I can name twenty children on paper, easy. More, even. It’s not at all difficult for me to come up with exciting first name ideas paired with perfect middle names, with family names and saint names easily woven into each combination. I can construct each first+middle combo so that they go with the others in terms of style and feel, and coming up with fun and friendly nicknames for everyday use is a particularly enjoyable pastime for me.
But naming children in real life isn’t so easy. I have strong opinions about names—those I like and those that I really don’t see fitting our children. My husband has fairly strong opinions as well, in a different way. I make lists and form combinations whether pregnant or not, while my husband prefers not to think or talk about names until a baby’s actually on the way, preferably as close to the due date as possible, and when we do finally talk names, he enjoys vetoing my ideas and might offer one or two of his own. (Might.) I know this must sound familiar to many of you!
But I enjoy the process tremendously. As much as I love discovering new favorite names and forming my own lists, the pinnacle of baby naming, for me, is deciding on a name with my husband. I love feeling like we’ve really worked together to come up with the name—it might not be my absolute favorite or his, but there’s something sweet and strong about coming to an agreement on the name for our baby.
We’ve named seven children together. We have six sons, ages 4 to 13, and we named the baby we miscarried as well. I love each of our children’s names—their first names, their middle names, their nicknames. We’ve done everything I’ve wanted to in terms of honoring faith and family, even if our final name was very different from what I started out thinking would be the best idea. I know my husband feels similarly—many times over the years we’ve marveled at how well each boy’s name fits him.
So I’m not really worried that we haven’t yet come up with a boy’s name for our baby due in fourteen weeks. At least, I’m trying not to worry.
Not that we know we’re having a boy—we don’t, we’ve been surprised every time and decided to be surprised again this time. But our girl name has stayed the same throughout all of our pregnancies, so it’s boy names we’re stuck on.
Names we’ve considered in the past but ultimately decided not to use include Oliver, Leo, Ambrose, Hugo, Conrad, Isaac, and Augustine. Names that I like for this baby that my hubby doesn’t include Benedict and Jacob; names he likes that I’m not sure about include Luke and Nicholas. Of course we turned to the Name Sage, Abby, for a baby name consultation a couple of months ago—she did an amazing job, so many great thoughts and ideas! Based on her advice, I crossed Benedict off my first-name list and my husband dropped Nicholas from his. But we still haven’t had that moment where we both feel comfortable with a name.
One thing that has changed for me a bit is that I’ve always preferred more unusual names—I’ve tried to convince my husband of Joachim for years (it’s always been a hard nope from him), and he usually uses “Nicodemus” as an example of how “crazy” I am with my name taste—but more recently I’ve found myself cooling a bit on the really unusual names. As I told Abby, it really struck me when filling out Little League forms for my boys this year that I’m no longer willing to saddle my son with a name that’s likely to be unfamiliar to the general population. (Name enthusiasts just aren’t the general population!)
At the same time, though it’s always been possible that each baby might have been my last, and due to my age that possibility has more solidity this time. I’m feeling more self-inflicted pressure than ever to be completely, totally, one hundred percent satisfied with our choice of boy name. Oddly, my husband is newly unwilling to consider some of my more unusual choices, and I’m feeling a bit more unwilling to consider the more familiar choices than I have been in the past.
If we have a boy, I know this baby will have a name, and I’m certain my husband and I will find ourselves marveling in a few years at how well the name suits him. I can’t wait to find out what that name is!
Do you find it harder to your babies the more you have? Do you find boy names easier or harder than girl names? (Do you have any ideas for us?!)