Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Choosing a Baby Name - Conventional or Unusual?

I was never meant to be called Ann. My mother had chosen the name Rachel but changed her mind when a friend insisted that she could not possibly call her newborn 'Rachel' - it was 'far too Welsh!' So she opted for Ann without an e, a very English name. I used to consider it rather old fashioned but I liked the meaning - 'graceful'. I used to think this meant 'elegant' but in another baby names book, I found it was better translated as 'full of grace' or 'God has favoured me'.

Perhaps it was this story that made me adamant to have definite names picked out for each of my children, well in advance and not to be swayed by the opinions of others. My husband and I always came to a swift agreement, found names we both liked and never had to debate names - until now! With four weeks to go until the arrival of our seventh baby, we have two names chosen - one is conventional and it was one I had suggested - it is a Biblical name and has family connections. It is a name I have always liked and was always on my list of desirable names.

And as for the other name - my husband heard a name, a most unusual name and declared that he liked it and guess what? I liked it too, in fact I loved it. I looked it up in my baby names book which has 75,000 choices for names - it wasn't there. Looked in my other book - no, there was no mention of this name. I had to google it and I did find it and it had a lovely meaning. I had been ready to reject it if the meaning was not to our liking.

So here is my dilemma - do I go with the familiar, conventional name that everybody has heard of or do I choose a name that most people will be unfamiliar with? It is not difficult to pronounce or spell. It is not a 'whacked out' name that only Hollywood celebrities would choose but it is different. I can guarantee that there will be no other children in the Sunday school class who have this name - probably very few in Australia actually!

And I quite like that - there are so many lovely names and as a Christian family we do like to choose names that have a Biblical connection or are derived from the Hebrew or Greek but as is the case with so many Bible characters, it is highly likely that there will be many Joshuas, Calebs, Daniels, lots of Sarahs and even quite a few Noahs around these days ! I like all of these names by the way - some are classics that have been popular for many years and will continue to be used for future generations, others fall out of favour and you can sometimes guess the decade a person was born in, simply by their name!

I love the names of my children - they were carefully chosen. I not only look up the meaning but if they are a Bible character I use a concordance and look up all the references to that person. I was particularly impressed with the attributes of the men of God that my boys are named after and this influenced our decision to give our boys their names.

My girls have names that I find beautiful and many people comment on their names, especially the names we chose for our twins which are a little more unusual.

Another factor which influences me is popularity and association. There are certain names which become associated with personalities, celebrities, cartoon characters or trademarks. For example, say the name Calvin and most people would think of a certain fashion designer. It also means 'bald one'! Apologies to any one reading this who chose this name for their son - it is actually quite a nice name! I also once considered Brittany for one of my daughters - I think it is such a pretty name and close to my husbands name of Brett but I could not help but think of Brittany Spears and so it was crossed off the list - I wonder if names lose their popularity as a result of poor celebrity behaviour? Did you cross 'Paris' off your list of girl's names even though you liked it?

So here I am, still torn between two names but leaning towards the more unusual one especially when I heard our conventional name on 'RSPCA Animal Rescue' the other night ( no, it was not Rover!) but as I remarked to my husband 'People call their dogs by this name, another reason to go with the unsual name.' But opting for the unusual name presents a second dilemma, we now have to find a second name that goes well with this first name and sounds right with our surname! Surnames can sometimes pose a problem. My headmaster at school was a 'Mr Duckworth' - guess what his first name was? Yes, it was 'Donald' - the kids used to have a field day and made quacking noises as he passed by! Poor man!

My mother chose just one name for me - I am Ann, plain and simple - I have no middle name and sometimes that causes problems when filling in forms which ask for 'full' name. I saw these gorgeous vintage style, paper dress up dolls in a gift shop the other day with old fashioned names - if you wanted to buy one for your son or daughter you would have been disappointed, the name choices were limited but there on display in the window was 'Ann'. I could not resist - I had to buy 'Ann'. Funnily enough, I used to have blond curls just like these as a child!

She also came with a selection of outfits, specifically designed for her! And she was Ann without an e! Yes, that's me, without an 'e'!

I know we should not be concerned with what others think about the names we choose for our children, after all we are the parents and is our privilege to do this - to name the children that God blesses us with and so we will prayerfully consider the names that are on our hearts, state with confidence the name we decide upon when our baby enters the world and the midwife declares 'It's a boy/girl and then asks 'Name?' her pen poised to write it on the little ankle band. Can't you tell I'm now more than a little excited about welcoming our new baby. Just one question regarding the name - conventional or unusual?

With Love and Joy,


Farming On Faith said...

Dear Sweet Ann~
I say go with the unusual different name. I think you like it best. My woman instinct tells me so! I know which ever name you chose will be perfect for your new little one. I will be praying for you as you get closer to your due date!

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Wait and see what Bub Looks like.
I truly believe they "Look " Like a certain name.....
I know everone says they 'Grow" to their names but whilst tossing up three boys names...Once My Son was born one of the three just "Suited" him.
I have one conventional but not so often herard and two different..One quite different!
Email me ann if you want me to share the names of my three punks with you....
But Only if you email me your kiddos names too!!! "heehe"
I have a real obsession with names and should in fact go on and have at least three more kids to "Use" up the great names I still have stored away!

Niki said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fruitful Harvest said...

Hi Ann~
I know names can be hard to decide~
We have a Jarett Carl, Jacob Nathaniel,
Nichloas Andrew, Noah Efton, Jacqueline Rose and Olivia Grace...when we have more kiddos...(I will be testing in a week) I pray its yes! But for the past 3 months its been NO :( but all in GODS time~
For a girl next time it will be Sarah for the first name...not sure of a middle name.
For a boys name we have no real idea...I like Josiah Thomas....but hubby said no!
When Olivia was born 2yrs ago we only had a girls luck it was a girl!
I was in hard labor and we were still trying to figure out a boy name!

Blessings for a safe and healthy delivery~

Warmly your blog friend,

Avalon said...

Hi! Ann, often read your blog. Here we have a Shaelynn Grace and Conor Michael, both celtic/Irish in origin. I wish you both well with the birth of your new baby,x.

Chris said...

I don't see the dishonour in choosing either a traditional or unusual name. A parent's perrogative has always been to name their children, regardless of who likes the sound of it or not.

It's taken me years to like my name for example. It's just plain old Christine and my middle name even more English. Think the queens' sister, LOL. I hated that I was called that. I wanted to be Anastasia or Guendolen.

Thankfully I didn't get my way because those names just don't suit me now. My needs are plain and simple, so my name is perfect.

Anyway, go with your heart because it could be the last opportunity you get to name a child. I said "could" be though, LOL.

My wishes for a safe delivery. :)

Jen said...

So glad that you are getting to the final days of this pregnancy. I am enjoying my little baby who is now 17months old. Wow, they just grow so fast and so sweet to hug.

With regards to naming I agree with the comment of wait until they are born. I have had 2 names picked out for mine and switched at the last minute once bub was out.

I am like you, just plain Jennifer, no middle name, but my dh has 2 middle names. Our surname is a first name also so we were "mean" and chose first names for our boys that are surnames also, along the theme of musicians. Then their second names were our second choice names (or the switched first) and the third name is a biblical name, usually single syllable. I tell you, after 4 boys I am just out of names I still like. lol

The fun bit is filling in government forms. With all the boys and dh i have to remember 15 first names. I don't know how you do it, but I have trouble then remembering all the birthdates too. I will quite often ask the older ones for help.

Good luck with bubs, hope there is no heavy rain when bub comes in your area.

Best wishes
Jen in NSW

Renata said...

Names are always a dilemma of some sorts, but we generally didn't have too many troubles, however with Ellie we had chosen her proper name or Bianca & we didn't truely decide until we were in the OT - just before she was born.
I have an unusual name for an Australian, but I like that. My parents chose that as Mum's name is Jenny & there were always many other Jenny's around - she wanted each of her children to have unusual names. Our children also have unusual names (although Eli's name is a bit more common these days). I'm sure you will decide on just the right name for your bub!
Renata :)

Gae said...

What a joy it was for me to find another Australian Mummy. I must ask if you wish to reveal all, Are you in that beautiful town of Eden? We loved it when we visited.
On names we have a daughter Eden and ALWAYS choose Unusual names, although it becomes harder the more children we have. We have 11.
We always choose one we haven't heard before as well as some other list items.
Go for what your heart tells you on this one.
I will be looking forward to visitng again soon.
Perhaps you may like to see what our childrens's names are. They also have unusual middle names too.


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