Our second daughter will be arriving at the beginning of June - my problem is I don’t like any names. I scour baby-name lists for some unseen gem that will scream “this is the one”. I read TV credits looking for something perfect. If I happen to be on a new blog with a baby or young girl, I’ll search for her name. Until this point, I’ve come up empty handed and with nine weeks left, I’m starting to get concerned.
Naming our first daughter was hard, we only really decided (from a short-list) the night before she arrived. We named her Gillian Leah (nn, Gigi) - which of course, now I adore. I’m a bit of a type A personality, who is looking for perfection (hah!) the second time around as well.
The only name I find myself coming back to is Emma - by all accounts, Emma is extremely high on all current popular name lists, and quite frankly that’s what’s holding me back. I want something strong and feminine, yet not so widely used.
My husband is not sold on Emma, because with our last name (Miles), he says there are too many m’s happening. With that said, as a whole he is sort of ambivalent towards names and I’m sure I’ll be able to convince him once I get my heart set on something.
So my questions are:
1. Should I throw my rule of no-top-100-names out the window and call her Emma? Or should I concentrate on something else?
2. If we call her something as popular as Emma, what perfect, non-expected but not completely unusual, middle name could I use?
Here are alternate names I’ve jotted down as potentials over the last 20 weeks:
Ellie Georgia (Georgia is a family name)
Sidney (my husband’s only suggestion)
Plum (for a middle name)
If I'm reading correctly, the name Gillian didn't seem like the clear perfect choice before you chose it, but only afterward. This can be good news or bad news for a Type A personality trying to repeat a success: on the one hand, a name that just seems like "the best of the short list" (as opposed to clearly the perfect choice) ended up being perfect last time, and may end up being perfect a second time; on the other hand, it means the name that will end up feeling perfect later might not pop out at you, and you may have to narrow it down to one and hope for the best.
As you know, I'm in favor of allowing other considerations to trump concerns about popularity. If one name DOES stand out to you, and if you consistently like it better than the others, and if you go into the choice braced for the popularity of the name, I think you're likely to be happy with it.
One thing going for Emma is that there's only one spelling: a name such as Chloe can hang out on the Social Security charts looking like a #9, but by the time you add in all the girls named Khloe, Cloe, Kloe, Cloey, etc., it's much more common than expected.
There is, though, the issue of people looking for other ways to get to Emma, and so names that SOUND like Emma may be more common than expected. There could be an Emery, an Emmeline, an Emerson, an Emilia, an Emlyn, and maybe even an Emerald, all going by Emma or Emmie. And in fact, that's one of my first suggestions: to go for a less common name that gives you the nickname Emma or Emmie. Emmeline is one of my own favorites. Gillian and Emmeline; Gigi and Emmie.
Or you could give her a double first name, to reduce the commonness of her name. Emma June, for example (for her birth month---or Emma May if she's early, although that adds even more M-sound).
If you decide not to go with Emma, I suggest Gemma. It's similar to Emma, but the Social Security Administration has it at #449 in 2010. It may, however, have too many sounds in common with Miles, Gillian, and Gigi.
This is more of a long shot, but do you like the name Imogen? It has some sounds in common with Emma, but it's much less common and I love the interesting mix of sophisticated and whimsical. For me, it shares that category with Gillian. Gillian and Imogen; Gigi and Immy/Midge. But again, there may be too many sounds in common: the soft G, the N ending, the short-I sound; it's almost a rearranged version of Gillian.
Another of that category is Beatrix. Gillian and Beatrix; Gigi and Bee/Trixie.
I have Emma and Anna filed together in my mind: they're similar-type palindromes, and they're both sweet and simple. Anna would be great, but/and I think Annabel would go particularly well with Gillian. Gillian and Annabel; Gigi and Annie.
Elodie is so surprisingly underused---though maybe that will change as more and more people look for ways to get Ellie. Gillian and Elodie; Gigi and Ellie.
If you do go with Emma, I love the idea of choosing a really fun middle name.
Emma Anastasia Miles
Emma Calliope Miles
Emma Carrington Miles
Emma Clementine Miles
Emma Francesca Miles
Emma Hermione Miles
Emma Lavender Miles (initials spell ELM)
Emma Lissandra Miles (initials spell ELM)
Emma Lorelei Miles (initials spell ELM)
Emma Minerva Miles
Emma Paisley Miles
Emma Penelope Miles
Emma Peregrine Miles
Emma Persephone Miles
Emma Rosabelle Miles
Emma Serenity Miles
Emma Sterling Miles
Emma Waverly Miles
Emma Yeardley Miles
Or do you have a cool family name to put in the middle, or a name of a favorite author/actor/poet, or a name of a city of significance to you, or any names you love but can't use for some other reason? Or if she's born in June, she could be Emma June, or Emma Pearl for her birthstone.
From your list, I also really like Ivy Jane and Ellie Georgia (I'd like Ella Georgia even better, but I kind of like the repeating-A ending and I know not everyone does), and also I'd put together Lucy Willow.
Name update! M. writes:
Forty weeks of pregnancy and my husband and I still couldn’t make a final decision on the name until the day before our girl’s arrival. And with that, we were thrilled to welcome our Ellie Georgia into the world on June 5th.
A huge thanks for the in-depth review and to your readers as well. Considering we chose not to share any name options with family and friends during pregnancy, all of your input was especially invaluable!