Names for Miscarried Babies

"Names for Miscarried Babies" by Kate Towne (

Via Flickr (2010), all rights reserved. Titles added in Picmonkey.

I recently read this quote, attributed to author Barbara Kingsolver:

A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven’t. Most don’t mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn’t happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had. But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she’ll know.”

This is certainly true for me (the little one I lost, who I’ve always felt was a boy, would have been ten this spring); there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by over these past ten years that I haven’t thought of the baby. And while it’s easy for a mom to remember the baby who lived and died in her womb, I’ve found that having given the baby a name has helped him remain prominent in all of our memories. We talk about him often, still, and his older and younger brothers all know him, by name, as their brother in heaven.

Though not everyone chooses to name the babies they’ve miscarried, a lot of people find it to be helpful in their mourning process. I wrote about this topic on my blog a while ago, and heard from readers with a variety of experiences. Some chose names they loved and would have bestowed whether the baby lived or not; others chose names that seemed perfect for that baby but that they likely wouldn’t have given to a child who had lived. Though none of them knew for sure if their babies were boys or girls, some *knew* (in the way mothers know), and named their babies accordingly; others preferred gender-neutral names or a first name combined with the opposite gender middle name, in order to cover their bases.

It was this latter idea — gender-neutral names — that encouraged Mandi over at A Blog About Miscarriage, who herself has had four miscarriages, to post a while ago about the names she and her husband gave their babies. She told me, “When we were trying to name the babies we lost, I tried googling ‘gender neutral Catholic names’ and ‘gender neutral Saint names’ and didn’t come up with much,” so she also compiled a great list of the gender neutral names they didn’t use, in case it’s helpful for other parents like her “who don’t like naming a baby a gender specific name without knowing the gender for sure.” It’s a great list! She asked me if I could add any others, and this is what I came up with:

Angel — I once knew a girl named Angel, and the main male character in Tess of the d’Urbervilles is Angel Clare (what a beautiful combo itself!); one of my readers had chosen this name for one of her babies in heaven.

Clair — speaking of Clare, Clair (that spelling) is actually the male form of Clare. It also makes me think of Sinclair, which is a male name that literally means “St. Clair” — to me, then, Clair and Sinclair could be used for either boys or girls.

Guadalupe — from Our Lady of Guadalupe, and is used for both boys and girls.

Luca — it’s masculine in Italian, Romanian, and German, and feminine in Hungarian and Croatian.

Mary/Marie/Maria — of course these are girls’ names, but men such as St. Clement Maria Hofbauer and St. Anthony Mary Claret used them as well.

Nicola — it’s masculine in Italian but feminine in German, Czech, and English.

Rosario — means “Rosary” and is feminine in Spanish and masculine in Italian.

Sam — this could work nicely for a boy or a girl.

Sidney/Sydney — Sinclair makes me think of Sidney, which could refer either to St. Denis or the “Holy Winding Sheet of Christ” (Shroud of Turin, also known as the Sacred Sendon [sendon is from Latin sindon, meaning “fine cloth” or “linen,” especially those used as shrouds).

Vianney, Majella, Liguori, Clairvaux — I’ve seen these last names of male saints used for girls.

Do you have any other saintly names that would be suitable for either a boy or a girl? Have you named a miscarried baby, and if so, did you use a gender neutral name?

Copyright 2017 Katherine Morna Towne


About Author

Kate is a writer, wife to a really good man, and mama to their seven boys ages 1 to 15. She shares her thoughts on Catholic baby naming at Sancta Nomina, and her first book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018) can be found at and Amazon.


  1. I miscarried three babies, all of whom we named. We tried to go for gender neutral, and none of these are names we would have given had the child been born. They are Seton (who was due on St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s feast day), Gabriel (who we lost at Christmastime), and Kolbe (for Maximilian Kolbe).

    I’m a huge proponent of naming miscarried babies. This way, especially with multiple losses, we are able to remember them by name and distinguish one from the other for our children, who want to know the proper sequence of all my pregnancies.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Carolyn! I love all the names you chose, and I love how you articulated this: “we are able to remember them by name and distinguish one from the other for our children, who want to know the proper sequence of all my pregnancies.”

  2. I commented on your blog that we didn’t name our baby until many years after we lost him or her. In fact it was almost 15 years later! It’s now been two years since we chose the names for the baby and it has really helped me settle and not think of “the miscarriage” as a thing that happened, a horrible week of pain and misery followed by months of grief. Now it’s easier for me to think of the baby as a person. My miscarriage was almost 17 years ago and it has definitely been a process. He or she would turn 17 this fall. We chose the names based on names I really liked at the time I was pregnant with that baby, Charlotte Francis. Using one feminine and one masculine name felt like the right solution for us.

    • Beautiful, Grace! I liked this: “it has really helped me settle and not think of ‘the miscarriage’ as a thing that happened … Now it’s easier for me to think of the baby as a person.” Thanks for sharing!

  3. We lost our child recently – too early to know if our baby was a boy or girl – so we named our little infant “Blessing.” Thank you for posting this.

  4. I’m all for naming any baby, even when I used to pray for a baby not to be aborted I’d give him or her a name. I lost a baby three years ago and named him/her (we never knew) Andy Noel. Noel because I knew the baby was alive at Christmas.

  5. We felt our two miscarried babies were girls and named them Colette Maria and Clare Grace. (All of girls on my side of the family have a derivative of ‘Mary’ in their names– ‘Grace’ for Our lady of Grace.)

    • Beautiful names MaryL! I love including a name for Our Lady, my parents did the same for my sisters and I, and my husband and I gave our miscarried baby the middle name Marie. Such a lovely thing to do!

  6. We are burying our miscarried baby next week, and are still at a loss for a name. Nothing seems to ‘click’ and we definitely did not want to name them a gender neutral name had they been born. So hard to think of something/someone as so real, and yet not have a name for it. I’m hoping for a divine revelation…hasn’t happened yet.

  7. We just lost our second baby and im looking for a good name for him or her our first baby we named Eden Arabella jone, i felt that Eden and jone was good gender neutral names, even though we felt that the baby was a girl, and my husbands middle name is Arron and his daughter from his first marriage name is Bella so i put the 2 names togather and came up with Arabella it is more of a girls name but i wanted the hole family to be a part of that baby even though it was my angel baby. We lost the second baby 4 weeks ago, i cant find a name that captures what he or she ment to me or there place in this world. I know no one will ever know they were ever even a thought but they were my babies and more then just a thought, so i want a really strong meaningful name.

    • God bless you. We ended up naming our baby Dominique. With that spelling, it is gender neutral, simply meaning ‘from God’ – I hope you find peace and consolation.

    • mark hughes on

      The Garden of Eden! Perfect. Eden he/she will be, I’ve been trying to think of a name for the one we lost 20 years ago. I look forward to being interned in the same gravesite he/she rests. Now I can get a grave marker inscribed that I’ve planned for years, with both our names.

  8. My wife and I just found out we lost our little one. We found out last Tuesday and the baby passed on naturally this past Saturday. We wanted something gender neutral name that seemed heavenly/spiritual so we named our baby Noel.

  9. My husband and I are currently suffering a miscarriage. This sweet baby is our loss this year. We haven’t spoken about names for this one yet. Our first we felt was a boy, because before I even knew I was pregnant, my nephew stopped playing and ran upstairs to tell me, “Auntie Net, Jesus told me you’re having a baby, it’s a boy.” This took his mother and me by surprise, since I didn’t even know I was pregnant. When I was rushed to the ER I was told I was pregnant and it was ectopic. That was the worst time of my life, only a week after my nephews premonition. So, since he is the one who told us, our baby was a boy, we asked him which name we should choose, and he chose, Austin. So, our first baby is Austin Paul. Hoping for some guidance on what to name our second angel baby.

    All my love and prayers to each of you, who have also experienced this terrible loss.

    • I’m so sorry about the loss of your babies, Lynette. The story of Austin Paul’s naming is lovely; I’m sure you picked something wonderful for your second baby as well.

      • Thank you Katy, we ended up naming our second baby, Angelica, Lea for many reasons, the first being, it’s such an angelic name. The other reasons are, my mom’s middle name is Angelica and My dad’s name, as well as my mother-in-law’s middle name, is Lee.

        Thank you for taking the time to respond to us, and thank you for all you do!

    • UPDATE: We wanted to name our second baby, something Angelic, as she is now our little angel. So, we named her Angelica Lea. Angelica is my mom’s middle name and Lee is my dad’s name, as well as my mother-in-law’s middle name. We now have our 2 Angel Babies, Austin and Angelica, in Heaven.

  10. We have miscarried three times. The first, we named Morgan. It is a family name (my side) and it just felt right. It helped me to feel like our baby was a person and had a place in our family. We haven’t found the “right” names for the second two yet. We just recently found out the second was a boy, so at least we have something to go on for him. The third was a twin pregnancy, so we will never know the gender of that baby. Part of me says that we need to wait and let our surviving twin help name that baby when the time is right.

    • Oh my, Laurie, three times — I’m so sorry! Morgan sounds perfect for your first baby, and I’m sure you’ll come up with the perfect names for your other two.

  11. I tend to be quite private but this was so helpful to me when praying over names for our little ones that I wanted to share in hopes that someone else might find the same help I did. Our second pregnancy was ectopic and we chose the name Julian Innocent. It felt fairly gender neutral but deeply meaningful, it is so comforting to know that the patrons of my little one are a saint and the Holy Innocents. We had a miscarriage 5 months after that and I struggled deeply with finding any hope again. After much prayer we chose Elisha Mercy, Elisha meaning “God is my Salvation”. This name helped me to remember that our hope in the mercy of God is not unfounded. Again we felt it was gender neutral but still a strong Christian name with weight, meaning and a clear patron; same as we would choose for our children still with us.

    • Oh Angela, this is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing the names of your little ones! Julian Innocent and Elisha Mercy are so full of meaning! <3

  12. We found out about our miscarriage on August 14– which is the feast of Maximilian Kolbe. I was about 10 weeks, but we didn’t know the sex of the baby. I’ve been thinking of the baby as “Kolbe Marie” since then– it’s fairly neutral and commemorates the day of our loss.

  13. Thank you for this thread. We chose gender neutral, seasonal names to mark the times of year we had our first two losses–August and Noel–but I am struggling to find names for the twins I just lost. I never have strong intutions about my children’s sexes, so I want to find something gender neutral again. The suggestions above are really helpful.

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