UPDATE: Michelle writes: Sorry for not writing in sooner! After not being able to agree on anything, my husband started to like the idea of Serena in the last couple of days before our daughter was born. It was such a relief! Even though it wasn’t my all-time favorite name, it’s the perfect name for her. Thanks so much to everyone for their help and hopefully I’ll be reaching out for help with Serena’s sister or brother name before too long!
Our first daughter will be here before the end of October and I’m pretty sure she’s going to be nameless.
My husband keeps suggesting names like Sarah, Erin, Emily, and Allison. They’re not bad names, but they’re all names of people we know, not names that anyone is calling their baby now.
I always thought my name was a little boring and plain, and wanted to choose something that would stand out a little more for my daughter. Yes, I’ve had a list since I was twelve! Right now, my favorites are Annalise, Aurelia, Daphne, Elora, Estella, Evangeline, Ophelia, Persephone, Serena, and Theodora, with my all-time #1 name being Francesca.
He says my list is just too much.
But our last name is one syllable – H!ll – so I think longer first names flow better. Plus, so many of these names have nicknames that we could always use. Franny H!ll makes my heart skip a beat!
Where do we go from here?
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your new daughter!
These kinds of questions are really hard, aren’t they?
That’s because the best names are compromises. But sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any overlap. Which leaves us feeling like there’s no way to even begin the conversation. So frustrating!
But let’s re-frame. Because what seems to be happening is this: your husband thinks of names he knows. The girls he sat next to in grade school; the women he considers friends and colleagues today.
That’s natural. In order to consider a name for our child, we have to hear it, right? And if you don’t spend a lot of time around children – which is pretty normal until we become parents ourselves – it’s easy to imagine that kindergartens are still packed with kids named Ashley and Jake and Austin and Rachel.
Not so, of course.
The names you’ve suggested, while all a little on the less-common side, are far more likely to sound at-home in a kindergarten sometime in the year 2028.
I do think the first step is to talk about your name and how you feel about it, and find out if he has any particular attitudes or opinions about names based on his own experience.
And then, would your husband be willing to sit down with this year’s current US Top 1000 list?
I’d suggest he picks out a half-dozen names or so that appeal to him. Maybe he’ll still come back with Sarah and Allison. (After all, they’re still Top 100 names.) But seeing current favorites with clear eyes can be really helpful.
And then, I wonder if there are any 1990s favorites that he’ll recognize, but that appeal to your preference for a longer, more interesting name?
1990s NAMES to CONSIDER
Regal and strong, with nicknames to spare.
A name straight out of ancient myth, with a long and elaborate sound.
A name that feels more ancient world than 90s trend.
Elegant and timeless.
A literary name that feels bigger than 90s pop culture.
A dramatic name kept in the spotlight in recent years thanks to the Marvel movies.
Similar to Serena, but with a different history and sound.
Born to rule.
It’s easy for me to choose favorites for your list. Persephone H!ll or Evangeline H!ll are amazing. And I can make a strong case for Serena or Sabrina or Cassandra, too.
But I also think it’s worth asking whether he might just warm up to Francesca after all? I’m guessing the first time you suggested it might be the very first time he ever heard it? More than one parent has rejected a name the first time around, only to find it exactly right nine months later.