How I Chose My Baby's Name
I dreamed about baby names for my first child long before he ever arrived. When the day came and my husband and I found out that yes, I was indeed pregnant, suddenly it was time to make those dreams a reality. The truth is, for all the names you might have floating around in your head, when it comes time to choose THE name, it can be a lot harder than you think. But it's not all doom and gloom; it's important to remember that choosing a name you'll be calling your child for the rest of your life is actually a joyous privilege and not a burdensome necessity.
As parents-to-be after infertility, my husband and I were initially superstitious about beginning the baby name game. We knew all too well the risks associated with early pregnancy after IVF so we waited until we passed the first trimester hump to allow ourselves to begin tossing around names. But Swistle is right: There really is no art to starting the conversation; just jump right in. Our impending gender reveal ultrasound became the impetus for picking out both a boy's and girl's name to have on hand.
Unique But Not Weird
Picking a boy's name was a breeze; we picked out his first name, Judah, in about ten minutes while tossing around names one day in the car. Picking out a girl's name? Not so much. We slaved over girls' names for a solid two weeks only settling on a final name just days before our gender scan. One of the biggest challenges we faced was avoiding names that began with the letter "E." Given our last name, my husband was adamant that the girl's name could not have the letters "EZ" as her initials. For me, this was maddening because all of the girls' names I fell in love with seemed to always start with the letter "E." Thankfully, the debate quickly ended once we learned we were having a boy.
It's An Honor
I liked Swistle's advice on using the name to honor someone. We wanted to honor the memory of my husband's grandparents, both of whom had passed. We decided to use Hebrew versions of their given names to serve as our child's Hebrew name, so Bette and Joseph (or Nan and Pop as they were known) became Elisheva and Yosef. It was important to my husband and I to incorporate our love for Nan and Pop in the legacy of our child's name and story.
The Wonderful Middle
I love that Swistle pointed out not to forget the middle name. My sister and I are both half-Japanese. When we were born, our parents started a tradition where we had an Anglo first name and a Japanese middle name. Depending on just how Asian we looked determined which name we would be called by on a daily basis; since both my sister and I came out looking very Japanese, we were called by our middle names. Over time, my sister preferred to be called by her first name, Jasmine; my immediate family still calls her by her middle name. I, on the other hand, have always gone by my middle name since birth.
My husband loved this naming tradition, and we decided even before we started trying to get pregnant that any child of ours would have an Anglo first name and a Japanese middle name. Since our son was conceived via donor egg IVF, he may not be genetically Japanese, but we are committed to sharing my Japanese heritage as part of his cultural identity. Judah's middle name -- Takeshi -- is an ancient Japanese word that means "fierce warrior."
Everything Will Be Fine
When I looked at the meanings of each of my son's names: Judah (praised), Takeshi (fierce warrior), and even Yosef ("He will add"), I thought his name didn't really make any sense. I'm big into meanings and connectedness, and I felt that while each name had unique significance, they weren't terribly connected. I couldn't be more wrong.
Our son was born five weeks premature. As he fought a scary battle with a severe infection just days after he was born, we praised him for every hour he progressed toward another milestone. Our little boy was born to be a fighter, a fierce warrior indeed. Now, on the day we bring him home, we know that "he will add" -- our son Judah has added to our lives in such a profound, humbling way: Our family of two has transformed into this new and wonderful family of three.
What was it like naming your child? What tips and advice would you give to anyone beginning the baby name game of their own?
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