Hi Duana,
I am due in 10 weeks with our second child and in need of some advice. Our first was a girl and we named her Harper - it was a last minute decision as we were convinced it was a boy and hadn't made a firm decision on a girls name (we had a top 3 at least). Anyways, the name we had chosen for our son was Holden and now I really want to use that name for baby #2 (we got ultrasound confirmation this time!) but my concern is using "H" names for both our kids.  Is it weird?  Will people assume it's a theme?   And if we have more kids (we're hoping to) do their names also have to start with H to continue with this "theme" that I never wanted?  What if we only have 1 more child but their name doesn't start with H.  Will they feel left out?  Am I overthinking this?? Do Harper and Holden even "go together"?  Are those 2 names too literary together? I'm open to other names but nothing stands out for me so any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Here are the answers to your questions in the order you asked them:

No, yes, no, yes, yes, yes, a little.

Does that make anything any clearer?

Let’s see here. Okay, so your daughter is Harper and now your son is about to be Holden. Your choices seem to go together quite well to me. On the one hand, yeah, Harper and Holden both come from books assigned in grade 11, but they’re not so inextricably linked that everyone will look at you like you’re some kind of library freak or something. Too literary? Not necessarily, but yes, people who hear both are going to assume you’re pretty into books, as opposed to naming your children Strummer and Bowie, you know? There’s nothing wrong with that, though.

As for the initial thing – you’re only bothered by it because H isn’t all that common.   For example, A names still lead the popularity these days and you would not think a thing of it if you met siblings named Adele and Anthony. Or Michael and Melanie. I know an awesome sibling duo named Max and Maggie. The fact that you’re attracted to them is all that matters. Most people don’t think this much about initials – I know a family of 4 girls who named their daughters, in order, with a D, an A, and a C before finally clueing in that daughter #4 should probably be a B.

Which is to say – should your potential third child be an H? I’d say it’s much more important that they be slightly androgynous, modern, and literary, like your other children’s names. Harper, Holden, and Watson. Harper, Holden, and Jem. Holden, Harper, and Wallace. Harper, Holden, and Zadie. You see what I mean?

I don’t have a lot of suggestions for boys’ names instead of Holden, because I think you really like it, but if you feel like you can’t commit to the double-H thing I would remind you to check out other surnames to see if they click for you: Montgomery.  Sullivan. Armitage (that’s the one that will get me an angry email from Lainey).   Enoch. Don’t be hemmed in if you don’t want to be, now or when baby #3 hits the scene.

Let me know!