I was one of those people that began thinking about my baby names as soon as I could name my dolls. When I was a little girl I was sure that my future daughter was going to be Natasha! As I got older I went through phases, but a few things have always stayed the same- the most important being that I didn't want to name my kids any names that were trendy or very popular. Also, I like unisex names for girls, but not for boys and I think a middle name should be what it is- a middle name, and not what you call your child. (just my personal preference) In middle and high school my favorite names were Jocelyn, Kayla, Grace, Savannah, and Vivien (yes, that's now my dog's name). But then I outgrew some of them and the others become too nom de jour.
During my government/politico days, I was unequivocally naming my two daughters (I was only ever going to have daughters, ha!) Reagan and Madison after my two favorite presidents. This was before Madison became the most popular name in the world. When I realized how many people had started naming their kids that, I reluctantly decided I couldn't use the name. I never put too much thought into boys names because, like I said, I was only going to have girls- and even if I did, I figured I'd let my husband do that naming since I'd done all the rest. haha.
And then I found myself to be pregnant.
When I realized that I would actually be the one responsible for naming my child- it was no longer just "in theory," I was kind of overwhelmed. I mean, this would be one of the only things that would stay with them for their entire life. The wrong name and you end bearing the brunt of many a playground taunt. One of my best friends growing up hated her middle name. And when I say hate, I mean loathe and despise to the point that her mom even thought about having it legally changed. She wouldn't tell me what is was for years and when she finally did, after being sworn to secrecy, I couldn't believe that was the name she hated so much. To me, it was lovely, but to my friend, it was the worst name her mother ever could have bestowed upon her. I'm sure her mom never thought that when she gave her daughter the-worst-middle-name-that-ever-was, that one day she'd dislike it so vehemently. This was the story that kept replaying through my mind as I thought about the life long responsibility of naming my child.
I had never been particularly inspired to use family names when I used to think about the monikers for my future kids. I think it was probably because my name is Katherine Elizabeth, which comes directly from my both of my grandmothers. From the very beginning they decided to call me Katie, which was the name of my great-grandmother. When I was younger it used to bug me that there was nothing original about my name- it was just a copy. But when I found out I was going to have a baby, that I was going to be a mother- all of a sudden it seemed monumentally important to me- I wanted the name to have a connection to our family history. Unfortunately, I wasn't all that fond of any of the female names in my immediate family.
And then I found out that baby wasn't an "it" it was a "she!" I did a lot of reading and family history research and I came up with two names: Mayson Elizabeth and Spencer Kathryn. I didn't tell anyone what my choices were except for my mom and my bestie, Sara. It's always been my experience that when you tell someone the name of your unborn child that they're more willing to criticize the name. When I was still in the narrowing down process, I made the mistake of telling some people close to me what my top choices were. I didn't think that they'd tell me if they didn't like the names... but they did. And then I could never think of them again without remembering their criticism; effectively ruining any chance that they would become my daughter's name. Hence why I chose to keep my final two choices to myself. A lot people didn't like this and I was constantly being asked about her name, but I stuck my guns and I'm glad that I did.
When my daughter was born I still hadn't made up my mind and I thought that I needed to see which name suited her best. Since we had an extra long stay in the hospital, I had a few more days than normal to make my decision. I had a really hard time finally deciding because I wanted to give her name that was both unique to her, but also connected to our family.
After three days of being "Baby Girl White," she was now Spencer Elizabeth White. Spencer was my maternal-maternal great-great-grandmother's name and Elizabeth was my Mema's middle name as well my middle name. Her initials SEW, obviously spell out sew, and my Mema was the one who taught me to sew, knit, and crochet. When I was laying there trying to figure out what to do, I kept thinking that this might be the only child I ever have and I want her to share the name Elizabeth with us. But I'd started thinking that "Mayson" might be too trendy, which was why I switched the names around. To me, her name was the perfect way to give my daughter a link to my beloved Mema who had just recently passed away.
These days I don't think too much about baby names too often. Mostly because every time I fall in love with a name it becomes super popular. But I do have a few that I know I'll use if I ever get married and have another child. WARNING: Don't Steal My Names or Else! (just kidding.. but...) If I have a boy his name will be Anderson and call him Andy. I know Anderson is a little trendy, but I don't care- Anderson is my mom's maiden name and everyone called my Papa "Andy" for short. Other names I currently like are Finley, Pryce, Marlowe, Ellery, Beckett, and Bennett.
Everything I've learned about naming a baby has led me to one conclusion: a name is important, but it's not everything. Like Juliet once said: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
** Please pray for my best friend's brother and his wife tonight. He is the son of my pastor and more like a member of my family. His wife was admitted to the hospital on Saturday with pre-eclampsia and is currently 25 weeks pregnant. They were hoping that they'd be able to keep from delivering their son for at least another month, but the way things are looking, they're hoping for just another week now.. You can visit their CaringBridge site