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Haley Hodge at a cemetery | Source: tiktok.com/hodgehouse
Haley Hodge at a cemetery | Source: tiktok.com/hodgehouse

Pregnant Woman Looks for Her Future Baby’s Name in Cemetery – Search Is Finally Complete & Name Chosen

Prenesa Naidoo
Jun 19, 2024
03:05 P.M.

Thinking up different baby names means using unconventional methods to find them. Meet Haley Hodge, a mom who faced criticism (and some praise) when it came to her unusual means of finding a baby name for her soon-to-be number four, baby girl.

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In May 2024, Haley Hodge faced a whirlwind of criticism after sharing her unique method for finding baby names in cemeteries.

Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

Her TikTok video, which quickly went viral, reached 2.7 million viewers and stirred up quite the reaction.

And now, Hodge revealed her decision to call her baby Salem, which is a name that she and her family found on a late veteran's headstone at a North Carolina cemetery.

Haley Hodge and her son, Banks June 14, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

Haley Hodge and her son, Banks June 14, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

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The content creator, who is already a mom to three other kids, defended her unusual name-searching strategy in an interview with PEOPLE.

"After all the backlash, we finally chose a name," Hodge said. "And yes, it's one we found in a cemetery."

Haley Hodge on June 13, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

Haley Hodge on June 13, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

And yet, Haley's TikTok showcased her family's atypical name-seeking adventure, which drew mixed reactions.

Some viewers were unnerved by the idea of drawing inspiration from the dead, while others praised Hodge's creativity.

Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

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Haley and her husband, Rivers, discovered their future child's name on a headstone. Last week, the expecting mom posted a TikTok announcing their daughter's name: Salem.

"Salem means 'peaceful, safe,' and 'complete,'" Hodge shared in the video.

Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

"As far as the name went, my favorite has been Salem since I saw it in the graveyard. My husband's favorite was Sailer, which we also found in a graveyard," Hodge said in her interview.

Eventually, it came down to a good old family discussion.

"We did a tie-breaker by having all our family vote on their favorite."

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Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

In the Old Smithville Burying Ground in Southport, North Carolina, the name Salem stood out to Hodge.

"It was inspired by a U.S. Coast Guard veteran who fought in World War II," she explained.

As she wrote over the mixed footage of herself at the cemetery and on the beach, Hodge noted a "family water connection" with the name Salem, referencing the Salem River, a tributary of the Delaware River.

Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

Haley Hodge and her family on June 9, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

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"Everyone in my direct family has some type of water-related name," Hodge mentioned in her PEOPLE interview. "We have a Rivers, Rains, Brooks, and Banks already. It's a bit of a stretch, but I found a little tie between Salem and water."

Hodge's video continued with details about the daughter's namesake, who died in 1992.

Haley Hodge and her family on June 14, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

Haley Hodge and her family on June 14, 2024 | Source: Instagram/hodgehouse1

"Our lives missed overlapping by about eight months. He was married and didn't have any children of his own," she shared. "But hopefully, he will be okay with being an honorary grandpa to our baby girl."

Finally, she concluded her TikTok with a photo of the late Salem's headstone, where the family laid down flowers for the gentleman. In overlaying text on her video, the pregnant mom wrote:

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Thank you, Salem, for inspiring us to bring new life to your name.

A headstone with flowers | Source: Midjourney

A headstone with flowers | Source: Midjourney

Haley's viral fame caught the attention of a major Hollywood star, who shared her input on a Skype call set to air soon on the unnamed celebrity's talk show.

"She chose Salem, and I thought, "How cool, this baby will have such an incredible story behind her name," said Hodge.

"Not only did we find it in a unique way, but one of my favorite celebrities helped choose it too! What a fun fact my baby will have in her future!"

A talk show setting | Source: Midjourney

A talk show setting | Source: Midjourney

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According to her TikTok's caption, the family has yet to decide on a middle name for Baby Salem. Hodge told PEOPLE that she wants to follow Salem with something more directly water-related, "like Harbor."

When Hodge first shared videos from her cemetery search on TikTok, there were several social media users were quite unnerved by the spooky sentiment.

A close-up of a baby girl | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a baby girl | Source: Midjourney

However, Hodge defended her baby name search, explaining that she is not one to feel uncomfortable at burial sites.

"I just saw it as going to a place where people's grandparents, best friends, and loved ones are," Hodge said. "I don't see it as a place of evil. These are people who lived lives and hopefully good lives and were good people."

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And to top it off, some comments referenced superstitions warning against pregnant women visiting cemeteries.

And of course, the nasty comments didn't stop there. Here's a series of comments directed at Hodge:

User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

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User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

User comment on People's story dated June 17, 2024 | Source: facebook/people

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Luckily, Hodge anticipated some backlash based on differing cultural views on death but personally isn't haunted by the idea of spending time near the deceased.

"If there were souls out there, I don't think they are confined just to a cemetery," Hodge remarked. "We have babies above a morgue at a hospital, if you deliver at a hospital, so we're kind of surrounded by it."

Thankfully, there were also some positive results generated from people:

Haley Hodge's TikTok dated May 19, 2024 | Source: tiktok/@hodgehouse

Haley Hodge's TikTok dated May 19, 2024 | Source: tiktok/@hodgehouse

Haley Hodge's TikTok dated May 19, 2024 | Source: tiktok/@hodgehouse

Haley Hodge's TikTok dated May 19, 2024 | Source: tiktok/@hodgehouse

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Haley Hodge's TikTok dated May 19, 2024 | Source: tiktok/@hodgehouse

Haley Hodge's TikTok dated May 19, 2024 | Source: tiktok/@hodgehouse

Haley Hodge's TikTok dated May 19, 2024 | Source: tiktok/@hodgehouse

Haley Hodge's TikTok dated May 19, 2024 | Source: tiktok/@hodgehouse

With her first three kids: 10-year-old daughter Finley and sons Banks, 1, and Crew, 3. Hodge noted that she looked for names in more traditional places, often writing down names she heard on television. This time, she hoped to give her daughter an interesting story to share about her origins.

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In the end, Hodge mentioned that she documented the family's cemetery adventure on camera to share it with her future daughter one day.

A cemetery | Source: Midjourney

A cemetery | Source: Midjourney

"I wasn't even going to post [the videos]," she explained. "But eventually decided to upload my naming process for the world to appreciate. I knew it was going to spark some attention, being different."

All in all, while Hodge's take on naming her children may be unconventional and to some, scary, it's a sure way of giving her children timeless names that will stand the test of time.

A woman in a cemetery | Source: Midjourney

A woman in a cemetery | Source: Midjourney

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Do consider this method weird or wonderful? What are your thoughts?

If you enjoyed this article, here's another one for you |

Bride's Mother Sparks Heated Debate over Her Dress at Daughter's Wedding: 'Shocking'

Social media users are clashing in opinions after seeing a bride's mother wearing a stunning gown to her daughter's wedding. Some people felt the bright-colored dress took the spotlight from the bride, but she didn't agree. Read on to hear people's differing opinions.

A Louisiana woman found herself in hot water with netizens over a dress she chose to wear to her daughter's wedding at the beginning of the month. Her daughter has since explained what she thought of her mother's viral dress choice.

Amanda DeWitt LeBlanc and Andrew LeBlanc at their wedding on June 1, 2024, in New York City | Source: Instagram Story/A + A

Amanda DeWitt LeBlanc and Andrew LeBlanc at their wedding on June 1, 2024, in New York City | Source: Instagram Story/A + A

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On June 5, 2024, wedding content creator Chloe LeBlanc uploaded an Instagram clip from a wedding she was involved in. The footage was set to background music from Billie Eilish's "Birds of a Feather." She captioned the post praising the mother-of-the-bride's (MOB) dress, writing, "The most stunning MOB dress we’ve ever seen!"

In the video, Lori DeWitt, the MOB, was seen interacting with guests, her husband, and her daughter in a custom-made Audrey + Brooks gown. The woman's green dress, which had tongues wagging on social media, featured a detachable bow and train, a floral design, and a plunging neckline.

Lori DeWitt and Robert Chance DeWitt at their daughter's wedding in a clip uploaded on June 5, 2024 | Source: Instagram/capturedbychloe.co

Lori DeWitt and Robert Chance DeWitt at their daughter's wedding in a clip uploaded on June 5, 2024 | Source: Instagram/capturedbychloe.co

While the 53-year-old looked stunning, some people thought she'd upstaged her daughter, Amanda DeWitt LeBlanc, 26. The bride was dressed in a gorgeous white off-the-shoulder trumpet gown by Romona Keveza. According to reports, the dress was one of three that she wore on her wedding night.

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People who saw Chloe's Instagram video of Lori strutting her stuff were divided in their opinions. Some netizens found fault with the woman's choice of dress code. One viewer questioned the bride's mother, asking, "Why upstage your daughter????? Shocking."

Andrew LeBlanc and Amanda DeWitt LeBlanc at their wedding on June 1, 2024, in New York City | Source: Instagram Story/A + A

Andrew LeBlanc and Amanda DeWitt LeBlanc at their wedding on June 1, 2024, in New York City | Source: Instagram Story/A + A

Someone else who agreed with the previous person noted, "This is what is known as upstaging...tsk tsk." Another netizen who didn't approve of Lori's choice wrote, "Mom, the center of attention? Very sad." A reader who agreed with the first two commenters added, "She's trying to upstage her daughter."

Adding a laughing while crying emoticon, someone who saw the clip said, "Glad she's not my mother." While there were a lot of negative comments on the matter of Lori's gown, there were an equal number of positive ones.

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Lori DeWitt and Robert Chance DeWitt at their daughter's wedding in a clip uploaded on June 5, 2024 | Source: Instagram/capturedbychloe.co

Lori DeWitt and Robert Chance DeWitt at their daughter's wedding in a clip uploaded on June 5, 2024 | Source: Instagram/capturedbychloe.co

A netizen who added a clapping hands emoticon and a fire one deemed that the MOB had "slayed this." Someone who was a big fan of Lori's look shared, "I think this is fabulous and the daughter looks proud of her beautiful mother!"

Another positive comment came from a reader who wrote, "Mom looks incredible! My mom SHOULD stand out at my wedding! I would prefer if she wore one that’s more than the typical MOB dress—this is stunning."

Amanda DeWitt and Andrew LeBlanc before their wedding on January 2, 2024 | Source: Instagram/amanda_please5

Amanda DeWitt and Andrew LeBlanc before their wedding on January 2, 2024 | Source: Instagram/amanda_please5

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Showing their support for Lori, another person declared, "She was absolutely stunning!" The mother-daughter pair bought their gowns in New York City during a shopping trip. Contrary to the negative comments and criticism, the bride revealed that she approved of her mother's dress, which she described as "perfect."

The Florida podiatrist said she didn't have any issues with her mother's dress choice for the day. She even went as far as saying she loved what Lori wore, adding, "My mom looked absolutely stunning."

Amanda DeWitt and Andrew LeBlanc before their wedding on January 2, 2024 | Source: Instagram/amanda_please5

Amanda DeWitt and Andrew LeBlanc before their wedding on January 2, 2024 | Source: Instagram/amanda_please5

Amanda showed her mother support against those who felt she'd upstaged her at her special event, saying, "It was just as much her day as it was mine." Bright colors were the order of the day. Besides Lori, the groom's mother wore a pink statuesque gown with statement flowers.

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Amanda's mother-in-law (MIL) wore the dress to the black-tie optional affair held on June 1, 2024. The wedding was hosted at Hotel Peter and Paul in New Orleans. The newlywed explained the reason for the bright colors, stating, "We wanted our family members to shine."

Amanda DeWitt and Andrew LeBlanc before their wedding on January 2, 2024 | Source: Instagram/amanda_please5

Amanda DeWitt and Andrew LeBlanc before their wedding on January 2, 2024 | Source: Instagram/amanda_please5

Amanda's mother was surprised by the negative reactions to her look during her daughter's special day. She confessed to one publication that she "didn't realize" that her gown was going to cause a debate and revealed, "But we’re laughing about it."

Amanda DeWitt and Robert Chance DeWitt at their daughter's wedding in a clip uploaded on June 5, 2024 | Source: Instagram/capturedbychloe.co

Amanda DeWitt and Robert Chance DeWitt at their daughter's wedding in a clip uploaded on June 5, 2024 | Source: Instagram/capturedbychloe.co

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The MOB also admitted that she was "the last person" one would expect to go viral on social media. This is because she doesn't even post images on such platforms. The interior designer, whose specialty is college dorm rooms, noted that despite the criticism she's received, her dress is a hit!

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Lori shared that people were on a waitlist for the gown in New York City's Flora on Madison. Amanda's mother explained that the original dress was strapless but she had the neckline changed. The reason for the alteration was that she didn't think it appropriate to wear to attend a Catholic church.

Lori DeWitt at her daughter's wedding in a clip uploaded on June 5, 2024 | Source: Instagram/capturedbychloe.co

Lori DeWitt at her daughter's wedding in a clip uploaded on June 5, 2024 | Source: Instagram/capturedbychloe.co

Showing how she wasn't allowing the negativity to affect her badly, Lori jokingly shared that for her other daughter's wedding, she was going to wear a "burlap sack that says MOB!" Although she seems to be taking the criticism well, she still felt the negative comments were "a little heartbreaking."

Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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