As a long-time reader, I am glad to finally be able to send you a question of my own. We named our daughter Avila (pronounced AV-i-la) after a saint we loved, feisty Teresa of Avila, and also after our two mothers who both have Therese in their names. As we didn’t announce the name until birth, I wasn’t prepared for the difficulty that the pronunciation of her name would bring. Perhaps we live in a friendlier place than most, but people are constantly asking me what our daughter is named and it often takes several tries (it rhymes with Avalon, Avalanche etc.) and some confusion before it’s sorted out. We also have family who see her a couple times a year who still mispronounce her name, including her Grandpa.
Now that we are expecting baby number two, I would really love to choose a name that doesn’t cause so many pronunciation problems. In fact, my husband and I are beginning to realize that although we love Avila’s name for the reasons we chose it, for the most part our naming style trends towards the more familiar. For boy’s names we’re set—deciding between Xavier or Blaise—but girl’s names are posing a problem for us. Our last name is Carrot with an M.
My husband loves the name Anastasia with the nickname Anya, but I am afraid that I will have to explain Anya as much as Avila, or at least that people won’t recognize it at first: (Did you say Ana? etc.) And I’m not enthused by the other nicknames for Anastasia.
We both love the name Rose, and we’ve discussed a number of other names including:
Magdalena (nn Lena)
Sylvie (my husband’s not on board)
We’d like to pick a saint name, but that hardly narrows the field as so many names (both unusual and familiar) come from saints.
As much as I’d love to choose Rose, or another good name, and call it done, I’m worried that Avila and Rose just don’t work together. One is so uncommon and the other so classic. We’d also like to have more children, and if we continue in the “pronounceable/familiar” trend, will Avila one day feel strange to have a more unusual name than anyone else?
I feel stuck. Should we go with Anya and just embrace the unusual? Should we go with Rose and forget sibling naming unity? Or choose something else? I feel like what we name baby two will make a big difference for how we name any future children.
Although my due-date is in January, we’d love to stop going in circles on this! Thanks for your help!
Thanks for all your suggestions! Naming all our kids after saintly geographical locations, (such as the name Siena that so many of you suggested,) was an appealing idea, but seemed potentially limiting in the long run. So, when we did have a second little girl, we named her Rose Therese Eowyn. The names Rose Therese are in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux (whose symbol is the rose), and Eowyn is a courageous woman from the Lord of the Rings books that my husband and I both admire. We waffled a little on giving her two middle names, but in the end since we could not pick between them, we gave her both.