What’s In A Name?

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. 

Aloha Pumehana.
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7 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

  1. missdarque says:

    My boyfriend’s brother was expected to be a girl, and so a girl’s name was all picked out. Sierra. Yet, he came out a boy. So, for a few days after his birth he didn’t have a name. My boyfriend was so pissed that his little brother didn’t have a name. He was afraid that his little brother was going to go through life without a name (my bf was three at the time). They finally settled on a name, and the girl’s name was passed on to his cousin.

    My sister-in-law and my bf’s brother had some name ideas, but it wasn’t until about the very end of her third trimester that they finally settled on a name.

    Sometimes it just takes a while. My sister picked out names for her future children when she was young, but she changed her mind later. You just don’t know until you meet the child. That’s my opinion. You can have all of the plans in the world, and they can change them in an instant. Sometimes a pre-chosen name just doesn’t suit.

    • Haley Rabago says:

      I totally agree, Amanda. Everyone keeps saying that we’ll have a boy simply because we don’t have ANY idea what we’d name him if it was a boy.. haha. Time will tell, I suppose =)

  2. Angela @ The Chicken Scoop says:

    I’ve got names I would use and I don’t even intend on having kids. LoL! But you are right, it is very personal and you will probably want a few days to bond before picking a name. I mean, it took me like 2 weeks to name my cat!

    • Haley Rabago says:

      Exactly, Ang! Naming ANYTHING is so much more difficult than it seems at first, hehe. I never knew that you didn’t intend to have kids… learn something new every day =)

  3. lovelylici1986 says:

    I totally get what you’re saying. It’s important for the name to fit the child. It’s great that you’re getting to know baby before sticking a name on him/her. It’ll come to you. 🙂

  4. DIana says:

    Completely agree with you Haley. Both boys weren’t named until they were a few days old. It’s funny though because you have a new baby, everyone wants to know his/her name, when I told them I wasn’t sure yet, well, it’s just funny the responses you get in life. I’m not a planner, at all, and even though we technically have 9 months to come up with a name, for me I had to see the little face first and have it resonate.

  5. Ange says:

    With our first, we narrowed it down to two of each (plus middle names – easy because there were family names we wanted to use) when I was about 37wks. Our son arrived a week later – he was early, fast, and came with a gusty yell, and we knew immediately that the “stronger” of the two boys’ names was the one for him 🙂
    With number two….we’re still mulling it over. We know it’s another boy, which makes it a bit easier (although like you, we found girls’ names so much easier, both times), but still want to have a couple of options so we can choose once we meet him.
    Take your time to play with names and see how they feel. If you can’t imagine calling out a name in public…probably cross it off the list 😉
    I’m a firm believer that you’ll just know 🙂

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