Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, 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!
We have three sweet boys: Maxwell “Max,” Henry, and Abel. We had a long list of boys’ names for Max, and we’ve been mostly choosing from it ever since. Though Abel was my favorite years ago, and it took my husband a long time to come around to it!
Now we’re expecting our fourth, and probably final, child. We thought it would be a boy, because, what else?! But it’s a girl!
I still have my list of girl names from Max, but none of them seem right. Abigail is out because of Abel, and I think Hazel is, too. I just don’t like the sound of the other names on our list: Violet, Lucy, Evelyn, Adeline, and Nora. Or I still like them, but maybe not enough to use them.
So we’re pretty much starting over from scratch, and would love some new ideas. I don’t think popularity bothers me. We know another Max, and a bunch of Henrys.
Our last name starts with an J and sends with a -son.
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Jaime –
Congratulations on your new daughter!
What you’re experiencing is pretty normal. Our tastes change. Now, if you’d had a daughter and named her Lucy or Violet, I’m sure you’d still love her name. Because it becomes all wrapped up in loving your child and the person she becomes, right?
But when a name is just a vague possibility, and we sit with it for a while, well … sometimes we love it more over time. (Sounds like that’s what happened with Abel!) And sometimes it just starts to feel like the moment has passed.
Lots of parents tell me that they start fresh with every pregnancy, as if their almost-names belong to that child, even if they weren’t ultimately chosen.
Since you’ve been considering this list for at least a few years, let’s put it aside and begin with some new possibilities.
Would you consider:
Edith – Abigail and Adeline have both become very popular, which always sends me scurrying to find similar-but-different choices. Traditional Edith, with sweet nickname Edie, seems like one option. Or maybe you’d like Biblical place name Eden? Read more about Edith here.
Eliza – Evelyn and Hazel make me think of Eliza. Also, I think a three-syllable first name might work well with your surname. Eliza can shorten to Ellie and Elle, but most girls I know answer to Eliza in full. Read more about Eliza here.
Genevieve – Evelyn and Violet both have such a strong ‘v’ sound. Would you like something similar, like Genevieve. Or maybe even Ivy? Read more about Genevieve.
Iris – Max, Henry, and Abel are short and sweet names, big on style, but still pretty straightforward. Iris seems like a feminine equivalent. Read more about Iris here.
Margot – Margot’s bright ‘o’ ending makes this traditional Margaret nickname feel light and modern. Read more about Margot here.
Thea – If you love Nora, but feel like it’s not for you anymore, might you like Thea? It could be short for Theodora or Dorothea or the like, but it stands well on its own. Read more about Thea here.
Willa – Willa strikes me as a homespun name, simple but stylish. I like it a lot with your boys’ names, traditional but not too common. Read more about Willa here.
I’m struggling to choose a favorite because, really, it seems like you still have so many good options. I like Vera quite a bit, and it does seem to pick up on some sounds that you really like. It’s sort of like a Nora-Evelyn-Violet crossover. And I think Max, Henry, Abel, and Vera are great together!
But I can’t wait to open this one up to the community, because I know there will be plenty of amazing suggestions.
Readers, what would you name a sister for Max, Henry, and Abel?