Hi Duana,

My husband and I are in a bit of a bind. We have 4 weeks until our due date and are still circling around 4 very different baby names - we would LOVE some help on narrowing this down or any insights or thoughts you might have.

Some intro information: We're expecting a girl, this is our first child, and we're leaning towards Lillian for a middle name.

Here's the list:
   - Evangeline: I know this one is becoming more common but it's our longest lasting agreed upon name so far (we've had it on our "list" for a few years). For nicknames I love Eve and my husband is a big fan of Evie.

   - Maisy: We both really like this name but the "con" for us is that we expect it to be pretty popular soon and would prefer something a bit more unique. Unfortunately we like it too much to just cut it outright.

   - Wilhelmina: We're big readers and my husband fell for this one while re-reading Dracula. I can't decide if I love it or I hate it, and I also can't decide if our child will end up hating us for it. For nicknames we like Willy and Mina.

   - Ripley: We stumbled upon this when looking up name statistics for our other three options and both really liked it (however we can't decide if we'll like it for the long run). Completely aware that the obvious reference which comes to mind is from the movie Aliens, however neither of us mind that.

I know we're headed in very different directions depending on our choice (and perhaps that's why we're so stuck).

Any thoughts you could offer would be incredibly appreciated!


You’re right, these really are very different—you’ve got at least three different styles here, which is great, but I totally understand why it would be hard to go in one direction or another!

My first clue about what to do, though, comes in your intro information—you write ‘this is our first child’. That indicates there might be a second, and that, in turn, makes me eliminate Ripley.

Here’s how I got there—you say that’s your first, and so you might have more than one. It’s so different from your other choices that I wonder if you’ll find something else like it for another girl, if you had one, and if you had a boy, well, then you’d want something as gender-neutral or as traditionally male, and it just seems a little outside your other choices. I have no issue with the name, and the reference to Aliens doesn’t bother me either, I just don’t think it’s right for your family, long-term.

Then we go deeper. I had to really think about whether or not Maisy (or more often Maisie) is gaining in popularity. It’s true that it jumped onto the top 1000 for the first time, and that it offers an alternative to Mae and Maeve, both more popular in previous years, plus people love their ‘m’ names – but I’m not sure. I would have expected it in the wave of Sadie and Gracie and even Adelaide. In fact, Maizie was even the nickname for Somers Mayhew, Caitlin Somers’ daughter in Summer Sisters, published in 1997. She might almost have taken off then (if only people didn’t want to associate their children with Maizie’s questionable mother), but didn’t.

So you might have lots of room there, I don’t anticipate a bumper crop of Maisies anytime soon—people seem to be going towards more fanciful, decorated names again. You know, after Olivia and Amelia come Clementine and Josephine…

And maybe Wilhelmina and Evangeline.

For the record, I have never heard of anyone using these names. In fact, I’ve never really heard of anyone liking these names except me, but the reaction to them is much more ‘oh, interesting’ and much less ‘sorry, what?!’ than even a decade or so ago when Evangeline Lilly first became a thing.

I really, really love both these names. They are both ones I would suggest and choose. We are, funnily enough, in a place where the ‘ine’ ending sound is once again popular, and maybe Sandrine and Leonine and Marlene, even (okay no, but Marlena?) are going to follow.

But I wouldn’t worry too much about their crushing popularity, because the names are too much for a lot of people. I don’t anticipate many Evangelines—but if you lend yourself to Evie and Eva, there could be a bigger chance. Eve, though, might be strangely safe from copycats…there’s something about being the original discoverer of sin that keeps the name from being overused, which is something to keep in mind, even though I love the full name.

I love the full version of Wilhelmina too, as I’ve said before…but I’m not going to push it on you because I do think it’s unwieldy if you don’t love it. I think there are dozens of nicknames and ways to go, but I think if you felt ambivalent about it (but how could you!), you might sort of feel sheepish, or not often use the full version of it, which would seem like a real shame. God, I love this name.

So that leaves us with Maisie/Maisy and Evangeline. I lean toward Evangeline because it seems similar to Wilhelmina, which leads me to believe they’re more your ‘style’, but if you gravitate to Maisie instead, then you have your answer. 

But we don’t, so you should write me back and let me, and all of us, know what you choose!

P.S. If you’re sad the column is over, you can click here to buy The Name Therapist! Available across Canada now and U.S. very soon!