How I Named My Baby: Magnus Gabriel Nicholas
Imogen Gater, a teacher, and Nick Gater, a carpenter, live in a tiny thatch cottage in North Dorset, England with their three children. Their youngest, a son named Magnus Gabriel Nicholas, arrived in August.
Here, Imogen shares how she and Nick chose the baby name Magnus for their little boy.
How long did it take you to decide on a name?
AGES. Magnus was about a week old when we made the call. Gabriel was added in last second before he was registered as it made Magnus sit better with his other name, Nicholas. It’s a family tradition for sons to take the dad’s first name as a middle. So we ended up with Magnus Gabriel Nicholas.
When did you know you found “The Name?
I loved Magnus when I was pregnant with my daughter Theodora. Nick needed more persuasion, but the nickname Gus really swung it for him. When he was born the first thing Nick said was that he thought he looked like a Magnus.
How many names did you take into the delivery room?
A shortlist of nine names!
What strategies did you use to narrow down your name choices?
Oscar was removed because it was a repeat of our daughter Ottilie’s initial. Our (very naughty) dog is called Eddie so that knocked Edward out of the running. I couldn’t persuade Nick on Rufus or Rupert (I still love Rupert, maybe I need a new pet so that I can use the name!). Gregory and William just didn’t really ‘go’ with Ottilie and Theodora.
Did you ask anyone for advice about baby names?
Yes, with all three babies, and always regretted it. Best to keep quiet I think but I’ve agonised over it with each baby so it’s so hard not to ask for opinions!
Whose baby name opinions influenced you the most?
My dad, without his opinion Ottilie would have been Polly and Magnus may well have ended up Miles.
What name did you hate to let go of?
Rupert! It’s gorgeous. Soft but traditional.
What would your younger self have liked to name the baby?
I’d have preferred something plainer, maybe William.
What would your baby be named if it was totally up to you? If it was up to your partner?
Magnus! I got my wish. Nick loved Elliott but I’m dyslexic and to me, it just looks like an anagram of our daughter Ottilie’s name.
How do you feel about your own name and how did that influence your choice?
I like it. My full name is Imogen Allison Tallulah so it’s quite a full-on name. I like having an unusual name now but in school, I dreamt of being called Sophie. I wanted my children’s names to be unusual but not made up and I wanted them to have great nicknames.
Was it important to choose a name that ‘matched’ your baby’s older siblings’ — or future siblings’ — names?
Ottilie AnnabelTheodora FlorenceMagnus Gabriel Nicholas
I love that they go together so well. They are all about the same level of unusual. Plus, I also love that they can all have a few different nicknames, so they can pick what they like. At the moment they tend to go by Ottie, Teddy, and Gus.
What would your baby be named if it was the opposite gender?
Clover! I think it’s an absolutely dreamy girls’ name.
Did you decide on middle name(s) before the first name, or vice versa?
Nicholas was always a definite for a middle name. Magnus came next and Gabriel was added in to make them flow together nicely.
How important a consideration was the flow of the first, middle, and last names?
Well, we felt very aware that the name we chose, Magnus, didn’t flow well with the middle name, Nicholas. But adding Gabriel solved this and allowed me to pick one last name.
What was your biggest fear related to baby names?
Naming the baby and then the name becoming super popular. Like calling your baby Elsa and then Frozen being released a month later.
Did your baby’s older siblings have opinions or suggestions for names?
They are only 2 and 4. We asked but suggestions were limited to their friends’ names and ‘baby Jesus.’
What’s the worst/funniest name suggestion you received?
Our surname is Gater so anything that starts ‘Ali….’.
A shame because I loved Allegra for a girl and my own middle name is Allison.
Did you experience ‘name regret’ at any point?
I wouldn’t call it regret but I definitely doubted myself when we got the odd bad reaction in the early days. Pregnancy hormones and iffy reactions to the name you chose are not a lovely cocktail. That said, I couldn’t be happier with their names now.
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