Back when Ben and I found out we were expecting, we were surprised to find that one of the first – and most common – questions people asked was, “Do you know what you’re going to name the baby yet?”.
I remember thinking, Really? People actually know what they’re going to name their children even before they conceive?
We soon found out that Ben’s sister was also expecting – her due date is just a few days after mine! – and that, yes, she and her partner already had names picked out for their child. They had talked about baby names before and had already figured out what sounded good, looked good, and felt right. We also found out that some of our non-pregnant friends already names picked out for their future offspring.
Needless to say, Ben and I hadn’t even thought about it.
Growing up, I’d never been one of those girls who enacted her wedding day, or pre-chose a wedding dress after a one-year anniversary, or thought about baby names. Sure I’d always known I wanted to be a mother, and over the years there were certain times I’d hear a name whose meaning resonated with me, but it never dawned on me to start a mental list of baby names.
And Ben… well, Ben’s probably the mellowest, low-key guy I’ve ever met. He’s a procrastinator, but he’s also very good at listening to his intuition, so most of the time he just goes with the flow rather than planning ahead. He’s not exactly the type to have a list of baby names at the ready either.
Neither of us has ever done things very traditionally, so we brushed off the baby name conversation pretty easily and didn’t let it get to us. But as time continues to pass and the belly gets bigger, we’ve had more and more conversations concerning the baby’s name.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about choosing a name for our little one:
- Names are permanent. As in, forever. [Although I guess he/she could technically change it.] The thought of assigning someone something so important is overwhelming.
- Giving someone a name is an immensely personal and heartfelt process. Personally, I’m a huge believer in the power of words, and I’ve always felt that the name[s] given to me by my ancestors have helped guide me in my life’s purpose and path. I want my own child’s name to be meaningful and purposeful but not so overwhelming or intense that he/she could never live up to it. Rather than focusing on what sounds good, or what’s popular right now, I want my child to have a name that is a reflection of the incredible being he/she already is, and will grow to be. Which leads me to my next point:
- Getting to know the little one first has been important to me. As this baby grows inside me, I’m getting more and more of a feel for his/her personality [fiery, water-loving, brutally honest, calm].
- Choosing female names has proven to be easier for us than male names. We’re not sure whether that’s because there seem to be more female characteristics we’d like to foresee in our children, or whether it’s a sign that we’ll be having a girl, but it’s interesting nonetheless. We currently have a few girl names that we’re pretty set on, but only a couple that we’re wishy-washy about for a boy. Luckily for us, many names in the Hawaiian language aren’t designated feminine or masculine, so our options are pretty vast.
- We’ll know when we know. As I said, Ben and I are pretty non-traditional. When people ask what we’re planning on naming the little one, we’re honestly okay telling them that we don’t know yet. Truth be told, both Ben and I don’t think we’ll actually know the baby’s name until we meet him/her. And perhaps maybe even a few days later. Only time will tell.
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