At the edge of a grassy graveyard, surrounded by little bronze markers and drying flowers, sits my son’s gravestone. His name is boldly inscribed across the top: “Landon A. Mannegren.” This grave is a physical reminder of his short life, a place that marks his brief stay in this world. This tombstone is a declaration that he was here.
But none of that exists for my recent miscarriage.
I never felt this little one’s first kicks. I never knew their gender or held them in my arms. There is no birth certificate, no ultrasound photos, and no baby nursery. All I could give this precious babe was eight weeks of love snuggled up in my womb and a name to call their own.
Not all women decide to name the babies they’ve lost in miscarriage. Some women find it too painful to name a child they never got to hold; others simply don’t feel that it is beneficial to the grieving process. We all mourn differently and there is no right or wrong decision when it comes to naming miscarried babies.
For me, I knew as soon as we lost this little one that he or she needed a name. I needed a way to keep her memory alive.
It’s easier for me to remember Landon. I was able to bond with him over the course of seven months; I held his warm body in my arms, and later watched as it was lowered into the soft earth. In that sense, it’s more difficult with this loss. I have very few tangible memories.
Our family is (and will continue to be) very open about our loss. It didn’t feel right for us to speak about Landon by name and forever call this other little one, “the baby we miscarried.” To me, a name is more than just a mark of identification – it’s a gift of love. Although I only knew about this tiny babe for four weeks, I cherished her and loved her all the same.
And so, my husband and I came up with the Swedish word: Kära (pronounced Sher-ra). This word was plucked from the phrase “Min Kära,” meaning in English, “My dear.”
While we don’t know whether we lost a boy or a girl, my husband and two-year-old both felt from the start that it was a girl. I too find that when writing about this baby, I naturally begin using female pronouns. While Kära is not an official “name” and therefore gender neutral, I do feel that it’s a beautiful fit for our daughter.
My dear one, my Kära.
This is so much more than just a name. This is my way to love, cherish, and remember this precious, little one. This is my way to say that, “You were here. You are a part of our family and you will not be forgotten.”
It only took a month for my heart to be profoundly joined to this little life, my dear Kära. This is just one way that I chose to remember her; one way that I chose to hold her tight.
We all express our grief in different ways, what are your thoughts on naming miscarried little ones?
I think it’s a lovely idea. When I miscarried, I think the thing I felt most is that no one else knew this baby and no-one was going to miss this baby but me. It is a very isolating feeling. Plus you didn’t talk too much about that stuff back then. It just made the grieving process harder to deal with and work through.
We still talk about ‘her’ as our daughter (although we don’t know that for sure) 🙂 and I feel like we need to do one of those remembrance walks still, to honour and finish processing the loss.
I still have dreams about ‘losing’ a baby, as in misplacing it, and I’m searching and searching for that baby, and can’t find it. My SIL has those same dreams and she also miscarried. We still talk about it after all these years. It’s part of the fabric of our lives.
We know that God knows and loves these babies and holds them close.
God bless and many hugs and prayers as you work through this different but very real loss. xoxo
Thank you Susan for such an honest and open response! I love the idea of doing a remembrance walk. I think the fact that you still dream about her is a beautiful reminder of how closely we hold these little ones in our hearts, no matter the years that separate us. Thanks again for sharing – I find it so refreshing to gather in community with women who are genuinely open about their experience with loss.
I love your openness! It will help more women than you know. 🙂