A lot of people have been asking me recently how we chose names for our children, and what factors will go into choosing the name for our newest addition, so I thought it might be fun to blog about it! Truthfully, I have always found the naming process really stressful. I know it should be fun, but I feel like choosing the right name is so important and so I feel that burden of responsibility.
I’ve never been hung up on selecting names that actually have deep significant meaning, although I do always check what the historic meanings of the names are. However, I do care about family ties to names, traditions, and also any special meaning I connect to a name personally.
It’s fair to say that I’ve also always been a fan of classic names – I like trendy names, but have never been drawn to them for my own children. I wanted my children to have names that would stand the test of time. As teachers, Jeff and I also have the added struggle of associating certain names with certain students… which can be good and bad! So that is something that often plays into how we feel about names.
After we named our first child, it was important to me that our other children had names that had a similar feel. I know this isn’t important to everyone, but for me, I wanted all of my kids to have names that flowed together.
Additionally, because we have always waited until the delivery to find out the gender of our babies, with each pregnancy we have had to decide on two names – one for a girl, and one for a boy, to ensure our bases are all covered! However, we have almost never gone back to the names we had selected for previous babies, as we typically find ourselves drawn to something new or different with each pregnancy, although I still think the similar vibe of the names we’ve chosen for each child is evident.
Continue reading if you’re interested in how we named each of our kids and what their names mean to us!
Isla Deanne –
When I was pregnant with Isla, in 2011, I was really drawn to simple and classic names, like Emma and Ava. However, I had several friends who had babies around the same time who used these names, so I wanted something that had a similar feel, but was still different. I first heard the name “Isla” from the movie actress, Isla Fisher. I remember actually googling how to pronounce the name to make sure I was pronouncing it correctly – thankfully, I loved the pronunciation (Eye-La), and so we decided to go ahead with that for the first name. “Isla” is traditionally a Scottish name meaning “island”, although this didn’t really play a role in our choosing of the name. When we chose the name, it was still very uncommon, and a lot of people commented on how unique it was – despite the fact that it’s in fact a very old name! However, within a couple of years of our Isla being born, it became a very popular name, and we now know of several little Isla’s.
The middle name “Deanne” was selected because it is my mom’s middle name, and also my middle name, so I loved the significance of passing my middle name on to my first born daughter, just as my mom passed in on to me – her firstborn daughter. Deanne is a variant of the name Diane, and means “divine”.
I always struggle with boys names far more than with girls names; I’m not sure why this is, but I do find naming boys so much more difficult. Because we already had an Isla, I wanted a name that would compliment it, sticking with the “short, simple, and classic” trend we started with our firstborn. We tossed around a lot of different names, but couldn’t seem to agree for quite some time. We finally agreed that we liked the name “Ben”, but we wanted to give him options when he was older by giving him a slightly longer name. The obvious choice was “Benjamin”, but again, we knew several Benjamin’s, so when we came across the name “Benson”, we knew it was the perfect way for us to have our own little Ben in a slightly less traditional way. The name “Benson” is actually traditionally a surname, and it’s no surprise that the actual meaning is “Son of Ben”. However, the name Ben is a family name on my mom’s side of the family, so it held special meaning in that it can be passed on to another generation.
As far as Ben’s middle name, no surprise here either, but he was named after my husband. We had originally selected a different middle name, but a few days before Ben was born, Jeff asked if we could just his name as the middle name, and of course, I was ok with that. “Jeffrey” is a German name that means “pledge of peace”, which I actually love for our sweet boy, who has become such a balm for my mamas soul.
Molly’s name makes me smile every time I say it. It took us awhile to settle on her name, and in fact, we didn’t choose it officially until a few weeks before she was born. We have both always loved the name Molly, but for some reason, it never made the top of our list with previous children. When we were first married, we vacationed to Bali and we stayed at a resort where another family from Australia was staying – they had a little one named Molly, and we both loved it when we heard it, and attributed it to this darling little girl we saw playing in the pool everyday. I think our hesitancy in using the name earlier on had more to do with our belief that the name was too common – however, I have come to realize that while the name Molly is familiar to everyone, it’s actually not that common. “Molly” is actually a Hebrew name, which means “bitter”, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the meaning of the name itself, for us, it wasn’t enough of an issue not to use the name.
Molly’s middle name, Blythe, is actually inspired by a novel I was reading when I was pregnant with her. There was a character in the story named “Juniper Blythe”, and I absolutely loved the way the name sounded. When I tried it out with Molly, it just clicked – to me, Molly Blythe sounds like the name of a storybook character, and as an English teacher, I love the tie of the name to literature. I also absolutely love the meaning of the name Blyth, which is an English name meaning “happy and carefree”. This is our little one to a tee – and thankfully it not balances out the meaning of her first name, but also gives us a new family name unique to our little unit.
If you’ve noticed any sort of pattern in our name selections, then you might have some ideas of the types of names that we love and are considering for our newest babe – classic, simple, traditional, short, simple, sweet. These are all words I would use to describe our name style.
We have a few that we are considering right now for each gender, but with two expectant sisters, and several expectant friends, it remains to be seen what we will end up selecting! Although I no longer have the same qualms about using names that others have used, I still personally wouldn’t choose the same name that a family member or close personal friend has chosen, simply due to the confusion that can cause when everyone is together!
However, because we still aren’t 100% settled, I would LOVE some baby name suggestions for both a girl and a boy that you think would fit our family trend! What perfect name combo would you add to our mix of little people?!
6 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?”
Aww so exciting! We don’t have any kids yet, but my husband and I already have lists for boy and girl names! I think the difficulty would be narrowing it down since we have so many ideas! I like the idea of combining two names though, maybe we’ll do that so we can have more names haha!
LOVE “Molly Blythe” – it sounds so perfect together! Love the names Isla & Benson too. So sweet!
My little girl – now 16 months old – just looks like a Margaret. It is such a timeless and classic name! I think some name ideas for you could be… Abbott, Warner, Fitzgerald, Everest, Cassidy, Hadleigh…
So funny, my blogging partner’s middle name is also Blythe. She goes by Blythe instead of her first name, but anyway, her mom also found the name in a book. She was looking for a B name because the baby was going to be named after a grandmother Bella and Blythe appeared. I will have to share this with her.
My husband has two given names, and when he was a young student, he was always the last boy to finish writing his name. So with our children we opted for single name.
Names are a tricky thing. Strangely our Liam Charles was named long before his birth, really strangely because we didn’t know what we were having. We found it really hard to choose a girls name, or other options. Good thing though because it is him to a tee, full of mischief as most Liams I know are. I like the more traditional route as well. For some inspiration my nieces are Eleanor Grace and Amelia Francis (I had Amelia on my one day list but not anymore), their middle names are taken from family. My nephew is Robert Cyril, both taken from his grandfathers. Anne Louise is a good name too if you are interested 😜. My siblings are Carolyn Elizabeth, Laura Grace, Gemma Irene and Stuart John, all with family links through one name or the other. Good luck with the name discussions.