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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Baby Name Regret

Amy writes:
You probably don’t get emails like this often (about re-naming a 4 month old baby) but I am struggling with baby name regret right now – probably because I didn’t discover your site until after my daughter was born. We named our daughter Evelyn Suz@nne. Our last name is Qu1nn. Suz@nne is after my mother. Evelyn is a name that my husband and I agreed upon – but I always felt kind of on the fence about it. It was always at the top of my husband’s list. I have trouble making decisions and went with my husband’s (2nd) fave because I couldn’t decide. His favorite was Virginia, his mother’s name – which I do like - but had reservations about using.

I have not felt good about her name since she was born and am seriously contemplating changing it. At first my husband was adamant that we would not change the name – but has reconsidered if it would truly make me happy. We also may add a name instead of changing it altogeter. The other names on our list before she was born were Sadie, Sarah and Molly. At this point, I don’t really like any of those and realize that I did not put enough thought into naming the baby during my pregnancy. After she was born I came up with a new list of names, Anna being on the top of the list. I later found out my sister-in-law is using this name in January for her daughter and then that it was my great-grandmothers name. I had always meant to look at my family tree for a name but never did. I did suggest Anna to my husband when i was pregnant, but he shot it down. However, I would have fought for it harder if I knew it was a family name. Catherine is another family name that we both like but can’t use because we have a niece named Katherine/Katie. My husband and I were looking for a name with a good nickname. We call our daughter Evy (rhymes with Chevy). While I think Evy is cute, I’m not sure it feels like a name to me. I also worry about childhood teasing and Heavy Evy – a connection I did not make before. My husband does not want a top 10 name. I thought the same before the baby was born, but have reconsidered now that she’s here. I would much prefer a name I really liked over a name I liked less but was less popular. Here are some names I’m considering changing it to:

– Elizabeth (great-grandmother’s name and grandmother’s sisters name) nn libby?
– Clara
– Emma (too popular?)
– Isabel nn Izzy (too popular?)
– Amelia nn Milllie, Mia
– Chloe
– Rose (great aunt)
– Keira
– Maia

Names I would pick if I had the courage (or my husband would let me)
– Violet
– Francesca
– Maisie
– Clementine

Family names
– Louise (great-grandmother)
– Beatrice (great-great aunt)
As you can see, I’m a bit all over the place. With my two favorites – Anna and Catherine – out of the running, I’m not sure where to go. I’d appreciate any advice you have to give. Thank you!

I remember writing about this twice, once for a baby boy and once for a baby girl---but I can't find the post about the baby girl. Oh wait---I wonder if it was before I had the baby name blog? YES! here it is, on my regular blog. I also sort of wrote about it again on my regular blog.

I can sum those up for people who don't want to click through:

1. I'm not opposed to changing a baby's name, and I think there are many good reasons for doing so.

2. If you're going to do it, the earlier the better.

3. There will be SOME kerfuffle no matter what, but probably everyone will get over it, and the paperwork stuff will be a bit of a hassle but then it will be done with, and one day it will be an interesting story.

4. One exception: if the name is a family name. In that case, the repercussions of changing it are too hurtful to the family member to be outweighed by a dissatisfied feeling with the name, and better to find a nickname you like and use that instead.

So in your case, according to me, you may not change your daughter's middle name. And Anna Suzanne doesn't really work anyway (because of the repeating "ann" segment), even if there wasn't the issue of your cousin planning to use the name, or of your husband not liking the name.

However, you MAY move your daughter's middle name into the first name slot. Not only is it a family name, but Anna or Annie would be a fine nickname for it. And unlike the name Anna, where you didn't even know it was your great-grandmother's name and perhaps didn't know your great-grandmother either, the name Suzanne has an actual family association for you.

And you also may choose a new first name. If the repeating "ann" segment DOESN'T bother you (it bothers me a little, but not enough to be a total dealbreaker if I loved the first name and had to use the middle name), maybe you would like other Ann-based first names such as Annika, Annabel, Anya, Anneliese. Annabel in particular is a nice alternative to Isabella (the most popular girl name in the United States), and Annabel Suzanne puts some distance between the two "ann" sounds.

But reading your email, it sounds like it might be better to keep the name as it is. If you had another name you LOVED and felt it fit your daughter exactly, it would be different. I'm worried in part about your husband here: it sounds like he's only willing to change the name to keep you from being miserable about it, but I don't feel confident that changing the name will help with that, if even now that she's here in front of you there isn't a name that feels right. And there's no net benefit to changing the name to one that makes you happy and him miserable.

Would it help at all to know that the name Evelyn, as we've discussed, has a good chance of joining the top ten soon? It's a name people are thinking of very positively. (This sort of thing doesn't help everyone but it does help me: when I was considering Henry for my fifthborn, I was very swayed by the number of people who DIDN'T say, as I'd feared they might, that it was an old-man name.)

And if you're not as fond of the nickname Evy as you'd hoped, would you like Linny (or Linnie or Lynnie) better? I love the light and feminine sound of that name. I can just picture holding a little baby girl and calling her Linnie.


Giselle said...

I must agree whole-heartedly with Swistle here. I don't think you should change it, because you don't have a solid name that you like better. If you kept looking at your daughter and thinking, "But she IS a Fiona." or whatever, that would be one thing. But I would worry that whatever name you choose next would encounter the same doubt and rethinking later down the road.

If it helps? I still have second thoughts about my daughter's name and my son's name, although I never thought about changing them, so I guess my doubts are less that yours. I don't think any name is perfectly perfect, and as your child goes through life new issues will pop up. Like the "Heavy Evy." thing. I have no doubt that any name you pick will have potential school yard taunts.

I'd personally just try and find a nickname that you are comfortable with...and soon little Evy will be old enough to love her name and you'll feel better about it ;)

Sarah said...

I say, also, that if you had another name that it would be fine, but since you're still in the searching stage, it would be better to just roll with Evelyn and make the best of it. I've known a few women nicknamed "Evie", so I think that's a fine nickname. And I agree with Giselle and that any name you pick could have teasing potential. If not, the kids will MAKE something up, if nothing presents itself obviously.

I think Evelyn is a fine name and one we considered as well. And Evy is a sweet nickname that your daughter will grow into. We named our son Thomas and it was two months before I felt comfortable saying it and is was almost a year before he "grew into" it.

StephLove said...

I really like her name as is. I know two little Evelyns, both preschoolers, and it's cute on them. I think it's definitely one of those grandmother names that's coming back. Also, Suzanne is a pretty name, and underused, I think. I'd keep the legal name as is, and either call her by her middle or change her nickname if Evy is not working for you.

M.Amanda said...

I agree with Giselle. Even if you found a name that nobody could possibly turn into a mean nickname, if they wanted to tease her, they could give her a nickname that had nothing to do with her given name at all.

You do already have a solid, perfectly lovely name for your little girl. I'm sure in time you will find you can't imagine her as anyone but your Evy.

If that's not the case, I knew a woman who never called her daughter by a given name. She used whatever name struck her, so during her first 25 years Julia was Rebecca, then Daisy, then Ellie, then Pepper. Everyone else used Julia, but those other names were her mother's unusual nicknames for her. If you do find a name you love, you can just use it as a special nickname without the hassle of paperwork. It might seem odd to some people, but they will get over it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the ladies so far. Evelyn Suzanne is a beautiful name and I really am sorry that it doesn't feel like *the name* for you right now. For what it is worth, I think Evy is really nice (I also like the pronunciation E-V and spelling of Evie).

Some possible name ideas that wouldn't require a formal name change to work:

Suzie/Susu/Zanne/Anne/Annie (if you start using Susanne as her 'first' name)

Katie said...

This must be very difficult for you, I'm sorry.

For what it's worth, I think Evelyn is a lovely name for a little girl and I think Evy is an adorable nickname.
I also think Eve and Evie are cute nicknames for Evelyn.

Lena Phillips said...

If Evelyn/Evy is a name you "like" but don't "love", it is my experience that as your daughter grows and transforms into her own personality, her name will also transform in to something you love, because it will be "your daughter".

Having been in this situation with my own daughter, I would recommend not changing it, especially if your husband really loves it (which was with my case as well). My daughter is nearly two, and although I'm not 100% head over hills for her name, I'm loving it more every day as my daughter's personality develops, and I'm really glad my husband stood firm on not changing it.

And for what it's worth, Evelyn is a name I adore!!! I have a friend (in her 20's - I wouldn't consider that "old") with the name Evelyn, going by "Evie" (Eh-V) and she is so fun, so fresh and so darling. Everyone loves Evie and it is because of who she is that has made me fall in love her name.

Mrs S said...

I'm sorry you don't feel connected to your child's name. I really think the name Evelyn is so cute. And the nn Evy, adorable! Can't you image your daughter calling herself Evy? Evy's book. Evy's car.

There doesn't seem to be a name that you are sure about. And I love that your husband chose your daughter's name, so sweet. And she'll love hearing that Daddy named her.

If it helps our son's name was not the name I wanted. I let my husband have the name he REALLY wanted. And for the first few weeks I looked at him and wanted to say Eli because to me this name just suited him more. Now he is 2 and he is so suits his name and I LOVE hearing him say his name. It is agreed that I get to pick our next childs name. I can't wait.:)

Hope this post helps a little.

bunnyslippers said...

I would like to jump on the keep-the-name bandwagon.

There are *so many* super cute nickname options with those first and middle names that you have plenty of choices. Both names are good, solid, girl names that she will grow into after she passes through the nickname phase.

And, if you decide she really isn't an Evelyn, Eve, Evva, Evy, Evie, Velly, Lynn, Linnie (which I love), Suzanne, Sue, Susie, Susu, Zanne, Zanna, Anne, Annie, Evie-Sue, Suequie (sookie), Quinnie, or a Suzie-Q, she can just go by something else. (*and for the record, I know many professors who professionally go by some of the nicknames above.)

As for the Heavy Evy, I agree there will *always* be something they will find to tease with, no matter how careful you were in naming her.

beyond said...

First off, i presonally think that Evelyn is a great name and has a lot of potential.
I kept waiting for the "but she is totally a Simona!" part in your email. Because you have a whole list of potential names and nothing stands out for you (and your husband) I have to agree with what has been said so far: I wouldn't change her name either.
However, I know someone who goes by the nn of her middle name. (Marie Charlotte Smith goes by Lotta, just as an example.) This might be something you could do. If none of the Evelyn nn really speak to you, why not look at nn possibilities for Suzanne and informally call her that? (Susie, Suzy, Zane, Zanie, Suzette, or even Annie...)

Amy said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. It's true that I don't really have a name that I feel so strongly about. Right now, I think the only name I would change it to would be Emma - a name I really like except for its popularity. But I know that I have to be 100% sure to make such a massive change. I also think about how it will be much sweeter for my daughter to think of her name as one that her daddy loved - as opposed to one that her daddy agreed to out of desperation. So I am going to try my best to get on board with this name - for my husband and my daughter's sake. I mostly call her Birdie at this point - a nickname we came up with because she looked like a little bird when she was born. I'll probably stick with this for a while in the interim. I have one more question - What do you think of the spelling of Evy/Evie (rhymes with chevy). I prefer the way Evie looks, but think Evy will lead to less pronunciation confusion. What do you think? Thanks again for you friendly and supportive comments! I will definitely be writing again when its time for number 2 (If we have a girl - definitely James for a boy) so I don't have the same problem!

Swistle said...

I LOVE Birdie.

My favorite spelling of rhymes-with-Chevy is Evvie.

Karen L said...

I'm with the chorus. Don't change her name, or don't change it much. Especially since you don't know what you're changing it TO. Evelyn Suzanne is a lovely name. I'd work with what you have.

I like the idea of getting an Ann- nickname from Suzanne or just calling her Suzanne, whether or not you switch the order of the names legally.

Oh just saw the OP's comment. And actually, when I had doubts about my second's name, the fact that my husband LOVED it and said it so lovingly really persuaded me.

I agree Evie looks nicer but Evy is better for pronunciation. Sorry, I'm no help there.

Leslie said...

Oh, Evelyn Suzanne is just lovely! I'm so sorry to hear that you're struggling with the name, but in my opinion, it's just absolutely gorgeous.

As for nicknames, Evie is my personal favorite in terms of spelling, but I've seen Evy used as well. Birdie, of course, is darling, too. When I was quite young my mother had a nickname for me that had nothing to do with my given name, and that always felt special to me.

Best of luck to you and your family!

Carla said...

Evelyn Suzanne is a pretty name, and it would be special for her to know her Daddy loved it. 'Evvie' is my vote for spelling her nn.

While I agree with the general opinion of why change it if you don't like an alternative better - I suggest that for the next, oh month or so,keep perusing name ideas just to reassure yourself that there is nothing you like better. (and one your husband agrees to) I'd be like that.

Some ideas just for fun:
(I love Rose)
Geneva (you can still use Evvie)
Annaliese (nn Anna)

Good luck!

Clarabella said...

Birdie is adorable. I was just going to suggest if you keep the name, maybe you could come up with a meaningful nickname that has nothing to do with her actual given names.
The other idea I had, especially given how you feel about Anna, is to make a nickname for her from both Evelyn and Suzanne, such as Evy Anne or Evie Anne?
Good luck.

Miriam said...

Amy, I also love what you said in your comment about her name being one that her daddy loved. I think Evelyn will grow on you, especially with all of the nickname possibilities this thread has generated!

I like Swistle's suggestion of Evvie. And Birdie makes my heart melt too. Congrats on your little girl!!

Christine said...

Oh I think Evelyn is such a beautiful name! If you were at a place where you really thought of your daughter as another name, even say Emma, than I would say change it asap...but in this case it seems more general naming regret...and well it seems you're pretty on the fence regarding all the names. (Not saying it as an insult, I get it, naming someone is pretty *big*).

For the record I like the nn Evie (rhymes with Chevy) and Evie (pronounced E-V). And I think you could use either with Evelyn. I love the nn Birdie for her. When I was in first grade I idolized a sixth grader whose name I thought was Birdie, but was really "Bernie" for Bernadette. It's funny how big and grown up I remember thinking she was at the ripe old age of 12. :)

What I'm trying to get at is keep Evelyn Suzanne, and call her Birdie (or anything else you might like related to her name, looks, or personality), if you choose.

Congratulations on your daughter!

Anonymous said...

I agree, give it some time and I think Evelyn will become such a part of your daughter that you couldn't imagine her as anything else. And, Birdie is really adorable :)

As far as the nickname spelling Evy vs. Evie, I think either will be fine. I personally prefer Evie. You may have to correct people on the pronunciation the first time, but I don't see it as a deal breaker.

Evelyn is such a classic, elegant name to me. It was my great Aunt's name, and she went by Elle (pronounced like the letter L). I always liked that nickname too :)

Eve and Lyn are other possible nicknames.

Juliene said...

You sound really down on yourself and like you feel unsupported. Maybe hold off on this decision for now.
I love her name, but I suggest taking a break from worrying about it for a while. Wishing you all the best, with a ((hug)) too.

Carolyn said...

I think if Emma feels right, don't worry about the popularity. Emmalyn nn Emmy or Emma could be an easy change if you want.

You could call her by her middle name, and even change it to Suzanna/Susannah, and not have to make any legal changes. Plus, then you'd have Anna in the name.

Otherwise, I love Evelyn Suzanne. I'm partial to the nn Eva (pronounced Evva, but I know how that could get confusing). It sounds similar to Emma, but with a fresh update.

Hope this helps!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

My dear friend's daughter is named Evelyn, which is what they call her. Her only nickname is "Peach" because she has red hair. I think both are darling on her. Perhaps you will come up with your own special nickname for your daughter that you will love? Good luck!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

And for what it's worth, my husband's name was changed as a baby! So it's okay if you end up going that route. He was only 3 weeks old, but his mom just felt like he wasn't a "Peter James". Now his name is John Howard and fits him perfectly.

The Schwant Family said...

change it if you want to but i agree with swistle that if something doesn't just blow you away in that you love it and it fits her perfectly, i wouldn't go through all of the drama. I knew a beautiful little girl named Evelyn and called Evie (again, like Chevy) and I've loved the name ever since. Swistle is pretty brilliant with the Suzanna thing too...calling her Anna isn't the same as naming her Anna and solves your problem about not having to change her given name. I think you could leave her name as is and just start calling her Anna...lots of people go by their middle names or a nickname from their middle name.

The Schwant Family said...

another name change

Anonymous said...

I second the suggestion of calling her Eva (like eh-va),which is awfully similar to Emma. And I agree, there are so many great nickname possibilities in the lovely name you've chosen. Good luck with your decision!

Patricia said...

Evelyn Suzanne is a lovely name, and it seems that your daughter will love her name because it's hers and because her dad and mom chose it for her. Also, she most likely will know other girls with the name which makes Evelyn a 'regular' name for her generation. The usual nickname for Evelyn traditionally has been spelled "Evie", but since that same spelling now also denotes 'Eve-ee', Evy might make things clearer -- although I'd probably spell it Evie.

It sounds like you and your husband had a hard time coming up with a name, so I'm guessing it would be just as challenging to find a different name you both like. You could keep the name legally but call her something else. (I have a friend whose parents named her R0salie N0ra and then called her "Patty"!) Or give her another name beginning with E so the change isn't so drastic. Emma Suzanne is very nice, and if she seems like an Emma, who cares if she's not the only one -- she'll be the only Emma in your family (perhaps in extended family too)! And at any rate, Evelyn is predicted to become a top 10 name too.

Either way -- staying with Evelyn or changing the name, your little girl will soon attach to her name and vice versa, whatever name you decide on. I wouldn't worry about what others would say, just do what feels best for your baby, yourself and your husband.

Best wishes!

may said...

I like Evie better than Evy, probably because I've never seen Evy and have seen Evie several times. I agree that calling her Eva might work for you, too.
But you know what? I think Evelyn Suzanne is a lovely name, and it'll be so sweet to say, "Daddy loved your name, and that's why we chose it."

Sarah said...

Here's the thing, and it's something I learned from Swistle: you don't have to "fall in love" with a name for it to be a perfectly nice name for your child. Sometimes there just isn't a name you're going to feel like that about, at the given time you have a name decision to make. And for whatever reason, certain names will thrill you at one point and then it wears off, as your own tastes evidence. So not being completely obsessed with your baby's name doesn't mean it's the "wrong" name.
The only one of our kids' names I've fallen in love with was Eli's, and it just fell into my lap in the recovery room after birth. The other two we AGONIZED over, and still ended up choosing names we both felt fine and solid about, but neither one made my heart skip a beat or anything.
Also, some names just feel more adultish and it's hard getting used to them on a baby, but you'll probably end up loving them as the kid gets older. I definitely feel that way about my baby's name (Jameson.)
And for what it's worth, I ADORE her current name, first and middle. ADORE. I wanted Evelyn for both our boys, should they have been girls, but husband thought it was too old fashioned. So NOT old fashioned. It's a classic that's come back into favor!

Jenny said...

Evelyn makes me think of some classic literary heroine, and for that reason I adore it. It will be a lovely name to grow into. In the meanwhile, three cheers for the nickname Birdie! She's the next generation's Lady Bird! It's such a unique, zesty nickname, and it has evolved as you've gotten to know her. Well done, mama!

Frazzled Mom said...

I agree with what Sarah said. You don't have to fall head-over heels with a name for it to be perfect for your daughter. I wasn't in love with the name we picked for my son, also a family name, and my husband and I also had a tough time agreeing, but the name grows on me more and more each day, and now that he's nearly 9 months old, there's no question his name fits him.

Sabrina said...

I agree with all here. Even if the name is not yet growing on you, there are SO many nickname choices, and your own personal nickname is really special. (And, of course, SO cute!)

And I'll also throw another vote in the "Evelyn is an awesome name!" category. I cannot imagine, as an adult, disliking my name if it were Evelyn. And, as others have pointed out, there are plenty of nicknaming opportunities from her middle name as well.

I'd like to second Swistle's suggestion of Linnie as a nickname. My sister had a baby girl just two weeks ago and named her Linnea (nn Linnie) and it is SUCH a great baby girl nickname.

Oh, and finally, if you want people to pronounce Evie like Chevy, I would second Swistle's vote of doubling the v--that implies a soft vowel sound. So, I say Evvy or Evvie. Oh, and I also loved Evva! Though that looks odd, when written. Sounds great.

Wow, I am rambling. A huge congratulations, and I hope you find something that feels perfectly right to you!

Jordan and Krista said...

I have a 4-month old daughter named Evie (pronounced the same as your daughter). My husband wasn't a big fan of Evelyn so we went with just the nickname. For a while we had name regret because everyone pronounces her name incorrectly and we wished we'd given her a more formal name to fall back on. But now that she's getting older the name feels right. Personally, I think you should change the name if it doesn't feel right. But I think Evy/Evie is a fresh, young sounding name and it's perfect for a little girl. I also know of another Evie born just a few weeks ago.

And for what it's worth, our older daughter is named Clara and we've had lots of compliments on our sibling names. Maybe Clara can be in the running if you ever have another girl. :)

apq said...

Hi Krista,
It's funny you should say that about Clara, because lately I have decided that if we have another girl that would be her name. I like the way both Evy and Emma sound with Clara. My main problem is with Evelyn sounding too old - but I do think Evie is sweet and adorable. Evelyn lacks that sweetness I realize I like in a name. We have also had the problem with people mispronouncing her name which bothers me - but I guess the people who really know her won't mispronounce it and eventually she'll be able to correct people herself. I'm leaning more and more towards changing the spelling from Evy to Evie- I just like the way it looks so much more. Thanks for your comment!

Susan said...

What an interesting question! And I've been fascinated reading Swistle and all the other comments about it.

Re spelling of the nickname, if I saw either "Evy" or "Evie," I would assume a long-e sound (as in Eve). For it to rhyme with "Chevy," I would go with the spelling "Evvie."

A while back I heard that in the UK, the name Evelyn is pronounced "EVE-lin." (Can anyone confirm this?) Does this make you suddenly go from "meh" to wild, passionate love for the name, as it does with me?

What I would do in your situation (and I realize this may be so totally NOT what makes your heart race!) is to SOMEHOW (but HOW???) change the pronunciation to EVE-lin and call her Evie (pronounced with the long e, EVE-ee). Honestly, my heart really does beat faster to think of such a perfect name.

Swistle, maybe you need to do a whole post on that question. What does someone do if they want the name Evelyn with the UK pronunciation EVE-lin? The only thing I can come up with is to use two names: Eve Lyn. So in this case, it would require a name change to Eve Lyn Suzanne. Is there a better way?

Patricia said...

The famous English (male) writer Evelyn Waugh pronounced his name as Eve-lyn, which apparently is -- or was at one time -- the preferred pronunciation of the name in England.

Amy said...

It's Amy again with an update. I have not changed my little sweetie's name - although I am now spelling her nickname Evie - which I feel much better about. I know that Evvie would lead to less pronunciation confusion but it just looks a little weird to me - and I love the way Evie looks. I am still contemplating tweaking her name a bit -but wonder if I am just being crazy. Is Evelyn Susannah Rose too much? Our last name (Quinn) is short - but it's still a mouthful. However, it has more of the old-fashioned charm and a bit of the quirkiness I like. Do you prefer Evelyn Suzanne? I doubt I'll make an official legal change - maybe it will end up just being my special name for her. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Evelyn is a family name and I love it. The thing I never like is the nickname 'Eve' for EValyn. So I would use Evvie to knock out the confusion. Or if you go with Evelyn Suzanne, I like Zanny for a nickname or Ev Annie.

Anonymous said...

I assume that you've made your final decision by now as it this chain started in 2010, but I'd love to hear how it turned out as I'm in the same situation right now.

We have a one month old daughter, but haven't finalized her name yet. My husband loves the name Peyton but I've been questioning the gender neutralness of it, wanting something much more feminine for her. At the same time, even though he's willing to consider other names to make me happy, I love that he came up with a name that he loves so much, and I don't want to take that away from him for something that we both may be 'okay' with. (I've gone through thousands of names, but the only other ones from the list that he'll consider are Brianne/Brienne or Paige, although he doesn't really want to do Brianne or Brienne because our son's name is Brennan and thinks this is too close in pronunciation) Over the last month, I've been working to find ways to make Peyton fit with my wants as well. My middle name is Jean, and have always wanted to incorporate this in her name as it's also my mother's middle name. I've been playing with adding a second - ubber feminine - middle name to mix it up a bit. People have told me that whatever we call her, she'll grow into her name and I won't be able to picture her as anything else. I believe that this will be true, but at the same time always imagined that I would love her name from the start and that it would not need to be one that I'd have to grow to love...