash over this decision; but in being honest , there are no secrets between us. My rainbow Harrison knows he can come to me about any questions he may have about Jasper, death and the afterlife and know that he does not need to worry about my reaction.
Harrison is very switched on, and isn’t satisfied with the basic answers, so my answers have to appropriately answer his question, or there will be millions of follow up questions. And it is amazing just how much he understands.
Here are just some of the few we have been asked, and of course how you respond will vastly depend on your personal beliefs and how your child absorbs and asks questions.
When will you have another baby? Unfortunately mummy can’t have any more babies.
Why? Sometimes it is very hard for a mummy and daddy to get pregnant. Mummy can’t have any more babies because my body doesn’t work the way it should to make babies. When we had you we needed lots of help from the doctor so that you could be born.
Does it make you sad? Sometimes I wish mummy and daddy could have another brother or sister for you, but we are very glad to have you, and you are enough for us and our little family.
How did Jasper die? You know how babies are in a mummy’s belly for 40 weeks? Well Jasper was only in there for 26 weeks, and that is very early for a baby to be born, so he was very sick, so even though the doctors tried very hard he was just born too early.
Why couldn’t the doctors save him? Because he was born too early and his lungs didn’t work properly. Doctors are very clever at saving people but sometimes when babies are born too early, some of their body doesn’t work properly and the doctors can’t fix that.
When will he come back? – this one is particularly difficult to answer. But not being truthful will only cause more confusion about the finality of death.
Jasper lives in heaven now, so although we can’t see him and he can’t come back, he can still see us and watch over us. He can’t come back, but when we are very old and die we will see him again in Heaven.
Can he hear me if I talk to him? Even though we can’t see him, he can see and hear everything we do. If you find a quiet spot in your room and talk to him, he will hear everything you say.
If we cremated him, how did he get to heaven? Our bodies can’t live forever, which is why our soul was created, our soul which is everything of who we are. Although Jasper’s body is gone, his soul lives in Heaven and is watching over us always.
Is he all alone in heaven? No, he has all the angels and your great-grandad holding his hand and playing lots of games with him.
I don’t want my mummy and daddy to die / Will I die one day – this one was absolutely heart wrenching to hear from a 5 year old.
Although everyone dies, usually you don’t die until you are very very old and have lived a very long life with your family. No matter what happens to mummy and daddy, you will never be alone and there will always be people who love you and take care of you.
I miss my brother so much… Mummy and daddy miss him too and think about him all the time. If you want, you can hold his teddy in bed at night and when you hold him and talk to him he will come down from heaven and hug you while you are asleep.
These questions are just the main (and difficult) that Harrison has asked us, and the way we have approached our responses. I think the main thing is, it is ok to say “I don’t know” and we strongly believe that it is ok for Harrison to see us get emotional, for us to miss Jasper too. It is ok for him to ask these questions knowing we will help him understand as best we can.
If you require support after reading this blog, please contact Sands on 13000 72637
Wife to Corey and Mumma to two boys: Jasper Rhys in heaven and Harrison Phillip Robert in her arms. Jasper passed away after PPROM at 23 weeks and birth at 26 weeks, surviving for 10 hours in the NICU unit. Currently completing a Master of Social Work with the goal to aid in the safety and protection of all children, because all children deserve to feel safe and loved.