Help! I’m 30 weeks along with our second baby girl. Our first, Beckett Grace Martin, will have just turned 4 when she arrives. I loved the idea of androgynous first names with feminine middle names. My immediate first choice was Blake Elizabeth (my middle name was Elizabeth before marriage – I felt it was a mouthful with Beckett but I love it with Blake.) My husband wasn’t totally on board with Blake – worried it was too popular of a boy name. We brainstormed and he loves Clara. I worry it’s too popular (I have historically been anti-top 100 names) and now there is an animated movie coming out called Clara so this concerns me!
We need help! So with our last name Martin we don’t like names that end in -en, and my husband wants to make sure it’s easy for others to spell/pronounce – “a real name” he says! We don’t love names that start with M (Molly Martin) but we aren’t opposed to having two girls who start with a B (Beckett and Blake). Our third and fourth choices were Lana and Liv but we left them in favor of Blake and Clara. But I just don’t know if either will work. Any advice you have would be wonderful!
In the U.S. in 2015, the name Beckett was given to 99 new baby girls and 1,816 new baby boys: it’s a unisex name used mostly for boys. The name Blake is similar: in 2015, it was given to 748 new baby girls and 4,211 new baby boys. The name Clara, on the other hand, was given to 3,049 new baby girls and isn’t in the data base at all for boys: it’s less common overall than the name Blake, but with completely different usage. Lana and Liv are also both unambiguous names used exclusively for girls in the U.S.
I think the first step is to figure out how much this issue matters to the two of you. Some people care approximately zero, and would have two daughters named Max and Molly with no issue at all. Others care to the point of comparing usage on the Social Security data base. Most people are somewhere in between, I think: they don’t want to create a jarring effect, but they want to go with the names they love.
My own preference here would be to find something that is at least unisex, if not unisex-used-mostly-for-boys. That is, I think names such as Avery and Riley would work very nicely, even though those are unisex names used more often in the U.S. for girls. I would not be inclined to choose a name used exclusively for girls for one daughter, after I’d chosen a name used mostly for boys for another. So in this situation I’d cross off Clara, Lena, and Liv, without going so far as to say that I’d prefer the name to be the SAME type of unisex as the name Beckett.
It sounds as if your husband’s main concern with Blake is that it’s too popular of a name for boys—and indeed, it’s used for well over twice as many boys as the name Beckett. What if we looked at names in roughly the popularity range of Beckett? The name was #218 for boys in 2015, so I looked in that range and found these possibilities:
I also suggest Ellis and Hollis: both of them, like Beckett, have the option of shortening to a girlish nickname (Beckett/Becky, Ellis/Ellie, Hollis/Holly), yet the full names are used more often for boys. I like both of these options very much.
Micah is another one used mostly for boys, but with elements that make it seem right for girls as well. I like the repeating CK sound with Beckett: Beckett and Micah. Oh, but that is alliterative with the surname.
For something more like Blake, I wonder if any of these would work:
Flynn (or Finn, from the list above)
Or we could look at more surname names: it’s a good way to tie the two names stylistically, without feeling as much pressure to find another name used mostly for boys.
Hi! Our baby girl arrived on March 2 – we made it to 39 weeks!
I can’t tell you how much your post helped us! First, you and your readers gave us so many extra names to consider. We quickly added Spencer, Quinn, Cole, Lane, Campbell, Drew, Collin, and more to our lists to consider. We giggled that so many loved Elliot for Beckett’s sister’s name as this is her 24-year-old uncle’s name so we knew that wouldn’t go over too well with the family. :)
The biggest thing you made us consider though was finding a name that is at least unisex (or unisex used mostly for boys) so that we didn’t have one daughter whose name is used exclusively for girls and the other daughter with a name used mostly for boys. This helped us be more comfortable with stepping away from Clara. Even though we liked it, it just didn’t fit as well.
All of this is to say thank you for helping us land where we started – we ended up feeling more confident in Blake Elizabeth Martin. I love that Blake and Beckett share a B, K, and E, and that it’s one-syllable vs. two and that both girls have unisex-used-mostly-for-boy names. We’re very happy with our choice and can’t thank you enough for your time and talent to helping us name our baby!
Kelly & Austin Martin