Parents may joke about the amount of time their preschoolers spend watching Bluey — a cartoon about the adventures of a puppy and her family — in a given week, but the show recently earned praise from moms and dads who noticed a sweet (and relatable) moment that passed between Bluey's parents in a Season 2 episode.
Now, parents across the internet are asking, is Bluey the heeler pup a rainbow baby?
A "rainbow baby" is the name given to a baby born following a miscarriage or stillbirth. The question comes in time for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which falls on Oct. 15, and October's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
In an episode, titled "The Show," Bluey and her younger sister, Bingo, put on a Mother's Day show for their mom, Chilli. As the duo comedically performs scenes from their parents' courtship and early marriage, they stuff a balloon beneath Bingo's shirt to mimic Chilli's being pregnant with Bluey. When Bingo accidentally pops the balloon, however, the mood shifts.
The pups' dad, Bandit, immediately reaches out to grab Chilli's hand and comfort her, as both shift from looks of happiness to heartbreak. For parents who have suffered a miscarriage or watched a loved one grieve the loss of a pregnancy, those actions look all too familiar.
Michael Vaughn, a dad of a Bluey fan from North Carolina, posted a TikTok sharing his own theory that has been liked more than 350,000 times.
"One thing I find to be so interesting about this scene is that Bandit's first reaction... is to comfort his wife," Vaughn said in the video. "I think the reason they weren't as obvious about [there having been a pregnancy loss] is there's not really a great way to explain to a child what a miscarriage is."
Vaughn tells Yahoo Life he shared the TikTok after "getting a lump in his throat" watching the episode.
"I have not experienced a miscarriage or child loss, but I've learned a tremendous amount from parents who have," Vaughn says. "There's a vibrant, supportive community of parents on TikTok who have shared their experiences with child loss and miscarriage... that's why I appreciated [this episode] so much."
"One area where Bluey excels is making parents feel seen when they're struggling," Vaughn says, "and I love the thought that the show is making an effort to include parents who didn't get to meet their baby, or spend the time with them that they deserved to."
Yahoo Life reached out to both Ludo Studio, which produces Bluey, and BBC Studios, which distributes Bluey, to confirm the "rainbow baby" theory but did not receive a response.
In 2013, Stacey Skrysak gave birth to triplets who were more than four months premature. Skrysak and her husband, Ryan, lost two of their three children within two months of their birth, and their daughter, Peyton, now 8, spent four months in the NICU, fighting for her life.
"After a near-death experience for me and becoming bereaved parents, we never planned on having more children," says Skrysak. "The thought of getting through a pregnancy after all I went through was too scary, but six years later, we were in for the biggest surprise of our lives when our daughter Piper was born."
Skrysak, who lives in Illinois, says her rainbow baby, born in 2019, loves to watch Bluey, so when she learned of the special connection her family had with Bluey's family, she was deeply touched.
"As I watched the moment, I teared up," Skrysak recalls. "We've come a long way in society in acknowledging child loss, but it still seems to be a taboo topic. I know I've experienced the awkward conversations, glances and facial expressions when I share with someone that two of my children died. It was so heartwarming to see this moment on a cartoon — to watch the father reach out and comfort the mother with his hand."
When Nigel Jones saw Vaughn's TikTok about the Bluey episode, he, too, was reminded of his own loss and rainbow baby.
Jones, who lives in Canada, shared his thoughts about the episode in an essay on The Dad.
"If this latest fan theory turns out to be true, it just makes me appreciate Bluey even more," he wrote. "My wife and I suffered a miscarriage. We already had two kids and we thought we were done having children, but life loves to throw you a curveball... [miscarriage is] really a feeling you can't describe and something you'll never forget."
Jones says he thinks it's important for topics like miscarriage to be represented in shows — even kids' shows like Bluey — because more often than not, adults are right there watching with their children.
"It's bright and colorful and hilarious, but there are these adult moments mixed in — especially on Bluey — that parents can appreciate and relate to," Jones explains. "This rainbow baby theory has meant a lot to many parents, my wife and I included. As someone who has suffered a miscarriage, I think it's important to have these conversations. If it means they secretly show up on Bluey for us to discover, well, I think that's a beautiful thing."
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