How I Named My Baby: David Alfred Gabriel
How does a name expert name their child? My son David Alfred Gabriel turns one this month (the clichés are true: where did that time go?!). To celebrate, the team invited me to do an interview about how my husband and I chose his name. We live in the south of England.
How long did it take you to decide on a name?
David has been my favourite boy name for years. I told my husband this, long before we decided to start a family, and fortunately, he liked it too. When we found out our baby would be a boy, it was just a case of checking we both still wanted to use it.
We threw around different middle name ideas the whole time I was pregnant, and only finalized them two days before David was born…
When did you know you found “The Name?”
When we were driving to the hospital for my induction, I told my husband, “If I had to choose a name now and it was just up to me, I’d choose David Alfred Gabriel.” He said that was fine. Job done!
That makes it sound like it was just my decision, but in my defence we’d had plenty of discussion about the kind of names we both liked, and he didn’t have to agree to it (I promise!).
How many names did you take into the delivery room?
Just the final combo. That worked for us: I’d have been terrible at making a decision after he was born.
Is your baby named after anyone?
David isn’t after anyone specific but it has lots of good associations for me, from King David to family friends. Alfred is for the Saxon king Alfred the Great, a local hero for us. Gabriel is inspired by a character in my favourite Thomas Hardy novel, Far from the Madding Crowd.
What would your younger self have liked to name the baby?
I liked Arthur William for years. They’re still great names, just not the ones for me anymore.
What would your baby be named if it was totally up to you? If it was up to your partner?
I hit the jackpot and got my first choice! I had to ask my husband this question just now, as it hasn’t come up before. He likes names that are familiar, fairly short, rustic-biblical but not overly religious-sounding… after some thought he chose Jacob.
How do you feel about your own name and how did that influence your choice?
I like that Clare has substance and history, has different forms in other languages, and is unremarkable where I live. David ticks all these boxes too, plus it doesn’t have the Cla(i)r(e) spelling issues.
I decided to go by my middle name when I was four years old — my first name is Yvonne — so I made sure David has some good middle names to choose from if necessary! They’re all quite masculine though, so if it turns out he’s not a boy and wants a name to fit that, he may need to get more creative.
Was it important to choose a name that ‘matched’ your baby’s future siblings’ names?
No, they’ll just have to fit in with David!
Was it easier to come up with girl or boy names?
David was the only boy name we really considered, but we had several possible girl names. So boys were easier this time, but will probably be harder next time.
What would your baby be named if it was the opposite gender?
I’m keeping it under wraps, because it’s still on the cards if David gets a sister one day. The first name is a classic that’s out of fashion at the moment. I’m hoping to be in the vanguard of the revival!
Did you have different requirements for first and middle names?
Yes, definitely. The middle names (I pushed for two) were a chance to use names we liked for what they meant to us, but which didn’t feel right as a first name for our child.
How important a consideration was the flow of the first, middle, and last names?
We didn’t overanalyze it, but it was a factor in choosing the middle names, over other combinations with too many consonants clustered together.
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
There are lots of “ee” endings: Bertie, Laurie, Rudy, Toby, Sophie. And vintage girl names, like Martha and Hilda.
Did you experience ‘name regret’ at any point?
Not seriously. I didn’t think he suited David straightaway, but what newborn does? If I ever had any doubts, I reminded myself how much I’d regret not using David. He’s definitely grown into his name now.
Did you share your baby’s name before he was born?
Not officially. Partly for the surprise, partly because I was very cautious/superstitious about the whole baby thing. But I’d mentioned that I liked David to friends over the years, and a couple remembered and suspected. And I told some passing acquaintances I’d never see again.
Have any unexpected nicknames come up for your baby?
So many, most of them ridiculous and nothing to do with his name!
What was the most surprising part of the baby name process?
I was surprised that it wasn’t much of a process. Over the years, I’d envisioned making lists, cross-comparing with my partner, narrowing down, and making the final choice once we met our baby. For better or worse, it was much less gamified than that.
I spend a lot of my life reading about baby names, but when it came to naming my own baby I didn’t consult a single book or website for ideas. The right names were already there in our hearts, it was just a case of bringing them forward.
What advice would you give someone just starting the baby name process?
If you don’t know where to begin, think about qualities: what do you like/dislike about your own name(s)? Oh, and read Nameberry 😉
For the chance to participate in How I Named My Baby, please email email@example.com