Naming The Child
As I have gone through my journey of loss I have come to know and talk with many other women who have experienced their own losses. It’s almost like you are initiated into a club of sorts when you lose a baby. Certainly, before I experienced the loss of my first baby I had no idea how to be there for my friends who went through it. I have said before that losing my sweet babies doesn’t define me as a person, but it has changed who I am. It is as if my world has shifted and I see it in a different way than I did before. In some ways, my world is darker. I have seen a kind of tragedy that cannot be unseen. But in some ways, it is also clearer. I can see things I never saw before. I can see how unfeeling I must have come across to those I knew who experienced a similar loss before I did. I didn’t know what to say and was afraid of saying the wrong thing, so I simply said nothing. I didn’t bring it up. I didn’t ask how they were doing. Now I know better. I know that the babies we lose are very real - they are perfect little people created by God and ushered into His presence before we even get a chance to hold them ourselves. And any mother who has lost a child wants so much to talk about her child because talking about him makes him real, makes him matter.
A lot of the women whose stories I have had the chance to hear were much farther along than I was when I lost my babies. I lost each of mine before my pregnancy reached nine weeks. But I have heard the stories of women who lost babies at 16 weeks, at 27 weeks, at 40 weeks - mothers whose babies were stillborn or died shortly after birth. And I am encouraged by how they love those babies as they love their living children. Some women were able to know the gender of their babies, and chose beautiful names for them. Some women were able to have photos taken of their babies, and they treasure those pictures of their sweet little ones. They have keepsakes - blankets their baby had been wrapped in, a stuffed animal that had been snuggled against him.
It has always bothered me that I had nothing concrete to remember my children. I purchased a necklace that commemorates each one of them and it is a very special representation to me of the children I have yet to meet. But the necklace is for me - it never belonged to them. I have done a lot of reading these past few months - reading the Bible and holding on to God’s promises, reading books and blogs by other women on the subject of pregnancy and infant loss. In my reading I came across Isaiah 49:1 where the Lord says this:
“The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother He named my name.”
How I long to know my babies’ names! I have spent so much time imagining who they are and what they would have been like had they lived on this earth. I knew them intimately while I carried them. Yet the Lord has already named them and I don’t know their names. In the book Naming the Child I read this:
“Naming an unborn child is a powerful thing. It is a way to acknowledge to the world what God already knows. A way to say, ‘life is precious - this life is precious.’”
Naming the child is also a big part of healing. After a lot of thinking and praying about it, I decided that I could still give my children earthly names just as I gave an earthly name to my two-year-old daughter when she was born. Because to have a name is to be acknowledged as someone important - and to me, these babies are important!
I struggled with deciding how to name them. At first I looked at gender-neutral names, since I never confirmed a gender with any of them. But none of those names seemed to really mean anything. And I realized that the meaning was so much more important to me than whether or not I was 100% sure I chose the right gender for each child. God has already given them their heavenly names. So I decided to go with my gut instinct for each child as to whether it was a boy or a girl - that feeling I first got when I found out I was pregnant, the way I saw them in my dreams. And I know that the meaning of their names is the true representation of who they are to me, regardless of gender.
So here are the earthly names of my children who are in heaven:
Ezra Grey - 5 October 2009
Ezra means “strong.” And I know that in my weakness God proves Himself strong. This loss was the beginning of the path God designed to make me strong in Him. Grey was my grandfather’s middle name. I chose it because the color grey represents how I often feel when I remember losing this baby. And also because I have imagined so many times the way my Grandpa must have welcomed that baby when he arrived in heaven. I can’t wait to meet you sweet Ezra Grey!
Leilani Rose - 25 August 2012
Leilani is a Hawaiian name that means “child of heaven.” What better name could there be for a sweet baby who was ushered from my body straight into heaven? My sweet friend Ashley who was killed in a car accident five years ago had this for her middle name. I couldn’t think of a better person to name my precious child after. I chose Rose because I often view my babies as beautiful flowers that God chose for His own. I can’t wait to hold you in my arms one day sweet Leilani Rose!
Nathaniel Ellis - 20 October 2012
Nathaniel means “gift of God.” And in so many ways he was my gift from God. He was God’s promise to me that it’s not over yet and it’s not time for me to give up yet. Because of this baby, who God placed in my womb, I still believe that God will give me another child someday. Ellis means “my God is the Lord” - and if there is any promise I have clung to it is this. That God is the Lord, He is in control, He is sovereign. Nothing that happens in my life surprises Him and He will always sustain me in every circumstance. I know He knew what He was doing when He welcomed you into His home sweet Nathaniel Ellis. And I can’t wait to be there with you!
As I write this, the screen becomes blurry, the tears fall, and my heart aches for these precious little ones. Though they were tiny, the pain is great. It gets a little better each day, the pain is a little less sharp and is slowly turning into a dull ache that I’m learning to live with. There are some days already in which I hardly notice it. But I know that it will never disappear completely. And I’m okay with that. I am learning how to long for my heavenly home more than ever. And I think that is a better blessing!
Lord, thank You for Your love and care. Thank You for never leaving my side. Thank You for giving me these three treasured little ones to carry, if only for a few weeks. I would rather have had them for those weeks than to never have known them at all. Thank You for Your promise that they are now in heaven with You; no doubt they are praising and worshiping You. And thank you for the gift of salvation - the promise that one day I will join You and so many who have gone before me. In my weakness show Your strength. May Your name be lifted up because of my trials. I love You Lord!