When I was pregnant with the wee ones, my husband and I talked a lot about what we would name our children. I remember making lists of names I liked. And then revising it. And revising it again. My husband made a similar list, and we tried to figure out what names were common between them and then narrow it down from there.
Fortunately, we agreed on a few guidelines before either of the wee ones was even a twinkling in our eyes. Neither of us wanted a name where people would scratch their heads as they tried to pronounce it or ask us how we… came up with it. A way out there name just isn’t our style.
At the same time, neither of us wanted our children to have names that were popping up everywhere. I remember having a Jen A, a Jenni Bi and a Jenny Bo in my class in elementary school. I had no interest in putting my children through that joy, which meant I scoured the (outdated) Social Security most common names list to ensure that the names we chose weren’t too popular.
Then there were other issues.
I loved the name Elizabeth and wanted to name a daughter after my grandmother and call her Betty for short. Unfortunately, there is already an Elizabeth in my husband’s family, so we lost out on that name.
I had a great friend named Kiersten when I was growing up, and I adored her name. It was unique and fun, but not bizarre. That was actually a name in the running for a girl when Mister Man born, but by the time Little Miss was born, it was out of the running for reasons I don’t remember anymore.
And then there are the friends who had babies before I did. They took Danielle, Miriam, Lauren, Madeline, James, Daniel, and more. When you have a friend that you see regularly, it just doesn’t work to use the same name for your own child.
The worst, however, were the good names that were ruined by the people my husband and I dated along the lines. Laurel was a name I favored, but… ex-girlfriend Laurel took that out of the running. And gone went Matthew and Jonathan and Marissa.
We didn’t go with the traditional route of naming our children after relatives. No Esthers or Annas or Marys or Marguerites for us. No Williams or Roberts or Dennises or Patricks either. While we wanted a name that meant something to us, we didn’t want to saddle our children with expectations and memories from previous generations where they would continually be compared to and hear stories about their great aunt Sue.
Our children are unique. Their names are a part of them and help define who they are, and they convey a message to everyone who meets them. It was a long debate and not always the easiest choice – we drove to the hospital still debating Little Miss’s name – but I have to say that I think we did a pretty good job.
This post is inspired by the book “Prayers for the Stolen” by Jennifer Clement as part of the From Left to Write book club where we write posts inspired by the books we read rather than traditional reviews. We receive the book as part of the program, but we are not compensated.