Mandi over at A Blog About Miscarriage posted today about the names she and her husband gave the four babies they lost to miscarriage. They chose to use gender neutral names, as they don’t know if their little ones are boys or girls. She told me, “When we were trying to name the babies we lost, I tried googling “gender neutral Catholic names” and “gender neutral Saint names” and didn’t come up with much,” so she also listed a bunch of the gender neutral names she thought of, in case it’s helpful for other parents like her “who don’t like naming a baby a gender specific name without knowing the gender for sure,” and she wondered if I had any further ideas?
It was hard to come up with more! Mandi listed so many great ones already … the only ones I could come up with off the top of my head without spending three days poring through name books/sites were:
Mary/Marie/Maria — of course these are girls’ names, but men such as St. Clement Maria Hofbauer and St. Anthony Mary Claret used them as well.
Angel — I once knew a girl named Angel, and the main male character in Tess of the d’Urbervilles is Angel Clare (what a beautiful combo itself!)
Clair — speaking of Clare, Clair (that spelling) is actually the male form of Clare. It also makes me think of Sinclair, which is a male name that literally means “St. Clair” — to me, then, Clair and Sinclair could be used for either boys or girls.
Sidney/Sydney — Sinclair makes me think of Sidney, which could refer either to St. Denis or the “Holy Winding Sheet of Christ” (Shroud of Turin).
Rosario — means “Rosary” and is feminine in Spanish and masculine in Italian
Guadalupe — from Our Lady of Guadalupe, and is used for both boys and girls
Sam — this could work nicely for a boy or a girl
Nicola — it’s masculine in Italian but feminine in German, Czech, and English
Luca — it’s masculine in Italian, Romanian, and German, and feminine in Hungarian and Croatian (and English sometimes too — I know a girl named Luca)
Clairvaux, Vianney, Majella, Liguori — I’ve seen these last names of male saints used for girls
Another option, which is what we did, was to give the baby a first and middle name, and have one name be masculine, and one be feminine.
Do you have any other saintly names that would be suitable for either a boy or a girl? Have you named a miscarried baby, and if so, did you use a gender neutral name?