This week’s Saturday Sidebar question is brought to us by World Moms Blog writer, Maggie Ellison. She asked…
How, or why, did you choose your child(ren)’s name(s)?
Read on to see how some of our World Moms came up with names for their child(ren).
Kirsten Doyle of Ontario, Canada writes:
“Both boys were named after their grandfathers, and their middle names were chosen for other family members. My older son’s name honours my father-in-law and my brother. And my younger son was named after my Dad and my husband’s grandmother.”
Jill of Illinois, USA writes:
“My kids all have names that are typically Irish surnames. My husband and I have Irish blood and Ireland is a special place for us. We both loved the idea of choosing meaningful, unique Irish names but it was my husband’s creative mind that came up with each one.”
Polish Mom Photographer of California, USA writes:
“When I first got pregnant it was pretty fast when we knew what sex the baby is going to be – a girl. We both knew that she would be born in America and she would be an American, but we wanted to give her something that would remind her that she is Polish as well. So we chose a Polish name.
The problem begins now when I’m pregnant with our second child. We still do not know the sex. If it’s a boy, my husband wants to name him the same name as he has (he was named after his father who was named after his father). I do not agree (or like) that philosophy of giving names to kids, so we are on opposite sides now… trying to figure out the good solution. If it’s a girl – she’ll have a Polish name. We already have the name picked.”
Ms. V of South Korea writes:
“We named our son after my husband’s grandfather, with his middle name honoring one of my brothers. It was an easy decision. We loved both names and both men.”
ThirdEyeMom of Minnesota, USA writes:
“I always loved the name Max for a boy and am embarrassed to admit that I passed my beloved name along to my parents to name their new puppy years before I had my first child. When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I picked a boy and girl name since we did not know the sex. We both had to go with Max and for a girl we picked Sophia. We ended up using both of these names for our two kids and them picked family names for their middle names. My son is named Max Everett after his grandfather and my daughter is named Sophia Marie as Marie is the shared middle name of four generations (me, my mother, my grandmother and now my daughter).”
Mama B. of Saudi Arabia writes:
“With my three children we chose their names well before they were born and with my three children we didn’t end up sticking to any of the names we chose.
With my first, my husband had a change of heart when he was born. With my daughter the name I picked out for her just honestly didn’t suit her once I had her in my arms. And with my youngest, we decided to name him after his grandfather last minute! He actually had one name the first 2 days of life and we changed it on the third. I still get people who think he still has the first name we picked for him.
So, I’m pregnant now and refuse to choose a name LOL! When he’s born we’ll see. Or maybe we’ll wait ‘til he can speak and give himself a name.”
Mannahattamamma of United Arab Emirates writes:
“My husband’s father is a Parsi (a Zoroastrian, if you can believe it) and in that tradition, children (boys & girls) are given middle names that are their father & grandfather’s names. It’s a nice (but incredibly patriarchal) tradition. So when son #1 was born, 2 months early, we wanted to honor the tradition but change it up a bit, and we wanted to integrate my name in as well. So he has a first name that is a version of my family name, two middle names (one for maternal great-grandmother and one for paternal grandmother), and then his father’s last name.
For pregnancy #2, I had a gazillion names ready, but alas little charlotterubydoraquinnlucy became…Caleb. A name I love but have no history with. He also has middle names for his various grandmothers and his father’s last name. Filling out forms for my four-named children is tough! There are never enough little boxes to type it all in.”
Tatterscoops of Indonesia writes:
“My son’s first name was a last minute decision since I had him through emergency c-section at 35 weeks. We had agreed on his middle name which was taken after an Indonesian legendary writer. His first name however, we just grabbed it out of thin air because we had to fill out the paperwork. Now I can’t think of a better name for him :)”
Dr. Lanham of Arizona, USA writes:
“To honor my grandfather who was very special to me. Also because I birthed the FIRST boys in my family!”
RoxIsBrilliant of Nevada, USA writes:
“My son’s middle name comes from his grandfathers. Both his paternal & maternal grandfathers have the same name – plus, I just REALLY liked it.
His first name was much harder to come up with. His dad and I had gone through dozens of names, but nothing really felt right. Two days after he was born, his dad came to me with the name T—-. It sounded great with the middle name, and it just “felt right.” I can’t even describe it.
I was kind of surprised that I didn’t pick a name that “meant” something specific. I love names, and knowing their meanings. But T’s name doesn’t have a specific meaning that I loved; he just looked like the name fit. And it does. (Except now his initials are T.J. and I’m afraid people will start calling him that. I’m not a fan of initialed nicknames…)”
Kyla P’an of Massachusetts, USA writes:
“My husband’s and my romance was founded on Jazz. Before and once we were married, we went to the Montreal Jazz Fest for several years running and to this day, we try to fill our lives and home with the warm sounds of Jazz. Both our son and daughter are named after two of our favorite Jazz musicians and we think it suits them quite well.”
Hamakkomommy of Japan writes:
“Choosing names for the children was a challenge because we had to use kanji (Chinese characters that give names meaning.) There is a whole system of “fortune telling” based on how your first and last name go together, so some names we really liked we were not able to use because they were bad luck.
I also wanted to choose something the American side of the family could pronounce!”
Multitasking Mumma of Ontario, Canada writes:
“We chose our daughters name because it was unique and something that we didn’t hear often. We also didn’t reveal it until she was born.”
Maman Aya of New York, USA writes:
“When I was first pregnant with both of my children I knew their sex before an ultrasound could ever confirm it, and I knew their first names (probably by the time I was 8 -10 weeks pregnant for both). It’s weird, but they just “came” to me (my husband even asked me when I was pregnant with our daughter “what if it’s a boy?”, “it isn’t” I said 🙂 ).
Interestingly enough, the name I chose for my son was close to his paternal grandfather’s first name as well. Both of my children also have my maternal grandparent’s names as their middle names.”
Courtney Cappallo of Massachusetts, USA writes:
“My older daughter’s name is Sydney. My husband and I just loved the name. We did not know if we were having a boy or girl, but we knew if we had a girl we would name her Sydney. As for my younger daughter, when I was pregnant we watched the movie “Into the Wild”. The character in the movie attended Emory University. I loved the name. We changed the spelling to Emery.”
Mamma Simona of South Africa writes:
“I had a similar experience to Maman Aya. Both my children “came” with names attached! It’s hard to explain but when I was pregnant with my first I just “knew” he was a boy and his name was Kyle!
Both my own and my husband’s families threw fits because we’re originally from Italy and they couldn’t even pronounce the name! Not to mention that it’s definitely NOT a “family” name! I gave him the second name Alexander as my hubby’s name is Alessandro (the Italian version).
With my daughter it was slightly different because I’d always said that I would name my daughter Megan. Again I was sure I was carrying a girl but (at the end of my first trimester) I woke up and announced that “she is not Megan, she is Victoria”! Again, everyone thought I was nuts … “What happened to Megan?” they’d ask. I just had to shake my head and say “her name is Victoria and I can no more change that than change my own name!” To appease the families a bit I added the names Luciana (my gran) and Maria (hubby’s gran) for good measure! The experience with my daughter got me wondering if it’s true then that the soul enters the baby after the first trimester, because it was only then that I felt I was carrying Victoria and not Megan! There’s also a part of me that wonders about the little girl I never had …”
Eva Fannon of Washington State, USA writes:
“With my first, we never found out the gender, but I was pretty certain it was a girl. My husband picked a girl’s name I loved right away, and we kept it. A few months after she was born, someone told me it means “gift from heaven” in Hebrew. Don’t know if that’s true, but she certainly is a gift from heaven. (We did have a list of boy names just in case and I’m glad we didn’t need to use them. I recently looked back on the list and didn’t like any of the names – LOL!)
With my second, we found out it was a girl early on. We each had a list about 10 names long and could not come to an agreement on a name. (My husband even prepared a PowerPoint presentation to try to sell me on one of his choices!) About a week before she was born, we came to a compromise – we squished each of our favorite names together into one. We love it, and couldn’t imagine a better name for her. Many of our family members mumbled about how strange it was, how she would hate us for naming her that when she gets older, how they couldn’t spell it, etc. Oh well 🙂
Both of our children’s names start with the same letter, and like MultitaskingMumma, we didn’t announce the names until they were born.”
Maggie Ellison of South Carolina, USA writes:
“For our son…his first name is not a family name, but one we loved and means “Strong”. He has definitely lived up to his name. His middle name is the middle name of my Dad and brother.
For our daughter, we also didn’t choose a family name, but it was one we loved. It means “shining light”. Her middle name is a combination of our sisters.
Both our kids’ names start with the same letter, which we did on purpose. We have our siblings in both their middle names, yet they have their own first name to make their own. ”
What about you…how did you come up with your child(ren)’s name(s)?
And do you have a question you would like to pose to our WMB writers? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what they have to say.
Don’t forget to visit us tomorrow to check out the travel itinerary for next week!
– World Moms Blog
Photo credit to Eva Fannon.
love these stories! in my college writing courses, I often begin the first class of the term by asking students to “write the story of their name.” The students look puzzled at first and then every single student gets a sort of “aha” moment and begins to write furiously. The stories that come out are amazing and wonderful (and it’s a great way to get the kids to remember one another’s names from class to class).
That’s a fun writing assignment – love that idea!
We adopted our daughter when she was one and wanted to keep the name she was given at birth. We struggled with this, however, because the name, although beautiful, was long and very difficult for North Americans to pronounce and spell (some relatives to this day cannot get it right). We were torn between preserving something that was uniquely hers and our concern that it would become a burden for her, especially during her school years. In the end we compromised and kept her birth name as her middle name and gave her a first name that we both loved and truly suits her personality. We use variations of her middle/birth name as nicknames as a way to keep that part of her very much alive and present.
That sounds like a great resolution kazfam! Funny thing – I have a few friends who actually go by their middle names instead of their first names.
Thanks for sharing!
Kazfam – we did the exact same thing! We gave both our daughters an English name and kept their Chinese name as a middle name. I felt the connection to their past was just too important to give up.
Love it – that’s great! Thanks for stopping by 4badmommies.
Great stories! When I got pregnant the first time we were sure it was a girl. Since both my husband and I love the sea and the water, we chose a name that means “lady of the waters” in the language of one of the Brazilian native peoples. However, it was a boy, so we ended up choosing a similar name (in phonetic terms), which in Russian means “he who tends the earth”. Yet we somehow knew that we would have a baby girl and kept her name for the future. Coincidence or not, our daughter was born 6 1/2 years after our son, in the water, and is a pisces 🙂
We looked for names that were in both of our genealogies (mine is Norwegian, his is English and French). It was fun doing the research but we ended up with only one cross-over name: Simon (our second). Our oldest son, Sevrin, was from my side (we dropped the middle “e” from Severin to make it easier for Americans, but it hasn’t mattered much). “Eliza” came straight from the Puritan ancestors who came on the ship after the Mayflower.
P.S. @ Maggie: “Sevrin” also means “strong or powerful”. He’s 12 now and almost as tall as me but definitely stronger!
We were looking for a name that sounded the same in both Norwegian and English!