Choosing a name for the baby we lost to miscarriage

When my husband and I found out last month that we had lost our sweet baby, it felt very natural for me to speak openly about our loss, our pain, our grief. This was my child, deeply loved and very much a part of our family, and I couldn’t help but share what was happening with people around me. I wanted our baby to be known, loved, and important. I needed our community to know that we are the parents to two children, one here on earth and one in heaven.

The more I began to talk about our baby, the more I began to feel that our baby needed a name. I was very early in my pregnancy when I started to miscarry so we hadn’t had an opportunity to learn our baby’s gender yet (and we like to keep the gender a surprise until the birth, so even if I was further along, we likely still wouldn’t have known).

When I was pregnant with our daughter, we had a list of two boys names and three girls names that we loved going into her birth. One of the girls names in particular was at the top of our list, and was a name I’ve loved for years, even since before my husband and I got married. As soon as we met her and saw that she was a girl, we both felt right away that none of our girls names fit her, especially not the one that we thought was our very favorite. We ended up taking her home from the birth center without a name and not choosing one until the next day. We needed a little bit of time to get to know her so that we could be sure the name we picked was just right. And oh my goodness, her name is just perfect for her.

Naming this baby has been very different, because there is so much that we don’t know. We don’t know if they are a boy or a girl. We don’t know if they have blue eyes like me or brown like my husband and our daughter. We don’t know if their round little head is bald or covered in hair. We don’t know if they have a gentle, calm nature or a bit of sass and spunk. All we know is that they are our precious child.

We spent a few days testing out a handful of gender neutral names that we both liked. We talked about family names. Names with meanings that we loved. We played around with first and middle name combinations. We prayed and prayed and prayed. In the end, we narrowed it down to two and then let our daughter choose. I love that she helped to name her sibling.

Naming this baby has been such a beautiful, important part of our grieving process. It brings me peace and comfort to be able to call our child by name. It makes it easier to talk about them, and it stirs my heart every time I hear someone saying their name. I just ordered a necklace with their first initial and birthstone and I can’t wait to wear it in honor of my precious little one.

Sweet mama, if you have experienced the loss of a baby through miscarriage and have thought about giving your child a name, I’d really encourage you to do it. If you don’t feel called to name your miscarried baby, that is okay, too. Everyone walks this road in their own way and in their own time, and that is good. You are the only one who knows the best way for you to grieve and process this loss. The one thing I’m absolutely sure of is that God knows all of our babies and has all of them cradled in his loving arms, named or not.

When your hardest time is also your happiest

Over the past few days, as I’ve been walking through one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced, I’ve been noticing something.

A couple weeks ago I was working on my bible study that I’m doing with a wonderful group of ladies. One of the prompts asked us to write down our hardest year and our happiest year. It was really hard for me to do that, because I feel like my hardest and happiest years are the same. I can remember a simpler time, before children and before marriage. It was easier, more care free, and less work. But was it happier? Absolutely not. As I’ve added the roles of wife and mom, my life has gotten busier, messier, and more exhausting. The first year of motherhood was one of the hardest I’ve ever experienced. But it was also absolutely, hands-down the most joyful. I couldn’t pick a happiest year and a hardest year, because as things have gotten harder, they have also gotten immeasurably happier.

I’m noticing something similar as we experience this loss of our sweet baby. I’ve never felt such pain. I’ve never felt such grief. I’ve never mourned a loss so deeply. But at the same time, I’ve never been more thankful for my healthy, thriving, incredible toddler. I’ve never felt more love for my husband. I’ve never felt closer to God. With our deep loss has come a deep sense of gratitude for all of these blessings that have been right in front of me all along.

I’ve wondered many times over the past few days “What are you doing, God? What are you trying to teach me through this?”

I think I’m starting to see a glimpse of His answer. With this gut wrenching pain, comes deeper love. More genuine gratitude. An even more thankful heart. A closer relationship with Him.

I miss my baby who is in heaven so, so much. And I love the sweet girl who is in front of me making a big mess at the dinner table and the man who is away at the fire station working hard to provide for us even more than I ever have. I trust in my God who is faithful and good more than ever before.

I’m so sad. And I’m so thankful. And it’s okay to be both.

A quick fall from joy into grief

Earlier this month, my husband and I joyfully discovered that I was pregnant with our second child. We were so excited (and a little nervous!) and quickly fell in love with our new family member. I carved a special pumpkin that we used to announce my pregnancy to our parents and siblings. We happily shared our news with some of our friends. We told our daughter about her new sibling and she started to kiss my belly and proudly say “kiss baby!” with a big smile on her face. It was wonderful to celebrate the blessing of new life with those closest to us.

Then last Friday, we found out that there were some signs that pointed towards a coming miscarriage. The past few days have been some of the hardest we’ve ever experienced as we desperately hoped to keep this baby here on earth with us, at the same time trusting in God’s faithfulness and knowing that His plan is good, even when we don’t quite understand it.

We learned this morning that our tiny baby has gone to be with Jesus. Our hearts feel broken as we mourn the loss of this child and grieve that we won’t get to parent them here on this earth. I’m full of curiosity about who they are and who they would’ve become. I long to hold them in my arms, to nurse them, to watch them grow. Although this baby was so small and not yet fully formed, they are very much our child, treasured and loved. And though we are deeply feeling the loss of not having this baby here with us right now, oh how we cannot wait to meet them someday in heaven!