After posting a photo of my daughter on Facebook, with her name (Rowan), one of my newer friends commented, “Rowan is such a great name!” I do think it’s a great name, although I can’t take credit for it, nor did I really love it at first. Yup, that’s right. I didn’t immediately love my firstborn’s name! That’s because I “lost” when it came to choosing her name.
It was her father who chose it. He “won” when it came to naming our baby, which I learned seems to be an anomaly. After asking a handful of mothers, I discovered that they all got the name they wanted.
Now, as Royal fanatics eagerly await for the name of the newest royal—the firstborn of Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry—I’m wondering who will “win” the baby naming conversation. (Update: Archie! How cute!)
So why did I “lose” when it came to naming my firstborn? It’s not because I so wanted to name her “Apple,” a name that in England, no one would shake their heads at, and a name I both still love and resent Gwyneth Paltrow for (especially since she gave birth six months AFTER I did.)
Frankly, my daughter’s father “won” when naming our baby, because I was a complete and utter bitch throughout my pregnancy. I was also highly emotional and would burst into tears at least twice a day, even if it was over something so small as getting a pimple.
Basically, I was a complete handful when pregnant, and my daughter’s father was beyond patient with me during those very long nine months, of which—because I was an emotional rollercoaster—seemed probably just as long for him, if not longer. I honestly don’t know how he had the tolerance for pregnant me.
Since I was an absolute bitch and emotional mess, I thought the very least I could do was let my partner choose the name he wanted and loved for our daughter. So he sort of won by default.
When it came to naming my second born, I actually “won” big time. I chose the name “Holt,” a family name. I think my son’s father let me “win” because he had two girls and really, really, wanted a boy. Because I gave him a son he so desperately wanted, he allowed me free range when it came to his name (and not just the first name but the middle name as well!)
When I asked a friend who has two daughters who really won—I mean, someone has to come up with a name and the partner needs to agree—she said, “We both lost. Neither of us could agree on any name.” With both babies, she says, she and her husband didn’t agree on a name until after their babies were born, which, when you think about it, is really the ideal time to “win” your choice of baby names.
After all, whether you give birth naturally, or via c-section, your partner sees just how hard and painful labour is, so, yes, it really is the perfect time to ask for, well, anything in the world, including the name you want. (This is how I also got a Cartier Love bracelet with both babies, as my push presents! I mean, I did have eight layers of muscles cut to give birth to my babies!)
When I ask most mothers who really won when it came to naming their children, at the end of the day, they say they “won,” either because their partners didn’t feel as strongly as they did, or because they pushed (no pun intended) until their partners agreed, because, again, you don’t really want to face the wrath of a woman in her 9th month of pregnancy.
Yup, it took me a couple of years to get used to “Rowan,” my own daughter’s name. It didn’t seem to easily slip off my tongue and I can’t tell you the number of times people just assumed that she is a boy. At her very first doctor’s appointment, the receptionist pulled out a blue folder—yes, they had blue folders for baby boys and pink folders for baby girls—assuming Rowan was a boy. Even last week, when I had to pick up a prescription for her and needed the pharmacist to explain instructions, he said, “He has to put the cream on twice a day,” and, of course, I had to say, “Actually, Rowan’s a girl.” For 15 years, I’ve had to correct people.
Also, people would mispronounce her name, making me cringe when they pronounced “Rowan” as “Ro-Anne.” Now, I know a number of Rowan’s, of both genders. My daughter’s father was right. He wanted a strong name for his daughter. Now I look at my daughter and think, “Yes, you are so a Rowan!” But, again, it took about two years for me to really get used to her name, a name that suits her perfectly, that I so love, and also get a ton of compliments on.
With my son, Holt, people always ask twice what his name is. Often people mistake him as a “Colt,” or annoyingly ask, “You mean, like Holt Renfrew?” But, to me, unlike my daughter’s name which eventually grew on me, he is most definitely a Holt. I think that’s largely because I ‘won’ in getting the name I wanted.
In this article called, “The 6 things you should do before picking a baby name,” the editor created a number of “tests’ they encourage expecting parents to think about when it comes to baby naming.
One is, “Make sure it doesn’t rhyme with anything awful,” because of how “wildly imaginative children’s minds can be.” (“Arthur is a fart-her!”) as well as paying attention to words that could be rhymed with “bodily functions” or “private body parts.”
Another suggestion is “consider its longevity,” and the editor urges people to not get too inspired by current pop culture. “Naming your kid after some pop culture thing you’re obsessed with in the moment can be dangerous.”
I can’t think of anything negative to rhyme with either Rowan or Holt (except Holt the Bolt) But if you do, please don’t tell me!
Fifteen years ago, Rowan was not a popular name at all, yet last year “Rowan” made it to some “most popular baby names of the year” list I saw, landing at 100, out of 100 names.
I love the article’s idea to “Sing ‘Happy Birthday,’ and insert a potential baby name.” (You’ll be singing it a lot after all!) Finally, and I had never thought about this with either of my kids, but in this day and age, another suggestion is to Google the full name to be sure you’re not naming your kid after a well known serial killer, for example.
So, yes, I lost in naming Baby Number One, but won with Baby Number Two. Tell the truth. Did you get the name you want, and how did you do it?
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