This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: A Baby Who Won't Live

Catherine writes:
Here's my dilemma, and I will TOTALLY understand if you do not want to post it because, talk about killing the mood. But if you would like to share with your readers or just respond on your own I would welcome your advice.

I am pregnant with a baby who is not going to live (our third). We are 100% certain of this. We would still like to give him a name. The question is, what. My husband really likes Benjamin, which I think is OK, but kind of boring. I like Sam and Nicholas (I know, equally as boring as Benjamin) and lately am really taken with Simon. The "simple Simon" thing bugs me a lot though. I've always liked Theodore because of the nickname Teddy, but my husband never has. A family name that we kind of like but were a little chicken to use (and it doesn't really go with our other son's name) is Anton. We had ruled out names that start with J (or j-sound) or end with O because of our other kids' names and our last name. But maybe that doesn't matter now.

I think we should choose a more unusual name, because I worry that if we chose, say, Ben, then we will frequently meet little boys named Ben, and that will be hard. Then again, would I feel all "it's a sign" if we chose an unusual name, and then we run into a boy with that name?

OR, should we choose some kind of angel or commemorative type of name, like Gabriel. I don't know what other choices there would be (brother-in-law and late father-in-law are both Michael, so I wouldn't want that).

Anyway this is long and rambly, but I would love your thoughts if you are up for it.

I suspect that you will think regularly for the rest of your life about this baby. Because you won't have the chance to get to know your little boy, his name will be one of the only things you do have of him. This makes the name choice very important.

I don't know if it's the same for you, but with each of my pregnancies I've found that some of the names on my list feel like "my baby," and others don't. I love the names Carson and Frederick, for example, but does either name feel like My Baby? No. So I don't use either name myself, even though I love both of them.

I think you'll be happiest with your decision if you choose a name that FEELS LIKE this baby, a name that brings him strongly to your mind. Do any of the names on your list of possibilities give you a rush of recognition? Do any of them feel like his name?

I think you can disregard some of the things you might normally take into consideration, such as how well the name goes with your surname or with the sibling names.

I am hoping others can give advice as well.


Firegirl said...

Firstly, I am so sorry about your upcoming loss.

Okay, whew. This is a tough one.

I agree with Swistle to go with what feels like the baby's name, which seems to be Simon. Worries about the other stuff seems inconsequential.

Now, from my own perspective: I have had three miscarriages. Mentally, I refer to them as Peter, Rachel, and Julie, as those were the names we had chosen and they seemed appropriate, if there is such a thing.

I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry about your baby boy. I'd name him thoughtfully too, if he were mine.

How about a name that in some way incorporates your first two childrens' names. Maybe use some of the same letters; just something for your kids to connect to this baby, in a way not obvious to everyone else.

Or I'd use versions of my grandparents' names or other loved ones who've passed, because they'll meet in heaven and maybe think that was cool.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Catherine- I am so sorry! What an unimaginable heartache for you.

I agree that you will always remember this special son and that his name will be one of the few things you can remember him by. I also agree that you should go with your gut instinct on this one. All of the names you like are lovely, but I think you should choose the one that fits this little boy the best for you now (which I think is Simon.)

Called to be Mom said...

I am so sorry for the situation you are in. I hope that you can find some comfort and peace during this difficult journey!

I miscarried a baby on Christmas Eve, and we named him or her Christian. Sort of Christmas-y, and gender neutral. Christian was not a name that we would have considered later in pregnancy, but it just seemed to fit. I think in this situation, you can be a little more daring with your name choice. I think Anton would be a great choice, and Anton Nicholas sounds great! I also like Simon.

Joceline said...

I'm so sorry about your upcoming loss. I think that if I were in your position, it would be very important for me to consider the meaning of the name, even more so than in naming another child. Maybe something meaning "dear" or "beloved." Or I would just go with what name feels right, as several others have mentioned.

I hope you are able to come to a decision that feels right to you.

may said...


I'm sorry for your loss. I think it's great that you wrote to Swistle and are working so hard to name this baby the "right" name. I'm sure you'll find something you love.

I love the name Simon, too, and I just met one for the first time the other day, and "Simple Simon" didn't come to mind. Although, now that I think of it, I did have some sort of "pie-man" reference in my head (is that the same nursery rhyme?), but that's not a bad thing in my opinion. Meeting him led me to consider the name Simon if I have another boy.

On the other hand, my husband also read this post, and he thought Gabriel would be a wonderful, beautiful choice. I can see his point - it is lovely to think of your little boy hanging out with the angels until you meet.

LizardBits said...

I'm so sorry about your little boy.

I also recommend following your gut instincts on the name that feels most right w/o thinking too much about it (in an overanalyzing/stressing sort of way).

Our daughter died unexpectedly a few hours after birth and we hadn't settled on a name. While she was in NICU and I was in recovery my husband asked me about a name and I chose the one in my heart, which had been on the list, but wasn't right at the top. When I think about it now, I'm sure I would have gotten used to another name, but I don't regret my decision. And we did choose a relatively common name (Kate Elizabeth) and have run into a couple of Kate's and it is a little painful, but it doesn't make me wish we had selected something else.

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

Wow, this is a tough one. I can't even grasp how this must feel to you.
I think if you love the name Simon, then use it. Who in their right mind will ever refer to him as Simple Simon? Also it's not common enough that you'll hear it all over the place.
I'm really sorry for you guys having to go through this.

Sarah said...

I am sorry to hear about your situation. I agree with everyone else that going with your gut and what your little boy "feels" like is probably the best. (I love the name Gabriel, but I'm hesitant to recommend the angel thing, even though I believe in God and heaven. I find that stuff can get too cutesy for my taste when you've lost a child).

My daughter, Hannah, died when she was five months old, and yes, I do feel a pang when I hear/meet other Hannah's, but it's not overwhelming.

I do disagree with whomever said that you shouldn't consider last/siblings names when making a choice. This child is just as much a part of your lives as your other 2 children, and you want something that goes well together. Plus, if you do some sort of memorial, you will want the first and last name to go well together.

May you know peace and strength through this scary and sad time and through the months and years of grieving.

MC said...

I don't really have any name advice, but I wanted to say how sorry I am that you are in a position even to have to consider this.

I think that you should choose the name that speaks to you, as well, as the others have been saying. I would not have even thought of Simple Simon if you didn't mention it, so if you love Simon, go for it!

Reneva said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, I'm sending lots of love your way. I don't have any good advice for you, I think it is important that he gets a name and I think the right one will come to you and you'll just know. For an opinion, I love the name Simon, and would use it myself.

- Kellie said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your son =/

We lost our first child, our son, at 21 weeks. We struggled over to whether or not to use the "top" boy name on our list, actually it was really the only boy name that we've ever loved and agreed on - obviously, once we used that name, we would never use it again. But that name was the name for *that* baby/pregnancy, and I knew I would never be able to use it again anyway, because it belonged to that baby. It was a more unusual name (Broderick), and yes, I do get a pang every time I hear it but I think it's actually harder with an uncommon name because you don't get sensitized to it, like you would if it was a name you heard often.

As it turned out, we had two girls after, so the boy name thing never really came up again (and obviously we didn't have sibling name issues to consider as you do). If there is a name that you love and were considering for this baby before you knew about your impending loss, that is the name that I would use. Which name feels like it belongs to this baby?

Frazzled Mom said...

I'm terribly sorry to hear about your upcoming loss, but want to commend you for putting such thought into his name. I don't really have any new name advice to offer. I'm confident you will pick the right name for this baby.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Also just want to say that I'm very sorry for your loss, as well. I can't even imagine how it must feel. *hugs*

I think Simon is a lovely name, and knowing a couple of Simon's myself, I've never thought of "Simple Simon" before, so I think you'd be okay. I also think that the nickname issue won't be an issue for you, so I wouldn't concern yourself. Just pick the name that feels like his name.

My best friend's sister lost her first baby, a boy. During the pregnancy she was told he would have mild disabilities, which turned into spina bifida and then severe disabilities... which unfortunately, near the end of her pregnancy, turned into the baby dying. She still had to go through and induced delivery, since she was so far along. She named her baby Ethan, and it was a very big part of her healing process to name the baby and have a small memorial. She went on to have three, beautiful, healthy children.

Anonymous said...

I too am so sorry to hear of your impending loss. I know how hard it is to lose a child. After my last miscarriage, I stumbled across a blog which really helped. It is You should check it out and maybe even email the writer for guidance/help. The blog is all about her story of knowing she was going to lose her daughter before she was born and they named her. I hope that you can find this blog helpful as I did.

And as for naming, I say go for the name in your heart.

aibee said...

I am so very, very sorry for your impending loss.

with love,

Joanne said...

First, I am very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you and your family but I am impressed at your fortitude, to understate it.

St. Joseph is the patron saint of the family and the patron saint of a happy death, so maybe Joseph? I am Catholic so we are big into Saint's names but I think maybe no matter who you are it's a nice thought. I mean no offense if it's not, of course. I'll be thinking of you and keeping you and your babe in my prayers.

Catherine said...

Swistle, thank you so much for posting this, and heartfelt thanks also to everyone who has commented. Your suggestions are helpful and your supportive words are very comforting (although I am so sorry that many others have experienced a similar loss). I really appreciate it all.

I think you are right that Simon is the name for this little boy. We are most likely going to go with that. Middle name still TBD. I really love Joanne's suggestion of Joseph but unfortunately it is very similar to our daughter's name.