When I was pregnant with my first child, like many expectant mothers, I enjoyed the process of selecting names. I had a special book in which I’d write down each potential name three times; once on it’s own, once with my husband’s surname (more on why they took his name later) and once with a middle name too. I liked looking at the names in every form but my strongest reaction was when it was written singularly, without the distraction of other names.
I have written here before about the multiple ways in which couples select baby names and the importance of name approval. A friend of mine, who has two daughters, said she didn’t feel “confident” enough to choose an unconventional name for her first-born, but she did for her second-born. By then she said she didn’t really mind what people thought of her chosen name. She loved it and name approval was not as important. Another friend recently told me that after sharing her baby’s potential name with her mother, she was unable to use it as her mum did not like it.
Some couples come up with a new list of names each time they are pregnant. And others say they use a second preference name for subsequent pregnancies. Our third daughter’s name was the alluring understudy for our second.
We have kept the sex of our unborn babies a surprise each time. For my first pregnancy we had a list of about a dozen girls names, and only a couple of boys names. The girls’ names on my “list” always filled me with such emotion and connection, but the boys’ names failed to excite me. We seemed to have an excess supply of girl’s names, and we failed to settle on a boy’s name every time. I will run out of eggs before I run out of name options for girls.
For our third (and final?) pregnancy, I thought we ought to be prepared for a boy. We liked two boy’s names but couldn’t decide on the “one”. The possibilities were Ben and Novak. Obviously the former is a very conventional name – its popularity continues from one generation to the next and it always makes the Top 50 lists. Novak, on the other hand, is one you don’t see on any list, certainly not in Australia! Novak is a popular name in Eastern Europe – most people have heard of Novak Djokovic, even if they don’t follow tennis. But we couldn’t decide if we wanted to be traditional, or unique, safe or daring.
I am always fascinated by people’s name choices, particularly when there’s a story behind it or it’s unique. As it turns out, our daughter’s names are not very unique at all, although I wasn’t aware of their popularity at the time. We chose them simply because we loved the names – they are evocative.
McCringle research has just released the Baby Names 2013 report – an analysis of baby names and trends. Here are some of the findings:
* Charlotte is the #1 most popular girls name for the first time ever
* The names Ava, Amelia & Emily have entered the Top 10 Girls’ Names whilst the names Sienna, Ella and Isabella have left the Top 10.
* More than half the girls’ names in the Top 20 end in an “a” sound, and 19 out of the Top 20 end in a vowel (or “y”).
* Girls names are longer and flowing compared to the short and sharp boys names.
*Jack is back, baby! The names Jack and William have switched positions – Jack is back at #1, a position it held for 5 consecutive years before losing the crown to William for the last two years.
* The name Braxton has made an impressive entry into the Top 100, jumping straight in to #41
* Jackson or Jaxon is #10. I didn’t even know it could be spelt that way!
* There has been a rise in the number of surnames being used as first names particularly for boys. Examples include Cooper, Hudson, Harrison, Archer, Braxton and Hunter
The only name that is in both the girls and boys list is Charlie.
Lily, Ivy, Ebony, Skye, Olive, Amber, Jade, Rose, Violet, Poppy, Holly, Willow, Summer, Ruby and Jasmine
Creative Spelling examples
Mikayla/Makayla (and you can guess how I feel about both of these spellings) Indiana/Indianna, Isabelle/Isabel, Izabel, Charlie/Charlee, Jackson/Jaxon, Aiden/Aidan
The process of naming your baby is so much fun. I anticipate the SMS announcing a baby’s arrival with such excitement. The measurements and method of delivery takes a backseat to the intriguing NAME reveal….
Interesting fact: Leonardo DiCaprio was given his name when his pregnant mum felt his first kick as she was looking at a Da Vinci painting in an Italian museum.
Are any of your children’s names on this list? Do you have a story about name selection? Was it easier for you to choose names for boys or girls?