Baby Girl Names: A name lover goes wild

Name lover Kristin Alexander, creator of the blog What She Said, went crazy over baby girl names.  Her story:

“BRAHNwyn!” he said incredulously. “BRAHNwyn?”

“Well, when you say it like that, it doesn’t sound very pretty,” I pouted.

Granted, Bronwyn was a guilty pleasure. I didn’t really expect my husband to go along with it as the given name for any daughter we might have. But must his voice take on that grating nasal edge when he said it out loud? He sounded like a goose honking.

No more than eight weeks up the duff, I was still newly pregnant when my husband and I began discussing potential baby names for our unborn child. I had just informed him that I really liked the name Bronwyn Rose for a girl, but admitted that with the last name of Alexander, I was worried about her initials spelling “bra.”

“That’s your only concern about the name Bronwyn?!” my husband asked in amazement.

I have a slight obsession with baby names. Even now it continues, despite being decidedly one and done. Oddly enough, my moniker mania does not transcend genders, as the only name I ever considered for a son was Harris EdwardHarris being my maiden name and Edward being that of my husband’s father and late grandfather.

When it came to girl names, however, I was out of control. The possibilities seemed endless and I was determined to explore them all. I could – and sometimes did – spend hours on Nameberry pouring over their delightfully eclectic name lists. I compared assorted first and middle name combinations in various fonts – Gabriola being my favorite – as well as my own handwriting. I even hand-addressed an envelope to my unborn child.

My tastes were specific and discerning. I liked the classics, but with a vintage twist. Any name that made the cut had to be strong, but elegant; feminine, but not frilly. And the flow from first to middle to last had to be pitch perfect.

Trendy names were automatically out due to my desire to be unique (but not weird). And thus I grudgingly said goodbye to Isabel, Ava, Audrey, and Amelia right off the bat. Sniff.

By contrast, I turned my nose up altogether at made-up names and “kre8tyv” spellings. I also wasn’t a fan of nicknames. In short, I was a baby name snob.

At any given point prior to her birth, my daughter bore the monikers listed below. Names that I will now never use. Sniff, sniff. That said, if you’re currently expecting, consider it a resource guide. My gift to you. Mazel Tov!

Carys Rose

An early favorite, Carys means “love” while Rose was my mother’s middle name prior to marriage. And while it went the way of the dodo on our name list, I still love it so.

Millie Claire

A tribute to my two grandmothers, Mildred and Clarine, this one was vehemently nixed by Hubs as sounding “too old lady-ish.” Plus, it was a nickname. And I had rules about nicknames. Very strict rules. But I still think it’s cute as a button.


This one was a contender, as we alternated back and forth between Kathryn Jane, which utilized the initials from each of our first names, and Katherine Harris, which incorporated both my maiden name and my monogram. The spellings differed because I felt the former better suited the charmingly vintage Jane, while the latter paired well with the stronger-sounding Harris. Because I took such things very seriously.

Annabel Jane

This one is notable only because my rather opinionated mother later informed me that she was glad we hadn’t chosen it, as it reminded her of Clarabelle the Cow. Huh? Actually, never mind – some things are just better left unquestioned.

(FYI to any parents of an Annabel: I still adore it and this is precisely why we kept mum on any and all name choices until after the birth certificate had been signed.)

Virginia Rose

Late in my third trimester, panic set in as I began second-guessing our – at that point – very firm name choice, convinced as I was that our daughter should be named after my native homeland. And also my mother.

It passed within a week.

Beatrix Eugenie

Another guilty pleasure, this one existed only in my mind as I could never quite bring myself to broach it with my husband. I simply knew it would elicit either a giant eye roll, hysterical laughter, or a sarcastic quip about how we’re not nearly hipster enough to pull off such a feat, nor British, nor do I pen tales about a cute little cotton-tailed bunny.

Other names bandied about as I incubated my tiny human included Eloise, Elisabeth, Eleanor, Evelyn, Iris, Adelaide, Lyla, Caroline, and especially Charlotte.  We didn’t even have a middle name selected for it (although I was partial to Charlotte Genevieve). We just loved it as is. Simple. Classic. Charlotte.

In the end, though, we stuck with the name that kept emerging as our favorite from the very beginning.   A name that so perfectly suits our daughter that I can no longer imagine her as anyone else. Evoking vintage charm and a bit of old Hollywood glamour, it seems a natural fit with her porcelain skin and pin curl waves.  She embodies its meaning: alive, lively, and full of life.

Her middle name was inspired by a two-word note from my husband following an earlier miscarriage.  Have faith, that note said. And only one month after our loss, I learned I was pregnant. Again.

Thus, Vivian Faith Alexander came to be.

And before she came into this world, my husband and I made a trip to Build-A-Bear. To fashion for our little girl a special friend in the form of a brown teddy bear.

We named him Brownwyn.

Kristin Alexander is a self-proclaimed city girl now living a decidedly more rural life in eastern West Virginia – or as she likes to spin it, the far western suburbs of DC. By day, she’s the communications go-to girl for the philanthropic foundation of a small liberal arts university. But by night she’s the author of What She Said, an occasionally sarcastic, often poignant, frequently self-deprecating and always heartfelt “niche-less” blend of family, life, and humor. Because if she didn’t laugh, she’d cry. She is also utterly obsessed with baby names.

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19 Responses to “Baby Girl Names: A name lover goes wild”

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evergreen Says:

June 18th, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Vivian Faith Alexander *swoon* Absolutely beautiful.
From the contenders I love Virginia Rose.
Bronwyn is a fairly common name in NZ where I am from, not so much on newborns now but you meet heaps that are 30+
Thank you for sharing 🙂

missyby Says:

June 18th, 2012 at 11:48 pm

You are my baby name soul sister! My top names were Eleanor, Adelaide, Vivian, Charlotte, Audrey and Elisabeth with an S no less! We ended up with Adelaide Charlotte which was my version of simply perfect. I adore Vivian Faith, you chose well for your darling girl!

Alexandra.Iseult Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 1:03 am

what a beautiful choice! If it means anything, I love your guilty pleasure Beatrix Eugenie, as well as Virginia Rose. So beautiful!

chanpatm Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 5:09 am

My daughter is Carys Rose !

klcalder2 Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 10:12 am

Love! Thank you for sharing. PS: Your little girl looks so sweet in the picture. Very full of life, as her name would suggest 🙂 Simply lovely!

emskyrooney Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 10:24 am

Another baby name soul sister here! We’re having a girl in August and my top choices were Audrey, Charlotte, Adelaide, Esther, Beatrice and Elisabeth. We had to nix Audrey as our niece (due any day)will be an Aubrey. We nixed Esther (after my Nana) because our son is Paul and it sounds like Polyester when you say Paul and Esther. The others were nixed by hubby except for Elisabeth. Audrey would have been Audrey Elisabeth. We’re now choosing between Sabina, Eliza, and Cora with Elisabeth or possibly Rose as middles… (It was so much easier with my son who we knew would be named Paul Thomas after my hubby and my father!)

Lori Johnson Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Thanks, Kristin, for providing us with such an entertaining read. Your delicious blend of candor and humor readily endears you to your audience. How could it be that the avid and conscientious namer you are is “one and done”? I object :).

Amenspanglish Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Thank you so much!! I’m not even expecting and I went through this obsession a few months ago. I’ve definitely toned it down but I was left nameless. Hopefully I will have your success once we have a little gal! Lovely choice, and I must say, I will check out your other choices too! For example, I really love Carys! Again, thanks for this!

ksheja Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 7:05 pm

That was interesting! I love the name you chose, as well as a lot of the contenders. Bronwen is a name my parents considered for me (I am in the US, so it would have been very unusual).

Demi Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

What a sweet story behind your daughter’s middle name – brought a tear to my eyes.

saraallison Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Cracking me up! I too became obsessed while looking at names for baby number two, a girl. We already had a boy, and I Did not get obsessed at all with his name. What is it about those girl names?! She’s 5 mos now, and I feel “done” yet I’m still keeping ever-changing lists and asking my DH what he thinks about this name and that! He just laughs at me. I think it’s giving him hope that I might come around to having another baby, so that’s not good…I need to tone it down! Great post, and love your names.

kmhokie Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the sweet comments about my daughter and her name. Nameberry is one of my all-time favorite web sites, so I was thrilled to have my post featured here. It’s truly a blogging bucket list wish fulfilled.

As for my discarded names, I also still keep a running (and ever-changing) list of my favorite first and middle combos that I occasionally run past my husband, to his amusement and/or exasperation. It really is nothing short of an obsession. 😉

CatieLynn Says:

June 20th, 2012 at 9:57 am

Vivian Faith Alexander is gorgeous!

Your post really struck a chord with me, I am exactly this way! I could honestly care less about boys’ names, having essentially 5 names on that list, but I absolutely love girls’ names.

I was also so vested in your story that I couldn’t wait to find out your daughter’s name! And I must say you picked a winner.

UniqueNameLover Says:

June 20th, 2012 at 11:36 am

I dislike Charlotte but LOVE Genevieve, so Charlotte Genevieve is lovely. Vivian Faith is a nice name and it is interesting to see all the other names, so different and unique in their own way, that you were considering for your daughter.

phrollic Says:

July 3rd, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I just found this post, and I loved it! I feel exactly the same way about baby names as you do. I am a baby name kindred spirit;)
The name choice for your daughter is just lovely (as are all the names you chose) I laughed out loud, because, as your husband did, my husband also looked at me like I was a crazy person when I suggested Bronwyn as our daughter’s name. But eventually he came around, and our daughter’s name is Bronwyn Rebecca. Her little sister, Waverly Elizabeth, arrived this fall.

sellerofdreams Says:

September 15th, 2012 at 7:11 am

Vivian faith is an amazing name!

amylette Says:

February 13th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Lovely Name!

Silverkr200 Says:

June 4th, 2013 at 10:01 am

I love your taste in names!:) I also really love the way you keep the first and middle names a specific length to where they sound like they blend. Vivian Faith is so cute:)

orphanedhanyou Says:

July 6th, 2013 at 10:58 am

goes to show you that you can also use a fav name for a pet or stuff animal if its unusable on a real person lol.

also that we all need to put aside our obsession with girl names and help boy name resources flourish, ive been having a terrible time finding names simply because nameberry and others sites’ post the majority of their finds on girls 🙁

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