"Not a Place of Evil" - Pregnant Mom Who Went In Search for Baby's Name in Cemetery Defends Herself After Video Goes Viral

couple finds baby names in cemetary

Good things are often found in the last place you'd think to look.

As her due date nears, Haley Hodge has expanded her search for baby names beyond books and websites. Instead, the mom of three - and soon-to-be four -  is checking out headstones at local cemeteries for inspiration from late lives and bygone eras.

Hodge documented her unlikely quest for her daughter's name in a now-viral TikTok video that sparked split opinions amongst its 2.5 million viewers. In the clip, the expecting mom can be seen stepping around graves at the Old Smithville Burying Ground in Southport, North Carolina.

As she explored the cemetery, Hodge discussed the names of those buried beneath with her husband, Rivers, and their kids who came along.

"When cemeteries hold the prettiest baby names, so you take the family to look for baby girl's name," the content creator wrote alongside her video.

Many people appreciated Hodge's creativity and shared their appreciation for names that celebrate late lives.

couple finds baby names in cemetary

"This is the first ever video I've seen like this, never would have thought about it," one person commented. "But I absolutely love this idea!!! Especially if you research the person."

"This is honestly beautiful. What a way to honor those that have passed," another TikTok user said.

Others were unnerved by the spooky sentiment, and several comments referenced superstitions warning against pregnant women visiting cemeteries. Hodge tells PEOPLE she expected some backlash based on differing cultural regards for death, but she has never felt uncomfortable at burial sites.

couple finds baby names in cemetary

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

Plus, she's not particularly haunted by the idea of spending time near the deceased.

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

Growing up, Hodge recalls that her own mom liked to stop at cemeteries while on vacation to teach her family about new areas from a historic point of view.

couple finds baby names in cemetary

"She just realized we'd be more into it if it was a spooky story versus just a regular historic story as kids," Hodge explains of her mother's tradition. "It's kind of like kids telling scary stories at a bonfire. You're just more interested in it."

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

couple finds baby names in cemetary

Similarly, Hodge decided to record the family's cemetery adventure so she could share it with her future kid one day.

"I wasn't even going to post [the videos]," she explains, though the pregnant mom eventually decided to upload her naming process for the world to appreciate. "I was like, "You know what? This is kind of cool to share' ... I knew it was going to spark some attention, being different."


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