We are expecting our third (and last) child, a girl, in early July. We have two other girls who are older (there will be a 4 and 5 year gap) and about a year apart. They are Annabel Quinn and Lucy Colleen. Last name is Stuart spelled the other way.
With our first we quickly agreed on Annabel during pregnancy, and with #2 I was so sure that we were having a boy that I didn’t worry about girl names (baby boy would have been Asher, my husband’s pick, all three times). When #2 came I didn’t have time to stress and obsess over a name but I remember looking at her and being so certain that she was not a “Lila” (our top girl pick) but 100% a Lucy. The name suits her so perfectly it feels like a miracle that I was able to pick it out just minutes after giving birth. No name on our list feels like “the one” and I’m afraid #3 and whatever miracle happened with Lucy will not happen and I won’t know what her name should be.
This pregnancy also represents the first time we’ve found out the sex ahead of time. With this being our last baby I only wanted to imagine what he or she was and not imagine both possibilities for 9 months. However, coming up with another girl name has been a lot harder than I thought it would be. I also think my anxiety about the natural imbalance of having three children is coming out in our naming process. I don’t want 2 names to have one trait that the other doesn’t have and thus someone is “left out”. (As if I can fix all future sibling problems by just picking the right name.) While I understand this is (a bit) irrational I’m afraid my crazy pregnant brain is making this choice carry way more weight than it should but I can’t seem to make myself stop overanalyzing. (Note, my husband has zero of these concerns and is mostly saying yes or no to my name ideas while letting me spin my wheels on all the implications of each name).
With all of that said, I am trying not to have too many “rules” about this name. The two most important are:
1) Can’t end with “s” sound because the sound gets lost with our last name.
2) Must be a new initial. No “A” or “L” names.
This is not a rule but I would prefer that the name also have a distinct sound from the two we’ve already named (especially the ending). This is hardest with Lucy as a lot of names I like end in Y.
To make things even more difficult we want the middle name to be Emily or Lee (All the middles are honor names and while I prefer Emily because that was her name, she was called Lee by everyone and my husband doesn’t care between the two). This middle has been somewhat difficult to work with. One name I love, Ivy, sounds awkward with Emily and Lee (Ivy Lee makes me think of Ivy League).
Names I love that husband has vetoed:
Violet – My favorite. This would be THE name but my husband hates it.
Cora (Nora is also off the table as it is the name of a close cousin of the girls)
Names my husband loves that I have vetoed:
Names on our list:
Rosemary (Lee) – I worry that this is too old or too much of a name. (And Lucy’s name would seem so short in comparison to the other two names). We would use Rose but it sounds like Ro Stuart. This name is my husband’s favorite. She would probably be called Rosie.
Eliza (Emily/Lee) – Sometimes I love this name and sometimes I’m not sure because with the long E it feels a little hard to say. I love the spunkyness and the character history (Eliza Bennett, Eliza Doolittle).
Hazel (Emily) – I love the sound and that it goes well with Emily. I am not afraid of popularity but I don’t want something trendy and I think that comes with quick rises and falls of names. I am afraid this name is rising too fast (apparently due to a popular book).
Poppy – not sure if this works with Emily or Lee. Don’t love that it ends in Y like Lucy. Love that it reminds me of my home state of California. It’s very rare in the US and that worries me a little. Although my husband likes the name a lot he jokes that it sounds like “Papi”.
Emily as a first name – Again, I am not afraid of popularity but it seems like if there was going to be something close to a “Jennifer” of the last few decades this would be it. I am not sure if that would drive me (or this child) crazy. We know a lot of Emily’s.
Names ending in “A” seem to work best and it seems like there should be a lot of them and yet I swear I have looked at them all and nothing stands out. Perhaps I need to be pointed in the direction of names I’ve already seen but have overlooked or perhaps I just need reassurance that the list we already have is full of great names and my concerns are silly. This process is making me neurotic and I really want an objective third party opinion. Please help a crazy pregnant lady out.
I know just what you mean about pregnancy-based over-analyzing, as I am/was a similar type. And so I don’t expect my words to carry much weight here, because I remember how words such as these bounced off of me when I was in your shoes. But I will say them anyway: most of the “two names share a trait, so the third name would be left out” concerns just VANISH after the baby is named. For example, three of my boys have the same number of syllables in their names; the fourth has a different number of syllables. This made me feel batty during pregnancy, but thinking about it at this point I had to think carefully about which name it was that was different, and why was it different: it hasn’t crossed my mind since, except as an example of how things that matter very much during the naming process can turn out to matter very little later on. Nor has this child come to me and said, “Mother, the number of syllables in my name makes me feel different from my brothers. Did you…love me less?”
I do think it’s nice, when possible, to avoid STARTLING differences. For example, if you went for Annabel and Lucy for your first two daughters and then wanted to name your third daughter Christopher, I would caution you to take sibling-name coordination into consideration for the sake of everyone involved. But if we are talking about two names ending in the same letter or starting with the same letter or having the same number of syllables, my experience (and current lack of pregnancy) has left me mercifully relaxed.
One exercise I’ve found useful is to think about other sibling groups I know, and consider whether I’ve ever noticed similar issues. For example, let’s say a friend of yours has kids named Aidan, Emerson, and Alex, and you’ve never noticed until now that two are A names and one is not, or that two are -n names and one is not, or that two are 2-syllable names and one is not. If you HAVE noticed, and always DO notice, then I take back what I said about pregnancy hormones and I think we should really work hard to find a name that is equally different from the other two.
Well. In any case, you will find me more than willing to play name-puzzle games: I may be in favor of letting such things go, but they’re still FUN. That is, as long as they ARE still fun: when they start getting stressful, let’s stop. For now, we are looking for a name that does not start with A or L, does not end in -s or -l or -y, does not seem a lot longer or shorter than Annabel or Lucy, does not share dominant sounds with Annabel or Lucy, and goes well with the middle name Emily or Lee. First let’s consider the names on your list.
1. Rosemary. Annabel, Lucy, and Rosemary. I think these go together just fine, and that the name Rosemary is neither too old nor too much. I am not worried about Lucy having a shorter name, particularly if Rosemary will go by Rosie. One thing you could say is that Annabel and Rosemary are both longer names, and Lucy and Rosemary both end in -y. Play UP the similarities, instead of playing them down.
2. Eliza. Annabel, Lucy, and Eliza. One of my own top favorite names, so I am rooting for this one. I love it with the sister names; I love it with your surname. It meets every single preference. If you said, “Swistle, please choose the name for the baby,” this is the name I would choose.
3. Hazel. Annabel, Lucy, and Hazel. I think this another good grouping, but I am still dazzled by Eliza. Also, this would give you two -el names (I don’t think this matters, but it does if we are solving this like a puzzle).
4. Poppy. Annabel, Lucy, and Poppy. Poppy feels lightweight to me. I wish it were the nickname for something weightier. Maybe Philippa?
5. Emily. Annabel, Lucy, and Emily. I love the name Emily, but/and I see the issue you mention of it being quite popular for quite a long time. It doesn’t feel dated to me, but it does feel like it has lost some freshness.
6. Ivy. Annabel, Lucy, and Ivy. It’s not officially on the list, but I’m putting it there in case it belongs there. I think Ivy Emily is pretty fun to say. I agree it wouldn’t be my first pick on sound/rhythm alone, but considering how important it is to use Emily/Lee, I think it works perfectly well enough to use, and not in a displeasing way at all. And I love Ivy with Annabel and Lucy.
Now let’s add to the list.
1. Eloise. I think of this name when I see the name Eliza, because the sounds are so similar. Eloise Stuart; Annabel, Lucy, and Eloise.
2. Daisy. This came to mind after seeing Rosemary, Hazel, Eliza, Violet, and Poppy: the Z sound of the first three, the nature sound of all but Eliza. It does end in -Y, but I don’t think of that as a problem except for the purposes of playing this like a game. Daisy Stuart; Annabel, Lucy, and Daisy.
3. Flora. Another nature-theme possibility, similar to Cora. Flora Stuart; Annabel, Lucy, and Flora.
4. Clara. I just love it with the surname and the sibling names, and it meets all the preferences. Clara Stuart; Annabel, Lucy, and Clara.
5. Fiona. Another I love with the surname and sibling names, and it meets all the preferences. Fiona Stuart; Annabel, Lucy, and Fiona.
6. Pearl. Pearl Stuart; Annabel, Lucy, and Pearl. Ends in -l, but the -rl blend makes it seem quite different than Annabel’s -el. I like the descending number of syllables: 3, 2, 1.
7. Georgia. Georgia Stuart; Annabel, Lucy, and Georgia. I heard this name on a little girl at the mall and was practically knocked over by how adorable it was.
8. Simone. Simone Stuart; Annabel, Lucy, and Simone. I don’t know why; I just thought of it and liked it.