Not far into my pregnancy, I realized the impending task of having to name our child. I was instantly paralyzed by fear.
You’d think it would be one of the more exciting, stress-free parts of birthing a human into this world. All I could think about, however, was the massive commitment – the sheer responsibility – required of such a task.
Have you ever considered just how much your name affects your life? Whether you’re aware or not, research proves that your name impacts everything from where you work to how you spend your money to how well-liked you are.
I’m sure the fact that both Vadim and I grew up in the U.S. with Slavic names added to the stress of naming our own, because we both know first-hand what it’s like having to spell O-K-S-A-N-A (or in his case, V-A-D-I-M) from elementary to high school to college and beyond.
I found myself combing through list after list – from Slavic baby names to classic baby names to Biblical baby names and everything in between. If a name caught my interest, I would add it to a running list on my phone.
This approach seemed logical; you make a list, you narrow it down, you have your answer. How difficult could it be, right?
Boy names were much harder to think of than girl names. So once we found out baby Strelkov was a girl, you’d think it’d be smooth sailing from there – except it wasn’t.
We wanted a name that was Slavic but one that was also easily pronounceable in English (again, not anything like Oksana). Furthermore, we wanted something soft and feminine – think “Ella” rather than “Veronica.” To complicate matters even further, we didn’t want to repeat any name that was already in either of our families or in our social circle – so my favorites like Isabella, Ella, Chloe, Emma, Anastasia, Sophia, etc. were out of the question.
Long story short, nearly eight months later, we still don’t have a baby name picked out.
So, I’d love to know: How did you choose your babies’ names? What baby girl names do you like? Do you prefer unique or classic names? Do you like your own name? Does your name truly affect your life and what kind of person you become?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section, below.
I think those of us who faced ridicule or additional challenges from our names being different as children, probably have a greater understanding to the importance/responsibility of naming our own children. Can we say self induced stress? My parents used unusual names for myself & my first brother (Elissa & Reed). Our last name, while not incredibly difficult, had a tendancy to trip people up & was long. My middle name was also a bit unusual (Lorene).
When it came time to name my own children, it was imperative that while their name be unique , that it was also familiar in some way to others. We ended up with a formula for naming our children. First names were classic name & middles were generally more creative/hip. However, we aimed for classic names that hadn’t been popular for some time. Their full name had to have a pleasing rhythm/sound/ring to it. Their initials couldn’t be untoward. Chloe Sierra, Noah Hunter, Howard Jaymes, Juliet London, Graham Parker. Chloe’s name didn’t surge in popularity until almost a decade after I named her. Noah’s however, surged suddenly the year we named him. Our Howard goes by his middle name, so much more popular sounding “James”. However, he was named in a family tradition of two first names alternating between generations. His middle name therefore has its creative twist because I can’t stand the typically shortened “Jim”, he’s a “Jay”. Juliet was originally going to be an Isabel, but the popular surge of “Isabella, Bella, Ella” changed our course. Graham was our biggest challenge. I guess by the time you name 4 kids you run out of mutually agreeable names. I really loved the name Grayson, hubs was not having it. Hubs really loved Parker. So it came down to Grant & Graham for his first name. Graham Parker had a similar sound/rhythm to Noah Hunter & I luv the shortened version Gray.
Other names strongly considered along the way Hannah Noelle, Everly Savannah, Alexander.
Cristiana, Alana, Ava, Bethany, Mia, Lilliana, Isla, Gracy
I love the idea of picking a Slavic name for your little girl. What about Alina, Lala, Julianna or Lexa. I don’t think a baby’s name impacts who they grow up to be as an adult – parents impact that more than a name. So many beautiful Slavic names and a great way to remember her heritage.
What about “Mila” or “Milana” which derives from the word “mil” meaning “gracious dear”? I think it’s pretty soft and feminine! Just an idea for you :) Or “Mira” or “Miraslava” which in Slavic, meaning “peace” or “peace and glory.” I personally do believe name meanings affect the character of oneself, but not always, and it’s really just my opinion from what I’ve seen. ;)
I just chose names I liked for both of my daughters – there wasn’t too much thought put into it. My best friend from school is called Larissa – here in the UK that name wasn’t heard of in the 1970’s, so I witnessed the difficulties she had with it – no one could pronounce it let alone spell it and more importantly for an 11 year old she could never get a pencil or pen with her name on!!!! I chose the names Alexandra and Olivia, which both go well with our surname and both my girls like their names although Alexandra goes by Alex these days. I am a health visitor (not entirely sure you have them in the US) and I work with a case load of over 2,000 children and whilst I understand that parents choose unusual names to be different, it really does cause problems for the children, which can be very damaging to their self esteem and confidence.
As a native German-speaking person from Switzerland I don’t find your name hard to pronounce. :) And there are many Easter-European names I like (I don’t know which ones are Slavic), but maybe something like Anouscha, Anouschka, Mirja? I personally really like Anastasia & Sophia, but Sophia/Sophie is now in fashion here, so every second baby girl has this name (boring!). Good luck with finding the name!
I will NEVER forget sitting in my kindergarten class and being the only child that had to go grab my laminated name sign every morning so I would know how to spell my name. My name is simple verbally, but knowing how to spell it is a completely different story! So I wanted to make it super easy for my kids. Madilyn Grace – goes by Madi, Savannah Macoy – goes by Macoy. I wanted something easy, southern and meaningful to both of us.