As I searched the internet today, in tears, mind you, (probably thanks to all of these insane pregnancy hormones my doctor keeps talking about), I came across your blog. I felt a wave of relief reading questions from parents-to-be about the dilemmas of naming their children. I always thought I'd pick the perfect name for my child, girl or boy, but now that I am 21 weeks pregnant and have been thinking about names since my husband and I started talking about children.. I'm not sure there IS a perfect name for us. I have always had trouble making decisions, however, this may be one of the hardest. I feel as though I am back in the dress boutique in Manhattan almost three years ago where I was standing in a white dress, in tears, not because I had found the perfect wedding dress, but because NONE of the dresses brought me that "ohmygoodness, this is the one!" feeling, as they are "supposed to". After countless hours of dress shopping I could not make a decision and my mother and bridesmaids were more frustrated than me. The worst part of this anecdote is that, although I did find a dress that I loved, I still, to this day, question if I should have waited, looked around more, spent more time....Will that happen to me with our child's name?My husband and I are not going to find out the sex of the baby so, even better, I need to find TWO perfect names. I'm focusing on girl's names right now only because I can't handle thinking of both! If we have a boy we are considering the name Hudson Gray but it's very up in the air... in case that helps. Our last name is Polanco.I love the name Emersyn or Emerson for a girl and we almost had settled on Emersyn Grace until someone in my family mentioned that it is horrible and too masculine and my daughter would always resent me for giving her a "boy's name". I have a very short name and no middle name which I have always hated so I want my child to have something longer that comes with a variety of adorable nicknames.I love Grace as a first name and read many of your posts about possible middle names for it. One of your readers ended up naming her baby Grace McKinley, which I absolutely love. I think calling the baby "Gracie - something" using her middle name would be too cute. However, I am Jewish and by tradition we name according to the first letter of a relation who passed away. I have an E and a B. The E is really the one I wanted to use though, as my grandmother's name was Elayne and we were very close. Unfortunately, I was never fond of the name Elayne, otherwise that would have been one problem solved. I love names like Adeline, Adelaide, and Hannah. I am also partial to Averie although my husband is not. In our families we also have the names Emmaline and Isadore (my great-grandfather). I love Isadora but I am afraid that children will be mean and call her "Dora the Explorer". I also have a niece named Isabella, is Isadora too close to her name?Perhaps I am too all over the place to even ask for help at this point. I've spent so much time online and read so many baby name books.. I'm worried the baby will be born and there will be no name to be had.If you can help, it would be most appreciated!Thank you!
Let's start with whether or not Emerson/Emersyn is "a boy name." Short answer: no.
Long answer: while the suffix "-son" does indicate "son of" in some languages (as do the prefixes Mc- and Mac- and B-), it doesn't do so in United States English: we instead use the suffix "Junior" to indicate a son named for his father. The name Alison/Allison is not "a boy name," and neither is the name Madison, even though the ending of the names happen to include an S, an O, and an N, in that order. And now that the -en/-an/-on/-in ending is so popular, many new names have a -son ending--- not because they mean "son of," but because an -en/-an/-on was added to another segment that happened to end in an S, such as Case + -on = Cason.
Other names did come from another language's father-to-son naming system, but that origin is as relevant as knowing that a name means "oak tree": interesting, but doesn't mean the name can't be used for a child who isn't a boy named for his father (can the name Jackson only be used for sons of men named Jack, or can others use it as well?), or for a child who isn't an oak tree.
Even if we wanted to claim that in United States English the ending -son still meant male/"son of," and even if we were going to try to say that that extended to endings such as -sen and -syn and -synn, we'd need to work with the reality of actual usage. In 2011, according to the Social Security Administration, the name Emerson was given to 730 male babies and 1142 female babies. The name Emersyn was given to 6 male babies and 390 female babies. The name Emmerson was given to 21 male babies and 106 female babies. The name Emersen was given to 57 female babies. The name Emmersyn was given to 51 female babies. The name Emmersen was given to 12 female babies. The name Emersynn was given to 10 female babies.
It becomes increasingly difficult to call a name "a boy name" when it is given to more female babies than male babies. Clearly names are not black and white in that way, and insisting that they SHOULD BE or ARE that way doesn't change anything. We could also claim that Ashley and Evelyn and Lesley are "BOY names!!"---but where would that get us, now that they are used mostly for girls? Names, like colors and toys, are given to male/female babies according to fashion, not according to stone tablets.
There. That's the end of the long answer.
You could consider Emerson (with that spelling) as your boy name: it IS still used for boys as well as for girls. Or you could consider Ellison, or Edison, or Emmett, or Elliot, or Everett.
There may indeed not be a perfect name for your baby. The concept of a perfect name existing out there somewhere, FATED specifically for a particular baby but ONLY IF YOU CAN FIND IT, as if the universe itself has selected a name that you must now frantically quest for before time runs out, is a damaging and stressful and upsetting concept for most parents---especially when you're trying to find it for someone you've never even met. Would it have changed the course of your marriage to have found The Perfect Dress? Would you now be happier, more in love, more compatible with your husband? Will finding The Perfect Name change the course of your parenting experience, or change your mother-child relationship?
I find it's happier and more relaxing to think of the goal as finding a name you like just fine, a name that fits and serves your baby just fine. If you like, you can add the idea that it's nice to find a name that makes the naming of future siblings easier, by being a name that goes well with other names you usually like. And then, if you DO find a name you think of as perfect after all, what a happy bonus!
One hard lesson of baby-naming is this: No matter what name you choose, someone else is going to hate it. REALLY hate it. And a whole lot of people are going to think it's lame or boring or weird. You will not find a name that will make every single person, upon hearing it, think, "Wow! That is THE perfect name!" We all have different tastes in baby names---and there tend to be particularly large rifts between generations. Discussing names with a few trusted friends or relatives can be helpful; discussing them with someone who would call a name "horrible" is unhelpful, and I think it would be safe to exclude that family member from future discussions.
I would take comfort in this: if I had any concerns that my child might actually, literally, seriously have his or her life changed by her or his hatred of her or his name, I would decide ahead of time to make my attitude one that welcomed and encouraged the child to change her or his name if he or she wanted to. I'd keep this reaction ready: "Oh, you hate your name? I always hated mine, too! Well, if you ever want to change it when you were an adult, it's no big deal---probably a matter of a $100 court fee or something like that. What do you think you might like to go by instead? I used to wish my name were Megan!"
And in the meantime, look for a nice name to give the baby as a placeholder. If you'd like to use an E initial, and if you like names like Emersyn and Adeline and Adelaide, I recommend Emmeline/Emmaline. Emmeline Grace is lovely, and you have Emmaline in your family tree! How wonderful!
If you like Averie and Emersyn, I suggest Emery and Everly.
Elayne does have a bit of a dated sound, but I think Elena is beautiful and current. Elena Grace.
I don't think Isadora will lead to "Dora the Exporer"---and if it does, it's difficult to stretch that to a negative association. "Nyah, nyah, you're adventurous and successful!" (Though I guess I might get tired of hearing them sing "D-d-d-d-d-Dora!") I think Isabella and Isadora are fine for cousins---even better if Isabella goes by Bella and Isadora goes by Izzy. If Isabella goes by Izzy, however, I might look for a different name. Or I might use Isadora as a middle name, where it wouldn't be an issue. Everly Isadora, Emery Isadora, Elena Isadora.
Beatrice has some sounds and style in common with Grace. Beatrice Isadora is elegant.
More similar to Emersyn, I'd suggest Brinley. Brinley Grace, Brinley Isadora.
Name update! Bonnie writes:
I wanted to update you and your awesome readers on the birth of our new baby! We had a little girl on November 2nd and we decided to name her Emmerson Grace. We were able to come to this decision because of your help and the thoughtful and sincere comments from everyone who read about our naming troubles. I love Emmerson's name and we have taken to calling her Emmie Grace which I also love.
I will admit, though, it wasn't one of those "oh she's here and I KNOW her name is Emmerson". She didn't have a name until we were alone with her for a few hours in the hospital, we were deciding between Violet and Emmerson and in the end and it was really a tough call.
In the end I do love her name and I'm glad we went with Emmerson. We get a ton of compliments and she looks like an Emmerson to me! :) Thank you again for all of your help.