SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — Loss comes in many forms, but to lose a child before getting to know him or her can be heartbreaking for any family. That was the case for Samantha Gassman, who had a miscarriage in November 2019.
The loss was not something Gassman or her husband thought they’d ever endure. The recovery process was difficult, but Gassman rose from her low point with the help of a few thousand notes and her rainbow baby.
Gassman is the proud children’s book author of “Dear Rainbow Baby,” a 30-page picture book, illustrated by Timothy Lange, that follows a family’s transition from grieving their loss to welcoming their rainbow baby.
Rainbow baby is a term coined from babies born after a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. To Gassman, these babies represent healing and hope for the future after the storm.
Gassman’s story began after she traded in her eight-year-long officer career in the U.S. Air Force - flying 1,600 hours and 305 in combat as a special operations navigator - to become a military spouse and mother. She eventually made the career switch to a full-time communications gig, but at night, she’s an avid writer and now published author thanks to her son.
“My son just loved children’s books,” Gassman said. “I remember reading these books to him, and even at a very young age, he was just so excited. With each page turn, every illustration, he was just completely enraptured by these stories, and I loved them as well.”
Children’s books and picture books are lighthearted, Gassman said. It was something that took time, work and learning the craft.
“The book has to be very unique. It has to have an interesting take on a common thing or something even more specialized,” she said. ”‘Dear Rainbow Baby’ kind of fits that bill.”
Currently a mother of two, Gassman is stationed at Shaw Air Force Base with her husband, Lt. Col. Ryan Gassman, awaiting the release of her picture book.
“Dear Rainbow Baby” was a book that took time and thought to piece together. At first, the process was therapeutic for Gassman, but as she kept writing, her words became a letter to her and her husband’s future rainbow baby.
“We were really fortunate to get pregnant again with our rainbow baby, and the timing of it was just crazy,” she said. “Anyone who relates to the military community or even if they have had a miscarriage happen in their own lives or someone close to them, you won’t find another book on the market that is geared towards those parents that have these special babies. This one in particular is for those individuals who have been through that kind of tragedy and that loss and has welcomed this light into their life, which is their rainbow baby.”
Before “Dear Rainbow Baby,” Gassman wrote and published the children’s book “Honor Flight” in May of this year. “Dear Rainbow Baby” will be her second book with a third expected to be published in 2024.
“Dear Rainbow Baby” is scheduled to be released on Aug. 22 by Clear Fork Publishing, but the book can be preordered online now at www.samanthagassman.com.