Friday, June 19, 2009

Naming a miscarried baby

"..... Often we have picked a potential name long before the birth. It may not be the final form of the name chosen, but the intent and the beginnings of a decision are there. The baby is a person and a family member long before we see that rosy, wrinkled little face.When a baby is miscarried, the parents’ grief may be a very lonely thing, in large part because few people, if anyone, knew the baby’s name. If the baby was miscarried in early pregnancy, a name may not have been chosen yet, and most people may not even know of the pregnancy. Grieving and mourning our loss involves telling our story, and the lack of a name, or a name no one had yet known, may be a painful situation for the parents. Those around us may be reluctant to bring up our loss, ask the baby’s name, or even speak to us about the death of our beloved little one. Many feel that an early miscarriage is “normal” and not to be mourned as an actual loss, trivializing the parents’ pain and making their desire to name or commemorate the child seem abnormal.

In addition, people expect parents to quickly resolve the grief of a miscarriage. It’s as if since they didn’t know the child’s name, or it had not yet been named, or the pregnancy didn’t yet “show,” our loss is somehow not as devastating. People often remark to these parents, “At least you didn’t know him/her,” “You can always have another one,” or “Probably it would have had a defect.”

But of course we knew our child, their constant presence for weeks or months as the center of family love and excitement, the anticipation of who he or she would be. Our dreams, plans, hopes, our child’s whole life unfolds in the hearts and minds of its parents, long before it is born, and the loss is as devastating for them as if the child had been born alive and full term. Another pregnancy, another child, will never replace this child. And with or without a “defect,” a parent’s heart is ready to embrace and nurture the tiny one.

Naming your miscarried baby can be an important ritual. There are those both in the medical community and in our circles of friends and family who may feel that naming a child we will never see or hold is just prolonging the pain and sorrow. However, if this is something you want to do, it is perfectly appropriate, and may aid in your grieving and in holding onto your memories, brief though they may be. A name gives the miscarried baby a place in the family and validates the little one as having both lived, and died.

Whether your loss was recent or long ago, you will know if naming a miscarried baby is right for you. Some have picked names reflective of the brevity and beauty of their child’s life, such as Dawn Joy, Rose Dawn, Star, Sunshine, or Summer Angel. Names such a Precious or Lovey remember the child conceived in love. If you have used a nickname for the unborn baby, that may be the natural choice. A name from the Bible, such as Michael or Gabriel (both angels) are appropriate for boys, or a gender-neutral name—Jessie or Robin, for example—may feel more comfortable when you are uncertain if the baby was a boy or girl.

If you wish, sending an announcement of the baby’s name and date is one way to let those around you know that you acknowledge the baby as a member of your family, and it encourages them to do the same. It allows others to know that you welcome support, and gives them permission to offer it. Beautiful, customizable birth/death announcements are available from A Place to Remember. There is also a Memory Book where you can post a memorial to your unborn baby, a non-legal Certificate of Birth to commemorate your baby by name, and many other resources....."
Please read the full article here

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