Culture Motherhood

What’s in a name?

How to choose a baby name

Ahh baby names. Quite possibly nothing more terrifying than deciding what to name your children. There are SO many things to consider. Do you want a traditional name? Something with a nod to your heritage and cultural background? Something unique? Something long, short, etc? In fact, naming your kid comes with so much pressure attached to it that entire industries have been built around it — baby naming consultants, books and of course an endless amount of websites, blogs and “top baby name” lists are all part of the baby naming process nowadays.

So how *do* you choose? Of course, naming your child is one of the most personal decisions (and also one of the first of many) you’ll make as a parent. I do think it seems to come with much more pressure nowadays than in the past. I’ve even read many articles stating that when thinking of what to name their kids, parents are already thinking about that child’s particular “brand”. Yowza. No pressure or anything am I right??

My own baby naming story was a bit of a mess. Since we opted out of finding out the sex of our baby, we had to come up with two lists of names (for a boy or for a girl). I also think baby naming immediately brings up people you’re not too fond of. As we went through our lists, I remember my husband rejecting my names for one reason or another, anyone else experience this?! There are endless options for baby names out there but we knew we wanted our child to have a Polish name so that narrowed it down a bit. There would be no Apple or North here 😉  I do love some unique names out there but considering both of us have very distinct Polish names we wanted our kids’ names to have the same ring to it. And on a more personal note, I thought it would be something that would tie my child to her cultural heritage. I think it absolutely builds character and celebrates your culture so why not?

After immigrating to the States as a child there were many times I cringed when teachers/peers couldn’t pronounce my name. But eventually, I owned it and loved being different. I hoped that my child would do the same. (Can’t make it all easy for them! haha 😀 ) And on the plus side there is some merit to having a hard to pronounce name — it’s the ones everyone remembers! Ha victory for the kid who didn’t have enough room on the standardized test forms for her name!

After our daughter was born and we found out she was a girl, we realized that we…hadn’t actually finalized a girl name! Needless to say, poor thing was legit known as “baby girl” until minutes before being discharged. lol. I kept waiting for that moment of knowing that a certain name was right but it honestly never came. She was just a cute, squishy tiny baby! We even had a white board in the room where doctors/nurses and friends and family could vote on their favorites lol Eventually, I let my husband make the final decision and even as he was filling out the paperwork I was still second guessing myself. However, today I love her name and though we initially wanted to give her a very Polish-sounding name, Amelia is actually universally known in both languages (and several others as well!)

All in all, I guess I would advise soon-to-be parents to just go with their gut. Choose a name that means something to you, that you like and that’s really the best you can do. And if you want to give your child a name that represents your cultural heritage, do it! Don’t be afraid of people not being able to pronounce it, who cares honestly. People will learn and remember that’s what nicknames are for right?! 😉

Image via Unsplash

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