How I Named My Baby: Eben Frank Dennis
Lily Whymark, a document controller, and Ryan Coulson, a design engineer, live in Kent, UK. They welcomed their first child, a son named Eben Frank Dennis Coulson, on July 13, 2020.
Here, Lily answer’s our questions about how she and Ryan named Eben.
When did you know you found “The Name?”
As soon as we had found out we were having a boy, we knew we liked the name Arnold, which I had seen in a baby book. This was the only name we both loved until my dad suggested Eben, which was my great Grandpop’s name, Ebenezer. Surprisingly, my partner Ryan loved this too. We came to the agreement if our baby boy was fair-haired, he would be Arnold, if dark-haired he would be Eben.
What strategies did you use to narrow down your name choices?
My partner was a complete nightmare when it came to names! Looking back now, I am thankful he was such a fusspot as we only agreed on two names in the end. It was much easier to decide from two names rather than, say, ten!
Did you ask anyone for advice about baby names?
We both have huge families — huge, opinionated families. So, we decided to keep them on their toes, and this prevented any awkward comments.
Is your baby named after anyone?
Yes, our son is named after my great grandfather Ebenezer Little who, on my father’s side, was known as Grandpop. My dad suggested Eben, as this was what Grandpop’s friends and family had called him. Coincidentally, we called my bump ‘Baby Pop,’ which was a private joke between me and my partner so it felt like it was meant to be.
What name did you hate to let go of?
I really love the name Clay; I am all for traditional names as you can see! My partner and I love the unheard and unusual. But someone told me Clay was the name of a character from the US TV series 13 Reasons Why, and my partner really didn’t really like it anyway. I even love it as a middle name, so maybe next time!
What would your younger self have liked to name the baby?
When I was in my teenage years, I loved the name Romeo for a boy! God knows where that came from. I would not even consider it now.
What would your baby be named if it was totally up to you? If it was up to your partner?
I do believe Eben or Arnold were always going to be my top choices. I was lucky that Ryan loved them as much as I did — we didn’t have to battle to get those up there.
My partner would have had Frank from day one! He is a HUGE Chelsea FC fan, so much that he was wanting to name our son after the footballer (now manager) Frank Lampard. One of Eben’s middle names is Frank — this is after Frank Lampard but also a family name. It was important to me that we included family names in the middle names. Dennis is also a family name on both sides.
How do you feel about your own name and how did that influence your choice?
Funnily enough, I had never thought about it before, but my name, my partner’s name, and now our son’s name all have four letters: Lily, Ryan & Eben. Thinking ahead, maybe Baby Number 2 will need four letters too!
What would your baby be named if it were the opposite gender?
We loved the name Pearl for a girl. We looked at all family names on both sides of the family and Pearl was Ryan’s grandmother who sadly passed a few years ago.
Did you decide on middle name(s) before the first name, or vice versa?
We really wanted family names as the middle name(s) especially. Frank was a name Ryan wanted as a first. I really thought it to be too popular and dreaded the thought of announcing our baby was named after a Chelsea FC player, but it is also a family name so we agreed it would be a perfect fit for a middle name. Dennis was picked from the start as it was the name of my great grandfather and Ryan’s grandfather. We were certain about Dennis and love how well it went with both Arnold and Eben, our name choices.
How important a consideration was the flow of the first, middle, and last names?
It was important that we wanted to use more than one middle name. As having the surname Coulson, we found, really goes with anything unless it has ‘on’ at the end. We were lucky that the names we chose really flow together. All three names are traditional and slightly old fashioned. We love the history of each name and together, they really tell a story.
Which partner had more fun with the baby name process?
Me, for sure! Ryan would sit with the baby name book every day, sometimes twice! As he was so fussy about what name we should have. He said he wanted it to be ‘perfect,’ as did I of course, but I just happened to like anything that was a bit different or traditional.
What advice would you give someone just starting the baby name process?
I would say keep any names you like to yourself and between you and your partner only — until you are at your end of the pregnancy or until after the baby is here. We found that everyone has an opinion, and some will make comments such as, ‘that’s lovely but…’
Also, my biggest fear was the thought of someone else taking the name. As we went with an unusual name, it meant even more to us that it wouldn’t spread, and the next thing you know your mum’s colleagues and cousin’s friend have heard the name and copied it. If you find people are really onto you, just mention names you like but have not made your top list. That way you are being honest about liking them and you will not get any more questions!
Thank you so much, Lily!
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