How I Named My Children

I have two children, Sebastian is five, Quinn is a month old. The circumstances under which they were born were wildly different, and as a result, so where the circumstances under which they were given names.
 
I was single when Seb was born, and his Father had little to no contact with me throughout a majority of my pregnancy, so choosing a name fell very much on my shoulders. I also found out my baby's gender at my second anomaly scan whilst pregnant with him.
 
Quinn, on the other hand, was brought in to the world with a Mother and Father very much together, very much in love, and very much united in their plans to raise her. Unlike my previous experience, I now had to enter in to choosing a name as a joint venture. What's more, Boyfriend and I chose not to find out whether she was male of female before her birth, making discussions about baby names during pregnancy that bit more vague.
 
Sebastian was named long before his birth - in fact, I'd already bought personalised items for him in the weeks running up to his arrival. Quinn, on the other hand, spent her first four days on the planet entirely nameless.
 
These days, whenever someone asks me Quinn's name (which they do, often) their most common response is "Oh, that's unusual" - and you can usually tell whether they mean "unusual, but lovely" or just plain "weird" - some people don't appreciate unisex names, and I'm cool with that.
 
In Seb's case, people are usually less expressive in their reaction. It isn't an incredibly common name, but most people are very familiar with it as a boy's name, chances are you know a Sebastian, or at least know of one.

 
 
Whilst I'm not about to start referring the old dears on the bus to this blog post for further information, these experiences inspired me to at least write for my blog readers about how both of my children came to get their names. Names are something that really fascinate me. I love hearing other people's baby name choices. I'd love for you to leave a comment at the end of this post to tell me how you named your own child(ren) - did you find it easy to choose a name that both you and your baby's other parent agreed on?
 
Sebastian Oscar Douglas
 
Initially, Seb's name was going to be Rupert. Unlike most names-that-got-away, I actually think he could quite easily be a Rupert, it suits him just as much as Sebastian does, I think. I did however know an adult Rupert at the time who decided to tell me that he hated his name when he was growing up, and didn't think much of it as a man either... and I started to worry that maybe it did sound vaguely pretentious, and it was a bit of a bear's name.
 
It was actually my Mum that suggested Sebastian - and I immediately chastised myself for not having thought of it first. It had just enough public-school-boy to appeal to my rather Tory-charming character at the time I think, it seemed (says the woman who was, at the time, a penniless pregnant single Mother with enormous rent arrears) - rather aspirational. It is also the name of the male protagonist in Cruel Intentions, played by Ryan Phillipe... one of my ultimate movie guilty pleasures. The decision was made.
 
Oscar was another boy's name that I toyed with during pregnancy and eventually settled on as a middle name. At the time I didn't know any other infant Oscars, but it's grown enormously in popularity over the past five years and now I know quite a few Oscars - more and more Oscars seem to be born within my extended social circle each year, so I'm quite glad that I didn't go for it now.
 
Douglas was a boy's name that I loved, but it was actually chosen as a middle name for Seb in memory of my late Grandfather. Whilst I was pregnant with Quinn I was quite annoyed that I'd used it as a middle name because I wanted it as a boy's option if I had a second son - but now that I know I'll never have another baby, I'm glad that it features in Seb's full name.
 
Sebastian means, quite simply "a man from Sebastia" (a place in modern day Turkey) but this had no sway in my decision to use it.
 
Quinn
 
People are always quite surprised that Quinn has no middle names, I guess it's quite unfashionable to leave out middle names. So far in 2015 I can count 61 babies born within my social circle - yep, 61, not including Quinn. Of them all, there is not one without a middle name or two, poor old Quinn is the only one!
 
When she was born she had no name at all, we'd found girl's names really difficult because throughout most of my pregnancy our unborn baby's nickname had been Pepper. This came about after Seb asked one dinnertime what vegetable I would most like to be. I replied (very pregnant) saying I'd be a pepper, because you so often find a baby pepper inside when you cut one open. "Aww, Baby Pepper." we all said... and it stuck. Pepper being a legitimate girl's name though, we found it really difficult to imagine having a girl that wasn't called Pepper, even though we didn't really think we'd be able to call a child Pepper (partly, but not solely, because it's my best friend's dog's name.)
 
So when Quinn was born a girl, and we agreed that she definitely definitely wasn't a Pepper, we had nothing. We'd come up with a few girl's names early on, including Maeren, Meryl, Ffion and Raine - but none of them stuck.
 
Seb wanted to call her Rosie (I liked Rosemary, but again, it just didn't fit), then he suggested Eileen (???) before finally being adamant that he wanted his sister to be named Sun.
 
Eventually, after much faffing, we agreed that we liked Mabel - Mabel Raine Luther... we pretty much had a name. For whatever reason though, we didn't 100% go for it, we just let it hang there for a day or so.
 
On the Sunday after our baby arrived, I decided that enough was enough, and that by the time we went to bed that night, she would have a name, whether that meant us committing to Mabel Raine, or coming up with an alternative.
 
I've always liked unisex names for girls as opposed to obviously girlie names (you'll never catch me giving birth to a Maisie, for example) so I was doing some Googling of unisex Irish names (there aren't actually that many) as Boyfriend has Irish heritage, that we'd agreed we would loosely like to honour if we could. It was then that I found Quinn, fell in love with it immediately, and, much to my relief, got an equally positive response to from Boyfriend.
 
We tested it out for an hour or so, but as soon as it was there, floating between us, we looked at the baby and she just looked like a Quinn - it was our perfect name.
 
We spent a while trying out different middle name combinations (neither Mabel nor Raine were working for us) but eventually we realised that we were forcing the issue, and that Quinn Luther was  a pretty strong name on it's own - if anything a middle name would fluff it up too much and ruin it. So we opted not to give her one... unpopular choice though that may be.
 
Unlike when I was carrying Seb, Boyfriend and I had an interest in a name's meaning. Quinn means "wise", which we both liked (better than "cripple" - just one of many reasons I didn't want to call her Deirdre) and a lot of people comment to say she has a very knowing, "been here before" kind of look in her eyes so it seems to fit. I think she has a predominantly "feed me" look in her eyes but whatever!
 
As I'll be stopping at two children, that's me done with coming up with baby names for my own kids, but it was definitely one of my favourite parts of preparing for a baby - even if the baby did arrive before I reached a conclusion in one case! I think I'll remain ever excited to find out what other people choose to call their new arrivals though!
 

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