Berry Juice is a collection of the best blogs on baby names, pregnancy, and parenting from around the web, including everything from personal naming stories to the academic study of names, pregnancy information to tips on decorating the nursery.
Since medieval times, the majority of couples in the West—including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia—have passed on the father’s last name to the baby. While there have always been exceptions to this rule, it remains a dominant social convention.
But for the last few decades, last name choices have been changing because families are changing.
Many of us grew up with mothers who kept their last name after they married, or in blended families where family members had different last names. We may have changed our last name to a stepfather’s name, or gone back to a mother’s maiden name when we were teenagers. Whichever way you look at it, the idea of the traditional nuclear family is changing. Nevertheless, the practice of passing on the father’s last name has remained.
Many couples are happy to continue the tradition and pass on the father’s last name. But for others, that tradition has become increasingly jarring and uncomfortable. Over the past few decades, many families have been searching for—and finding—alternatives.
I read an online comment recently from a name enthusiast arguing that “lots of men” give their own names to their sons (whether as Juniors—using their exact names—or using variants in the first or middle spots), while “very few women” do the same for their daughters.
This argument didn’t seem quite right to me, based on my limited experience, so I posed the question on my blog and indeed, my readers produced quite a lot of examples of girls named after their moms. Nevertheless, it is true that the idea of specifically “Junior” girls—girls with at least the same first name as their moms, never mind the same first+middle combo—is an unfamiliar one to many of us, and I wondered why.
Halloween is behind us, but now that the days are getting darker and the nights longer, you might still feel in the mood for some ghostly, gothic names. There are plenty to be found in the poems and stories of Edgar Allan Poe.
Poe is best known for his macabre writing, although he also wrote science fiction, detective stories, and many literary essays. A favorite topic of his is some unfortunate man mourning the loss of a beautiful woman – who often returns to haunt him.
You might know The Raven, where the narrator is visited by a sinister bird who is apparently the departed spirit of his fiancé Lenore. (If you can think of that poem without thinking of The Simpsons’ version, you’re doing better than me.)
We’ve been lucky enough to share some wonderful blogs from celebrity mom/cool baby namer Natalie Hanson, focusing on her and husband Taylor‘s choices of the names Viggo and Wilhelmina. And now we’re delighted to report that our Hanson connection expands with the addition of Natalie‘s sister-in-law Kate, wife of Zak, explaining here what’s behind their latest choice .
My love of all things names goes back to childhood, and I think it stems from experimenting with my own name, Kathryn. Starting in second grade I moved from Katy to Kathryn, ending up as Kate by high school. A big thank you to my parents for letting me meander so freely through all the variations. I really appreciated having a name I could play with, and I started paying attention to what the perfect name can offer a person. I remember combing through the racks at our local bookstore as a young girl, finally coming away so pleased with Baby Names for the 90s! It’s a book I still pull out from time to time. Since those days, I have named four babies of my own, and my sister-in-law, Natalie, and I still spend many a tea time/car line chat sharing our most recent name discoveries and inspirations.
From pregnancy gadgets to baby names, there are a lot of things to study up on when you’re pregnant. To add to the pile of decisions, many hospitals and birthing centers offer a large selection of prenatal classes to choose from. It can be hard to decide which ones to take, and budget aside, it can be pretty time consuming to try and tackle them all. So, which ones give new parents the biggest bang for their buck? Scroll on to see what pregnancy classes are a total must.