I really hope that you and your awesome readers can help me. My husband and I are expecting our second child, a girl, on July 26th. We have a two and a half year old son named William (Will), which is a family name on my side. We are just at a loss for naming her. Of course this is how it happens, right? When I was pregnant with Will, all I could think of were girl names. His middle name is my husband's name (extremely unusual, and starts with an N.).
Our main problem is that we both actually loved and agreed on a name...and then found out that it was one of the most common names in the U.S. last year. Yes that's right, Emma. I have always loved that name (you know when you are in middle school and you name all of your potential children? I have a notebook from 1986 that lists Emma as my top name.) and my husband loves it because it was his mother's middle name (she passed away). So it has a lot of sentimental value for both of us. I also think it goes nicely with Will, and works well with our last name. We didn't realize that it was so common because we live in a community where it is much more likely to give your kid a unique name. We go to the park and have playdates with kids named Finn, Harper, Lucienne, Penelope, Liam, Huck, Evelin and Moritz. Not an Emma in the bunch.
So if we live here forever I won't worry about her being one of five Emmas in her class. However, if we move anywhere else, I fear that I'll be naming her the equivalent of the Jennifer, Heather or Stacy of my school years, and I don't want to do that (no offence meant if that is your name).
We are having a hard time agreeing on other names. All that my helpful husband can come up with is Gabriela. I think that name is ok, but I hate the nickname Gaby. My list is a little more extensive and I really like all of them, but neither of us feel an instant love for any of them.
Ella / Ellie
I also LOVE the name Beatrice but my husband said over his dead body...so maybe a middle name. In addition, our last name starts with S and I've eliminated pretty much all of the S names because I don't like the alliteration.
Names that we liked but have rejected due to close family members or friends having the name (or sounds weird with our last name) include:
I guess I am looking for your help in two areas:
1. Is Emma too common? Are we condemning her to a life of being known as Emma S.? Should I really care if we both love the name?
2. Can you think of any other names that we might like? We both seem to like more of the classic, timeless names. We're not into strange spellings or naming your kid something so unusual that she's the only one ever with that name, and we're also not into the super trendy (although Emma apparently fits into that category now).
Help! We didn't name Will until 3 days after he was born, and I don't want to do that again!
I think it's too hard to predict future classrooms, and that the best name for your daughter is the name you both love. I've written about this before, and I stand by it: the Top 10 is not the kiss of death. Only 9/10ths of 1% of female babies were named Emma in 2008 (source: Social Security Administration); that's not even 1 Emma per 100 girls, and a classroom has in the range of 10-15 girls. Compare that to the 1974 Jennifers: over 4 Jennifers per 100 girls. Still, if popularity will bug you, the name Emma is about twice as common now as the name Stacy was in the 1970s.
Here are a few names that are similar to Emma:
Let's have a poll over to the right, for Emma and the Emma alternatives. [Poll closed; see results below.] Other name suggestions can go in the comments section.
Poll results (224 votes total):
Emma: 110 votes, roughly 49%
Amelia/Emelia: 33 votes, roughly 15%
Anna: 10 votes, roughly 4%
Emlyn: 10 votes, roughly 4%
Emmaline/Emeline: 35 votes, roughly 16%
Gemma/Jemma: 26 votes, roughly 12%