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Everyone Hates My Favorite Name!

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts
Name sage

Welcome back to Nameberry’s newest column, The Name Sage. Every week, I answer one reader’s questions about naming a baby-on-the-way, or general baby name angst. We’d love it if you would add your thoughtful suggestions and comments to help expectant parents decide. Want to see your question featured? Please email

Christina is expecting a daughter soon, and after much searching, she found the perfect name: Gwendolyn Annalise.

The problem?

As she’s shared the name with others, their reactions have been overwhelmingly negative. It’s too “old lady,” a name for a granny, not a new baby girl.

And so, the question is: What do you do when most of the people around you don’t like a name you love?

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In this perceptive and illuminating guest blog, Zaira Shaal confronts the naming issues facing interfaith parents.

My boyfriend and I have talked about having kids a few times, and the main topic is always what we would name them. He is Muslim, I am Catholic, and while we are both Pakistani, we have very different ideas about the names we like.

We both grew up in North America and now live in London, England so there is added pressure to ensure our children’s names can be pronounced by their friends and colleagues as they grow. Our own names, Waqas (Wuh-kaas) and Zaira (rhymes with Tyra not Sara), have proved difficult for peers to handle over the years so we are sensitive to this.

While he prefers names like Khalil and Omar for boys – and hasn’t really thought about naming a girl – I have always loved names like Audrey and Grace, Adam and Jacob. We came to a compromise and came up with a list of names that work for both religions. This also appeases both sets of parents and ensures our kids all have uniform sounding names. I don’t want one Matthew and one Mohammed.

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