Hi Duana,

My baby girl is due in a week and my husband and I were all set to name her Julia. However, I've suddenly gotten a panic attack that "Julia" maybe too common a name. Especially since my husband is now considering "Catherine" as her middle name. I had preferred "Marlowe" as her middle name (since my husband's name is Marlon and I thought it would compliment nicely... too weird?)

If you agree with me, that "Julia" is too common a name, can you suggest other names that start with "J"? It's a bit of a family tradition (on my side) to start the name with "J".

Many thanks for your urgent help,



Hi J,

Take a breath. Easy. The last week is never ending and may wind up being a day or two-and-a-bit weeks. Don’t make any sudden moves, okay?

I just want to lay out the facts here.

1. You loved Julia until this week.
2. You are panicking partly because of the prospective middle name. That Catherine as opposed to Marlowe might make Julia less special.
3. There is a baby tromping around your insides, plotting her escape. Which can make anybody crazy.

Look. Sometimes names are popular because they’re gorgeous. Julia falls exactly into that category. It’s a beautiful, lyrical name. It’s the kind of name that flies out of mind when people ask me for a name that will work across multiple cultures, but it’s exactly what it is. Everyone knows it, and, almost uniformly, everyone loves it.

But everyone knows this, so it gets a lot of use. Yes, it’s more common than Juniper.  But that’s why you chose it, right? Because Juniper doesn’t give you that good feeling. So try a few more. See if any of them settles into your daughter’s name.  Jessa? Jane? January? Juno? Jocasta? Hell, Jennie? Do any of these make your heart beat a little faster? I love them all. I’ll even save my favourite for last – Jacinta. I know! It’s basically the perfect name, isn’t it?

But I bet you none of them make you feel like that’s your little girl who’s growing up in your house, with your husband and you as parents. I’m thrilled if they do, but the fact that you’re writing days before D-day tells me that you had a plan in mind already.

So with that being said, Julia is well-used. You can absolutely be more sure that there won’t be another Julia Marlowe than that there won’t be another Julia Catherine. Make your peace with the fact that it might be around a little more than you’d like, and then remind yourself that if you truly sorted through all the names and this really, indisputably, is the one, then that’s great. It’s not the same as just settling for Emma out of laziness.