We're expecting a little girl in early February. We already have two boys, Emerson Rhys and Sebastian Wynn. Our last name is a double barrel, both start with B and the very last ends in "ah".

We had an easy time naming the boys but we've been seriously derailed with this one. Like, we should be talking names constantly but I don't think either of us have brought the subject up for a couple of weeks. About two months ago we found out baby girl has Down’s Syndrome. It took us a few weeks to wrap our heads and emotions around that. Since then we've also found that I have gestational diabetes and baby girl has a heart defect. I'm not complaining but when I get new crappy news to worry about at every doctors visit "worrying" about names seems very unimportant.

But we still need a name! We prefer the 3 syllable first and 1 syllable middle names as they flow nicely with the last name. Then husband said he thought we should abandon the 3-1-2-2 and go for a shorter name. I feel like we should stick with what worked the first two times. There was about a week between finding out the sex and getting the Downs diagnosed that we came up with some names we almost agreed on.

Camille/Camilla, Chloe, Coraline/Caroline, Eleanor, Rosanna/Rosalie/Rosalind, Zoe

He also likes Evelyn and Victoria. I really like Marion which he kind of just ignored. We nearly agreed on Eleanor but then he said no because there would be too many E names in the family (my name also starts with E). Also no B names since there are enough in the last name. Since our last name ends in an A I'm a little hesitant for the first name to also end in A. Then I decided to thumb through my family tree to look for names and found Isadore and I loved it! Then I get on the internet and find out it's a guys name! Neither of us care for the boy name on a girl thing. I almost vetoed Emerson because I worried it was becoming more of a girls name. But I really like Isadore!

I've also had the idea that maybe, because of the Downs, we should give her an "easy" name -- easier to say and spell. It sounds totally demeaning and dismissive but it's still stuck in the back of my head.

Sorry I rambled but thank you for any advice you have!

P.S. Some of the girl names farmers in the 19th century were using-- Beulah Virginia, Mary Tennessee, Reta Lodema, Texanna, and Zeula Fay.


I’m so sorry this pregnancy hasn’t been easy for you.  I know that, given your baby girl’s health issues, you probably haven’t felt relaxed or straight-up excited in the same way as you might have during your first two pregnancies.

But, at the risk of telling you something you already know, this baby is going to have much more in common with her brothers than things she doesn’t have. She will have the same last name, the same grandparents who have the same quirks, the same pets or toys or tastes in food (my sister and I are so different, but she’s the only one who really understands about mayonnaise, you know? Shudder). Most importantly, just like her brothers, she’ll have you and your husband as parents, and will be the beneficiary of your parenting style, which includes the particular tastes that named her brothers.

So I would strongly lean toward choosing a name that fits with Emerson Rhys and Sebastian Wynn, both in length and style. I know that I’m always the one stumping for ‘Give your kid a name that will suit them all through their lives’ and I understand that you’re hesitating partly because you feel like you’re approaching the process with different information than you did with your sons. But it seems to me that her name – especially given the fact that all of you will be saying it much more, at first, than she does (question to you and other parents: when you have a 2nd or 3rd baby do you refer to them as ‘The Baby’ as much as with the first?) – should fit perfectly with your other kids’ names, maybe even more.

Which is good news, because those boys have good names—which I think you know, don’t you? Specifically, Emerson and Sebastian are both a bit lyrical and a bit literary; Caroline and Rosalind and Evelyn all really seem to fit this pattern – though I agree that Evelyn and Emerson are too serious. Zoe and Chloe, while very stylish names, seem much more crisp and modern than your sons’ names; however, if you want to change things up, syllable-wise, using the excuse that it’s a little bit different since this is a girl, I think Camille works perfectly with the names your family already wears.

As for Isadore…I’m of two minds. It’s a beautiful name, and while it’s true that it’s a boys’ name, I think the ‘Isa’ prefix which most people are so used to with Isabel/le/la may buy you the ‘it’s a girl’ nod. There is a variation used for girls, Isadora, but it violates your three-syllable rule. 

There’s another option – Isabeau, which is a rare French name that’s still got the same “Isa” prefix – but it’s not impossible that people will hear “Isabelle” no matter how many times you say ‘Isabeau’, so be prepared for that. I also think it’s a little bit antique in the same way that Coraline is – it says ‘vintage name’ a little bit more loudly than Emerson and Sebastian do, so it depends whether you want that emphasis.

Other names that your choices suggest are Genevieve or Juliet, Emmeline or Imogen or Vivienne, which fits perfectly with Sebastian and Emerson, or maybe Harriet or Cecily? Emerson and Sebastian and Cecily? COME ON. Or Adelaide, or Eloise if you decide that the ban on E names should be lifted…

There are so many choices, and may I commend you on how your original choices avoid ‘a’ at the end? I love a name with A at the end, but I’m impressed at how clearly you managed to find choices that didn’t include them.

Looking very much forward to hearing what you choose. Though it’s not been a smooth pregnancy up to now, I hope her arrival—and her name—bring you plenty of joy. Let us know!