These tips may also apply to regular Mums, but I highlight some things that are especially important for Rainbow Mums.
1. Please say when you’d like to visit. Unless you are a BFF to the Mum, or a really close family member, don’t just show up. It may be a bad time for the family. If you do visit, keep it short and sweet. Just because the Mother and Baby are house-bound doesn’t mean that it’s a 24-7 visiting/entertainment zone. Think about the work with the baby, the sleepless nights, back and other aches, colic… Those few moments of silence and me-time feel like heaven-sent breaks, so a visit should be an improvement of that and not a drain. Be sensitive.
2. Avoid surprise visits. The surprise might be on you. There may not be much if any excitement about seeing you, or there may be a negative feeling. The family may have planned to do something else, and you might inconvenience them. Some people may also tell you to your face that you should not stay for long.
3. Once you visit, please have an agenda, especially if you’re not really close with the Mum. Don’t entertain prolonged periods of silence, that’s awkward. And maybe the Mum and Baby would prefer to rest.
4. Please keep off your phone. Let there be real fellowship, otherwise you could also have texted or called instead of going in person.
5. If asked whether you’d like a snack, please be firm and decided in your response. The Mum may have come from a harrowing crying escapade with the baby and would really like to rest. Again, this is for surprise visitors.
6. If you’re fairly close, do something helpful around the house. This will be a relief to the Mum.
7. If you would like to hold the baby, please wash or sanitize your hands. And don’t make a fuss if denied simply because you don’t want to wash your hands. It’s their baby, their choice. If a Mum has lost a child before, she wants to be extra careful with this new one. Understand that.
8. Don’t bring along sick children, under any circumstances. Even you, don’t go if you’re unwell. But especially for the Rainbow Mum, that feels like a death sentence. Panic sets in. Please understand.
9. Remove your shoes when going into the house. Does this even have to be explained?
10. Delay your visits for a while, unless you’re a close friend, you’re a helping family member, the Mum asks for you, or says it’s okay to come. Besides strains such as still not being well or strong enough, financial struggles, marital or relationship struggles, the Rainbow Mum would want to spend as much time as possible with her child, because she truly doesn’t know for how long she will have the baby, and she would like to make the most of those first few days. Please understand.
11. Don’t compare the Angel Baby with the Rainbow Baby. They are 2 different children and the new one doesn’t replace the one who died. And so it’s not appropriate to begin telling the mother that she now has healed and should move on. Again, avoid raising this topic unless you are an extremely close friend and you’ve been discussing such things, or unless the Rainbow Mum brings it up. It’s still a sore spot and you have no idea whether the Mum still cries and mourns about her Angel Baby.