Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Painting & Its Story by Deana Ruston

{A note from Beth: from May through August 2015, I am featuring some delicious guest writers here on the blog as I recover from pregnancy and birth and adjust to our new family rhythms (find more details here).  Enjoy!}

Several months ago I purchased this painting from Beth. She’s been a friend for a few years and this painting spoke to me. I just had to have it. 

My grandfather passed away in my first year of college and that led me to study grief and bereavement counseling. I was born at 25 weeks' gestation and knowing what could’ve been for my family and my life I began to have an interest in helping families who are experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. 

The moment I saw this painting it spoke to me. I needed it. 

To me the painting symbolizes the rainbow baby growing inside a mama who has experienced pregnancy and infant loss. One in four mothers experience pregnancy and infant loss- this can be through miscarriage (a baby born before 20 weeks gestation), stillbirth (a baby born not alive after 20 weeks gestation), preterm birth (a baby born before 37 weeks gestation) or infant death. 

A rainbow baby is a baby born following the death of a child. They are a referred to as a “rainbow baby” because they are the rainbow that appears after the storm (loss) of the baby. While they never replace the child that died, they are something special in the midst of sorrow. 

With my interest in pregnancy and infant loss, and desire to help these families, this painting brings me inspiration to continue the work I do. I am honored to walk along side these families as they journey through their sadness, fear and sorrow. Having a rainbow baby brings along with it anxiety and doubt that baby will be healthy. It is an experience like no other- in a time which should be filled with waiting and excitement is now painted with fear and worry. 

A few weeks ago, I took the painting to get custom framed at my local Michael’s craft store. A young woman about mid to late 20’s assisted me in finding the perfect frame. As I was in the process of choosing a frame I asked if she wanted to know the story behind the painting. She said she would love to. I told her that my friend Beth had painted it. Beth is a mother who experienced pregnancy and infant loss when her daughter Eve was born still. When I purchased the painting Beth was pregnant with her rainbow baby. I explained what a rainbow baby was and said that I am a grief and bereavement counseling student and that I work with families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. She said that the story of the painting was so lovely. 

As I paid for my order, she paused and said ‘you probably hear a lot of people’s personal stories -- but I had a rainbow baby too.” Tears rolled down her face as she told me this and I asked if I could give her a hug. I told her that her babies are loved and remembered. 

This single moment I shared with her brought me inspiration, hope, love and a multitude of other emotions. It was such a special time -- one I will cherish forever. 

It also taught me that you never know where and how you will impact someone’s life. Everything makes a difference -- make it a positive one. It also reminds me that pregnancy and infant loss touches the lives of everyone -- even if  you don’t know it. 

As I picked up my painting this week the same woman was working.  As soon as I approached the counter, she said she remembered me and my special painting.  I smiled and thanked her.

Deana Ruston, a 23 year old from London, Ontario, Canada (about 2 hours from Toronto), studies grief and bereavement counselling at King's University College at Western University. She has an interest in pregnancy and infant loss, loves to bake, cook and volunteer. Born at 25 weeks gestation, she identifies as a fighter. She won't back down. 


  1. Thank you for the story behind this beautiful painting. I knew I liked the symbolism! When I was 6 months along with my 2nd child, my first died tragically in a freak accident with a crib when she was 17 months old. I was both very grateful and very fearful for my 2nd Little One.

  2. thank you for reading!! I'm so sorry about your sweet baby's loss. <3


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King