I've always had a thing about names. Maybe you're like me and you knew, just knew, what you were going to name your babies before you met your husband. Maybe you're pregnant and you've got an actual list somewhere on a sheet of paper, boy's names on the left, girl's names on the right. Maybe you talk with your husband about it. Maybe you go through baby name books, looking for it: the perfect name. If you're like me, you guard that perfect name when you find it. You savor it, waiting to wrap it around that beautiful pink little body the minute your arms are full and your womb is, at long last, empty.
A little over a week ago, I was already well on the trail of the perfect name. I had even posted somewhere, asking about the pronunciation of a name I'd come across. It sounded, to me, like the perfect name for our new little one, based on it's meaning. See, I'm a big fan of names that actually have meaning. "Consecrated to God," that's a powerful one. "He has heard me," is another. "Wished-for child," is a favorite. I myself am IRL saddled with a trendy 70's name that means ... "flowering bush of purple flowers" (talk amongst yourselves and see if you can figure it out). I always wanted my children to have names that imparted meaning, maybe gave them a bit of something to carry with them when they were filling out their tax forms.
Names are important. They tell us who we were thought to be in the time before we ourselves knew who we were. Our parents too great care in selecting what they considered the perfect name for us, no matter how much we have come to dislike it as we grew. People's first impressions of us are formed on the basis of our names, like it or not.
I came to realize last night that part of what I need to do in my next step of healing emotionally from the pain of this miscarriage is to name our baby. But how? How do you name someone when it's all backwards--your womb is most certainly empty, but your arms are not full? How can I name a child when I know that the name will never be written on a form, no card issued. No one will ever call my house and ask for that name. No one will ever receive mail addressed to that name. There is no future in it. So how do you give that baby a name?
This struck me so hard that I found myself sobbing, again.
I asked DH his opinion on a name for our baby. This is a man who has steadfastly refused, in every pregnancy, to even consider any name until well into the second trimester. How, he asks, can he choose a name until he has seen a bit of the baby's personality through the poking feet and sliding bottoms he feels through my bulging belly? How can you choose a name at random? It's far too important a thing. Not a task to be taken lightly. That being said, he said he was unable to come up with a name for our lost little one. "I can't," he told me, "because I will never know her."
We both have felt all along that the baby would be a girl. Our daughter has prayed for a sister so long that it has become a rote request in her prayers. "And please let mommy have a baby, and please let it be a sister for me." She has actually already returned to this practice, after an agonizingly short period of being able to issue praise in the form of, "Thank you for our baby, and please let it be a sister for me!"
I went to sleep last night with names on my mind. And of course, God hears even those prayers that we don't give voice to. In the middle of the night, I awoke with a name on my tongue.
Gloria. "Glory to God," "Praising the Lord," or just plain "Glory," depending on your source.
Gloria has never been on one of my "short lists." I've never considered it for one of my three little ones. As a matter of fact, the one person I've known with the name was frankly, not my favorite woman. But the name came to me, and it fits so perfectly that I know it was meant to be. The fact that I could not have chosen it somehow makes it more dear, as if the name was whispered to me by angels as I slept.
So Gloria it is. My missing daughter, who I will never hold on this earth, but who waits for me in heaven.