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My naming advice to myself

I'll admit, I had a very rough time choosing a name for my daughter. For my son, we had a list of about ten names going into the hospital, narrowed it down to three once we saw what he looked like, and then my husband suddenly put his bossy pants on and said, "It's this one." Easy. With our daughter born in March, the list was three times longer and even though I narrowed it down to three like before, I left the hospital without a name picked. We called the hospital the next day to make at least one of them official, but it didn't feel right. I poured over my lists all night. Our top name suddenly felt boring, while the runner-up was so beautiful I really wanted to pick it, but it didn't look like her. Even after making her name official I considered a few others, wondering if one of them would jump out and say, "Why didn't you pick me?!"

I asked myself, what advice would I give to a friend having trouble making a decision?

- You've spent loads of time picking these names, researching and giving thoughtful consideration to each one. None of them are random and they all mean something to you, so logically, any of them would make a fine choice. So relax.

- What is your top priority? Focus on that. Do you want other people to gush over it? Or do you want to feel like, to you, it's the prettiest name in the world, regardless of what other people think? Do you want it to be masculine, feminine, flowy, sparkly, or strong? Do you want her to have to spell it and say it repeatedly? Does it matter more if the name is very unique, or would you go with a popular name if it felt perfect on your baby? Maybe the most important thing is that it's a family name, or maybe you want it to match a sibling's name.

- What does she look like? When you call her this name, does it feel right? Does it make you happy? Do you love explaining it to other people, and when someone trashes the name does it make you want to defend it, or do you get embarrassed?

- Tell people your options, and mind their reaction. If you tell five people the name and all five of them make a sour face (or verbal disgust for it), you might not want your child to deal with everyone disliking the name, even if Mom and Dad love it. However, if everyone says "What a pretty name!" and you still don't want to use it, go with that gut feeling.

- Consider her future. This is not your name, she will not be you. Without guessing what kind of personality, career, or talents she'll have, think of what you know for sure. 1) In 2016 the top 10 girls names are Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Isabella, Mia, Abigail, Emily, Charlotte, and Harper, while the rest of the top 1000 has choices that range from dated, ethnic, wildcard and nickname-y. These are the girls she will be in school with, the names of kids in her neighborhood and relatives. 2) Consider what state and city she lives in. A religious community? A hip and understanding community? Maybe there are three Kaylee's on your block alone, and you don't want her to be #4 or Kaylee N. 3) Consider the state of the world. For example, I doubt many people are naming their babies Isis right now, and I don't think Bertha is ready to come back to life just yet (or ever). Certain things are popular right now, too, just like Twilight made a few names super hip. 4) Judging by what you and your partner look like, you'll know if she's likely to be tall, brown-eyed, freckled, and probably what hair color, so what do you think she'll look like when she's your age? Look at a picture of your grandma and see if Granny looks like an Emma or a Raven. Genetics are powerful.


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