I have been a name nerd since I was 14 years old and every name nerd knows that having a baby girl to name is basically the ultimate dream for us, especially if given free reign. That's exactly what I have been presented with (to an extent - I really did take his opinion into account, I don't want HIM to regret what we choose, either) and I thought I would share my personal thought's and struggles with what we all dream of.
Firstly - I have a husband and we do NOT share similar tastes in names. For privacy reasons, I will keep my step-children's names to myself - I do not dislike them, but they are far from my own style. He has known since very early in our relationship that I have a love for names. He has seen my incredible (incredibly embarrassing?) collection of name books, notebooks, journals, online bookmarks and musings about names. This being the case, he has insisted from the beginning that *I* choose the name since he has already had his turn and it was obviously something very important to me.
Secondly - I have been in a name rut for a long time, close to a year. Nothing looks new or shiny or pretty to me. Everything felt dull and lifeless and the thought of choosing a name that I loved and was excited over seemed daunting and not nearly as fun as it should have been.
We had drawn up a "list" over the course of a year before I had even gotten that positive test. Cordelia, Penelope, Evangeline and Vivienne is what our list basically consisted of - middle names were basically set in stone. (Elspeth Johanna - after a very wonderful woman who is no longer with us and my two beloved sisters).Our boy's name had pretty much been set from day one - Dominic Henry Josiah (or possibly Dominic Henry Elijah, I hadn't officially chosen the second middle name). Dominic (as silly as this may seem to others) is from the Fast and The Furious movies - I am very well aware of how awful the movies are - but it's something my husband and I share and bonded over early in our relationship. We are both "car people", we enjoy looking, talking and dreaming about cars we would one day love to have and both had a secret love for the Fast and Furious movies and Dominic is a name I have always loved - the nickname Nico is so endearing and sweet it was an easy choice for us. Henry is after my grandfather on my mother's side.
Aside from that decision (which took almost no discussion), no names were discussed until after 23 weeks. My husband does not believe that discussing names before knowing the sex is helpful, so it's something he really stuck to. Due to scheduling, I did not get a gender scan until 23 weeks - when we found out our baby is a girl. We were both extremely excited - he desperately wanted another little girl and I already had a son, so this was great news - until name discussion did finally come up.
Penelope and Vivienne were both knocked off of the list rather quickly. As we all know, Penelope has been quickly gaining speed and my intuition was correct when the latest list was released - Penelope has entered the top 100. My son has a popular name and I did not want to go down that road again. Vivienne seemed to be popping up everywhere as well and it was not at the top of my list anyway.
That left us with Evangeline and Cordelia from the original list and I "decided" on Cordelia. I told my mother, my sisters and my name-nerd friends. This stuck for a good 3 months until I hit about 33 weeks and I started getting cold feet. What is wrong with Cordelia? It's long, feminine, beautiful,has literary connections and nicknames galore - all of which are basic requirements for me when choosing a name. I couldn't put my finger on what felt wrong until I started saying the name out loud - I didn't actually love the sound. I know that sounds crazy, but I don't actually SAY names out loud very often and our name discussions had been short and to the point - I only ever said the name out loud a handful of times. The more I said it, the more I realized that "deal" sound in it bugged me and I couldn't stand it after a while!
That's when panic set in and I decided to "start over" (with less than 2 months to go at this point). I went through many lists suggested to me by fellow name-nerds, I wrote lists, revised them and presented them to my husband. Each time the list would come back full of veto's. Admittedly, from a non-name-nerd standpoint, the names I was bringing back DO seem quite out there and I admit to forgetting that the majority of the people in her life WON'T love language and have the background to be able to pronounce or spell things like Nimue. "You shouldn't need a dictionary or a degree in linguistics to be able to spell and pronounce a child's name" said my husband.
And now that I have stopped and considered everything, he DOES have a point. As much as *I* love Greek myth and literature, most people will have zero idea where her name comes from and it's doing a disservice to her to saddle her with a choice that is so unknown and unfamiliar in our language that she will be forever having to explain herself and her name. I am NOT saying that you should not get creative or not use a name simply because it has potential to be mispronounced or misspelled - it's just not something that *I*, personally, want to deal with. I put a higher priority on other aspects of names, obscurity is nice but certainly not required. After several weeks of "lists" containing everything from the aforementioned Nimue to oddballs like Belphoebe and Talitha- we eventually came back to Evangeline.
I guess I couldn't see it before, but it IS the perfect name for us. It's long, feminine, has lovely nicknames (my husband particularly loves Evie (ee-vee) as a nickname) isn't overly popular but is not obscure to the point where people haven't heard of it or won't be able to spell it. It's a name that will last her through adulthood and give her a professional name to put on her resume while still maintaining the ability to have cute nicknames. I am positive the reason I choose Cordelia over Evangeline in the beginning was the popularity. Cordelia has never been in the top 500 in the US and has not been seen in the top 1000 for YEARS, it's extremely rare. Evangeline is barely over the top 300. I preach to people all the time that popularity should not be a deterrent and you should use a name you love no matter where it sit's on the social security list - yet, when it came to my own child, it was literally going to be the deciding factor! Hypocrite? Probably.
The social security list for 2012 came out earlier this week and that is when this realization hit me. Evangeline DROPPED in popularity (only a tiny bit) and I guess that gave me the confidence to say that I really wanted to use it and skip Cordelia. Now, I cannot promise you that I will not come back in here and announce the birth of our baby with a completely different name, but I feel pretty confident about my choice at the moment.
Has being a name-nerd hindered my ability to name my own child? Yes, I really believe it has. I feel like I have seen and heard everything and that the pressure coming from my peers to choose something stunning and rare was pretty overwhelming.
Has anyone else had a similar situation? Please share your naming stories with me, I would love to hear them!