This mom wants to bring dads into the conversation about rainbow babies, which are children born to parents after they've experienced pregnancy or infant loss.
Bryn Huntpalmer knows firsthand what it feels like to suffer devastating loss at the hands of a miscarriage. The "Birth Hour" podcast host told The Huffington Post that in addition to recently suffering a miscarriage, she regularly hears stories about loss on her show. She's also come to realize that dads don't always get the support they need following this life-altering heartbreak.
So in honor of Father's Day, Huntpalmer created T-shirts for fathers featuring rainbows that both honor the babies they lost and celebrate a new life after that loss, or a rainbow baby. The shirts also say "rainbow dad" in small letters at the bottom of the rainbow logo.
It's come to my attention that a few people were concerned that my rainbow dad/kid tees are stepping on the toes of the beautiful Rainbow Mama/Babe tees made by my friend Jessica of @ihadamiscarriage! It's kind of funny to me since when Jessica launched those tees, the proceeds were meant to support @thebirthhour and it was a collaboration that included her sharing her birth and miscarriage stories on The Birth Hour (episode 96). I asked her at the time if she planned to make a dad shirt but she had the same issue I did of it being hard to make a 🌈 shirt that dad's actually want to wear so she made pins instead. I worked with my bff (pictured here with her rainbow baby in Jessica's tees!) to design my current Rainbow Dad tee and we came up with something that many dads seem to want to wear! And we are working together to find a cause to support that will honor my friend's angel baby, (my godson❤️) Greyson. Jessica and I both feel, the more the merrier in continuing the conversation around loss and I'm bummed that people would automatically assume the worst especially when it comes to something so important as the loss of a baby but perhaps I should have done a better job of explaining from the outset! Jessica's shirts are still available (now through @feministapparel) and if you know a rainbow family or are one yourself, you know that there can never be too many things to honor your loss. My friend jokes that any time she sees anything with a rainbow on it, she wants to buy it! 🌈 Can anyone relate?
"Hosting a birth stories podcast, I hear a lot of beautiful and empowering stories but I also hear a lot of stories of loss," Huntpalmer told Parents.com. "The fact is that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage and these stories often are never shared. Through The Birth Hour, I've seen how the power of sharing our stories, even the hard ones, can be so informative and empowering."
After much demand to hear from dads, Huntpalmer and her colleagues decided to launch a special fathers' series on the podcast, in which dads share their perspective on birth. "Through reaching out to dads and hearing how important it is to many fathers to be involved in the pregnancy and birth of their child, I've become more and more aware of how often dads are left out of the conversation—and with pregnancy loss maybe even more so," she said. "There are lots of different ways to recognize the moms of rainbow babies and even the babies themselves, but not much for dads."
Huntpalmer says dads often struggle silently when it comes to pregnancy loss, especially since they're typically charged with helping the mom through her grief. "I know rainbow moms are so grateful for the support of their partners and want them to be recognized for everything they do as well as for what they have lost," she told us.
"My thoughts are that it brings light to the fact that the dad also lost a child," Ben Winton, a dad and babywearing consultant for It Takes a Village, told Parents.com. "So often when a child is lost, everyone comforts to mom and the dad gets lost in the background. I know when we lost our first, I was devastated and at times I felt like my pain didn't matter." When his oldest son was born, Winton said he was over-the-moon excited. "But it is a little hard to think that he could have been our second child," he said. "The [rainbow dad] shirt brings awareness that men do have feelings even if people aren't always aware of them."
Huntpalmer also said the T-shirts are "accessible" for all dads, unlike something like a tattoo, and that they serve as great conversation starters about loss, the stigma of which is all too real and painful for so many people.
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You can buy the shirts, which retail for $27.99 and are available in multiple colors, on Amazon.com. Huntpalmer encourages families to use the hashtag #rainbowdad on social media to share photos of dads wearing their shirts.