Whats in a name? A baby name that is.

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How do you go about choosing a name? Do you go with a family name? A foreign name? This is the million dollar question for any parent. There are books, youtube videos and even articles on how to go about naming your baby. But none seem to be helping us in choosing one. As most expecting mom’s, the daunting task of finding the perfect name for your child is exhausting! Before knowing the gender of our baby, my husband and I printed list after, after list of names. Even before doing this, we kind of already had some names under our belts, but we still wanted to expand our list. Unique Baby Names (which were more ridiculous than “unique”), French Names , Royal Names, Biblical Names (which is big with my mom…sorry mom but not my cup of tea) etc, were some of the headers for said articles.  We would write down the names that resonated with us and tried to picture our child with that name. Sadly, we did not (and still don’t) agree with each other’s  name selection.

My husband choices for boy names, in my opinion, were outrageous. Doku (an anime character from Saint Seiya), Shinnon (same as the previous name), Kannon, Daryl, Milo etc. I was not having it. I refused to name our future baby any of these names. I even made the argument that if we went with Doku, we might as well go with Goku instead (from Dragon ball Z. Yes, we watch anime and we’re not ashamed ), since it would be a more recognizable and less weird. That argument did not stand at all.  At this point, I started to realize that it would be kind of impossible to decide on a name that we both could agree on. Not for nothing, it’s a lot of pressure! I mean, this kid is going to have to live with it for the rest of its life!- so it better be an amazing name!

During this process, I started to question the selection method. Why was I putting so much emphasis on a name?  I came to the realization that there were two major reasons why I was having such an issue. First, the name that is bestowed upon you, is something that you must carry, and it is sometimes the only thing others have to judge you by, before they meet you. Your name is the cover letter, while your personality and attributes are the resumes that you send to potential employers (I know, kind of a bad analogy, but you get what I’m saying). By your name alone, people make assumptions of who you are as a person (whether that’s age or race). Are these assumptions always fair or accurate? Of course not, but people continue to make assumptions, regardless. That is why, when naming a child, one must take things like this into consideration (aside from the fact that you also don’t want their initials to spell ASS or something else that’s ludicrous). Personally, I’ve experienced a mild version of this. When I was growing up, I barely had to correct teachers on how to say my name, due to the fact that the majority of them were Spanish speaking. It wasn’t until I moved to an all white school district (with a few minorities), that I went through this whole phase of having to correct people. Sometimes, I had to explain why my name was “strange”. I went from Blanca to Bianca and Blanka (character from Street fighter) and that’s just my first name (can’t tell you how many times my last name has been butchered). Only once in my young adult life, has someone pronounced my entire name correctly (thank you Mr. Van Ry!). Even to this day, I sometimes correct employers and other people on how to say my name properly. I used to get annoyed by this, but now I just simply correct them (politely of course).

My second issue with finding a name, is language. Our biggest challenge is the fact that we are a bilingual family. I am a first generation Salvadoran- American, while my husband was born in El Salvador and grew up here in the States since he was 11. We go back and forth between speaking in Spanish and in English in our household (with the occasional Spanglish of course). We want to have a name that would allow fluidity between both cultures. A name that would build a bridge between the two worlds and wouldn’t be awkward when translated. For example, Justin in Spanish is Augustino and Charlotte in Spanish is Carlota, and although the names are great, the translation is just not vibing with us (Even my own name is off. The literal translation for my name is White, so you can see my dilemma here). We are also taking into consideration that most of our family have a difficulty with the English language. So we would like to provide a name that they can also pronounce. We even did a crash course on a name that we were potentially thinking of naming her. But once I heard someone mispronounced it, I immediately did not like the name anymore.

One thing is for sure, we have ruled out family names. I know this is one method in which many parents name their baby. However, I hate this idea with a passion. Ever since I can remember, I would always say that I would not name my future child after someone in my family. This is due to the fact that every single child has been named after a family member and although the idea behind it, is to honor a relative, to me, it is very tiring and unoriginal. Without an exaggeration I am the fifth “Blanca” in family and I never ever wanted that for my child (literally my entire family is named after a deceased ancestor). I feel as if the child doesn’t have it’s own identity when its named after a relative. And that to me is important for a child to have. It’s own name and identity. At the end of the day, all I want our child to have a strong and beautiful name.

Needless to say, I feel as though my husband and I will decide on a name once she arrives. Who knows, she might end up being an Emma, a Raquel, an Emilia or a Hayley.

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