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What Is In A Name? February 28, 2012

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Happiness, Home, Life, Pregnancy Loss.


“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

I fear I have to disagree with the great poet and playwright, Shakespeare this time.  With all my other children I can give them a lot of things, but the thing I ponder most seriously are their names.  I make a point of picking a family name – to encourage a sense of history and legacy that I hope my kids will take an interest in and consider.  Secondly I give them a Biblical name for a similar purpose.  I hope that they can take pride in the source of their name and through that find meaning.

In the case of Hannah – a name is all I have to give her.  She doesn’t need anything I can give her at this point.  For that reason the consideration of her name was a most thoughtful one, as it is my only connection to her as the years wear on and the memories of this time in my life dim as they blend into the mosaic that will be my life.

She is the only one of my children without a family name, and although at the time it was a trumping by the Biblical meaning that I was wanting to pull from the moment to represent her, it feels fitting in a way.  She is so special in the way she touched our lives without us getting to know her the way our other kids are known.

The first name I knew I wanted was Heaven.  I had heard of using it as a name before, and liked it, but couldn’t fathom using it.  As soon as I was looking for a girls name I knew this was the child – since with the small exception of 21 short weeks in my womb, that Heaven is the only home she has known.  When I first told my husband that I wanted this name I think he was surprised, and had not considered it a name but was easily won over.  Few other names fit such a small life, really.

We were pondering whether to give this child one or two names, and we quickly settled on the same two names that all our children have.  At that moment I remembered being in a Bible Study in the fall and they were talking about Hannah, the mother of Samuel.  I have always loved the name Hannah, but never found it worked till now.  It wasn’t the devout mother who gave her young son to the priest to raise once he was weaned that I remembered though.  It was the Hannah before that which spoke to me now.

6 And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted?  1 Samuel 1:6-8a NIV1984

Now I realize that with four healthy pregnancies my womb has been anything but closed  This time it was, and much too soon for my liking.  When I first found out that my child had died within me I was downhearted, I wept, and I did not eat for about a week.  It was the deepest despair that I had ever experienced, and I had no idea how I was supposed to move forward.  I don’t regret that.  I needed that time to feel the pain and live it.  I needed to face it and decide where in my life that pain was going to fit.  It was essential in my processing of the situation, and my finding my way to healing.

By giving my daughter the name Hannah I am honouring that part of my journey.  She is the greatest of joy to me, as any of my other children, but she is also my greatest sorrow.  I am tempted to want to forget that part, but the fact is that I can’t forget the pain and heal.  For me healing is acknowledging the pain, and the depth of it, but not letting it taint who I am and my experience with my daughter.  When I say “Hannah” I remember the despair – and I remember the mother that gave her child back to God for the mere honour of birthing him.  Hannah will always be my daughter, but she is more God’s than mine, and always has been.  I did have the honour of birthing her though, and for that I am grateful.

So what is in a name?  Pain, weeping, despair, dedication, perfection, peace, and a home with God.  It is the story of my daughters birth on earth, birth to heaven, and my handing her back to Him who sent her.



1. Sally Cleary - February 28, 2012

Sarah, that was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing from the heart. Because I know of some of your thought process in choosing names for your children, I think I understood your daughters name Hannah Heaven to a point, but I enjoyed reading your explanation. I love it.

2. Marivette - February 28, 2012

Such truth…thank you for writing and opening your life to us.

3. themattressmaniac@gmail.com - February 28, 2012

Very intriguing story. I hope I made the best decision when it came to naming my children. Sounds like you did.

dreamom - February 28, 2012

I don’t think there is a best. Naming people is very personal. This is just my story for this person. Thank you for the affirmation though.

4. ladysown - February 28, 2012

nicely written and understandable. 🙂 I often find it neat to hear why people choose the names they do for their children.

5. Jolene - March 11, 2012

Beautiful. I often wonder if I should have named my first born that I miscarried at 9/10 weeks. Funny, after having 2 children after, it seems like I’ve only begun to process this. Thanks for sharing, Sarah. 🙂

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