Birth announcement: Pia Susan!

Longtime readers will remember Mandi from her (now quiet) A Blog About Miscarriage (she’s also on Instagram, and is happy to be a source of support and info for anyone who needs it) — we were able to celebrate with her through welcoming four living babies among so many losses, and I’m thrilled to share that she’s let me know she had another baby — a beautiful little girl with the gorgeous name … Pia Susan!

Mandi writes,

Pia Susan just turned one in September! My fifth living baby/fourth girl (after Lucia Rose, David Newton, Jr., Cecilia Claire, and Maria Therese).

We decided to carry on the Saint names ending in ‘ia’ for a girl and had about 4 names we were choosing between, Pia being one of them. The priest for the Latin Mass we started attending a few years ago gave a beautiful homily on the Latin word ‘Pia’ in relation to the Blessed Virgin Mary about a month or so before my due date and it just clicked. Even with the Marian connection, she’s named after Padre Pio who my son has a great devotion to. Susan is after my husband David’s aunt and she is tickled pink to have someone named after her. Her nicknames are Pizza, Pisu, Pippy, and Sweet Pea amongst others. She is super, super tiny (she’s in 3-6 month clothes at 13 months) so the name seems to fit really well. We get lots of compliments on it, though many people are surprised by it since it’s pretty rare.”

I love all of this!! Pia Susan is just amazing, both on its own and for its Marian, Padre Pio, and family connections, fantastic!! I love, too, the nice connection for Mandi’s girls of all having names that end in -ia — it’s one of those details that’s so immensely satisfying for a name lover, but doesn’t hit anyone in the face in a too-obvious way — just lovely!!

Congratulations to Mandi and David and older sibs Lucia, David/Davey, Cecilia/Cici, and Maria Therese/Maite, and happy birthday to (not quite a baby anymore) Baby Pia!!

Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!


Birth announcement: Cecilia Claire!

I posted a consultation for boy names for Mandi from A Blog About Miscarriage back in March, and I’m so very delighted to let you all know that her little GIRL has arrived and been given the beautiful name … Cecilia Claire!

You might remember that I did a consultation for girl middle names when she was pregnant with her son — if they’d had a girl, they were planning on naming her Cecilia, and were stumped on middle names — Claire was one of my ideas! I’m so excited that Claire ended up being the right middle name for their little lady!

Be sure to go check out the birth announcement Mandi posted on her blog, which includes more information about the baby’s name, as well as sweet pictures!

Congratulations to Mandi and David and big sibs Lucia and Davey, and happy birthday Baby Cecilia!!


Baby name consultation: “Nursing home,” Spanish, and saint/New Testament boy names for born baby no. 3

Mandi, who blogs at A Blog About Miscarriage and sells Lilla Rose hair accessories, is one of our longest, most devoted readers! I posted a consultation for her when she was expecting her second born baby, and then a birth announcement when the baby was born, and I frequently look to her for resources for families who have lost a baby to miscarriage and input on naming miscarried babies (here and here). I loved her pregnancy announcement and her coining of the term “golden baby” for a baby born after a rainbow baby. She, who lost four babies of her own, is such a great resource for anyone mourning a little one, and I’m thrilled she’s part of our community.

I’m also thrilled to post another consultation for her today!! She and her husband are expecting their third born baby, who joins big sibs on earth:

Lucia Rose
David Newton, Jr. (Davey)

And in heaven:

Francis Michael
Julian Gabriel
Adrienne Rafael
Christian Michael

Though they don’t know the baby’s gender, they’re all set with a girl’s name, so they’re just hoping for help with a boy’s. Mandi writes,

In terms of boy baby names, I feel like we are starting from scratch. I knew before I even met David that I wanted my eldest son to be a Junior. It worked out perfectly that David was a family name already. His name was kind of the obvious choice and we didn’t think about any others.

It’s kind of hard to know what names my husband will like or reject, so I’ll mostly just tell you my thought process and likes and then he’ll just have to approve or veto ideas. He did at one point say he liked men’s names like “Ralph” – kind of old fashioned, I guess? I am not a fan of Ralph specifically but not opposed to names you would generally associate with the nursing home crowd (if that was even what my husband meant, hard to tell).

We would want familiar, traditional boys names, along the lines of David. A few names we like but wouldn’t use (at least at this time) are John, Michael, Robert, and Francis. Other names I like are Joseph, Peter, and Thomas. I have always loved the name Guillermo but it’s a no-go for my husband as are other more strongly ethnic names (I generally love Spanish names, hence Lucia) though he at one point mentioned liking Joaquin.

Another important consideration is that we would want the name to be directly connected to a well known Saint (or biblical figure, though despite my son named David, I am more strongly drawn to New Testament names). Added bonus if we have a strong connection to the Saint, but obviously you would have no way of knowing that and it’s not necessary – we can always develop a devotion after the fact. We would most likely use a family name for the middle – probably Alan or Milo after my grandfather or David’s.”

Can I just say that what Mandi said about her husband (“It’s kind of hard to know what names my husband will like or reject” and “if that was even what my husband meant, hard to tell”) is so familiar! In my own marriage and many of yours, husbands’ name tastes can be so mysterious, no matter what ideas they offer!

Anyway, this was a really interesting consultation to work on—between Mandi’s husband maybe liking names like “Ralph” and her loving Spanish names, and having a desire for “familiar, traditional boys names” + “directly connected to a well known Saint/biblical figure” I was interested to see what I’d come up with! I’m kind of digging my list of suggestions—I’m eager to see what you all think!

First though, I wondered what Mandi and her hubs would think of considering Alan as a first name? She said it’s a middle name contender, in honor of her grandfather, but it totally has the feeling of Ralph to me … although, looking at the SSA stats, I can see that Ralph was far more popular in the early part of the twentieth century, dropping out of the top 100 in the early 60s while Alan peaked in the 50s/60s before settling into the top 200 and staying there even til today. Ralph and Alan were similar in popularity in the 50s though, and that mid-century overlap is actually really similar to David’s popularity arc (top ten from 1937 to 1991, peaking at no. 1 in 1960—right around when my three Uncle Davids were born! Remarkably, from 1957 to 1971, it was one of the top three names). Anyway, I think Alan would be an interesting name for them to consider for a first name, given that Ralph is already sort of in the mix, and I know that I’m totally being influenced by the fact that I’m currently reading Fr. Calloway’s Champions of the Rosary and Bl. Alan de la Roche was a total rockstar (also a Dominican, and I’m a lay Dominican, woot!). Alan Milo has a really cool ring to it.

As for other ideas, as always I started by looking up Lucia and David in the Baby Name Wizard, as well as Cecilia, Ralph, John, Michael, Robert, Francis, Joseph, Peter, Thomas, and Joseph. (And, for what it’s worth, Peter and Thomas are my favorites for them from the list of those they’re considering—I even had Peter on my own list of ideas for them until I remembered it was already on their list!) I also took a look through the list of Latino names in the back of the book for inspiration. Based on all that, and my own thoughts as well, these are my ideas for Mandi’s baby (if a boy):

(1) Stephen
This was my very first idea, before even cracking open the BNW. It’s the name of a well known saint AND a New Testament figure, and also one of my boys’ best friends is Stephen, and his brother is David, and there’s a pair of brothers in my family named Stephen and David! So to me, David and Stephen go together like peas and carrots. 😁 I like Stephen Milo a lot.

(2) William
This is totally inspired by Mandi’s love of Guillermo, and is the first of several ideas I have connected to her love of Spanish names. I was thinking that she could totally just call her son by the Spanish equivalent of his name—even if it’s just a fun, home-only nickname, maybe even just something she calls him from time to time. It may help satisfy her Spanish-name love without being too foreign for her husband, you know? So William is the English equivalent of Guillermo, and it’s also a style match for John, Joseph, and Thomas. William Alan and William Milo are both fine, imo.

(3) Henry
Henry is another that I liked for this family in part because it has a Spanish equivalent that would be easy enough for Mandi to whisper to her boy from time to time (Enrique), and also because it’s a match for Lucy (similar to Lucia) and Joseph. I quite like it as a brother for David/Davey! Henry Alan and Henry Milo are great.

(4) Gerard
When I was looking through the list of Latino names, Gerardo jumped out at me and I thought, “Huh. Gerard would be great.” It has a similar old-man feel to me as Ralph, and in fact peaked in 1956, so it fits in well with the mid-century peak of Alan and David. St. Gerard Majella is such a great patron for all oms, and especially for moms who have previously lost babies, as he’s the patron of pregnant women, unborn children, childbirth, mothers, and motherhood! Gerard Alan and Gerard Milo are equally fine I think.

(5) Charles
Charles matched up with Lucia (via the Spanish variant Carlo), Cecilia, John, and Joseph, and there are so many great patrons associated with the name—St. Charles Borromeo, Bl. Karl of Austria, and St. JP2 are the three that I always think of first. Charles Alan and Charles Milo both sound fine, and Charles Alan has a particularly nice feel to me.

(6) Edward
Edward is similar in style to Robert and Joseph and has even more of the nursing home feel, just based on its popularity arc—it was a top ten name until 1931 and has slowly decreased ever since. It’s a lovely, gentlemanly name, and I love St. Edward the Confessor. Like with Charles, Edward Alan and Edward Milo are fine, with the former having a particular sparkle to me.

(7) Martin
Martin was only listed as a style match for Peter, but as soon as I saw it I thought it was a great suggestion for Mandi and her Mister. St. Martin de Porres’ father was Spanish, and I love that Martin can have that Spanish connection without being strongly ethnic. Brothers Davey and Marty are super cute too! Martin Alan doesn’t flow as well, and I don’t mind the alliteration of Martin Milo, though I know some people don’t care for that kind of thing.

(8) Victor
Finally, Victor, which was a last-minute addition to my list! I was thumbing through the BNW recently, just for fun, and was reading the Victor entry where I was reminded that, as it says in the BNW, “Like Hector, Victor is currently most popular with Latino parents,” which of course made me think of Mandi! It’s papal and saintly, a great name! I did a post about nicknames for Victor, which continues to be one of the posts that draws the most people here from internet searches (a lot of people are searching for good nicknames for Victor!), and an article at CatholicMom, and I’m particularly loving the Spanish nicknames Vicho and Victo for them. Victor Alan and Victor Milo are both great.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What other ideas can you offer Mandi and her husband for a boy baby?

A birth story, and the importance of giving your baby a good name

Mandi at A Blog About Miscarriage has just posted the most wonderful birth story! Her little David is one of our own — I was honored to do a consultation for her while she was pregnant, and to offer nickname ideas for the little man once he arrived — and his birth story is amazing. Suffice it to say, I now know how the mess from a car birth is cleaned up! 😮 I’m also so moved by the healing God allowed Mandi to experience through David’s birth. He is so good, and knows exactly what we need. ❤

Speaking of births, I read Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts over the Thanksgiving weekend, and loved this bit about baby naming:


“Name’s important,” [Moses] said. “Keeps track of who you are.”

“I guess so.”

“That’s right. Name’s an important thing. You picked a name for your baby yet?”

“Not, but I got some I’m thinking about.”

“Well, take your time. Can’t rush a thing like that. Name’s too important to hurry.”

“You know,” she said as she popped the Life Saver into her mouth. “I’ve been thinking about Wendi, with an i, or maybe Candy, if it’s a girl.”

“Get your baby a name that means something. A sturdy name. Strong name. Name that’s gonna withstand a lot of bad times. A lot of hurt.”

I know we all totally get it. The names of our faith absolutely help us know who to turn to in the bad times.

I hope Advent has started in a wonderful and blessed way for you all!

Birth announcement: David Newton, Jr.!

Mandi from A Blog About Miscarriage has had her baby! The consultation I posted for her back in September focused on a middle name for a girl, but it was all moot because she has welcomed a son — David Newton, Jr.!

She writes,

Our son was born Wednesday, November 11 at 6:25pm. He was several days late but when he finally came, he was born less than an hour after labor started.  He was delivered by his daddy in the car!

We had narrowed down middle names for Cecilia to two front runners, Clare and Rose, with Paloma and Zelie as wild cards still in consideration, but decided to wait until the baby was born to make a final decision. Since baby was a boy, it turns out we never needed to. 

We named our son David Newton Richards, Jr. He shares his name with not only his father but his great grandfather and great great grandfather. My husband was given that name after his grandfather who died when my father-in-law was a teenager. He has a first cousin named David after their grandfather as well (and his son has the middle name David), so we have lots of Davids in the family and we are honored to pass on the tradition. My brother is a Jr. and I always loved that naming tradition so I planned to have my son be a Jr.  long before I met my husband. It was serendipitous that the man I did meet happened to have an awesome name with a rich family history. I used to not care for Newton much but I’ve grown to love that it’s old fashioned and uncommon. It hasn’t been in the top 1000 boys names in the U.S. since 1957! 

We haven’t come up with a nickname for little David yet (which I feel is kind of necessary to distinguish him in conversation from his dad) but are using a bunch and seeing which feels right. Being the nickname queen, maybe you have some suggestions for us that we haven’t considered? I myself am a bit partial to Newt but I don’t think I’ll be able to get that one to fly 🙂 “

What a wonderful family naming tradition little David was born into!! (Also, did you catch that — he was born in the car!)

Mandi asked for nickname ideas for David (she called me the “nickname queen”!! 😀 ), so these are mine:

  • (I love Newt!)
  • Certainly there’s Dave and Davey — Davey especially has kind of a throwback little guy feel, so sweet!
  • My grandfather was from Ireland and his name was David but his nickname growing up was Daithín (I think that’s how it’s spelled) — Irish for “little Daithi,” where Daithi is the Irish for David. Daithi is pronounced DAH-hee and Daithín like dah-HEEN, so maybe dah-HEEN? (Not sure how you’d want to spell it though! Daheen looks too feminine? And Daithín too Irish?)
  • My cousin is David Jr. and he goes by DJ, so maybe that?
  • You know I’m a big fan of combining first and middle names to come up with nicknames — in this case, maybe David Newton could become Danny? Not that unusual, but distinct from Dad. Or Dane?
  • Or Junior! (I hear Sean Connery saying, “Junior!” in his fabulous accent from the Indiana Jones movies! Haha!) Or just Jay? From Junior, which is kind of like Dave but different?
  • You could also do Richie, which is such a common thing for guys to go by (their last names, or nicknames of their last names), but maybe that’s weird to start at home? Is that more of a nickname that buddies bestow in high school?
  • This is a little crazy, but could be cute — what about D2? Like David II? It’s different, it’s Star Wars-y? Or just D, for that matter?
  • Or what about Dewi? It’s the Welsh version of David, and St. David of Wales is known as Dewi Sant, and Dewi’s kind of like David and Newton smushed together!

What nicknames would you suggest for little David Jr.?

You can read more about this little guy’s car birth in Mandi’s announcement on her blog. Congratulations to Mandi and David Sr. and big sister Lucia, and happy birthday Baby David!!


David Newton, Jr.


Hi Mister!


Proud big sister Lucia


Tiny guy!

Baby name consultant: Middle name for Lucia’s sister

Mandi from A Blog About Miscarriage and her husband are expecting their sixth (second born) baby! Their older daughter on earth is:

Lucia Rose

And their babies in heaven are:

Francis Michael
Julian Gabriel
Adrienne Rafael
Christian Michael

(Mandi blogged about all her babies’ names here, including explanations, which is helpful when coming up with suggestions.)

She writes,

I’m looking for some help with a middle name … We aren’t going to find out whether we are having a boy or girl, but we have a boy’s name already chosen … We also have chosen the first name for a little girl, Cecilia, but I’m having a hard time coming up with a middle name I like with it. Our daughter’s name is Lucia Rose … I love her middle name for a few reasons — it’s a family name, a Saint name, very traditional and I like that it’s short coming after a several syllable first name. I’d love to find something similar for Cecilia (and in fact, I’ve thought quite a bit about just using Rose again), particularly a one syllable name, but I haven’t found anything I particularly like. Cecilia is a family name, so I don’t necessarily need the middle name to have a family link but I can’t seem to find any one syllable girls names that I like even remotely as well as I love Rose. Anne doesn’t seem to work because Cecilia ends in an A, I’m not a fan of Ruth or May or Jane or virtue names like Grace, Faith, or Hope. And I really don’t like more modern or trendy names like Elle. (So maybe I just don’t like anything?) I’d love if I found a Marian name or a name with a significant meaning, but I’m not sure that there is one that will fit our needs. Just for reference, two of the middle names we do like are Paloma and Miriam (we LOVE Miriam because it means “wished-for child” and this little one is coming after four miscarriages in a row) but they both seem too lengthy coming after the already lengthy Cecilia.”

I just sigh and swoon over sisters Lucia and Cecilia, so lovely!

This was an interesting dilemma, because so many of the names I thought of as I was reading Mandi’s email turned out to be unusable per the end of her email!

First off, I don’t hate the idea of possibly using Rose again as the middle. As I posted about recently here and here, it’s a common (or not uncommon) tradition for all the girls in a family to have Mary as part of their name, for example, or for all the girls to have Mom’s maiden name as a middle, that kind of thing — sisters having the same middle is totally normal and not that unusual. It’s kind of a nice link between them, and Rose is like an updated Mary — still Marian, but not Mary. Cecilia Rose is beautiful.

I did come up with a bunch of other ideas though, in case Mandi and her husband really don’t want to repeat Rose:

(1) Pearl
This is hands down my favorite option for them. I feel like Pearl used to have a really old lady feel, but I’ve been seeing it more and more recently on little girls, as both firsts and middles (I mean, not so much that one needs to shy away because of trendiness! Just that it’s losing its old lady image), and I wrote a while ago about how it can be Marian, so I love it for this family! Lucia Rose and Cecilia Pearl. Really beautiful!

(2) Normal one-syllable names
I’m calling them “normal” because they’re just that:

  • Kate — I often love just Kate in the middle
  • Beth — Beth could also honor any Elizabeths Mandi may know/love
  • Claire — I like that Cecilia Claire would have the initials C.C.!
  • Joan — Mandi said she didn’t like Jane, I wondered if Joan would be different enough?
  • Jude — A super feminine first name like Cecilia would pair well with the usually more masculine Jude

(3) More offbeat one-syllable names
Here are the ideas that might seem a little crazy, or a little cool (some may be too modern/trendy feeling for Mandi and her husband’s taste?):

  • Fleur — I really like this option. It’s literally “flower,” which is a cool connection with Rose, and the fleur-de-lys is a Marian symbol too!
  • Nan — Mandi mentioned Anne not working because of Cecilia ending in -a … if she really wanted Anne, Nan is a variant
  • Quinn — Ven. Edel Quinn has been showing up kind of a lot recently (I wrote a bit about her here), and I know another Catholic family that used Quinn as a middle in her honor
  • Belle — it means “beautiful,” and is so much less common than its sister Bella, especially in the middle. Lovely!
  • Reine — French for “queen,” which makes it Marian! I would say “rain,” but behindthename says it’s pronounced “ren,” which I also quite like …
  • Wren — … so I thought I’d suggest Wren as well, in the off chance wrens are meaningful to Mandi and/or her husband. I like the sound of it with Cecilia
  • Tess — I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Tess as a middle name, which makes it kind of a cool spunky choice. It would be great for any Theresa they might want to honor
  • Sage — maybe too much “s” with Cecilia? But I read that the herb sage has been referred to as “Mary’s shawl.” The meaning of “wise” is also pretty great
  • Mair — a Welsh form of Mary. I would say it like it’s spelled, like “mare,” but behindthename says “mier,” which could also be cool
  • Mim — I know a Miriam who goes by Mimsey, so I thought — maybe Mim? One syllable for Miriam?

(4) A couple two-syllable options
Wait! Don’t disregard my two-syllable ideas just yet! Two came to mind that I thought sounded really nice with Cecilia and had great meaning and weren’t overly long (as far as two syllable names go):

  • Mercy — the Year of Mercy is starting soon, and the Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Mercy are amazing connections. Cecilia Mercy?
  • Caeli/Coeli — this is definitely one of those put-it-in-the-middle names that no one would know what to do with otherwise, but it’s so lovely and Catholic and Marian. I say CHAY-lee, but I know of a girl from a super Catholic family named this and they say KAY-lee. And again, I love the C.C. initials! Cecilia Caeli?

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What preferably one-syllable middle names would you suggest for Mandi and her husband to pair with Cecilia?