I can’t believe I am writing to a baby naming blog, but I feel that I am just going in circles and need an outside opinion! I am pregnant with our second child, expected to arrive in about six weeks. We do not know the gender. Our last name is *eadows, starts with an M. We have a son, John Walker who we call J.W. If this baby is a boy, I *THINK* we are settled on William Randall (after both of our fathers), and we would call him Will. I’m not crazy about how common this name is, but I think with a classic like William, you can’t go too wrong. I also have always adored the name Henry, which happens to be my husband’s grandfather’s name, but it seems that lately this name has surged to such popularity, at least where we live, that I don’t think I can bear to use it. Another boy name option was Edward James, but I think we’ve ruled it out as we don’t love the nicknames associated with Edward, and the name Edward is a bit of a mouthful with our last name.
Now onto the girls names, which are causing us the most heartburn. I tend to love very classic, traditional names, but nothing that is too popular or trendy, and my husband likes nickname-type names – Lizzy, Maggie, Callie, etc. I would want to use a more formal name that could be shortened. That being said, I started the name search for this baby with the criteria that I did NOT want to use another name that was shortened to a nickname, because we already have a John Walker (who is called John, John Walker and J.W. by different members of our family, which can get confusing and we never know how to introduce him). My favorite girl name has always been Catherine, but I worry that I won’t be able to control her being nicknamed Cat or Cathy, neither of which I care for. My husband says he does not like Catherine enough to call her that. I also love the name Margot, but I do not think that it flows well with our last name (don’t love the double “o” sound). Right now, my short list looks like this (I have no idea why so many “C” names are on the list – that is definitely not a criteria). Several of them are trying to get the nickname Callie (which I know is traditionally a nickname for Caroline, but I just don’t love Caroline!) because my husband really loves Callie but I just don’t want to use a nickname as the given first name. So trying to compromise! While Louise and Catherine are both names pulled from our family tree, we don’t have any burning need to use any particular “honor” name for a girl.
Catherine Louise, nn Callie (is this nickname reasonable or a stretch? Would it be tough and/or confusing to make it stick?) – if it were completely up to me, I would choose this name and just call her Catherine, but my husband won’t be convinced. He would choose Callie Louise as the given name.
Clara Catherine, nn Callie (is this nickname reasonable, or a stretch?) Or just call her Clara?
Camille Catherine, nn Callie (Callie seems a more logical nickname for Camille than Catherine, but I prefer the name Catherine to Camille) My husband also likes the name Camille and would be willing to call her that – I like it but just don’t love it. I also do not like the nickname Cami.
Julia Magdalene nn Maggie (named exactly after my great grandmother, my mom’s beloved grandmother) I think the full name sounds nice with our last name, but I don’t love Julia as a stand-alone first name, and it’s another “her name is this, but we call her this”, which I would like to avoid if at all possible!
Margot Catherine or Margot Louise (this would be a very serious contender if I liked how it sounded with our last name – but I like Margot enough that I haven’t been able to rule it out completely)
Any help or opinions you could provide here would be appreciated!
Edited to add:
Thank you so much for posting my question today, the feedback has already been so helpful. I thought I would send in a quick follow-up, after reading some of the replies and questions. My son’s middle name ‘Walker’ is my father-in-law’s middle name and my husband’s first name. So, since the time I sent in my last email, I have somewhat abandoned the name William for a boy (since we’ve already honored grandfather William Walker with our first child!), and now I am loving Thomas Henry – that way I can still use the name Henry but in the middle name slot. My husband is also still pulling hard for Edward James, and calling him Eddy. So I guess we’re not as decided on boy names as I thought. On the girl names, a couple of readers have suggested Mary – that would definitely be a top contender, except for the fact that it’s my name! :) I am loving all the suggestions, thank you again! I promise to send an update when this little one arrives.
Considering you like classic/traditional names and your husband wants a diminutive, I do think the appropriate compromise is to give her a classic/traditional name with an available cute nickname. I know you’d prefer to avoid a nickname, but it seems to me that it’s a choice between (1) a nickname as a given name or (2) a nickname as an additional option—and if it were me, I’d prefer the option. The possible confusion of name/nicknames seems like such an ordinary level of confusion: so very many people either go by nicknames or have nicknames they don’t choose to use. I would also like to see her given a family honor name, if that is what you’re doing for sons (are either/both of John Walker’s names family names?).
I have trouble making the leap from Catherine to Callie, or from Clara to Callie—which is not to say you can’t give it a shot, but I do think it could be difficult to make it stick. And I think your concerns about the nicknames for Catherine have merit: I don’t think she’d be likely to be called Cathy unless that nickname drifts back into style sooner than expected, but I think it’s quite possible she’d choose to go by Cate or Cat later on.
If you want Callie, I suggest naming her Calista/Callista. One of Elizabeth’s classmates last year was a Callista called Callie, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. I’d use Louise as the middle name. Calista Louise -eadows; John Walker and Calista Louise; J.W. and Callie. Darling.
Another option is Calla. Calla Louise -eadows; John Walker and Calla Louise; J.W. and Callie. But Calla -eadows runs together a bit for me and sounds as if her name could be Callum. Overall, I prefer Calista.
Callie could also be short for Callan (like Alan with a C) or Calliope, but those seem outside your naming style.
It’s possible that the name Callie will need to be abandoned, if at this point it’s creating stress and making you feel trapped.
I think Clara is great: a nice classic name, but short and sweet enough to fit in with names such as Callie and Maggie. And I love Catherine in the middle name position, where you get most of the advantages but without the potential nickname issues. Could your husband call her Clarrie/Clary instead of Callie? It looks awkward written out, but I knew a little Claire called Clairy and it was quite cute in usage. Or would he like a nickname such as C.C./Cece? I am very drawn to the idea of J.W. and C.C.
Would you consider Louise as the first name? I just love it. Louise -eadows. I would want that name for myself. Maybe Louise Catherine -eadows.
Or Willa, if this is your last child and you’d like to honor Grandpa William either way. Willa Catherine -eadows, or Willa Louise -eadows.
I wonder if you’d want to name her Margaret and use Margo as the nickname? It feels like a much smaller issue to me if the nickname doesn’t go perfectly with the surname. You’d also have cute options such as Daisy, Greta, and Maggie. I realize I have gone from “ignoring your preference for avoiding a nickname” to “deliberately adding EXTRA nicknames for EXTRA confusion,” and I am trying to quit it but on the other hand I just love this. Margaret -eadows?? TOO WONDERFUL. I’d use Louise as the middle, and die happy. Margaret Louise -eadows; John Walker and Margaret Louise; John and Margaret; J.W. and Margo/Maggie/Daisy/Greta. I can’t write anymore, I am too overwhelmed by how much I love this.
Hello! I just realized that I never sent in an update to my naming conundrum from a couple of months back. Wouldn’t you know it – after all those sleepless nights mulling over what to name what I was SURE was our baby girl, our second son was born on December 6. We named him Edward James, Eddy for short. I absolutely love his name – classic but unexpected and uncommon. Thanks again for all of your wonderful advice!