Parenting in Abstract: Naming a Person

I think a lot of people get excited to name babies. Like they do naming a puppy. When it arrives, it’ll be small and (hopefully) cute and as creator of this being, you get naming privileges.

Similar to if you had just discovered some new kind of ant.

Naming RAD was probably one of the most challenging things to happen to my and Kerstyn’s marriage. She was happy with lots of names. Found them cute or classic. Empowering or fierce.

I, on the other hand, hated all of them.

We had quickly picked out a boys name. The day before we found out we would be having a girl. Needing to start over, it took us weeks to narrow down a new list. We searched through everything.

  • Literary names
  • French names
  • Irish names
  • Popular names
  • Unpopular names

We had friends mediate suggestion time. Mostly so I could be subdued into tolerating more options, but also for my stubbornness to not thoroughly discourage Kerstyn. But after many long and trying hours we finally pinned it down.

Clearly, I was the problem through this process. I like to be particular and precise which made it hard to conceptualize a name for a person that didn’t exist yet. In addition to that, I just plainly didn’t like a lot of the names we looked at.

Many were too frilly or flowery. If I wasn’t able to easily spell or pronounce it, it was a no. And the one that was likely most annoying was if there was already an existing person that my brain made an active connection to. I didn’t like the idea of using a family name – both our families are too large and too close to pick just one or two in order to carry down a name. Some sounded to old or too basic. I disliked A LOT of names. 

The part of the naming process that was most important to me though, was making sure we named a PERSON and not a BABY. I wanted her to have a name that people couldn’t make assumptions on. Something that didn’t impose a preconceived identity on her. A name that didn’t just imply how cute she was when she was 2-feet tall. I needed it to persevere to when she was 12, 25, 48 and 91.

Ultimately, I think we found it. All the lists and strife and struggle produced something I think we are both pretty happy with. It’s unique and her own (trust me, I googled it). So now, in just a few short weeks, the world will welcome the one-and-only Regan Amelia.


Andrew • September 15, 2017

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