Hi Duana,

It's coming down to the wire to name our first baby girl (first child) and we need some help agreeing on a name! I'm hoping you can help! My husband doesn't read/know about name popularity and the names he's liking are Emma and Sophia. I do like those names too but am concerned with the popularity of these names. We will use my family's middle name tradition of Marie. Our last name rhymes with Cough. Other names on my list are:

Vivian (I absolutely love it, he is luke-warm)
Violet (he is not a fan)

Names he likes that I am on the fence about:

Growing up my grandpa used to call me Sophie as a nickname (my name is no where near Sophie/Sophia) so I like that aspect of the name too. Should we go with Sophia or Emma and take our chances that our daughter won't be one of a few in her class with the same name?

Can I convince him to use my favorite name Vivian? I feel like it have looked at so many names that I have not seen any more to consider but if you have suggestions I'd love to hear them too.

We have about a week or two to decide! Thank you for your time!



Okay here we go. Breathe. You’re going to be fine here. But it’s not without its trickiness, I’m not going to lie. So…

Yeah. Emma and Sophia are very much overused. In fact,  Emma was #1 in 27 states last year, while Sophia took #8. That’s a lot a lot. 

So my question is, does your husband like these names specifically because they’re popular? Do they feel safe for him because he doesn’t worry that she’ll be made fun of? Is he a Digby or a Ferdinand or something that makes him feel a bit sensitive  about these things? As I’ve said before, the names themselves are popular because they’re pretty, so it’s not like you’d be calling the child Ermintrude and worrying that you were hurting her chances at a good life or something.

Sometimes I say that people in this situation have names that are not that far apart, but as I look at these, I can see the differences in style, even though on the surface they’re of a similar style. Let’s look at some of yours. Vivian, that you love, might also be the name of one of his mother’s friends – and it might seem imposing where he likes shorter names. Would it help if you proposed Vivi? It might sound a little less imposing, kind of like Lily, which isn’t so far from Lea, which seems a lot easier to manage, perhaps?  

I wasn’t even looking for name information this morning when I found a diatribe against John Krasinski and Emily Blunt for naming their daughter Hazel. There are some of us who think Hazel is quite lovely and estimable, but for some people it is basically Gertrude. This might be the one you have to put aside until your second child, maybe? Similarly, while Simone is beautiful and so unusual, it might be too far from the perky tones associated with Emma and Sophie.

Now, I have to ask, what about Lena? Could you find a way to love it? It’s not nearly as popular as Emma and Sophie, but it’s sweet and smart and unusual. She would definitely be one of the only ones her age, if that’s the goal. Lena Marie. Lena Cough.   Is it so far away from Emma Cough? Or Vivi Cough? (Do you see how I just went ahead and assumed Vivi was going to be the first choice and you were going to go ahead with it? Hubris!)

Other options that might fit in here are Lucy or Ivy – Ivy! – or even Lila, which somehow isn’t nearly as popular as you think it might be.

Let me know – any minute now!