Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
I have a baby girl due in July. I have four boys already, so this is an exciting time! I finally get to name a girl. Now that it is a reality, i think naming my boys was so much easier.
My husband gave my full permission to name our girl which is so exciting!! H@yes is the last name.
Here are my boys:
Felix James H@yes
Theodore Henry H@yes
Julian Jack H@yes
Sawyer Alexander H@yes
Potential girl names:
Ophelia Moon – This is my number one. I have been obsessed with this name since I was a little girl. The only draw back is the whole Ophelia being a tragic heroine in Hamlet. I think the name is romantic, and the truth is i don’t think many kids know about Hamlet. 🙂 By the time they do, Ophelia will be old enough to not really care. Any other middle name suggestions?
Uma Rose– I think this name sounds so beautiful.
Lucia– I love the meaning
Anouk – I worry that it is too harsh sounding, but I think it is beautiful.
Anais – I have also been obsessed with this name forever but I feel like it would forever be a spelling and pronunciation problem.
Marigold– I think its pretty, and Goldie as a nickname is so cute!
Fiona – I think this is a sweet name.
Read on for my response, and please add your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Hi Sofia –
Congratulations on your first girl!
Since you’re not asking for new suggestions, I’m not going to add to your list – you’ve got great possibilities already!
It seems like one of your big questions is whether Ophelia would be a burdensome name for a daughter. I don’t think so; in fact, I’ve been watching Ophelia recently. It was more commonly used in the past, and there are plenty of reasons to think that the tragic fate on Hamlet’s Ophelia doesn’t make the name unwearable in 2016. But let’s have a poll, because I’d love to get a broader range of opinions on this one:
I’m curious to see the outcome of the poll, but even without seeing the results, I think it’s a great choice. First, it’s been your longtime favorite – and you’ve been naming babies for a while! Second, it fits with Felix, Theodore, Julian, and Sawyer – gently old-fashioned, a little bit literary and romantic.
If you’re still on the fence, one thought is to choose a more conventional middle name. I like Ophelia Moon – okay, I love it! – but Moon is a bolder middle name choice than you’ve made before. (Sidenote: there is a moon of Uranus called Ophelia.) James, Henry, Jack, and Alexander are all pretty traditional middles – fallback names, if you will. Something like Ophelia Mae, Ophelia Louise, or Ophelia Jane might be a safer choice. And, of course, Ophelia Rose is an obvious choice since you already have Rose on your list.
Just in case my cheerleading for Ophelia hasn’t convinced you, let’s take a look at the other possibilities.
Fiona and Lucia strike me as safer, more conventional options. Fiona and Lucia were both in the US Top 250 in 2014 – not super popular choices, but the kind of names that you’ll hear from time to time. I think they’re lovely choices for a daughter that hit that sweet spot: familiar, but not too common.
Anouk, Anais, and even Fleur are gorgeous name, but I agree with your assessment – they can be tough to pronounce and spell for native English speakers. Some parents shrug this off; others find it frustrating. You have to love the name enough to overlook the occasional headaches.
Marigold, Lula, and Uma are all great names, but they’re all pretty rare. In other words, they’re not any more mainstream than Ophelia, and so I wouldn’t trade your favorite for one of these three names, thinking they’d be easier to wear. (Though I suspect Marigold is going to get a nice little bump from the Downton Abbey storyline involving Edith’s secret daughter.)
Oh wait – I said I wouldn’t add any more names to your list, but Marigold and Ophelia make me think of Magnolia. It’s a gorgeous garden name (like Fleur and Marigold), but shares the -lia ending of so many lovely names for girls – including Ophelia.
And yet, overall I think you should stick with your favorite name, and the only question is whether to keep your bold middle name choice, or opt for something more conventional. If you hesitate to use Ophelia, I think a more conventional middle name like Rose might be a reassuring choice. But if I’ve talked you into using Ophelia without reservation, then by all means, go with Ophelia Moon!
What would you suggest to Sofia? Is Ophelia Moon the right choice, Ophelia Rose, or is there another name you think the family should consider for their first girl?