Hi Duana,

I’m expecting a sweet baby girl, and I’m having a hard time picking out a name that’ll suit her. I’ve really been blessed with a peaceful pregnancy so far, and have this feeling that I’ll pop out a very sweet girl with an old soul.
I’ll be a single mom, so a great thing about that is having no one vetoing my choices, although my mom’s already suggesting names like crazy, mostly season names like Autumn and Summer. I’m not a big fan, at all. When I do decide on a name, she’ll know what it is when she reads the birth certificate, otherwise I’m pretty sure she’ll make me second guess myself.

I want to honor my parents though, especially my mom, cause she’s an amazing woman, so my daughter’s middle name will be Maya, after her Lulu (that’s what she wants her granddaughter to call her), but I can’t decide on a first name. I like the name Harlow, but I’m not sure it goes with Maya. And I’m also looking for a British name, little wink to my dad. In case that’s any relevant, my daughter will have my last name, Mills.

I’m really looking forward to your suggestions!


Okay, there are two issues afoot here. One is that you want to find something to go with middle name Maya. No problem, we’re on it. Get right back to you on that.   

The other is that you’re worried you’re going to offend your mom by choosing a name she doesn’t like. I’m not super-clear on this – is she suggesting names to you and you’re just smiling a watery smile? How does she not know that these aren’t suiting you yet? Maybe not everyone is as free with the barf-faces as my own family – for that matter, maybe not everyone talks about names as much as my own obsessive family. If you’re trying to let her down easy, I would start proposing names of your own, ones you know she won’t necessarily like, but that will start a  conversation. “Elizabeth??? How could you choose ELIZABETH?” Then you go “Well, what’s an alternative?” “Summer! Summer is an alternative.” Then you explain what your issue is with Summer, but you’re not the bad guy because mom has disliked one of your names. Then you bat around names you see in the paper for a while.   Then you lament that the “births” section of most papers is a thing of the past.

Now, for what goes with Maya as a middle name – I would say that, especially since your last name is one syllable, you can and should go with something a little longer for your daughter’s first. Not everyone is in this situation but since the most pleasing syllable combination is 3-2-1 (or 2-1-3 or etc) you’re set up well for it.  

I’d also avoid any M names unless they’re really important to you.

So a British name to go with Maya – how about Imogen? I know it’s a bit popular these days on lists, if not in actual deployment on babies, but it’s also GREAT.   Imogen Maya. Yes. I buy that, don’t you?

Another underrated British name is Harriet. Harriet Maya is a bit of a style-straddler, it’s true, but I think it could work nicely, especially since Maya has a bit of a following in the UK as it is.

But if these are too fussy for you, let’s look at some slightly more modern options.   Harlow Maya sounds a little too…syllable-y, for lack of a better word. There are a lot of vowels. Someone once said of a name that it “sounded like a mantra”, and though they meant it as a compliment, I wasn’t buying. But along similar lines, what about Charlotte? Yes, I have decried it here as being well-used. And it is. But in this context,  doesn’t it seem so suitable? British, goes with Maya, kind of a left turn from Autumn? Or is it time for me to bring back Margot? Margot Maya -- no, it rhymes a little bit and the syllables are too close. But I’m really into this “o” sound that you have going with Harlow. What about Rowena? No? I know. I have a bit of a cold and I feel like I’m off my game.  

I’m curious about this one. Let me know!