When you are pregnant after loss, creating the perfect baby name can be daunting.
After all, this is not your first go-around. And whatever name you chose publicly or privately for your other baby carries significance for you. You perk up every time it is said in passing. You can’t help but look twice when you see your baby’s name written. You know the significance of a name.
And now it’s time to do it all over again.
So how do you choose? Go with a family name? Consult a baby blog’s top 100 list? Pick from the list of names you chose for your other baby? Honor your other baby? Or just go with your gut?
Here are some of our best tips for creating that perfect baby name for your child after loss:
Honor the baby you didn’t get to keep.
We mamas love seeing our child’s name, and nothing makes that truer than when we have so little to remember our child by. Consider incorporating part of the name of your baby gone too soon into your subsequent baby’s name. Perhaps you give them both the same middle name. Or you give your rainbow baby his older brother’s first name as his middle. Or shorten big sister’s proper name into a sweet version for your little one on the way. Or name your children completely different names, but have them share similar meanings.
Whether the name you choose is an obvious nod to their older sibling or a nuanced honorarium, you’ll know exactly what your baby’s name means for you. And it means everything.
Incorporate a symbol or word that is meaningful.
Is there a symbol you associate with the baby you didn’t get to keep? What about in this current pregnancy? Is there a sign that gives you hope? A word or phrase that represents what this journey has meant for you?
Write those symbols or words down, then do a search for names that represent those meanings. (Yay for living in a time of Google!) Even if no one else fully understands where their name came from, hearing your child’s name spoken or seeing it written reaffirms what is meaningful to you.
Use the same first letter or monogram.
Do you want to tie your children’s names together but want to use different names for them all? Consider starting their names off with the same letter. Or choose the same monogram. Sticking to a certain letter or monogram gives you tons of options of meanings and sounds, while also acknowledging how your family is linked.
Use a family name.
Maybe there is a meaningful family name you love. Perhaps it’s the first or middle name of a grandparent or parent you want to honor. Maybe a loving aunt or uncle. Someone on your partner’s side of the family you never got to meet. Or maybe a distant relative long since gone, but you want to carry on the name throughout your family tree.
Is there a short family name, such as Lyn that you could extend to another name like Marilyn or Madelyn? Or a long family name you can shorten, such as Alexander to Alex? Are there two family names you could combine into one?
Taking on a family name may at first feel risky. Because you’ve lost before, you may wonder that if you can’t keep this baby, if you’ll be “wasting” a family name. Let us reassure you – there is no such thing as a wasted name. Your baby is worthy of any honorable family name you can give him or her, no matter how long they are in your arms. If the family name fits – use it.
Choose a name that honors your family’s heritage.
Names are most certainly not the only thing worthy of passing on in your family. Consider other aspects of your heritage . . . Find out your genealogy and go with a traditional name. Consider important landmarks to you and your family. Is there a city, a mountain, or a beach that carries significance? Did your ancestors have specific roles or jobs you can draw inspiration from? Find out more about your history and get creative.
Search online for rainbow baby names.
There has to be some perk for living in an age of search engines, and we think this is one of them. Since there is no end to parenting blogs, there is no end to baby name lists. If you are embracing the idea of calling this baby your rainbow, check out these lists of all the different names that could mean or are associated with rainbows. And if rainbows aren’t your thing – no worries. Find out what is, then put Google and Pinterest to work for you.
Name them after a non-family member who is significant to you.
Did you have a doctor or other professional who treated you with such care, you knew you wanted your baby to be their namesake? Was there a friend who stepped up for you? A friend who passed away before they go to meet your baby?
Take a mental inventory of the people in your life who have been incredibly meaningful to you or your husband, and see if any of the names seem perfect for this baby on the way.
Choose a gender-neutral name.
Are you choosing to remain team green? Is it important you have a name before you know your baby’s sex? Is gender fluidity important to you? If so, consider naming your child a gender-neutral name. Gone are the days where your options are super limited. Check out this list of more than 160 gender-neutral names, just to get you started.
Plan a nickname at the same time you choose their proper name.
Who said you need to pick between trendy and traditional? Nicknames are an easy way to get the best of both worlds. But don’t let your relatives, chance, or your child’s future classmates pick out their nickname for you. Consider a name you love and as well as the possible nicknames at the same time, then choose the ones you want to go with. Decide on spelling, let all your family know, and then stick to your guns.
Pick something from nature.
The natural world is nothing if not full of inspiration. Capture the beauty of nature or the beauty of a season in a name. Of course, you can go super literal, such as River or Spring. Or, you can use lists like this one to spark some creativity. Might there be a Gemma or Alden in your future?
Draw from your faith.
If having faith is important to you or gives you hope, consider acknowledging that in the name you choose for your baby. This could be as simple as using the words that are most meaningful, such as Grace or Faith. Or using biblical names such as Hannah, which speaks to the difficulty of having children. Or choose a name from another religious text that is important to you.
Go with your gut.
Sometimes, names just come to us. Names don’t have to have a specific meaning to be meaningful. They don’t have to be inspired by beauty to be beautiful. And sometimes, the best family name to pass on is the one you induct into the family line. Sometimes, you just need to go with your gut.
Whichever name you choose, and however you choose it, we hope and trust you’ll be holding this baby in your arms, knowing with certainty that this was the perfect baby name for your rainbow.