Photo by dodsport via Flickr

Editor’s note: Over the years, I’ve realized that many readers are awaiting adoptions, struggling with infertility, or grieving a miscarriage. I’m truly honored that Sara was willing to share her story here. It is a powerful reminder that names aren’t just pleasing sounds – when you find the right name, it can carry layers of meaning. I’m also truly thrilled because Sara was the very first reader to ever share a name story here at AppMtn. You can read her son’s story here.

Our daughter’s name is Genevieve Pearl. She joins big brother Titus Whitfield.

Nearly ten years before she was born my husband said he’d like to name
a daughter Guinevere after the Arthurian legends. I was not a fan of
the name or the character so I was not really supportive of his name
of choice, although in retrospect I’m impressed with his creativity.

I worked at a children’s hospital at the time and part of my job was
to send thank you letters to donors to our foundation. Each month we’d
receive a small gift from a lady named Genevieve. I adored the name
and my husband readily agreed that it could be our compromise.

Fast forward ten years and Genevieve’s story is impossible to tell
without telling my own. The road to having children was an arduous one
for us – eight years from beginning to end and full of heartache.

Finally I was pregnant again and wondrously I was pregnant with the
first girl to be born in over 60 years on my husband’s side of the
family. After so many years of trying and multiple miscarriages, I
found myself second-guessing the name Genevieve because of the
meaning “white wave.”

I grew up on the beautiful calm Gulf of Mexico. Large white capped
waves generally only happened during hurricanes. We’d endured enough
storms, thank you very much.

However after literally reading thousands of names during my
pregnancy, Genevieve still remained the only name we really liked. So
I began to ask, “what middle name would bring strength or beauty to
the tumultuous waves of Genevieve?”

Pearl! How perfect! A lovely and rare treasure from the sea.

And that is how, after five miscarriages, a difficult pregnancy, and an
emergency c-section, I’m incredibly blessed to have navigated the
uncertain waves of life to find my beautiful girl.

Her nickname is Vivi, chosen specifically because it means “lively –
full of life.”

I’ve read this story several times in the posting process and I still get walloped by that last line. If you’re dealing with loss, Sara recommended a site that might be of help.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Genevieve Pearl is absolutely beautiful, what a special story you will have to tell your daughter when she grows older!

    Abby, I’ve always wondered about Genevieve’s meaning. Some sites state that it means “white wave”, others “woman of the people” and I’ve heard it even referred to as the French or Italian form of juniper…so a variation of Ginevra/Geneva? Any more information since Genevieve was NotD?

  2. Thank you for sharing our story Abby, and thank you for the kind comments! I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the name-loving community!

  3. Beautiful and I love the meaning. And as someone who has also had multiple miscarriages (3 before my daughter was born – Stephanie Elizabeth or Light, Gift of God), I applaud your bravery in trying over and over again for your precious daughter. I can relate. And I LOVE Guinevere, always have 🙂

  4. I have always loved the name Pearl, but paired with Genevieve makes it even more beautiful. 🙂