Duana Names: I Saw The Sign…Right?

Duana Posted by Duana at January 11, 2017 21:56:48 January 11, 2017 21:56:48


We're having our first, a baby girl at the end of January and for a name we are stumped! I keep waiting for a sign or something to fall upon us which is just perfect, but obviously that hasn't happened yet. I can't wrap my head around just finding a name in a book, liking it, and naming our child that forever! I feel like there needs to be more!

For some background, my husband’s name is two syllables and ends in a harsh "T". I'm Italian and Dutch, he is French and Welsh. We now live in a small town, very anglophone with a heavy Italian population. We both are health professionals that often work with kids so we'd love something easy to pronounce, straight-forward in terms of spelling, slightly unique but still not something we just made up.

Saying that we have come up with a few names, some with family relations that could work. As a first name we both like Cecilia. I like Julia, Julianna, Nora, Rose (my husband is not so into them). He likes Camille (but only when it's said the french way "Camy"), Francesca, Sienna, Audrey. The only name we both love is Willa. BUT, my sister, who usually has extremely similar tastes to mine, hates it! Willa makes me think of a very vintage, 1920s era, classic name. To her it's super hipster and "not weighty or elegant" like our other choices. I'm sure we'll be getting a lot of feedback like that from other family members if we choose it. Help!

As for middle names some family names we could use are Bridget, Nanette, Grace, Lucy/Lucille, Simone, Adrienne. Or some more out-there but cool family ones: Immaculata, Harmina, Concetta.

Going back to my original dilemma of waiting-for-a-sign. I did have a dream where the baby was 6 months old and we hadn't named her yet because we couldn't think of one. In the dream we let her name herself, and she picked Audrey. Talk about a sign! But in the dream my first reaction was "Oh...I liked the other names on our list better..."

Is that the sign I was looking for? Do I heed my older sister's advice? Help!


Dude, I totally, utterly feel you. I always have. One name is far too few for many people. Not only should we be able to have many names and not be looked askance at if we want everyone to know them (I’ve told you that all of you with confirmation names that I think you should be shouting them from the rooftops!), but maybe we should have different names for different situations, you know? I have known people with names like Margaret or Elizabeth who like their names because they’re endlessly adaptable with nicknames, etc.

That actually gave me a little inspiration in your case. I don’t agree with your sister that Willa is not weighty or elegant, but it is of a slightly different style and era than your other names—Julianna and Francesca and even Camille seem more decorative and elaborate, and Willa is a bit more ‘modern’, like an Eileen or Frances or other names that became popular when those elaborate names became outmoded. For what it’s worth, ‘Sienna’ and even Audrey seem a bit anachronistic—a little more modern than some of your other choices – or more in line with your middle names like Simone and Lucille.

However, I have a solution that can do both:


You’ve heard me gush over this name before, but it’s particularly appropriate here. Not just to appease your sister, but because the names you really do like seem to fall more under the decorative umbrella. You can use Wilhemina and Willa interchangeably, and feel comfortable with either – and she fits perfectly with a second child named Julia or Francesca, or Constantine or Augustus if you have a boy, and please tell me you will use Immaculata for a second or third middle name , because how can you not?

In short, I don’t think your sister is right about the style of the name, but I do think she’s right about your style – if Willa hits the sweet spot, you may find that you want the option of going ‘formal’ some of the time, or with a potential subsequent child.

Otherwise I fully endorse Cecilia or Henrietta or Camille or Francesca, but I don’t think you truly love those names, or we wouldn’t be here in the first place, you know? However, I would submit Fredericka for your perusal, now and in the future...

Admittedly, it’s a simple solution but sometimes, as in your case, when you’re so incredibly close, that’s exactly what you need.

Let us know! 

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Tags: Name Nerd
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