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6 Ideas For Naming Your Stillborn Or Miscarried Baby

February 2, 2018

“Does your baby have a name?”

We had narrowed our naming decision down to two choices: one for a boy and one for a girl. The day of my Level II ultrasound, I thought I would find out which it would be. But, instead of naming my baby, I was admitted to the hospital for induction.

It wasn’t until the next morning – after I delivered my stillborn son – that we learned he was a boy.

After she brought the hospital bassinet into our room, the doctor gently asked us, “Does your baby have a name?”
“Calvin,” my husband and I both answered.

“Calvin is so special,” she said. Then she lifted him out of the bassinet. “He’s so special,” she said again, as she brought him to my waiting arms.

I’ve miscarried three other babies. They have names, too. With my second pregnancy, we called her Rainbow Baby. Soon after finding out I was pregnant with number three, we chose the name Gaelen—a gender-neutral name inspired by a character from “Battlestar Galactica.” Pixel was a nickname my husband came up with for our fifth baby.

My babies’ names help me feel more connected to them. Referring to them by name – especially when grief makes things seem so unreal – helps validate that they were here, that I carried them, that they did exist.

If you haven’t named your baby and would like to, here are some ideas that might help:

  1. Use a season or month as inspiration. This could be when you learned of the pregnancy, the time around your baby’s due date, or when your baby was born. For example, Sunny or Summer, August or Autumn, Snow or Winter.
  2. If you don’t know whether your baby was a boy or a girl:
    • Choose a gender-neutral name, like Alex, Frankie, Jordan, Jaime, or Zion.
    • If you have a feeling about your baby’s gender, follow that instinct, and select a name accordingly.
  3. Go with a nickname.
    • Did you give your baby a nickname in utero, such as Jelly Bean or Gummy Bear? Continue using it.
    • Come up with a new nickname. You could use the nursery room theme you planned/imagined for your baby. For example, Baby Owl, Teddy Bear, Cherry, Little Duckling, Chevy, or Dot.
  4. Start with Baby then add your last name, a letter/initial that you like, or the number of their birth order.
  5. Consider naming your baby after a loved one or someone you admire.
  6. Pick a name that reflects a positive emotion that you associate with your baby.

In “12 Ways to Honor Your Child and Your Grief in the New Year,” I suggest writing your child’s name for January’s prompt. If you named your baby, I would love to see your little one’s name or nickname and—if you’re willing—how you came up with it. Please feel free to leave a comment or share via social media using the hashtag #LastMondayMourning. Here are my babies’ names that I wrote in a notebook:

Calvin, Rainbow, Gaelen, and Pixel #LastMondayMourning (photo by author)


Flower photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Crystal Theresa Z. Ejanda
Author Details
Crystal is a mother-wife-writer-artist who holds two wondrous boys in her arms and carries four deeply missed babies in her heart. Through walking the path of stillbirth, recurrent miscarriage, and infertility, she’s learned to be bold, to follow her passions, to seek joy, and to be unapologetic in honoring what it means to grieve, mourn, and heal. She lives in San Francisco, where she also explores parenting, spirituality, food, and semi-crunchy living.


    • Missing Mikayla (@MissingMikayla)

      February 2, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      Mikayla – the female version of her father’s name

    • Karen

      February 2, 2018 at 5:10 pm

      I was not sure of the gender but I always had a feeling the baby was a boy.. His name is Seth. #LastMondayMourning

    • Stephanie

      February 3, 2018 at 3:36 am

      I miscarried and delivered our son the 29th of January 2018. We named him Michael Hope

    • Jackie Wagner

      February 6, 2018 at 4:36 am

      Anna Joy – because I always wanted to name a daughter Anna, and Joy because she would have been born during the Christmas season.
      Thomas Jay – because I always wanted to name a boy that name.
      Matthew Liam – I lost him about the time Hurricane Matthew hit the east coast and it just seemed to fit.

    • Cassandra

      February 10, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      First baby- I was 19 weeks and 5 days when i lost my baby we named him Alberto we didn’t find out about his gender till i gave birth best and worst pain in my life but god only knows why

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