Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What's in a Name?

In Jewish tradtion, the naming of a child takes on huge significance. Names are most often given for family members who are deceased, using the first letter of the name. The hope for the child is that he or she will have some of the characteristics of that family member. After out daughter comes, she will have a naming ceremony performed by a rabbi to celebrate and welcome the new daughter and to talk about the significance of her name. Needless to say, this makes picking a name that much more stressful.

have been shocked by the amount of judgment we have heard towards our choice of names for our daughter. It seems everyone has an opinion on the name, the better they know us, the more qualified they feel to tell us just what they think, especially if it is negative. On Sunday, R and I spent an hour looking over all of the "S" names we like. We keep coming back to Samara. For the most part, people have told us that they love this name. But I have also heard a lot of negative comments as well. It never occurred to me not to share the names we had picked out. I know a lot of people do go this route, but since I am a sharer, it seemed only natural to share this piece of my life with others. They would know the name soon enough anyway! But then I discovered a funny thing: people have opinions--strong ones--about the name of our child. I can't tell you the number of times I have heard people ask how to pronounce the names we have told them. Having grown up with a difficult to pronounce name, I should feel this pain. But I don't. I love my name, even more as I get older (although, sadly, it is becoming somewhat trendy). But I remember my mother telling me that her mother--my grandmother--was very anti-my name. "It sounds like a DP," she told my mother at the time. A close friend whose name has also become trendy in recent years told a similar story. Her parents were living in Greece when they had her and, from her maternal grandparents, the news of her name garnered a "two-minute transatlantic silence," she said. It seems no matter what name we choose, there is bound to be some judgment: too trendy, too exotic, too hard to pronounce, too silly. For me and R, the main goal is to give our daughter an original name with an S so that she will be named for my mother (Susan) who died when I was 16. Originally, I assumed I would name her Susanna with a long a. But this proved too difficult for many. And although we have not ruled it out, we have moved on to other names. We like Svetlana, Senna, Sarina, Semira, Samirah and Scarlett. Deciding is the hard part. We have consistently called her Samara for weeks. The name is very close to perfect. But, for some reason, it does not feel completely right. Whether this is because she is not here yet or whether it is actually not the right name is unclear. I cannot believe how much we are struggling with this, though! Do other people struggle this much?

I also know that this is just the first in a long list of issues people will feel free to share their opinion on. Maybe people fail to realize that when you are an insecure pregger or a new mom the last thing you want to feel is criticized. I am all for sharing ideas, but please think about how to phrase them. And as long as I am on my pulpit, I will repeat my plea: PLEASE give up your seat on the subway when you see an obviously pregger woman. You can't imagine how much she probably needs to be off her feet.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

My advice: Ignore them all. She is YOUR daughter, and you have the right to name her whatever you choose. People in my family had a fit when I told them Isabella's middle name (Carmelina, after her great-great grandmother) because they thought it was too long and too Italian (and we're an Italian family!). I told them, "Have your own kid and you can name him/her whatever you choose." Don't cave in. You've chosen a beautiful name.