Baby name consultant: Rainbow baby needs a meaningful name

Today’s consultation is for a bilingual family living in Canada who are expecting their fifth baby — a little boy. The mama writes,

I am Belgian (francophone) and my husband is American (anglophone) and we live in Montreal, a very bilingual city. We might very well come back to the US eventually, but we need to consider that our kids could live in a French speaking society as well. We want our kids’ names to be written the same in both languages as much as possible (at least their first names), but we don’t mind if the pronunciation differs (so no Luc/Luke, but Colin was ok). We want them to have a clear patron saint.

[Because of our last name] I have a little problem with names ending in “elle” because of the repetition.

Our fourth baby died of SIDS last August and I have been toying with the idea of honoring him in our “rainbow” baby’s name. Maybe by including St.Gerard who allowed us to baptise Thomas 3 days before his unexpected death? Our 5th child is expected for early December.”

What a sadness this family has been through! I really like the idea of using a Saint’s name who had a special connection with the baby in heaven, and I have some other ideas how to connect to their little Thomas as well (below).

Their older kiddos’ names are:

Claire Marie-Therese
Vincent Nathaniel
Colin Matthew
Thomas Francis

I love each one! Such a handsome set of names!

The mama continues,

We’re not really excited by anything we’ve thought up yet, and I admit I actually have a hard time bonding with this new little one and spending time thinking about it. Maybe an awesome name will help! I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas!

I’m so happy we can help this mama by coming up with name ideas!

Alrighty, so jumping right in, you all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity (according to the American naming landscape, which may not be so accurate for this family, but hopefully it’s helpful!), and I was somewhat surprised when I looked up Claire, Vincent, Colin, and Thomas, as there was more overlap than I expected! These parents have very consistent taste!

Okay! Between my research in the BNW and my own mental files, these are my ideas for this family’s new little guy:

(1) Blaise
My first few ideas are based on style matches for the other kids as listed in the BNW. Blaise is similar in style to Claire and Vincent, and it gets a good amount of love from families I hear from/talk to. And it’s a French name! I assume it’s pronounced the same in French and English?

(2) Julien
Julian did quite well for this family as well, being similar to Claire and Vincent. It’s a great name for a boy, and I think it would fit in well with the other kids. I assume they’d prefer the French spelling Julien?

(3) Grant
I was surprised by Grant! It’s a match for Claire and Vincent, and I was thinking that, if Mom and Dad liked it, they could attach a meaning to it that would be quite appropriate for them, and could be a nod to their Thomas. One possibility might be in Job 6:8, when he says, “Oh, that I might have my request, and that God would grant what I long for” (which is consolation in knowing he never disobeyed or disrespected God, even though he went through “unremitting pain”). Another is the beginning of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” I think both speak in a gentle and wonderful way to the sadness of losing their Thomas.

(4) Tristan
Tristan was another match for them (Vincent, Claire) that I thought might be nice as a nod to Thomas because of starting with the same first letter—some families honor others this way. Then I remembered that its meaning is often associated with sadness, which could be perfect, or maybe falls too much into the “burdensome for the new baby to bear” category. I am loving Tristan Gerard.

(5) Bennett
My last idea for this family is Bennett. It’s a variant of Benedict (Benedict seemed a bit too heavy for them I thought), which means “blessed” — a lovely meaning for a rainbow baby. It’s also a style match for Claire!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? Given these parents’ older kiddos’ great names, and the loss of their little Thomas, what would you suggest for their little boy?


23 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Rainbow baby needs a meaningful name

  1. I’m so sorry about your loss, and wish you the best for your newest baby. I’m quite into the idea of giving rainbow babies meaningful names, I’ve seen people doing it in many ways.

    I love Tristan but possibly too sad after a loss. Raphael is a fave of mine, and it means god has healed. It goes quite well with Nathaniel and Matthew, so maybe for a middle? Theodore mens god given, Simon god has heard, Asher and Felix mean happy, blessed, lucky. I love Simon Raphael or Theodore Raphael or Raphael Gerard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Choosing a “culturally neutral” name is a challenge. I have a similar naming situation (different cultures) and the names she picked are names that I have used/would use. Another name that I would suggest is Justin. Joseph would be nice and traditional if they like more traditional, but I don’t know how it is spelled in French.

    The email that is quoted says that they aren’t sure if it’s a boy or girl, so just in case… I like Madeleine, Lily, Sophia, or Anna with their other names. Therese sounds nice too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry about this family’s loss. It must me very hard to be hopeful right now, but this new baby boy will certainly help.
    About this new baby, Gabriel would be perfect: he brings Good News, (and it’s spelled the same way in French). But it ends in “el”, so probably it’s not an option.
    So, maybe David (means beloved), Charles, Victor (means winner) or Xavier.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I’m so terribly sorry for their loss.

    Oddly, a friend of mine was in the exact same situation. They had a baby boy named Thomas who died of SIDS, and about a month ago (on my birthday!) they had a rainbow baby, a little boy they named James Thomas in honor of his brother.

    I love the idea of using Gerard.

    Tradition says that the apostle Thomas’ full name might have been Judas Thomas, so perhaps Jude might be a subtle way to honor his brother?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Our last name is very French and my husband’s family is from Quebec. Our second, a boy, has the name Daniel. I know in French “Daniel” sounds like “Danielle” to an English/American ear, but it is very normal in French speaking countries. We just pronounce it the American way since we live in the States.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The first name that came to mind for me was Samuel! I know she said no elle, but Samuel doesn’t really end in the elle sound so maybe it would be okay!

    I thought of Nathan as well but they’ve already used Nathaniel as a middle so that’s probably a no 😦

    I also thought of Benjamin, after your suggestion of Bennett! Natalie Portman’s husband is named Benjamin and he’s French, so I thought maybe that could work! I would love Benjamin Gerard 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I place my vote over Gerard, Xavier, Benjamin and Felix.

    Other names I came up with:
    Albert Alfred Arthur Bernard Casimir Christian Damian Eric Ethan Evan Felix Hugo Isaac Jonathan Leonard Lionel Lucas Marc Martin Maxime Ralph Remy Roger Roman.

    Liked by 1 person

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