Head vs. Heart: Which rules your name choice?
We were intrigued by the question posed on the forums by jackal, who loves the name Ingimar, well-known in her native Iceland, but wonders whether she should give her son-to-be a name that travels more easily, like Robert or Matthias.
Jackal’s question came down to head vs. heart: Which is the best way, the right way to choose a baby name?
Of course, if your heart and head align in your name decision, that’s the ideal. But often the name we love, the name we want in our gut has some issue: it’s hard to pronounce or it doesn’t work with our surname or our partner doesn’t like it or we fell in love with it long ago but it’s since gotten too popular.
And then our head steps in, proposing the name that flows better, or the name that is immune from teasing, or the name that honors your beloved grandpa even though, ouch, Floyd…
Have your head and your heart wrestled over a name choice? Which won, and why? And what advice would you give to others in this common predicament?
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on November 5th, 2014 at 12:49 am
I love the name Peaches, I don’t know why, but I saw it and immediately fell in love. So it has been decided that it may be a nickname, and the child will be named something more practical
on November 5th, 2014 at 1:52 am
With the first they aligned. With the second we went with heart. It was our last chance to name a baby and with all of the names out there today we went with what we wanted instead of what we thought others might like. My son has had an Odin, a Thor, and a Noble in his various classes. So now there is a new little Emrys in the world 🙂
on November 5th, 2014 at 2:40 am
“well-known in her native Iceland…”
Jackal does live in Iceland, but I’m pretty sure (after reading several of her posts in the forum) that she is originally from the UK. In the post she writes that she is worried that her child will feel excluded from it’s English heritage if she doesn’t give it a more English-sounding name.
on November 5th, 2014 at 3:36 am
Heart with head for a good measure of common sense.
on November 5th, 2014 at 4:11 am
Always heart. Not outrageously so, but I certainly would never rule out an unusual name just because my head tells me it isn’t normal or practical.
on November 5th, 2014 at 5:29 am
Naming a child is not primarily about the parent- it is about the child who will have to live with the name for a lifetime. So I go with heart but not based on the love of any name but based on love for the child to be. So the question always is: do I truly believe my child would love to bear the name I would love to bestow.
on November 5th, 2014 at 5:40 am
@paw – I think what you said is very true. 🙂 while we should pick a name that we love, we should always remember that we are bestowing a name on a human who will most likely, unless they choose to change their name, be called that name for the rest of their lives.
When deciding upon a name for our soon to be here little girl, head and heart ended up aligning. Isla was the right name for her. For the longest time I tried to pick something else, such as Violet, Charlotte, Melanie, etc; but it finally clicked that her name is Isla. Thankfully, it was DH’s favorite name too. 🙂
on November 5th, 2014 at 7:03 am
@Paw I love how you’ve put that. It’s exactly how I feel. When I was given my name, I’m so thankful that my parents thought it through. It’s hard to spell (Irish) but speaks to my heritage and unusual enough. I hope to give such a winner to my child that they will love equally well. I use my head to consider this mostly but my heart gives that initial love of a name
on November 5th, 2014 at 7:04 am
Thank you, @SrMaryNapalm!
on November 5th, 2014 at 11:46 am
I would say, to be happy with a name choice, it has to be a name favoured by both head AND heart. You have to like and it and feel that it’s going to work.
on November 5th, 2014 at 11:52 am
If my head and heart can’t agree on the name, I just toss it out.
on November 5th, 2014 at 12:27 pm
I would go with my heart for sure! If you go with your heart your more likely to pick a name you really really love but if you went with your head you might only pick a name because it sounds more natural. So I say go with your heart if you love it use it…
For a girl my heart is telling me to use: Shannen, Heather, Vada or Haley.
And for a boy my heart is telling me to use: Albert or Macaulay.
on November 5th, 2014 at 1:58 pm
I’m having this same debate! The names I love all seem to have some sort of drawback. I’m also having a hard time this time finding names that represent my Irish heritage and my husband’s Latino heritage yet are easy to pronounce. My son’s name was one that we both loved and it just seemed to flow. This time nothing feels right. I think it also may be because this is our last child. I want to use all the names I love. haha!
on November 5th, 2014 at 2:05 pm
I found this quote from Frozen to be very relevant:
“The heart is not so easily changed, but the head can be persuaded.” -Pabbie
Always go with your heart because your head can be easily influenced ; )
on November 5th, 2014 at 3:54 pm
With our first I went with my heart. Everyone told me it would be hard for people to pronounce (Eamon: AY-mun) but I fell in love the moment I saw it. So that’s his name! Now finding a brother ‘s name to go with it is quite the challenge… But I am so glad we chose the name we did for him!!
on November 5th, 2014 at 4:19 pm
Thanks for featuring my predicament, guys! 🙂
As Daphodil writes, though, I live here but it’s not my native land. I’m English born and bred and I’m actually an immigrant over here. The baby’s father is 100% Icelandic, though.
on November 5th, 2014 at 4:19 pm
I think my head rules in this case. There are names that my heart wants but I don’t want to deal with my family’s snide remarks but sometimes I think you really love an outlandish-ish name you should just go for it. I LOVE the names Matilda and Rocco but my mom would most likely hate those. She thinks Matilda is super clunky and she hates names that end with O which are my favorites (Leo/Leonardo, Matteo, Rocco, etc.) and also they like to pick apart simple things. Like if I like Anja someone would say “that sounds like onion”. So I really have to accommodate my family when it comes time for baby naming. I’m dead set on Harlow for a girl though, they’re just gonna have to deal. But a name like Phineas (my top guilty pleasure) would take more convincing. So yeah I take my family’s consideration into my head-heart debate. And of course what kids could possibly tease with because my name got teased a lot during childhood and I don’t want my future kids to have to deal with that nonsense.
on November 5th, 2014 at 4:58 pm
Maybe rely more on your head for the first name and your heart for the middle.
on November 5th, 2014 at 5:15 pm
One of my most important factors in choosing a name is a purely emotional feeling of “rightness,” so I’m tempted to say heart. In reality, by the time I reach that point, I’ve carefully analyzed the name, weighing everything from associations to popularity to wearability.
My brain and heart have to work together. You could say that my brain sends the eligible contestants out on stage, and my heart picks the winner.
on November 5th, 2014 at 5:44 pm
This is a great question, and one I feel we all name lovers struggle with, at one time or another, when considers names to actually give children. In my opinion, the most important aspect of this issue to consider is the child’s experience with the name as part of society. Not your personal wishes and preferences. Therefore, I would say the brain is what would/will ultimately govern my name choices for my own children. That being said, I know I could never be completely satisfied with a name I don’t adore. This is why I try to narrow my lists down to names that my head and heart both agree on.
on November 5th, 2014 at 5:49 pm
I think you’ve found the perfect name when the head and the heart agree. I have this debate a lot though. My heart tells me to choose a unique, cute and spunky name, while my head tells me that my child will have to love the name as well.
on November 5th, 2014 at 10:28 pm
Well, heart and head should work in tandem. Heart needs to be engaged, but head should rule. Litmus test: How likely will it be that I like the name in 25 years? That’s the million dollar question because even classics have a trendy side.
on November 5th, 2014 at 10:30 pm
Noelle is a safe head/heart choice, especially for a December baby girl. It’s forever pretty.
on November 6th, 2014 at 11:12 pm
My heart drives me to originally like names… but when it’s time to actually choose a name, it’s pure head. I analyze every aspect, including personal significance, nicknames, how it fits with the sounds in DH’s surname, etc. When we chose Emiliana, my head’s only objections were the length, the popularity of Amelia/ Emilia, and the popularity of Em- names in general. After a careful analysis and consulting those in our families (as they are from 2 very different cultures), we decided it was ok. For the next kid, I love Valentina for a girl, but the V might be an issue… so my head may overrule my heart. For a boy, we love Raphael and Caspian… but I’m worried Iran might not give a Raphael a passport, and Caspian might not be an easy name to wear… we will see… So my heart drives me to love it, my head helps me weed through what might actually be the best in our specific, multicultural situation.
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