Posted by: Hannah | 07/22/2011

what’s in a name?

One of the most fun / most frustrating parts of being pregnant is The Choosing of the Name. Hubby and I are very opinionated people, and many of our name discussions go like this:

me: What about X?

him: Veto. I hate it. How about Y?

me: Are you kidding? I knew someone / have a distant relative named Y. They landed in prison / smelled bad / had poor taste in clothes / used to tease me. Veto.

him: We can’t eliminate every name on earth just because you know someone who had it!

me: Watch me.

Repeat every couple of weeks for nine months. The End.

We both think that the meaning of the name is important. We have been known to turf perfectly acceptable names because the meaning doesn’t grab us. We also prefer to stick to names that belong to our own cultural & ethnic traditions (so, Scottish names are good, Irish names aren’t). They must be simple to spell, easy to pronounce, and sound good when three-name yelled off the back doorstep five years from now when the little darling is hanging upside down from the swingset bar. (We actually do a test yell of first name-middle name-last name before we make any final decisions).

With pregnancy # 1, we had a girl’s name and a boy’s name picked. With pregnancy # 2, hubby assumed we would just re-use the girl’s name. Nope. I couldn’t do it. That name felt like it already belonged to someone, a little girl who was born in a parallel universe or something. I know it’s irrational. But there it is.

So now here we are, pregnancy # 3. We have two girls’ names we’ve never used. Hubby is really attached to the name we’d selected last time. I have to admit I’m hard-pressed to find a name I like better, but there is another totally ridiculous reason why I’m hesitant (once the baby is born, I’ll tell the story and you can all have a good laugh at my expense).




  1. Here are the girls’ names that I never used that I wanted to: Elaina and Anneliese. I loved those names! Our naming conversations went much like that except my husband had no ideas at all and would simply veto certain names that I came up with. I love, love, LOVE the name Michael. My husband refused because “all Michaels are assholes.” WHAT?

  2. your naming process sounds rather like ours! i was actually really quite convinced Posey would be a boy and finally had a boy name i was absolutely certain about. go figger. the girl’s names that would have been easy in either of the previous pregnancy were much harder in that one. 🙂

    so are we going to be privy to any of the options on the list?

  3. “All Michaels are assholes” – HAH! There are an awful lot of kids born in the 70s who are assholes, then.

    As to sharing the names, I’m terribly superstitious about that. I can tell you we have eliminated “Kieran” (too Irish!) for a boy. Had Thing # 1 been a girl, he’d have been “Rowan Katherine”. But my niece’s middle name is Katherine, so that’s off the table, and “Rowan” now belongs to the girl-that-wasn’t.

    Once the baby is born and has been safely named, I’ll share the other ones that didn’t win.

    Side note: My first initial is “H”, Thing # 1’s is “I”, and Thing # 2’s is “J”. This was an accident, but we toyed with sticking with a theme and going with a name starting with “K” (that’s where Kieran came from). But we couldn’t find any that sounded right with our last name, so blergh, back to the drawing board.

  4. Ooh. I love naming discussions. Or arguments. Whatev. 😛

  5. Everyone is talking about names this week, it seems. Don’t Mind The Mess @ just did it, too.

    PH and I picked out a boy’s name and a girl name before we were married. That girl exists somewhere in our imagination and if she comes, she’ll get the name, regardless of order of arrival. However, if we have another boy we are screwed, because we can’t agree on another boy name.

  6. I wanted “Sarah” or “Emma” should our first be a girl. (As she was.) He wanted “Jennifer”. I was shocked: his sister had already chosen that name for her not-yet-but-almost-conceived second child. Scoop the name because our baby would be born a few months before theirs? How RUDE is that? But he was insistent — who cares if cousins have the same name? — and I was too meek, and so Jennifer it was.

    And then…

    She was born. They handed my brand-new baby girl to me, and as I lay gazing into her grey-blue eyes, the midwife asked, “What’s her name?”

    I looked up, and with the euphoria born of all those endorphins and joy, I said,

    “SARAH! Her name is Sarah!”

    And so it is.


  7. We had a similar problem with vetoing each other’s choices. So instead of presenting them one-by-one and getting knocked back, we each started a list of names we liked (we didn’t have to be in love with them, just like them) – we would also indicate whether it was a preference for a first or a middle name. After collecting names for months we then put all the names (there were about 60 all up, I think, for each sex) into a spreadsheet (including meaning and origin) and each of us had a copy to read through as much / little we wanted for about a week. Then we sat down and eliminated together.

    It was interesting that names that got vetoed out of the blocks with the first method sometimes made it through the elimination / preference process with the second method. Anyway, we made short lists of favourite first and second names and then took another few days to think over those lists. In the end we both came to the same top two favourite choices for each – both of us being happy with both. So it was almost ‘flip a coin’ type thing. With our second we were so torn that we ended up asking a couple of close friends their impressions of the two names to have an idea of how they were perceived by others, and that helped us make our final decision.

  8. My husband had absolutely no interest in picking a name for the kids. So most of the time our conversations were something like: Me: But don’t you like it? You have to have an opinion!? Right? Right?

    I like the name Eden for a girl. My sister is having a baby (due last week) and I offered her that name which she refused. I now give you Eden as a possibility.

  9. …Mary, for what it’s worth, i FAR prefer Sarah to Jennifer. 🙂

  10. […] the whole thing out on Twitter. But it has to be a big decision. Like buying a house, or what to name the baby. This client, she does it for EVERYTHING. For one whole week at drop off every morning she’d […]

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