"Life isn't about surviving the storm...it is about learning to dance in the rain." Anonymous

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What's in a name?

One of the decisions we make as parents is the name our baby will be given.  It is a rite of passage....the choosing of the perfect name.  As parents of babies who have died, we have the choice of whether or not to name our babies.  Some of us choose to and some of us don't.   There is no right or wrong way.

After Elizabeth died, I was asked by a friend if I would "reuse" her name for another baby.  The answer is a resounding NO.  Maybe this is ok for some, but not for me.  You see, I knew her name before I even knew she was a girl.  I just had a feeling she was a girl and I had called her Elizabeth in my mind from the start.  For me, there is, and always will be, only one Elizabeth Claire Petersen. 

Webster defines a name as "a word or phrase that constitutes the distinctive designation of a person or
thing".  So, her name is what designates her in our family.  It gives her the identity she deserves and it gives us a name to call her by when we remember her as a family. 

I have two friends who didn't name their babies right away.  The thought was just too painful.  One of them decided to name her son a year after his death, when the time felt right for her.  I know another lady who decided 7 years later to name her baby.  The timing is different for all of us.

I had an ectopic pregnancy a little over a year ago and never named that little baby.  It may sound crazy, but I refer to him or her as "Little Bit", because that is what I called it before the loss.  So, I guess you can say that Little Bit is the perfect name for that tiny baby. 

Recently, my sister-in-law told me that when my niece has a daughter, she wants to name her Elizabeth Claire.  I don't really like that idea.  I feel that name has already been taken in our family.  I was a little hurt and saddened by the idea of another little girl with that name.  Is that selfish?  I don't know....maybe.

The power of a name is really amazing.  The few times that I have seen Elizabeth's name in print have taken my breath.  I know that I won't ever have the chance to see her name in a kindergarten graduation program or on her wedding invitation, but I will take whatever I can get.  Every chance to read her name or speak her name is a wonderful moment to me.

It is a reminder that she was here and still lives on in the inner core of me.


  1. I'm not sure how old your niece is now, but once old enough to have a child and to name it, she'd be old enough to have an adult conversation with. Not restricting her from the name, but you could tell her what the name means to you, if she doesn't' know already. Maybe that would change her mind. And who knows, she might have sons! Hugs!

  2. I lost my baby girl Avery at 26 weeks about 3 months ago. I had chosen her name long before i found out i was having a girl as well. I was in LOVE with her name. Several of my friends were pregnant a few months behind me and one of them recently found out she was having a girl. She mentioned to me that Avery was one of the names on their "girl" list. She ended up going with a different name but i felt angry and taken back that that name would ever be a consideration for them. That was my babys name. Although she is not physically with us, she is my baby girl Avery and always will be and I expect my friends to respect and understand that she deserves to have a name of her own like everyone else.