How I Named My Baby: True Luck
Chelle and Chris Roman live in San Diego, California with their three sons: Cyler Michael-Anthony, Rook Drace, and True Luck.
After a lucky birth and no real frontrunners for his name, Chelle and Chris committed to a name they never thought they’d use — True Luck.
Here, we talk to Chelle about how she and Chris named True.
Tell me how you named True!
We had a really hard time with boy names. True was definitely the hardest, at least for me, because I knew the mistakes I made with the other boys’ names. I really like my second son’s name, Rook. My husband was like, “You’re trying to top a name that you love so much — it’s not going to happen.”
We didn’t have names for any of our kids until after they were born. But at least with the first two, we had a shortlist. For True, we had a list of 1,000 names that I didn’t really like.
I went into labor late at night and didn’t sleep until the second day. Chris and I were both delirious, and we weren’t any closer to naming him than we were nine months prior. Chris was reading off names, but nothing was really sticking. The birth certificate lady kept coming in and saying we had to make a decision, but we were like, “We can’t!”
She finally came in and was like, “You know, in California, you have a year to amend this pretty easily.” That gave me the freedom to name him whatever. We could change it if we needed to.
True was born en caul, which is still in the amniotic sac. All the nurses and the midwife were like, “This is good luck!” So I wanted a lucky name. I didn’t love any of the names that mean luck we were finding, so I said, “Let’s just name him Luck.” But I didn’t love the way Luck and Rook sounded together.
Chris said, “What about True Luck?” I was like, “That’s the name of a restaurant!” We literally passed Truluck’s on the way home.
Then we thought, “So what? Let’s just do it.” If we don’t like it, we can change it.
But it stuck. It just works — he’s True.
What were the other names on your shortlist?
I really liked the name Win, but my husband was “eh” on it.
Jokingly, at the beginning of my pregnancy, my friend was like, “What about Midas? You can call him Mighty!” It’s kind of weird, but I really like the nickname Mighty. It was funny because we had a similar situation for my son Rook’s name. We had been calling him “The Rookie” as a pregnancy nickname. Everyone was like, “Just name him Rookie!” We felt like we couldn’t name a kid Rookie, but Rook worked.
I’m still a little surprised we didn’t go with Midas. But it didn’t fit, it had too many connotations. And I loved Mighty, I didn’t love Midas.
We liked the name Bishop, but we couldn’t do that because we have a kid named Rook. That would be weird — we don’t really like chess that much!
My husband thought I came up with such weird stuff. Bays, Fortune, Charm, Lynx, Swift. I like the name Braver, Breaker, so many that Chris was like, “Chelle, no.”
Where are you finding these names?
By the time I was pregnant with True, it was a joke between my family and friends: “We just need to come up with a word that could be a name.” My brother would send me random words every day, like Lamp and Tree. I just was hoping something would come to me, honestly.
I prefer my kids to have names that people would say, “Oh, I wouldn’t want that name.” Before I had Rook, we got comments like, “You can’t name him that,” just knowing it was on our shortlist. Even after he was born, people said things. But Rook loves his name. He’s almost ten and he thinks it’s super cool.
Did you ever think of girl names?
Not for True, because I was pretty confident we were going to have a boy. With Cy and Rook, we had a list of girl names that we both really liked. We could have named a girl more easily than our boys.
In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t have girls, because our top two names were Cora and Aurelia. I wouldn’t be happy with those now. I just feel like they’re too common for our taste. It’s easier for girl names to be trendy.
What would your younger self have liked to name a baby?
I liked a lot of trendier names! Especially the different but trendy spellings that now I’m glad I didn’t choose. I mean, Cyler is borderline — it’s kind of a name but kind of not. I really liked the name Cy, but Chris thought it was too short. I kind of agreed, so we went with Cyler. The funny thing is, he prefers to go by Cy. Now he’s like, “How come you didn’t just name me Cy?”
My younger self would have chosen a name similar to how we named Cyler. Some type of Brayden, Aiden, sort of thing.
Do you have any name regret about True?
No, I don’t. I think it fits him really well. My only name regret is Cyler’s middle name. We used Michael-Anthony, family names, for his middle name. I didn’t do that with Rook or True, and I’m glad I didn’t. It’s nothing against the family members, but the names are kind of boring! They don’t really fit him and they don’t really fit our style. I wish we had thought of a better way to acknowledge the family members without it being just Michael-Anthony.
I don’t really have any regrets with True because it was so hard coming up with the name. We tried so many others that I don’t think we could have come up with anything that we liked more.
How do you feel about your own name, and how do you feel that influenced your choice of baby names?
My name is Rachelle, and apparently, I was going to be named Rachel. Once I was born, my parents thought it was too bland, so they changed it to Rachelle. I’ve always loved that story, and I love feeling like they wanted a more special name for me.
I liked that I didn’t know many people with my name growing up. I knew one other person at my high school who had my name, and it was spelled differently. Rachelle wasn’t super common, but it also wasn’t too crazy.
Everyone thought my name was Rachel because of how it was spelled, which is why I go by Chelle. And with that, I love nicknames. Pretty much all of us go by nicknames. My middle name is a family name. It’s really uncommon — Belmida. It’s a Portuguese name, my great grandma’s name. I hated it growing up because I thought it was weird, but I love it now. It’s different but meaningful. I always knew I wanted different names because my name wasn’t super common.
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
My kids’ friends have a lot of different names. There’s not a ton of overlap, but we know a million Jacks and Henrys. Other than those more common names, a lot of their friends have really unique names. The trend seems to be not having a trendy name.
That kind of made it hard. There were names that I really liked when I had Cy and Rook that I couldn’t use for True because we know kids with the names. Like Jett. We love the name Jett but know three of them. We know two Reefs! And Gage. My kids are older, so we know a lot of kids with names that we used to like.
The nice part is that nobody questions my kids’ names or said, “That’s a weird name.” It was more like, “Oh yeah, his name is True Luck, got it.” There are a lot of interesting names around. One of the Reefs has a sister named Brighton. And my kids went to preschool with a girl named Sky Blue.
Did Cy and Rook have any suggestions for baby names?
Yes! They were all over the place. Rook really wanted to name him Mack, but we didn’t like any of the longer names that went with Mack. And our only nephew’s name is Jack, who we call Baby Jack. Rook kept calling the baby Baby Mack, but that’s too close.
Cy really liked the name Quint. And they both suggested a lot of anime names, video game names, Pokémon-type names. Chris and I had to be like, “I don’t think we’re going to name the baby Goku.” We’re not Japanese — I don’t think those names would suit us very well.
They also suggested boring names. One of them said, “What about Frederick, Mom?” and I said, “I don’t know about that one, bud.”
They had ideas but they weren’t set on any one name. If they had been really passionate about one name, we probably would have fit it in.
Does True have any nicknames?
We’ve been calling him Truey. We weren’t super smart about this. We have a cat named Tsunami, who we call Sue and Sue Sue, so we tangle those up every now and then.
We’ve called him Lucky a few times, but it hasn’t really stuck. There are certain songs where we sing where we’ll sing Lucky instead of True, because the word true is in a lot of songs and it sounds silly.
I call him Choo Choo more than anything because when you say True True fast, it sounds like Choo Choo.
What was the most surprising part of the baby name process?
How big of a decision it is! It has surprised me every time. I thought that when I had a kid, it would be so much fun to name them. I didn’t really enjoy digging through names to try and find the right one. It was a lot of pressure! All three times it felt hard, and each time it got harder.
I don’t know how people name their kids before they’re born. I have many friends who’ve done it, and I’m like, “I don’t know how you settled on a name before you met the baby.” It seems like you’re committing to something so huge.
If we hadn’t waited to name our babies before we met them, either Cy or Rook would be named Radley. I don’t like that name anymore, and it wouldn’t have suited either of them. I’m so glad we waited!
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting the baby name process?
Just wait. The name will come to you. Don’t feel like you need to name the baby before they’re here. If we hadn’t waited, we never would have picked the name True. There’s no rush! You’ll figure it out when they get here.
Thank you so much, Chelle!