Names for miscarried babies

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?

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15 thoughts on “Names for miscarried babies

  1. We did not name the child we lost. I still don’t know if I feel comfortable choosing a name because of this problem. I know lots of people who have named their miscarried children names like Chris, but for me, that’s not a name I like enough to name a living child, so I’m not bestowing on my dead child, either. (Sorry to be morbid.) I just don’t know the solution in our case. Maybe one male and one female name would be a good solution for us.

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  2. My first baby was a miscarriage and I felt like she brought a lot of grace to our lives and I wanted a girl, so she was Grace. The next miscarriage, I just felt like Mara was a good name, for Mary. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it for either one, just a couple of minutes, and the names sort of presented themselves. Names are so important, what you call a thing or a person. Since one of the hardest parts of a miscarriage is the emptiness, like that baby was a short dream, the name seems to pin down that reality and make the baby a part of your life and family.

    And a point if interest, a friend of mine has a tradition in her family that the name of the miscarried baby is used for the next live baby, although I’m not sure how gender works for that!

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  3. For the two babies we lost we picked a name inspired by feast days near when we found out the babies had not survived. Both were male names (Becket and Patrick) that probably had more to do with us easily agreeing on boy names than a belief that the babies were boys. It never bothered me that we didn’t know if they babies were actually boys. With our second miscarriage we had strongly considered the name Caroline before learning the sad news. It was a name we had never considered before that pregnancy. I sometimes think of the baby by that name as well, but it breaks my heart a little too much. Becket and Patrick are much better as they are great saints and we like the names but they are not quite our “style”.

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  4. Our miscarried baby we named Frances Jude. I was praying a St. Jude novena as I found out I was miscarrying, and Frances can be feminine or masculine depending on the spelling. I chose to write the feminine version, so that way both sexes are covered, but the naming was more for my kids. It allows them to remember and pray to their little brother/sister saint that they were so excited to meet, but were not able to.

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  5. Our babies in Heaven are Marian and Rosarian…it was a very hard time for us all, wasn’t it…I always ask them to pray for us, and still cry for them (even though I know they are safe with our loving and merciful God and Our Blessed Mother Mary)…can’t wait to see them, by God’s great Grace!

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  6. I had a very strong inkling that my first pregnancy was a boy. So when I miscarried, we named him “Norman”. It’s my husbands grandfather’s name and my husband wanted to name a boy after him. I really didn’t like the name and had been trying to figure out how to get out of using it. So we named our first son after his great grandfather – and my husband really couldn’t argue. Hey – I had to bring a little humor to the really crappy situation. Years later, I still smile. And think of Norm frequently.

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  7. We named our baby for an angel- Gabriel. We reasoned that angels don’t have genders, at least not in the way we do, so it made sense to name him or her for an angel. We chose Gabriel because the traditional feast of St. Gabriel was very close to my due date.

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