LOVE COMES IN EVERY SHADE OF RAINBOW
I vividly remember the feeling of excitement rushing over me as my finger hovered over the publish button announcing a new arrival to Jessicaivy.ie, “Little Cherubs”, a nursery and children collection. The scale of my excitement is not comparable to that of expecting parents waiting to share their happy news with loved ones. Next comes the excitable flurries of questions that rush through new parents; When can we discuss baby names? When can we start preparing that empty room? Naturally, I hope parents choose Little Cherubs as they plan the nursery decor for that empty room.
As I prepare to diversify and expand the Little Cherubs collection my focus always returns to that. empty. room. I think about all the women in my life who are mothers: my mother, my grandmothers, my aunts, my cousins, my friends. From their experience what would they like to have in that. empty. room. Upon reflection the women I asked and considered were women who seemed to get pregnant without any trouble.
When I visualised that. empty. room something within me felt the depths of that sentence. I felt the cold emptiness and its a feeling I could not shake off so easily. The hurtful realisation that sometimes that. empty. room stays empty for a long time or it is prepared in anticipation for parents to return home cradling their newborn only for death and birth to collide* at the same time. It is a silent devastation. Many people do not know what to say or do. They feel confused and sad the that the natural balance of life has been upset. Not knowing what to say is common among us all. We are terrified of saying the wrong thing.
But here’s another real silent devastation. One in seven couples in Ireland will experience difficulties with conceiving*, the number of women in Ireland accessing infertility services is increasing annually and the rate of pregnancy resulting in miscarriage is approximately one fifth of all known pregnancies*. Behind the statistics is a woman hearing the words “I’m pregnant” from someone other than themselves. An experience that can be relived repeatedly but despite it all a woman will carry that dull ache and silently move onto the next attempt.
As I delved deeper and navigated through my inner conversations asking what was amiss with this collection my focus shifted from that empty to room to the silence surrounding pregnancy loss, infertility and stillbirth. Of course we are eager to celebrate joy but why is there a reluctance to express sorrow. There seems to be a silent restriction on the appropriate level of sharing announcements of loss or infertility struggles. The very thought of someone suffering alone be it infertility or otherwise is something I personally cannot ignore or pretend it doesn’t happen. Silent losses are still losses. It is for this very reason why I had to acknowledge it in my nursery and children collection.
But amidst the heart wrenching stories of struggles and loss there are stories of hope, a bittersweet kind of one…
A “Rainbow Baby” refers to the first child born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. Our Little Butterflies is inspired by the miracle of rainbow babies. The larger butterfly represents the new life, hope, and another chance to have the family that the parents always wanted. The sentiment of the smaller ghostly butterfly flying off into the brighter heavens acknowledges the soul that came before the new life. The two butterflies fluttering side by side is a homage to the parents children – those who are with them, and those who aren’t.
*quotation pulled from“Miscarriage and Stillbirth” by Bruce Pierce, 2003.
*statistic taken from https://www.womenshealthclinic.ie/female-infertility-and-conception.html at the time blog was written May 2020
*Miscarriage statistic taken from “Miscarriage and Stillbirth” by Bruce Pierce, 2003.