It should have been easy. All the typical hurdles of naming a person didn’t really apply to me. One of the perks of being a soon-to-be single mom is that there’s no one to argue with over name choices. Also, the list of people I hate or really dislike is so small it wasn’t really like I had any names I really needed to avoid lest they bring up uncomfortable memories later on. (I did briefly worry because my first choice for a “boy” name was the same as the middle name of one of my ex’s, but ultimately decided it didn’t really matter because I loved the name and worst case scenario said-ex might one day hear of my child’s name and assume I had chosen it because of him and at the very least I’d get a good laugh out of that.)
Additionally, and probably the main reason I assumed it would be easy, is that I’ve always been a bit of a name nut. I love names. I have always kept lists of names I love, and I enjoy spending time looking up the meanings and origins for various names. As someone who has written stories her entire life, I’ve always really enjoyed naming characters. I quite arrogantly assumed that when it came time to name my future child, it would be a breeze.
As it turned out, I was half right. As I mentioned, I knew what I wanted to name “him” if he was a boy, and that name popped into my head with barely any thought.
But a name option for if I were to have a girl eluded me through almost my entire pregnancy. When I say eluded, I don’t just mean it was a little difficult, I mean I was having damn near daily temper tantrums, sobbing on the floor hysterically, because I HATED Every. Single. Name.
Even names I had once loved. Even names I love now.
Blame it on hormones. Blame it on the crushing weight of the overwhelming responsibility of having to name a HUMAN BEING. Whatever the reason, I just could not figure out how to choose a name.
What made it even worse – in a way – is I knew I was having a girl. Not “knew” as in confirmed by an ultrasound but KNEW in that way that pregnant women just sometimes know things about the tiny, future human being they are temporarily sharing a body with.
So I knew I was having a girl and I had no idea what to name her.
Then one day I was at the grocery store, in line to pay for my groceries, and I saw a baby name book I hadn’t read before (I had read a lot of them at that point) and just because clearly I was in the mood to cry in the grocery store, I picked it up. I flipped through a couple pages and then there it was:
Of course – for me, just because I’m a weirdo – it couldn’t be her name until she was born (I needed to meet her face to face first) but it felt right.
And it was the ONLY name that didn’t make me cry, so there’s that.
Once she was born, the name was clearly a perfect fit. Have you ever met someone and just had an idea of what their name should be? That’s how I felt when I met her.
Naming humans can be hard. It’s a ton of responsibility and pressure and if you start adding in factors like other people’s opinions that makes it even harder. I personally believe in keeping baby names at least mostly private until the baby is born and officially named. I read a comment somewhere once that basically said that most people find it a lot harder to insult a name once it’s already attached to a living, breathing person and I think there is a lot of truth to that. Once the baby is born and that name belongs to them, (most) people are far more likely to be tactful when discussing their name.
This article from the website The Tot has some really great tips for choosing a baby name, including some I definitely didn’t consider that may have made the whole process much easier.
Now that I am no longer pregnant, I love a lot of names again. I haven’t found any that make me cry and I still don’t hate very many people. And I still love my daughter’s name.
If you had any similar awful experiences naming your children, I’d love to hear about them. If only to soothe my own wounded ego. It’s been 13 years and I’m clearly still not over it. Or leave me a comment and let me know your favourite names or if you regret what you named your kids.