The Name Game


The Name GameIn a little over a month from now, my little family will grow by two more feet as we welcome baby number three and boy number three. The question we get most of all, besides if we will try again for a girl — which we will not — is what do we plan to name him? People are always so shocked when they see how far along I am, and I tell them that baby boy is nameless at this time. You see, my husband and I are big “name” people. We look up meanings, placement with family members’ names, significance, and more.

The name cannot simply sound right. It must feel right, too.

Back when my husband and I started dating in 2011 and were in the blissful infatuation stage, we picked names for our future children. Throughout the years, we would even refer to our hypothetical children as the names we had picked out all those years ago. This is why, in 2017, when we got pregnant with our first son, I automatically knew what his name would be. Or, so I thought.

I was so excited to finally meet the little boy my imagination had conjured up all those years ago. That is until I was about seven months pregnant and my husband came to me sharing that he had a change of heart and wanted to name our son after him. While I love using family names, I am not an avid fan of juniors, seconds, thirds, etc. My brother is a junior, and all his life, he made it known that he wanted to be his own person. Thus, he opted to go by his middle name instead. That was my introduction to a boy being named after his dad, so initially, this experience was the basis for my pushback. On-the-other hand, my husband’s experience was the exact opposite. His older brother was named after their dad, and he always shares the pride he took in that. Understandably, my husband wanted to have that effect on our son. So, while I was against my husband’s curveball to change our son’s name at first, I eventually got on board with his wish. My suggestion, and our compromise, was to use a sobriquet and let him choose which name he wanted to be called once he was older.

Fast forward to 2020, when our second son was born. Wanting to keep with our oldest son’s name, which bid ode to a biblical figure and integral person in his life, we found another biblical name and family member whose name we adored. So, just like in 2011, I began to use this name to describe the little person growing in my belly. We eventually shared the name with family, and I even had items monogrammed. Everything was set, or again, so I thought. A literal 12 hours before my scheduled cesarean, my husband walked in and said that he needed to share something with me. He explained he was second-guessing the name we had chosen and thought we should consider using the one we planned to name son number one all those years ago. To say I was flabbergasted and honestly irritated (hello, hormones) does not adequately describe the feelings behind my gut punch. However, as those hours before we met him rolled around, my heart was beginning to shift too. By the time he was born and we held him in our arms for the first time, we both knew that this would finally be the son to bear that name. Alas, an actual baby was assigned to the name we had spoken of for almost a decade.

With our current and final pregnancy, as the excitement set in that we would add to the  brotherhood, the name game began yet again. From day one, I pulled rank on this little one. My husband got to name the first two (with my blessing, of course), so this one’s name would be chosen by me with a stamp of approval from his dad. As we continue to draw close to the day he makes his grand arrival, I have come up with a few names that my husband loves, too. However, we have decided to keep them to ourselves until he gets here in case history repeats itself and we change our minds again. We figured better safe than sorry.

Whether you like names that start with a specific letter, ones that are classic or unique, sound good in sib sets, refer to a special place or person, are masculine/feminine sounding, are earthy, the name of flowers or states, or whatever, naming a baby is serious business. I encourage you to picture your child with that name as a baby and a seasoned adult. Yell it out loud for future practice, meditate on it, look up the meaning, and truly self-reflect on your feelings. Above and beyond all, remember that nothing is set in stone, even after the ink has dried, so you can always make a change if you feel the need. In the end, your name is the essence of you. You want your child to be proud of the one you chose for them. I hope our last little ‘sonshine’ grows to love his name just as much as his big brothers. Only time will tell as we continue to decide just what that moniker will be.

How did you come up with your child(ren)’s name?