Miscarriage and infant loss are among the hardest things a parent ever has to go through. Leaving a doctor’s appointment or a hospital with nothing but a broken heart is a gut-wrenching experience that too many parents are, unfortunately, all too familiar with. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage (though actual numbers may be much higher, given that it sometimes happens before the pregnant person is even aware), and the CDC says that about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the U.S. per year.
But for some families, there are “rainbow babies“: the term for a baby born on the heels of a miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death. They are a sweet reminder that there can still be beauty after even the most damaging storm, that life prevails. Though they are absolutely in no way a substitute or replacement for their sibling who never got to grow up, rainbow babies are the bright spots in the clouds of grief and loss.
All babies are miraculous — but if you’re expecting your own little rainbow baby, the human embodiment of hope, it can feel a little extra-special. What better reason to give your rainbow baby a special name, too? Here are some of our favorite picks: the most perfect names for rainbow babies.
Rainbow Baby Names That Mean “Hope” or “Dream”
When we think of rainbow babies, hope is one of the first attributes that comes to mind. These names are perfect to convey the hopes, wishes, dreams, and desires that we have for our children. We have combined girls’ and boys’ names in this list because there are many more female names that have these meanings — but gender-neutral names are always in style, and several of these (Dream, Asha, Raja, and Rya, to name a few) would work fine for a baby of any gender!
Rainbow Baby Names That Mean “Light”
Like the first warm rays of sun that penetrate through even the most ominous clouds after a rainstorm, baby names that mean “light” are a wonderful way to convey the special significance of a rainbow baby.
- Claire (or Clara!)
- Helen (or Helena!)
- Kiara (phonetic spelling of the Italian name Chiara)
- Lucia (or Lucille!)
- Nellie (similarly, Ellie has the same meaning!)
- Robert (there are several possible nicknames for this one, too — Rob, Robbie, Bert …)
Other Perfect Names for Rainbow Babies
There are some names for rainbow babies that can’t be grouped into any category, other than that they fit the bill so perfectly.
- Aurora (“dawn”)
- Aveline (“desired”)
- Bodhi (“awakening”)
- Eileen (from Avelina, “desired” — can also mean “light”!)
- Javier (the Spanish version of Xavier, which means “new house”)
- Jesse (“gift”)
- Mirai (“miracle”)
- Neo (“new”)
- Nova (“new”)
- Phoenix (refers to the story of the phoenix: a mythical bird symbolizing renewal, rebirth, and resurrection, of triumph over tragedy)
- Shai (“gift”)
- Theodore (“God-given”)
- Vera (“faith”)
Child loss — whether it happens within days of conception or months after birth — is heartbreaking, and no parent should ever have to go through it. But when we do, rainbow babies are a way of reminding us that hope springs eternal, and that light always follows the darkness.
These other famous parents have been open about suffering miscarriages.
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