Duana Names: Two Households, Both Alike In Dignity

September 5, 2014 18:06:19 Posted at September 5, 2014 18:06:19
Duana Posted by Duana

We're expecting our second child this fall (November). We have decided, like with our first, not to find out the gender of the baby.  We are, however, in desperate need in baby name advice.

Here is some background information to help you out.

Background information 1: My husband and I are an inter-racial, inter-cultural couple. I'm of East Indian descent, and my husband of Irish descent. Both of us are first generation Canadian, with immigrant parents. We want a name that works for both culture, and that can be pronounced by both sets of family. Also, both of our Mothers adhere to the parenting style of the Squawking Chicken, except instead of Feng Shui and filial piety, we have Astrological readings, and Irish/Catholic guilt being thrown our way in regards to baby names.

Background information 2: I've had 5 pregnancy losses before our son was born in 2012. The names we picked out during our first pregnancy held their place through all 6 of my previous pregnancies. I feel like we hit the jack pot with our son name: Rohan. We both love it. Its strong without sounding harsh. We love the meaning it has in both culture (In Gaelic it means Red, Rugged and Adorned; in Sanskrit it means Red, and Ascending). Both sets of mothers can pronounce his name, albeit, each with a slight difference in accent, which we don't mind.  We're having trouble finding a boy name that we love just much as Rohan, let alone that will match well as a sibling's name. The girl names we picked out, has lost their appeal (Maya and Isla). I can't tell you why, just that we have fallen out of love with the names.

Background information 3: Our last name is one syllable, beginning with the letter "M".

Help! We really are lost in what to name our second child.  


You had me at "Irish-Catholic guilt". Boy, do I know what this is. But I should point out that this is, bar nonnnnne, the most common question I get. Not Irish-Indian necessarily, but two cultures (or more) coming together, and having to find a name that works in either. There are two solutions here. One is to do what we’re doing – finding the best names that might work in either culture – but the other, and these are not mutually exclusive, is to assume that since we’re living in an ever-more-multicultural society, that names are just names, and that people will adjust. After all, can you think of a more American name than "Britney"? And yet I think they learned to pronounce it all over the world just fine.

Which isn’t to say you can’t have something cultural and wonderful for your child or for your parents – just that you don’t need to limit yourself.

Having said that, I think the themes and often the sounds of the worlds the names come from aren’t so far apart, really. Is that crazy? I found a list of the following comparisons that was actually almost scary in their similarity:

Kieran and Kiran, Niall and Neil, Naoise (Neesha) and Neha or Neela, Dev, Rina, Arun? Some don’t necessarily have to share the exact name, but the sounds are familiar in both cultures. Rohan is excellent in that is also fits well with today’s names – which makes me push for Kieran or Neha as key options this time around.

No matter what, know that your choice will work – and will benefit, even though it seems impossible, for all the hard roads you had to walk to get here, including all the names that didn’t turn out to be right. Let me know – including if we need to take another run at it.

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