Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's in a Name?

The Saturday before we began the drive home (the 26th), I co-hosted a bridal shower for my very best friend, who is getting married in August. I've never thrown a bridal shower before, but I think it went over pretty darn well! At least, Meghan (my best friend) seemed to enjoy herself, and that's what matters, right?

As I was leaving after the shower, I was stopped by an old friend's mom. She and I were always really close, but unfortunately, this friend and I had a bit of a falling out, and my relationship with his mom has been awkward ever since. She wanted to talk to me about that. I won't go into the details of the falling out with this friend or my conversation with his mom, but it was a wonderful conversation. We really hammered some things out, and we even got to catch up with what we've both been up to.

In keeping true to my intention of being more open about my miscarriage, when the time was right in the conversation, I told her about it. She was very upset on my behalf - she actually started bawling. Which made me feel kind of good. I didn't get much sympathy or empathy from the people who knew about my miscarriage (please don't get me wrong - there were a few who were incredibly supportive), so it was nice to have someone finally be willing to just be upset about it and not try to make it better or to make me feel better.

Anyway, after telling her about my miscarriage, she told me a story of a friend of hers who had delivered a stillborn. She said that this friend had named the baby but had never told anyone what she named it. Then she asked me if I had named my baby.

And I didn't know what to say.

I don't feel like I have the right to name my baby...and I don't feel like I have enough information to do so.

I never found out my baby's gender. I always thought it was a girl (during my pregnancy and after my miscarriage, I had some really vivid dreams in which I had a baby girl...I never had a little boy in any of those dreams), but there's no way to know for sure (though, oddly enough, when I was talking to my friend's mom about my miscarriage, she told me that she had a strange feeling that my baby was a girl). Either way, though, I don't really feel like I can name my baby (I'll just call it a "her" for the sake of argument (and simplicity)).

I mean, what if I name her a clearly feminine name and then I get to heaven and, voila, she is really a he? He'd be all like, "Gee, mom, it's nice to meet you. And by the way, thanks for calling me a girl for the past 64 years."

I know it sounds ridiculous, but I really feel that way.

At the same time, it would be nice to be able to refer to her by a name, rather than just call her "my baby" or "the baby" all the time...

So, I guess I'm looking for feedback from my readers and/or perusers.

Is it weird to name my baby when I don't even know the gender for sure?

And how do I name her 1 1/2 years after the fact?

Any feedback or advice would be much appreciated.


  1. Erin, I have struggled with this for a couple of years now. I never knew the gender of my babies either. And I hate not having a name for them. I might get feelings that one of them was a boy... and then I suddenly feel like I was all wrong. I wish I could think of them in other terms rather than the first baby, the second baby, etc.

    I guess I don't have any answers.

    But, since you do feel strongly about the gender - I think you should give her a name. It doesn't matter how much time has passed. Maybe try one out for a few weeks? See if it feels right?

  2. Take this with a grain of salt, as it's coming from an agnostic, but I don't imagine that names will be terribly important in heaven; no one is going to make fun of your son Sally in class in heaven.

    I imagine the denizens of heaven would have the perspective to understand that you didn't know, and be honored to be named and loved, regardless.

    There's also a lot of unisex names; that's probably a good place to start.