After the loss of their baby, a family welcomed not one – but two – rainbow babies
A year after Cindy and Jim Bob Harrington suffered the unimaginable loss of their their son Evans shortly after he was born, they received an unexpected call. A soon-to-be-born baby boy was in need of a family to adopt him, and they were asked if they would be interested. Just one day after receiving that call, the mother went into labor and, in July 2015, baby Tate — the couple’s first rainbow baby — joined their family.
The Harringtons asked Natasha Hance of Birth Unscripted, who they had also worked with during Cindy’s pregnancy with Evans, to photograph Tate’s birth. Cindy explained to Scary Mommy that being at the hospital for Tate’s birth was like coming “full circle” since he was born at the same hospital as Evans and many of the same nursing staff was there.
“Tate was the beginning of the family’s healing and hope, the beginning of their rainbow,” Hance told Scary Mommy in an email.
Shortly before the family adopted Tate, Cindy had also learned that she was newly pregnant with another child. Not only was she grateful to have a healthy newborn at home, but she was credits the busyness of life with a newborn for distracting her from the amplified emotions of a post-loss pregnancy.
“It was a huge blessing to have Tate,” Cindy said. “We started our healing journey with him in our home.”
Throughout Cindy’s pregnancy, the family was told they were having a girl, but another surprise was in store for them when Cindy gave birth to boy named Whitten in February 2016 — their second rainbow baby within a year.
Cindy and Jim Bob – who are also parents to an 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter – once again looked to Hance and her business partner Amanda Gipson, and together they came up with the idea for this touching photo shoot. As a midwife, Cindy had guided parents through miscarriage and infant loss so she was familiar with the rainbow concept, but she didn’t have any concrete vision for the photo. She said Natasha was the visionary behind the photo, and it came together even better than she could have hoped.
“[Cindy] told me they are definitely the rainbow at the end of their storm,” Hance wrote in a post that appeared on Love What Matters. “We created an image that would represent all 3 brothers… a brother lost, a brother adopted and a brother born.”
The two babies were placed at each end of a rainbow in a fluff of clouds, with a butterfly above to represent Evans. Any parent who has experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth knows the poignant emotions involved with the birth of a rainbow baby, and this photo with its two rainbow babies – one by adoption and one by birth – along with the butterfly to represent the baby who died really tugs at your heartstrings. Every single one.
“It was a long journey for their family,” Hance said. “The image is a reminder of the many blessings that waited for them through their storm and that their sweet baby Evans will never be forgotten.”
Cindy said she wants others to know that it’s okay to talk about loss with a grieving family. Even though people tend to tread lightly around families who are dealing with loss, assuming it will be too painful to talk about the loss, she said they are dealing with the the grief every day and talking about the person helps to keep their memory alive.
She also said the experience reminded her of the many-changing seasons of life. Jim Bob recently had a tumor in his leg removed and underwent surgical reconstruction, so they are once again going through a difficult season, but she said the renewed interest in their family’s story has buoyed them through this difficult time.
“There will always be hard seasons,” Cindy said. “But there will also be another rainbow.”