Every baby is special, every new human deserving of recognition. But a rainbow baby, the term for a healthy baby born after the parents suffer miscarriage or infant loss, represents a long-awaited hope.
Just as a rainbow appears after a stormy period, so does a rainbow baby. Their births serve as a reminder that life is still possible, and that while the damage of the “storm” can never (and should never) be forgotten, there can still be beauty in its wake.
If you’d like to honor the miracle of having a rainbow baby, and pay tribute to the joy that triumphs despite the pain, these names hold particular significance for your little one.
An Old French name meaning “beloved,” which encompasses both your rainbow baby and the one(s) you hold only in your heart. It can also be spelled Esmée.
This name has a twofold meaning; when derived from the Sanskrit word आशा it means “hope,” and in Swahili it means “life.” Could there be a more perfect sentiment?! (For boys, a similar sound can be found in Asher, which means “happy, fortunate, and blessed.”)
Another name that’s French in origin, this one means “desired.” And our runner-up is an equally beautiful French name with the same meaning: Desiree.
Aside from naming your child Rainbow (which could also be a great choice, given the current trend toward nature names), this one is the next-best thing; in Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow, her name taken from the Greek word for rainbow.
This is a modern Welsh name derived from “caru,” which means “love” — the emotion that perseveres through every challenge of parenthood, or the journey toward it. It’s technically pronounced KAH-riss; if you want to pronounce it KEH-riss, you can spell it Cerys, which is a variation that still means the same thing.
Derived from an Arabic word meaning “faith.” And faith, whether religious or nonreligious, plays a huge part of parents’ journey to a rainbow baby.
Also meaning “faith,” this time in Russian — although it can also come from the Latin word “verus,” meaning “true.”
A derivative of the Slavic name Nadezhda, which means “hope.” And when it seems like all is dark — as it sometimes does for parents who have suffered through a devastating loss — hope is the beacon that can cut through the gloom.
This name is a transcription of the Hebrew word “shai,” meaning “gift.” It’s unisex, so even if you’re opting for your gift to be a surprise, you can still feel comfortable deciding on Shay no matter what.
Derived from an Old Norse word, “ván,” which means “hope” or “expectation” — perfect for a baby who embodies both. Not to be confused with the soundalike Vaughn, which means “little” or “short” … that would work, too, just not for paying homage to your little one’s rainbow baby status.
This one comes from the Latin name Benedictus, meaning “blessed.” If you’d like to stay more true to the name’s roots, there’s always the option of using Benedict. Benny would be an adorable nickname for either one.
With Germanic roots, this name means “brave.” And bravery in the face of adversity is something that all parents of rainbow babies are intimately familiar with.
In Greek mythology, Atlas literally supported the weight of the world on his shoulders, but his name means “enduring.” The loss of a child comes crushing down on you, but like Atlas, you endure — and so does your baby’s memory, through your rainbow baby’s name.
This stems from the Hebrew name Yishai, which means “gift.” It can be made a bit more unisex by spelling it Jessie.
The name Kai has meanings in many different languages (Hawaiian, Swedish, Basque, and Thai among them), but the most fitting for a rainbow baby is its meaning when written in Chinese: “triumph.”
A Persian name meaning “wish” or “hope,” both significant to a child born after a loss.
This name has several possible meanings, as its exact etymology is unclear — but all the meanings, “heart,” “gift of God,” and “thanks” — are perfectly fitting for a rainbow baby. Plus, it’s got the option of the cute nicknames Thad and Tad, an alternative to the more often-used Theodore (which means “gift of God,” and could also be a great choice).
The pain of losing a child, no matter whether you ever had the chance to meet in person, is something that leaves permanent scars, and there can be many mixed emotions for parents. But rainbow babies are hope and faith and triumph personified, and commemorating that fact with a special name is a way of reminding them how loved they are.
Need naming help? Find thousands of names, plus fun and inspirational lists, at the Scary Mommy baby name database.