Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Child Naming

So, there are different kinds of parents. Some parents have all of their children named before they're even conceived (haha Jeff and I), and other parents want to wait until the child is here, you know, to see what he or she is like. Both types are great.

Today is a double birthday for Jeff and I. It is my brother Danny's birthday, and it is also Jeff's sister Jill's birthday. Jill stopped moving two days before she was born and was stillborn. Her name is Jill Marie Collett, and she's Jill Halley Collett's namesake.

So, in honor of her birthday, we went to the cemetery where she is buried. (Danny was honored as well; we talked on the phone.) She was buried in the part of the cemetery that used to be dedicated only to babies and small children. Two tombstones there particularly stood out to me. They both had last names, but one just said "Baby Girl" and the other said "Infant."

Since Jeff and I name our children way ahead of time (like way, way ahead of time), this was pretty foreign to me. So my initial reaction is that we would never have a tombstone like that. Any stillborn or miscarriage we have (if gender is already known) would already be named.

But then I thought about it longer. If we do have a stillborn or miscarriage, would we want to use the name later for a living child? Jeff and I have done a good amount of genealogy, and it is pretty common back in the day for children to have the same name as a dead sibling.

Now I'm thinking that I wouldn't want to use it, that I would let our deceased child keep the name, because I know my son or daughter still exists in heaven.

So anyway, what do you guys think?


  1. That's a really interesting thought. I think I would use the name on the baby, and then just bury that name with the baby. Tyler and I have a good three or four names we are enamored with, and it would be hard to not see those names turn into little kids and sticky fingers and elementary school lunches and high school prom and their own wedding, but I would hate to get to the other side and see that stillborn child and say, "We loved this name so much that we took it from you and gave it to a more viable child."

    That sounds really awful, but... I don't know. I think each child should have his or her own name, regardless of whether or not they live.

  2. First of all, I like to think that I have all the names Scotty and I will use picked out...but Benjamin wasn't one of those. We changed his name two weeks before he was born! (Of course, I still like to think that the names I have picked out now will end up being the names of my future kids.)

    Anyway, about losing a child and giving it a name...If the baby was stillborn (which, I believe is a death after the first 24 weeks or something like that) and we will have to actually bury the baby, I would absolutely give it a name. If the baby was a miscarriage (and I never really saw the actual body of my child) then I probably would wait to name it. I know some women feel like the child they miscarried came back to them in another pregnancy. And then we know that we will be able to raise all of our children in the millennium. I guess really I would just have to go by the Spirit in deciding what to do. Very interesting question, though!

  3. I have had miscarriages and known the genders of some and have not named them. I think the only thing that it would aid in would be if I was talking about a particular child I lost and had a name for them, but I really don't think that I would have named them if I had gone back either. A stillborn I would have certainly named but generally you don't bury a miscarriage in a cemetary either, so it's a little different in that way. And while D and I have a name that we are "for sure" on, we a) don't even know if we will ever be able to have a child, and b) know that they are subject to change at any given time, because I think that I would need to pray about the child we would be having and if I felt the name was right and if the baby arrived and we felt it needed a different name we would certainly do so. Though, if I had a stillborn and used a name for that baby I do not think I would use the same name for another living child. That is just my personal preference, I think things could get too confusing that way.

  4. Back in the day they also had no problem naming all of their children, say, George. You've seen those family history files, haven't you? Ok, just the sons would get named George, but you know what I mean. Devin and I still don't know what we will name this baby if it is a girl, and I don't know when we will finally decide on something, so if the baby is stillborn that would be really hard. I honestly don't know what I would do. We do have a name if it is a boy, but the girl might be out of luck... how sad! (We'd come up with something, I'm sure.)

  5. and on a lighter note, I love the new look on your blog!

  6. I would totally name the stillborn child and leave that as his/her name. They are, after all, still your child, and you wouldn't want to get to Heaven and have 2 children named Tom. I believe names should be individual (at least as much as possible), especially within family. That's just my opinion, though.

    I think it's sad that those 2 children were never named...

  7. this is unrelated, Jill is adorable. Can't wait to see you guys. I need boling/collet time

  8. i like to think of my self as not an opinionated person- but the baby should definately have a name. how sad. i can see using the name maybe as the next baby's middle name... to honor it kinda? nice new pics on your blog:)

  9. I think maybe back in the day (Joseph Smith time or something) it would probably be more common to recycle names, simply because the infant mortality and child mortality rates were so high and I assume people wanted the family names to go on (Joseph Smith had two sons named Joseph, I think. Julia's twin was Joseph and when he died and Emma had her fourth he was named Joseph). Nowadays, when children dying is much rarer, I think I would just name each child something different. But I like the idea of using a variation to honor the other one. And it's so sad those little babies didn't have names.


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