I am a certifiable geek when it comes to baby names.
For as long as I can remember, I’d fantasize about the children I’d have and what I’d name them. Some of my picks from when I was little are extremely embarrassing. Thank goodness we don’t name babies when we’re five! However, once I actually had some tiny humans of my own to name, I was so stressed about it. It’s friggin hard to name a person! I agonized over each of my three children’s names before and, in my son’s case, after they were born, making sure they were just right.
And they are. I’m quite pleased with them.
Will I have any more kids? I don’t know. Maybe? Definitely not enough to use all the baby names on my list. A girl has to draw the line somewhere. But even feeling really good about not having several dozen mini-me’s running around, I can’t help mourning over all the baby names that might have been.
If you’re expecting–or maybe just need to name some characters for a novel you’re writing? Give me a shout out in the acknowledgments!–go ahead and borrow any of my unused favorite baby names, free of charge. You’re welcome.
Matilda: I have loved this name for years. It makes me think of cute little bookworms and adventurous Australians. And don’t get me started on the nickname Tillie. So cute. However, I’ve got one daughter with an M name and another whose nickname starts with M. I’m not really into all my kids having the same initial…which rules out other M names I love, like Melody, Milo, Miriam, and Mark. Plus Matilda sounds pretty similar to my oldest girl’s full name. I mix my kids names up enough without making things more difficult on myself.
Phoebe: This was on our short list for our second daughter. A year later, my brother named his second daughter Phoebe. I’m so happy they did, too, because it’s the perfect name for her. However…now I can’t use it. Nor do I want to use any of my cousins’ or their kids’ names, or my husband’s cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. names, and collectively our extended families are HUGE. Unless we specifically want to honor someone with a namesake, that’s a whole heap of baby names that are off the table.
Prudence: I really dig old-school Puritan-esque virtue names. Verity, Mercy, Constance, Loyal…love love love. I just don’t have the guts (or the coolness) to pull any of them off. Maybe something more mainstream like Hope or Grace.
Juniper: As one of a billion Jennifers born in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I always wished I had a more unique name. This feels like a cooler take on Jennifer, which I kind of dig. Since I don’t have a middle name to bestow on any of my kiddos, this might be fun way to have my own namesake. Except…June…Jen…it just sounds too much like my own name. Would it be weird to use this one? Maybe I shouldn’t completely rule it out…
Robert: This is both my dad’s name and his dad’s name, and I’d love to use it. Only problem is that I dated a guy named Robert pretty seriously in college. Eek. Neither my husband nor I dated a whole lot before we got together, but between us we have a list of exes whose names are completely off the table. (Looking especially hard at you, Scott, Patrick, and Jill, dang it.)
Maxama: This is a Xhosa name my husband fell in love with when he lived in East Africa for a couple years. To me, it’s a super cool variation on Max with only one problem: the X is supposed to be pronounced as a click. Forgive me, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to name my child something I struggle to pronounce. Plus it feels a little like cultural appropriation. That’s also why I’ve also ruled out names like Carmen, Leilani, and Malcom. I adore them, but it feels kind of questionable to use them on my blond-haired, blue-eyed children, y’know?
Harrison: My husband is a big Star Wars and Indiana Jones fan, and I wouldn’t mind a nod to one of the Beatles. However, our last name ends with -sen. For me that rules out any first names that end with the same sound. Jackson, Madison, Mason, Emerson, whether it’s a boy or girl name, I just can’t do that.
Olaf: Don’t laugh! This is a family name way back on my husband’s side that I was weirdly into when I was pregnant with my first. Now I wouldn’t dream of using it, thanks to a certain snowman who likes warm hugs. Alas for all the awesome baby names that have been ruined by pop culture.
Do you have a list of names you will probably never use? Share in the comments!