Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's in a name?

Many of you have been asking about baby Twoey's name...and I am happy to report that we DO have a name for her! Before I announce her name, however, I thought I would drag you along for our naming saga.

I think I have mentioned before that it is Jewish tradition to name children after loved ones/family members who have died. DH and I decided that we would like to name our daughter after our beloved grandmother, Berenice, who died in January, and his grandmother, Esther, who died many years ago. We also felt we could easily name after my other grandmother Beyla (who died while I was pregnant with Micah) because her name also began with "B." So began our search for "B" and "E" names.

Another issue for us is that we were looking for "B" and "E" names that were either Biblical or had a Hebrew (or possibly Yiddish) origin. We quickly realized that the options for the letter "B" were quite limited...we identified the names Beyla, Batya, and Bari. We both disliked the name Batya. DH did not like the name Beyla (although it was very much growing on me) and I was a bit iffy about the name Bari (but it was rapidly growing on DH).

We then looked at E names...there were so many that I liked, but Eliana was by far my favorite. DH liked the name...but was concerned that it was too similar to some other family names (again, in Jewish tradition, naming after someone ALIVE is almost like wishing them is a superstition).

So then we kept looking for more names. I also had a great aunt I loved like a grandmother, and her name began with an "H" so we considered "H" names...and we fell in love with the name Hannah. Unfortunately, we did not think it flowed well with our last name, so we were a bit hesitant about the name. Although, Hannah Beyla was a top contender for a name for me. We also looked at "I" and "A" names (because the Hebrew letter used for "E" is also the same letter used for "I" and "A" names). We came up with Alayna and Alana and Isabel. One of the things we liked about the name Isabel is that it contained my grandmother's nickname (Belle) IN the name, so we could easily honor 2 grandmothers with one name! For a long time, Isabel was our top contender...we thought we could call her Izzy (or even Belle or Bella if she preferred). We were thinking Isabel Hannah could work perfectly as a name...but I was sad because I very much wanted to honor my grandmother, Berenice, and I felt the name did not accomplish that goal (and we previously honored my grandmother Beyla with Micah's middle name). Then, horror of horrors happened...okay, I'm being dramatic, but the Social Security list of top 100 names came out, and Isabella was ranked #1. That did it for me...I became very uncomfortable with choosing a name as popular as Isabel! I thought our daughter would be one of 50 Izzy/Isabel/Isabella/Bellas in her class if we selected that as her name.

Ironically, in all of this discussion, we actually agreed on a boy's name (that we did not need). Funny - we had such a hard time choosing a name for Micah - if we'd had a boy this time, we definitely would have named him Asher. But, I digress....

So, we went back to looking at Hannah...we did not like Hannah combined with Bari (it sounded too close to the Hanna Barbera cartoons), and we still did not like it with our last name. We thought about Bari Hannah, but I was still iffy about the name Bari. We tried on Bari Eliana, but DH was a bit unsure about Eliana. We discussed Hannah Beyla and Beyla Hannah and Beyla Eliana...but DH was resolute in his objection to the name Beyla (and since my grandmothers did not get along, I was not sure my grandmother Berenice would feel honored by naming my daughter after my OTHER grandmother).

In the back of my mind through ALL of this was the thought that I STILL loved the name Maya...the name we would have selected for Micah had he been a girl. I brought it up numerous times, but DH always pointed out that we did not plan to name after our "M" family members this time since we already did that. And yet...I just loved the name Maya more than anything else we discussed.

When my water broke, we still had not settled on the name. On the way to the hospital, DH seemed to think we were choosing between Isabel Hannah or Hannah Isabel, and I said I was not really comfortable with either of those names. We discussed Bari again, and Beyla, and all of our other names. We even went off on a tangent with a few S names, but that muddied the waters. I brought up the name Maya again, and DH said he thought it was off the table. Labor then got too intense for me...and we did not discuss names again until after she was born.

For the next few days, we referred to her as either Twoey or Nona Me' (pronounced nonah-may...a play on No Name!). I was certain our fear/joke that the name Twoey would end up on her birth certificate because we couldn't agree on a name was about to become reality!

We were thinking about Isabel initially, but I just couldn't wrap my head around the name, and Hannah was not working for me as a first name. I kept thinking her name was Maya...or possibly Beyla. My mom was in love with the name Bari, but I was a bit unsure of that as a name. I love unusual names...but was not sure if it was TOO unusual.

So, there we sat at the hospital...and every time someone asked us what her name was, we said "we don't know." We debated and debated, and we negotiated and negotiated...and we were not making any progress. By Saturday, we were still all over the place but Bari Eliana seemed to be the top contender, but I couldn't let go of the name Maya, and I was leaning towards Maya Bari. I could have been sold on Beyla Eliana, but DH was completely not open to the name. So, we decided to open up the names for discussion/input from some of our friends/family. Much to our surprise, people were evenly split between the name Maya and Bari. A few more people seemed to prefer the name Maya, but I was surprised by the number of people who really loved the name Bari.

Ultimately, we could not reach a final decision, so we decided to combine them and choose all three names...Maya Bari Eliana. We are currently calling her Maya, but we *may* still decide to drop Maya, or we may choose to call her Bari instead of Maya - we are sorting that out over the next few weeks.

So, there is our saga...and now I can officially welcome our new daughter, Maya Bari Eliana into the world!


Shannon said...

HA. That was BY FAR the most confusing post I have ever read:) Congrats to you, Tess, I absolutely love the name that you FINALLY decided on!

Prather Family said...

What a saga for choosing a name. You had me fooled. I thought you had chosen the name but you were waiting to share due to your religion. LOL

I have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE Maya!!! All the names are very pretty just the same. :) Congrats again!!!