I am 34 weeks pregnant with a girl. After much negotiation, my husband and I have decided to name her Mira. However, we are having a lot of trouble with a middle name. Because I am giving the child my husband's last name, and I don't want to hyphenate (our names sound bad together) or give her my last name as her maiden name (my mom did that to me and I always hated it) I want the middle name to alternatively represent me somehow. Originally I wanted to give her a family name, "Evangeline" but my husband is concerned the name sounds too religious.

Alternatively, I have been considering the name June (it’s my birth month), Pearl (my birth stone) or Vivienne (I just kind of like it). Do you have any thoughts on those names and/or do you have any other suggestions? My husband's last name by the way is [redacted, partly for privacy but also because I like the idea of using the word “redacted”].



Congratulations! You’re having a baby and, more importantly, you’ve decided on her first name! This is, truly, way more than half the battle. Because let’s be honest. We all love middle names, and if it were anything less than obnoxious, kids would have five of them. But as it is, the split between first name usage and first-plus-middle is, like, 87% first-only. Middle names are, when it comes down to it, seasoning.  Decoration. You know how on Top Chef they talk about “finishing” a dish? That’s what you’re doing here: Finishing the name.

But having said that, I tend to come down on your husband’s side where Mira Evangeline is concerned. Not for the same reasons – it doesn’t feel prohibitively religious – but it’s that old beginning-and-ending vowel thing. It gets in the way.   “Mira Vangeline”.  What I do like about it, though, is that it’s as unusual and fresh-sounding to the ears as Mira is. I know your husband is never going to go for Evangeline Mira, but I do like it if he flies into a fit of name acquiescence once the baby actually arrives.  

However, Mira Vivienne ticks all the boxes. Every single one. Classy, unusual, and most importantly, you love it. It’s a nice balance for Mira, grounded in the sense that it’s more familiar, but still so completely stylish and classy. One of those names I love because you don’t immediately know, when you hear it, what year the child was born. 

I have to admit that neither June nor Pearl does it for me. It wouldn’t happen if we were talking about August and Peridot – but as it happens, June and Pearl both lend themselves to kind of a rockabilly sensibility that I really don’t get the impression you want here. And I know, it doesn’t change anything. Mira Pearl, in particular, can be almost anyone’s name, and I might have talked myself into it just by typing it out.    But Mira June just…doesn’t lend itself in the way you want.

Having said all this, I like your idea of something that honors you, but I wonder whether you’re being too literal? My own middle name is after a piece of music my father heard for the first time the week I was born. Could you do something similar?  Is there a name of an author you love? Some moment in history – the country’s, or yours – that you’d like to commemorate? I am writing this on the day we learned that The Breakfast Club was 30 years ago – maybe “Claire” stuck in your head as much as it did mine? Something?

Mira is gorgeous. You have the skills. I’m not worried about you guys.