Naming Babies Lost to Miscarriage or Stillbirth

Tips for those who wish to memorialize their lost pregnancy.

baby name on pillow
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As a part of coping with miscarriage or stillbirth, some grieving parents find that it helps to give the baby a name as a way of memorializing what has been lost. Others choose not to pick a name, especially if the miscarriage happened early in the pregnancy before the gender could be determined. They may feel that giving the baby a name makes the loss feel more real, or they may simply feel strange naming a baby who was never born.


Whatever your preference, you should do what feels right for you and there is not one correct path for everyone.

If you do choose to name your baby, here are some things to consider:

Pregnant women often refer to the fetus they're carrying by a nickname; maybe you referred to your pregnancy as Jellybean or Peanut. It's okay to keep those names, unless it feels too painful. 

If you had a name already selected for the baby-to-be, you might consider using that name. Many parents opt to keep the name they had in the event they become pregnant again, but it may conjure up sad memories of the miscarriage. 

Consider using a name that you love but which you would not use for a future baby, such as one that honors an older relative, or a relative who has passed away. Having a positive association like that with a name you bestow on your miscarriage or stillbirth may prove helpful in the long run. 

Use a word that is meaningful to you even if it isn't technically a name.

The name for your miscarried baby is not likely to be used by anyone except you and your partner, so it's a decision you can make without seeking others' input.

Consider a gender neutral name if the pregnancy loss occurred before it was possible to determine your baby's gender, or if you had a feeling one way or the other about the baby's gender, you can feel free give your baby a name suited to that gender.

Remember, there are no wrong moves here, you should do what feels right to you and your partner.

However you decide to memorialize your loss, it will be the right decision for you. Don't feel pressured to do anything that feels too painful, and don't let anyone talk you out of doing something that feels right for you and your partner.

There really are no rules about how anyone should grieve this kind of loss, or any loss for that matter, so give yourself the space and time to decide what works. Even if you don't decide to name your miscarried or stillborn baby right away, if you want to choose a name later on, that's up to you. 

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