How I Named My Baby: Callahan Bay

How I Named My Baby: Callahan Bay

Courtney Williams, a graduate student in behavioral analysis, and Steven Jackson, a locomotive engineer, live outside of Atlanta, Georgia with their daughter Callahan Bay.

Here, Courtney talks with us about how she and Steve chose the baby name Callahan for their little girl.

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

It took about four months to decide! I always had a list of baby names I wanted but none of them felt right as she grew in my belly.

When did you know you found “The Name?”

I was driving down the street and I was saying C names out loud and it was between Chandler and Callahan – because her middle name was always going to be Bay no matter what.

Did you ask anyone for advice about baby names?

No! I picked names that flowed well and went with what I liked. I did not want to get overwhelmed with everyone’s advice.

Is your baby named after anyone?

My dearly missed grandfather, William Ross, who went by Bay. He is so missed and loved babies more than anything. Having his name in hers makes me feel so much more connected with him in Heaven.

What name did you hate to let go of?

Chandler, I love it so much, but I did not feel as strong of a connection with it after she was born.

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

If you asked me in my late teens/early twenties, I would have told you my son’s name would be Braxton and my daughter’s name would be Emerlynd.

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

Her name would still be the same if it was totally up to me! I love her name and her father loves it as well.

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

My name is Courtney… I always liked it but felt it was just an okay name! I wanted something different and unique but not too crazy for my daughter.

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

For sure — Braxton, which I was so stuck on for so long, shifted totally off my list! Emerlynd lost momentum after all the variations of Emery, Emory, Emma, etc. became so popular. My name list has truly changed directions.

Was it important to choose a name that ‘matched’ your baby’s older siblings’ — or future siblings’ — names?

My siblings and I all have the same initials. I want to keep up this trend but I’m changing it up a little bit. Instead of my children being CDW, I plan on keeping CBJ as the theme.

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

All of the names on my lists can be used for either a boy or a girl. I do lean towards more “masculine” names for my daughters.

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

If she would have been a boy, her name would be Cru or Cruz Blake. If we have a boy next, we plan on using that name because we still love it so much.

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

My grandfather who passed away prior to my daughter being born always went by Bay. I knew I wanted to include him in the process and decided to keep his name going by giving it to my child as their middle name. So regardless of any first name I selected I was going to have their middle name Bay.

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

Extremely! With a last name like Jackson, I wanted to make sure it flowed extremely well.

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

Her father jokingly (maybe not so jokingly…) said Stevianna and I absolutely could not deal with that suggestion. I might have considered Stevi had he said it!

Which partner had more fun with the baby name process?

Me for sure! Her father was very supportive in picking names, but he let me have most of the fun. But boy-oh-boy was he vocal on the ones he did not like.

Which partner was pickier about baby names?

Again, me! I wanted something different and not very classic. I didn’t want anything that sounded too much like a name I had seen in the classroom I used to work in, or really anywhere at all!

Did you experience ‘name regret’ at any point?

Right after she was born, I was looking at other C names and felt like “wow, maybe I didn’t pick the best one.” But babies and toddlers really grow into their names and I cannot imagine her not being Callahan.

Did you share your baby’s name before she was born?

We only shared her initials with everyone and told my grandparents her actual name. Everyone else had to wait a little longer to find out!

Have any unexpected nicknames come up for your baby?

Callarue, Boogie, Callabae, and my dad’s personal favorite Callae. She has so many nicknames, but the majority call her Boogie. This was her dad’s nickname when he was younger, and he passed it on to her.

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

How many names you dislike or associate with another person! It’s so hard to like a name if you have had a negative experience with it before.

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

Write it down, say it a bunch of times, use it in sentences, and see how you like it. Do not take into consideration that people will butcher it. Just pick what you love and do not let other people push you to change it!

Thank you so much, Courtney!

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About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top 2020s names, Gen Z names, and cottagecore baby names. 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.

Sophie Kihm's articles on names have run on People, Today, The Huffington Post, and more. She has been quoted as a name expert by The Washington Post, People, The Huffington Post, and more. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at Sophie lives in Chicago.