Expectant Mom Goes to Cemetery To Pick Out Daughter’s Name

A mom-to-be has gone viral after showing off the unique way she went searching for the perfect name for her unborn daughter.

Haley Hodge, 30, runs TikTok account @Hodgehouse, which follows the lives of her growing family.

As she and her husband prepare to welcome a new baby girl, they and their children headed off to a cemetery, to look at the names on the gravestones for inspiration.

In a clip shared on May 19 which has already been viewed 2.3 million times and boasts 134,000 likes, Hodge wrote: “When cemeteries hold the prettiest names, so you take the family to look for baby girl’s name.”

It showed Hodge, her son and daughter exploring the grounds and reading out names including James, Julian, Ella, Winnie, Vienna, Olympus, Salem and Galloway, and pointing out old stone tables where they believe families used to sit to be close to their departed loved ones.

Cemetery baby name
Mom-to-be Haley Hodge (left) took to the cemetery to find a name that might suit her unborn daughter. She pointed out names like James, Vienna and Galloway, among many others.

TikTok @hodgehouse

In May of this year, the United States Social Security Administration announced the top 1,000 most popular baby names for 2023, based on new Social Security card applications, and while classic girls’ names such as Olivia, Emma, Charlotte, Amelia and Sophia remained in the top spots, there were some unique names rising quickly.

In the report, it noted the top five fastest-rising female names in 2023 were Kaeli, Alitzel, Emryn, Adhara and Azari.

Hodge’s video had a huge reaction from TikTok users, with many intrigued by her strategy to find a name for her daughter.

Some expressed gentle concern, like one user who wrote: “I’ve heard that pregnancies attract ghosts. I feel like this is picking up a ghost at the rescue shelter!”

But others were enamored, with one person writing: “Carrying a brand new soul through a garden of the past. What a clever way to find a beautiful name.”

“This is honestly beautiful,” another wrote. “What a way to honor those that have passed.”

Speaking to Newsweek, Hodge, who lives in North Carolina and works in physical therapy, explained she grew up being taken to “graveyards and other ‘haunted’ places” by her mother, to teach her and her siblings about historic events.

“My mom has always been very into spooky stories and noticed that we, her kids, never focused during regular historic tours. However, we did get intrigued when she would follow up a historic story with a scary story that happened at that same location. Kinda like when kids tell spooky stories at a bonfire,” she said.

Thanks to her mother’s approach, Hodge never thought of cemeteries as “scary”, and “more of a library, full of stories.”

It’s something she’s now passing down to her own children: “Each marker represents someone’s entire life, not just a body.”

“When visiting a graveyard I always invite my children if they’d like to come. They can always say no if they felt uncomfortable, but they typically like just being outdoors and reading names and dates. I use that time as a learning experience for them and teach them the beauty of life.”

She added: “In my opinion, death is not the end, so I don’t want to teach them that it’s all scary. It’s the beginning of a new adventure that I like to believe is heaven.”

Hodge revealed that her own sister got her name from a cemetery marker, and coincidentally now works as a “haunted tour guide,” and that Hodge herself has now found some “awesome name candidates” from her cemetery trip.

But, she said, her daughter will make the final decision, as she will read the names out loud and see which one the baby kicks for. Hodge added: “I may visit a few more cemeteries first before the official name list is ready!”

Cemetery baby name
Hodge, who is already mom to two children, took the kids to take part in picking their sister’s name. She said she was teaching them cemeteries were nothing to be afraid of.

TikTok @hodgehouse

As for the massive reaction her video got, Hodge admitted she had expected it to be popular, “solely because I know it’s weird”.

“Seeing a pregnant lady in a place that is usually known for death seems morbid to most. However, I ended up getting a really positive reaction from people. It allowed many to see the beauty of graveyards and letting a name live on,” she said.

“Going through a cemetery and saying pretty names out loud is a way to keep their memory alive in a way. I love that.”

While some people found it “weird” due to their own beliefs around death and cemeteries, Hodge said she accepts that, “but it can also be beautifully weird”.

“Some tend to mention the worst, such as possession and scary ghosts taking over the baby,” she said. “But in my opinion, if souls are still here on earth, they are not going to be confined to a fenced-in graveyard. They would also be found in hospitals, churches, homes, etc. Shoot, most women deliver babies above a morgue if they deliver in a hospital!

“My goal is to change the perspective of cemeteries and show a unique perspective on their beauty and the stories they hold.”

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