Still Standing Magazine

6 Ideas For Naming Your Stillborn Or Miscarried Baby

“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