What's in a name?
I've always been fascinated by names. I struggled with accepting mine for most of my childhood and teenage years- it took me a long time to recognise the beauty in a less-than-common name, and especially a name with such an integral meaning for my life. Felicity is Latin for 'happiness', and I've long known that I was given that name for a reason. I live for happiness, for myself, my loved ones, and everyone I meet. It is the basis of my business, it is the basis even of this blog, to share what makes life happy, and worth being a part of.
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of babies, and wondered what I would call them. I've gone through phases with different favourite names, pored through baby name books and websites, paid close attention when meeting new people, to see if they have names that grab my attention. I've kept lists of favourites over the years, practiced writing them, even practiced yelling them, in anticipation of one day having to tell off my unruly children (ha!). And I even think perhaps the opportunity to name a baby was potentially more exciting than the baby itself!
So, long before #thelove and I became pregnant- even before we discussed starting a family- I had names I liked, ready and raring to go. Of course, there are many factors involved in choosing a name for someone. For starters, you're giving a name to another human being. You hear sometimes of these- let's face it, insane- names that various celebrities, or even just viral news stories, that are given to babies, that make you shake your head in pity for the poor child. As I said, it is an exciting opportunity, being able to pick a name yourself, to give to your baby. But I often wonder if those parents had neglected to think about the fact that they were naming a human being. A human being who will one day have to go to school, to a job interview, perhaps one day address dignitaries or simply a boardroom of company directors. And with a name like 'Trigger' or 'Audio' (legit, I googled bizarre baby names), it may be difficult to take those people seriously.
You also need to consider the variations, connotations, and potential derogatory remarks that a name can carry. For example, nicknames. I love the name William, but I'm not a huge fan of the nickname 'Will'. Or, my brother is called Anthony, but while he likes, and his friends call him Tony, my mother hates that nickname. Or how a first name fits with a last name. Our surname is Cook, so I knew I'd have to stay away from any potential food-related names (such as Sage, or Olive, or, as #thelove thinks is a great joke, Ken). Plus, kids can be cruel. Names that children can make fun of, or that may simply cause embarrassment to the child when they have to tell it, or spell it, are things to be considered. Because while we each will strive to teach our children to both be kind and caring people, and that a name doesn't make a person, the truth is, kids are still going to be mean sometimes, they're still going to come up with nicknames, and it can still potentially cause anxiety for a child.
Another thing you can think about (although you don't have to, this is more on an energy level), is the meaning of the name. All names have some sort of meaning- even if it's one that you made up. And some people (myself included) believe that a name can have an impact on who a person turns out to be. I only look at my own name to see that there must be some sort of truth in that!
So, Tilly. I actually had another favourite girl name ready to go when we found out we were pregnant. I'd been set on it for goodness knows how long, and even though I continued to add potential names to my list, I was pretty sure it was set, if baby was going to be a girl. But on the day of our gender reveal, which we did at about 13 weeks, all of those years of favourite names, dreaming of a one-day baby, even the list on my phone, when the confetti cannon blew out a cloud of pink dust and confetti, our daughter became real, and the decision of a name became serious business.
We sat down that night, just to have a chat about the day, how we felt having now found out what baby was, and the discussion moved to names. We weren't going to set ourselves on a name straight away- in fact, it has always been my belief, and my preference, that a child shouldn't be named until they actually arrive in the world, and you get to meet them. So even if we had a favourite or two, as far as I was concerned, she wasn't going to be officially named until she was born.
And while we were chatting, I realised that the name I had originally had my heart set on, was no longer right. Having learned that my baby was a daughter, my connection to her had changed, and deepened. I couldn't yet feel her move, but I knew there was something between her and I, and my heart told me she needed her own name, not one I'd been holding onto.
I don't actually even remember how or where Tilly came from. I think we'd been going through some baby name lists, and also looking at the meanings of them, and we both seemed to be drawn to Tilly. The name Tilly, in German, means 'strength in battle', and we knew it was perfect. We hope to raise a strong, fierce, compassionate and caring young woman, and the fact that there is indescribable strength in a name so soft and sweet as Tilly, it gives me faith that we may just achieve that.
So the name Tilly lingered on us that day. We decided to let it simply be, and make no decisions on it. We had so much further to go before she arrived, so that was okay. And so it sat. As the weeks went by, we started to use it more, and before we knew it, we were even calling her by the name Tilly (in private, of course, we didn't share her name with anyone before she was born). It seemed right. We had both made a connection to her with that name. By the very end, we knew there was no other name for her- even though we hadn't met her yet.
Her middle name was harder. We had had ideas about connecting to family names through our children's middle names, but somehow, it wasn't working. We couldn't decide on a name that fit her, and fit with the first name Tilly (and the last name Cook). After a while though, the name May/Mae started to surface, and I couldn't seem to get away from it. Tilly was due (and born) in May, so the first connection was made there. Secondly, #thelove and I met and began our own journey in May, and suddenly, the middle name fit. We opted for the spelling with an E, to break up the two names ending in Y, plus it just looks so beautiful written down.
The story of a name, and of a little girl with a whole world in front of her. How did you choose your babies' names? I'd love to know the story behind them....x