Monday, January 11, 2016

Names for Hard Times

Hello, readers!

Today's post is a bit more reflective than my normal style, so heads up!

Something I've come across since beginning my foray into the world of baby names is the concept of a "rainbow baby" - a baby born after a previous miscarriage or otherwise unsuccessful pregnancy. I've seen parents use the names Rainbow or Iris (meaning "rainbow") in their new baby's name, to honor their experience.

It got me thinking - in this exciting community where names are equated with new life and births, there's often an element of loss or death included. We honor now-gone relatives with our new baby's names (I've learned a bit about the Jewish traditions around this idea), we honor our past familial homes with origin names; in a way, we even reinvigorate names from eras we've never experienced - Emma is a prime example.

It's not as "fun" to think about these concepts, but I think it definitely is helpful, even therapeutic, to use names to act as transitions between darkness and light. For without our past, our hard times, we would not be able to appreciate the hope ahead.

So, for my own personal reference and for any of you readers who might be interested, I've compiled a list of names whose meanings are more solemn, sad, or reflective. There's a reason so many of these names exist in the first place - for generations, we've been honoring the bad times as well as the good. I believe that these names don't portend a negative future for their recipients; rather, they remind us that the most happy, hopeful things - like new babies - can spring from unexpected places.

Brenna - "descendent of the sad one"

Brennan - "descendant of the sad one"

Deirdre - "sorrowful"

Diggory - "lost one"

Dolores - "lady of sorrows"

Duald - "darkness"

Jabez - "borne in pain"

Layla - "night"

Lilith - "of the night"

Malala - "sad"

Mirra - "sea of sorrows"

Morana - "death"

Perdido - "lost"

Perdita - "lost"

Rajani - "dark, of the night"

Shivani - "life and death"

Thana - "death"

Tristan - "sorrowful"

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