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How I Named My Baby: Calla Grace

September 30, 2020 Sophie Kihm

Jodie Tate and Andrina Sperou live in West Belfast, Northern Ireland. In January, they welcomed their first child, a daughter named Calla Grace.

Here, Jodie tells us all about how she and Andrina chose the baby name Calla for their little girl.

baby name calla

How long did it take you to decide on a name?

We decided on a name pretty quickly, about four months into our pregnancy.

When did you know you found “The Name?”

We kept using the name and writing it down. Once we picked her middle name too, we just knew it sounded right for us.

How many names did you take into the delivery room?

Just the one! Although I’m pretty indecisive, so in my mind, our second choice of name was still on the cards just in case!

What strategies did you use to narrow down your name choices?

My partner and I both wrote lists of boy and girl names from a baby name book we purchased. When we compared names, we had a few of the same names on our lists so we managed to narrow it down like that.

Did you ask anyone for advice about baby names?

My mum had a good influence on our name, we both wanted something unique and different but not ‘too’ different (if I had my way, we’d have something really unusual) but my partner reigned me in a bit! I also followed a few baby name Instagram pages which really helped!

baby name calla

Whose baby name opinions influenced you the most?

To be honest, her name was ours to choose and we didn’t really let anyone influence us. Our parents, however, definitely had to like the name. As she is the first granddaughter and great-granddaughter on both sides of our family, we thought it was important that everyone liked her name.

Is your baby named after anyone?

She isn’t named after anyone, but as we are a same sex couple and had IUI treatment to conceive her, I felt it was important that my partner’s heritage was a part of her to help bond with the baby (although she didn’t need any help bonding — she’s a brilliant mummy).

We decided on Calla because it means beautiful in Greek and that is where Andrina’s family is from. We then found out Calla was also a lily, which is my mum’s favourite flower, so it couldn’t be more perfect.

Grace is her middle name, which I’ve always loved but definitely as a middle name as it’s too common for me. It’s also the name of my grandad’s sister who sadly passed away as a child so that meant a lot to him too.

What would your younger self have liked to name the baby?

Growing up, I always said I’d call my daughter Lola. I just find names with an A on the end really pretty. I think it’s because my name, Jodie, is quite boyish. I also loved Bella but that too is much more common now.

What would your baby be named if it was totally up to you? If it was up to your partner?

I absolutely love Calla’s name and wouldn’t change it and my partner agrees. It’s perfect for her and whenever I see it written anywhere it just looks so pretty! Although if I had to pick something different it would be between Meadow, Bliss, Freya, Hero, and Cassidy. I also love older English names like Nancy and Maggie May.

baby name calla

How do you feel about your own name and how did that influence your choice?

I hate my own name! I find it masculine and unpretty, however, it is more unusual than some names and I do like that. I definitely wanted something completely different from my name and something prettier (to me) that rolls of the tongue and catches people’s eyes.

Did your feelings about any of the names on your list shift over time?

We did the list twice during the pregnancy, but a few names kept cropping up and Calla was always at the top.

Was it easier to come up with girl or boy names?

Girl names were far easier for me; however, I had such a long list for names that I struggled to scale it down!

What would your baby be named if it was the opposite gender?

If Calla was a boy, she would’ve been Farren Paul, which means fair in Irish. I love that it’s a strong, unusual name for a boy but one he wouldn’t get teased about at school.

Did you decide on middle name(s) before the first name, or vice versa?

We decided on a middle name ages ago, but that’s because we both had agreed from whenever we spoke about baby names that Grace is what we wanted. Then it was easier to match up a first name.

baby name calla

Did you have different requirements for first and middle names?

I think syllables are important when choosing a name. Calla has two syllables on the first name and her surname is four syllables, so it would’ve been a mouthful having anything long as a middle name. Grace is perfect to me.

How important a consideration was the flow of the first, middle, and last names?

I think it’s really important. Maybe not as a baby, but definitely thinking forward to being a teenager or adult. In my opinion, you need something that flows nicely and can be used professionally.

What was your biggest fear related to baby names?

That nobody would get onboard with our unusual style of names. Calla is definitely the mildest choice off our baby name list!

What’s the worst/funniest name suggestion you received?

My partner Andrina’s granny wanted us to name her after her! Her name is Kathleen — it was a definite no, but I think she secretly hoped we would pick it!

Which partner had more fun with the baby name process?

Definitely me. I could talk about baby names all day but Andrina just ended up saying, “right, this is the last time we’re writing these lists!”

baby name calla

Did you experience ‘name regret’ at any point?

Not once. As soon as we saw her, it just was meant to be.

Have any unexpected nicknames come up for your baby?

Andrina calls her ‘Callabonga’ which drives me insane, haha. I call her ‘Cals’ sometimes but she’s a definite Calla. I doubt we’d ever stick with calling her by a nickname.

What was the most surprising part of the baby name process?

How many names I liked! The longer I looked, the bigger the list grew!

What advice would you give someone just starting the baby name process?

Start by deciding what type of name you like (traditional/foreign/unusual) then search in a baby book for ideas. Use Google and Instagram, if you have it. I also ALWAYS look at end of credits in films to see people’s names (and secretly love that Calla is rarely on any list).

Thank you so much, Jodie!

For the chance to participate in How I Named My Baby, please email sophie@nameberry.com

About the author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top middle names of 2019, the top baby names in each state, and the hottest nickname names of 2018. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.

View all of Sophie Kihm's articles

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