What’s in a Baby Name?

Choosing a Baby Name

Naming a child is hard. So hard, and so much responsibility. It is one of those decisions that can leave you with regret, guilt, or even make your child wonder wtf you were on when you chose their name. Which could cause them to promptly change it when they come of age. Sometimes you may want a classic name, a biblical name, or a traditional family name. Maybe you want something unique, but not too unique that people with think the child and family are weird. Maybe you should play with the spelling, or maybe not since that annoys a lot of people and can leave the child having to spell out their name for everyone for the rest of their life. Anytime someone asks me my name I reply with Sara no H. I have become accustomed to seeing the H as most people assume it is there. If you personally know a Sara no H, then you know it is best to ask. I silently rejoiced when the Starbucks Barista spelled my name correctly without even asking once. I took a picture and put it on Facebook.

There are so many considerations that go into naming children. When I was pregnant with my first, my husband and I had absolutely no idea what we were going to call the baby. Not even a starting off point. It probably didn’t help that we didn’t know what the gender was so we had to come up with a name for each sex. Talk about high pressure. It was 2004 and the internet was prevalent but nothing like it was today. There are so many websites you can use to help you decide names today. Heck they even have sites like Nymbler where you can input the names of your other children and it will present you with names that go well with them. If themes or matching kids names is your thing, like the Duggar’s with their J names.

My husband and I made a promise that each one of us would  go through at least one name list a day when we had time. We would compile our preferences and then present them to one another at the end of the week. My husband sucked at it. To this day, I don’t know if it was deliberate or if he really thought they were good name choices. The two that stick in my mind and that got him kicked off the naming committee were Lakota and Nefertiti. I really don’t know what websites he was looking at.

Another problem that we ran into when choosing baby names was my husbands last name. When combined with floral names it seemed more like and occupation than a name. So no Rose, Violet, Posy, or Marigolds for us. Did I also mention that my husband would have bet his life that the baby was going to be a boy? This, combined with the due date which was almost on his birthday had him assuming that we would just name the baby after him. Problem solved in his eyes. That was not happening, and I think I held her in just to spite him. Yes, he turned out to be a she, and she was born 5 days after his birthday. Her own person on her own day and she needed her own name. She was not going to be a Thomasina.

During my last trimester I found an online forum for women who were due when I was. It was a forum to vent, ask questions, and share experiences with woman who knew exactly what you were going through. Many of these women formed close friendships. I didn’t find my mom group niche until I had my second. But I did meet a woman on there who would share stories of her mom. An older, feisty Scottish woman with a name that became “the one” the first time I heard it. So we had a Roo*.

It was a little easier with my second child. The resources were more abundant. I had my mom group where we would toss ideas around and post name polls. Maybe I was just a little more relaxed this time and knew with time we would find the right name. The inspiration came when I was in third trimester again. We had just found out it was a girl due to her being breech and needing extra ultrasounds to determine her position. One afternoon after an appointment I decided to pull down an old box of dvd’s and purge them. I am certain I was nesting and probably would have left them stored away normally, but I am glad I didn’t. I came across one that I hadn’t seen before and decided I would watch it. The Divorce of Lady X was the movie, starring Merle Oberon. I thought she was the most breathtaking woman I had ever seen and she kind of haunted me. Those weird pregnancy dreams women get, mine seemed to star Merle Oberon regularly. She was my dream friend. So daughter number two became Merle.

It’s easy to get swayed or pressured into names that you don’t love which is why I tried to keep mine on the down low as much as possible. It is a blow to the gut when you excitedly reveal your chosen name and you catch a quickly masked look of distaste. Names or inspiration can come from the weirdest places ranging from feisty Scottish women, to old dusty movies you decide to look through for no reason. You just have to pay attention.

*If I would have know that Golden Girls (which I have always loved) would have become such a revived sensation I may have chosen the Blanche Devereaux spelling of the name Rue instead.


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