"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Picking a name for your child is a huge moment, and something that takes plenty of time and consideration. We often have a short list of names, and when the child is born, we decide whether the name suits that child. We've all heard people say "We were going to call him James, but he looked more like a Dave when he came out". 

So what is really in a name? This blog series is here to share why people picked the names they have given their children. Each week we will be hearing someone's story about their choice in names, and how they came about.  Today we find out how Emma from The Non Perfect Parent decided on the names of her two girls.

Emma is one of those names that never seem to go out of fashion and being a late 80’s baby, incredibly popular. Growing up throughout school I could never just be Emma. I always had to be Emma B or Emma and my surname. Still to this day (as you can probably tell) it was something that really affected me. So when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter, naming was a massive thing for me and I loved playing ‘the name game’. I knew I wanted her to have a name that gave her individuality and meant that when someone said her name she wasn’t left looking for clues as to if they were speaking to her or the four other children with the same name (ahh the painful memories!!).

My husband however is plain through and through and liked what were, to me, the most awful, boring names you could come up with. At the time I was working in a Nursery and this had a huge effect on our choices. Every time my husband suggested a name it would remind me of a certain child and I didn’t like it for some reason or another- usually being it was too popular!!

We found out at our 20 week scan that we were having a girl so The Name Game was on! Typically we’d decided on a boy’s name but couldn’t agree on a girls. With our daughter being due (and born) in January I came up with the idea of a Winter name and decided I loved Snowflake. I know, I know- No-one gets it but even to this day I love it. My husband however, was a definite no to this and I knew he wasn’t for budging… at all.

In the end we decided to double barrel her name- this meant it was individual but not too different- a compromise for both of us! The first half is a variation of my husband’s Grandma’s name (which when we told Grandma what we were calling our daughter she said “oh like mine, I never did like my name”…!). The second half is a significant name in my family. We didn’t give her a middle name, which I massively regret and is something my daughter constantly tells us off for. In fact, when she found out that I wanted to call her Snowflake, she was extremely disappointed that we didn’t,
wanted to know why and has decided that this is her middle name. Quite often pieces of work come home from school where she has written her full name with Snowflake in the middle!!!

We’d decided on this name quite a bit before our due date and this was the one we stuck with. There was no question of if she looked like ‘her name’, it was already decided. I knew before she was born that we would have a fight on our hands to keep her double barrel and I was determined to do so. Even now, six years on, people still try to automatically shorten it to just the first half or when asking her name only comment on the first half of it. She doesn’t answer to just the first half however, as to her and everyone that is close to us- she is not just that one name. She is the two. It really, REALLY annoys me when people just use the first half of her name- I can’t even describe the feeling I get. I just find it so disrespectful as it’s no-one else’s decision to make and that isn’t the name we called her. We double barrelled for a reason. Another thing I find is that when people do this and I tell them that that’s not her name and it’s not to be shortened in that way, they don’t like it! When I offer them a couple of the nicknames we use to shorten it, they refuse to use them and just use her full name.

Despite not wanting her double barrel to be shortened, I did want to be able to shorten her name and she has quite a few nicknames that we use and don’t mind other people using. I only know of two other children with the same name as my daughter, typically one of them is in the same school but in a different year group! I still love her name and she definitely suits it!

Five years later, I was pregnant with number two and still had the same feelings about choosing a name that gave individuality without being too different, but this time I knew we’d have a middle name too! We stuck with the same boys name we’d decided on last time but I decided to double barrel that, although without the intention to use both names (just to confuse things!). Our boys name was a name we both liked (no significant meaning) that would be shorted to a nickname he would be known as rather than using his full name. I decided to double barrel it with my grandfather’s name and have my husband’s late father’s name as a middle name. (Can you tell I like names with a significant meaning!!) Of course at the 20 week scan we found out we were having a girl. So once again it was back to the drawing board for names.

I had my heart set on a specific girls name but my husband wasn’t keen so I spent the next 20 weeks trying to persuade him that it was the name. Which worked, as it grew on him and he agreed that it was indeed the name- yayy! It isn’t a name that is too different but isn’t up there in the top 50 names. The only other name I toyed with was Emily, as a variation of Emma but my husband didn’t like that as “It was too much like Emma” … Erm, that’s kind of the point!!!!

Looking back I’m glad we decided against that as it is another name that is popular and growing in popularity. The other thing we had to think about, already having an older child, was whether both names sounded okay together! I thought these two sounded beautiful together and was really happy. That was our first name decided, like last time, well before our due date! The next thing then was to decide on a middle name. I really wanted to have a significant name as part of this baby’s name, especially as our eldest’s first name had a significant meaning. So I tried to find and come up with a variation of my Nana’s name but I just couldn’t find something that fit. We picked one that we both liked, with no significance, but after thinking about it for a few weeks it just wasn’t quite right. We threw lots of names up in the air, some of significance some just ones we each liked but just couldn’t decide. A few people suggested we used the second half of our eldest daughter’s name as a middle name but it just didn’t fit for me. That was the eldests’ FIRST name- her name. She was already going to have to learn to share so much with her sister that I didn’t want her to have to share her name too. The whole thing behind her name was that it gave her individuality and by giving it to her sister, well I felt it totally went against that!

There was another girl’s name we had that we both really liked but I didn’t want to use as a first name as it is too popular. So we threw it up there as a middle name and we liked it. Something else we considered this time was the baby’s initials- I didn’t want them to spell anything unsavoury and was very conscious that that’s all they would be- letters. We decided that we would wait until she was born to make a final decision on her middle name, so that’s what we did and stuck with that last name that we both liked. When we announced her name after she was born, we got so many comments on how beautiful it is and how people love it- a bit of a contrast to last time!!! Again I wanted to be able to shorten her name but instead of going with the common nickname for this name, I made my own variation (you’ve probably realised by now that I like to be different!!!). I absolutely love her nickname and most people ask about it or comment on it. With both girls, I looked up the meanings of their names when choosing. This didn’t affect my decision in any way but it was something that I was conscious of.

To celebrate the birth of both of our girls, we held a naming ceremony instead of a Christening and within this officially announced their names, their nicknames, the meaning of them and the reasons behind them.

Anyone that follows me on social media will know that I don’t use the girls’ names on any of my sites and instead use the names The Wildcat and Bunny. There is no big story behind these and the reasons are quite simply; The Wildcat (our eldest) was a complete and utter hooligan and quite possibly still is. With our youngest, everyone bought clothing with rabbits on, rabbit teddies, rabbit slippers… if they turned up with a gift, it had rabbits on it!! And from that came Bunny. I do really wish I had thought of the name Bunny when choosing our youngest’s name as as soon as I thought of it I wanted to re-name her (haha) and surprisingly my husband really liked it too. But like her sister, she really suits her name and I still love it.


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