Dear Duana,

Now to the matter at hand, we are in desperate need for a name!

Our third child was born on May 14th, the names on our shortlist do not fit her and now we're sleep deprived and have no clue how to even to start a new name search. She's currently called Baby Girl by the doctor's office and that is just wrong.

The name has to fit in with her siblings, Vigo Bastian and Luna Marina, and their double last name, P---- V----. Since we currently reside in the US, the kids mainly go by "first” last name, but it is important to us that they keep their double last name and that their given names flow.

The name has to be short and easy to pronounce in Spanish, French and English. Although common where our families originate from, my husband and I have relatively unusual* names for the US, Sebastian and Nuria, and enjoy being the only ones at work, classes, etc. This is something we'd like for our kids too. (*We are aware his name has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds since his childhood.)

Our shortlist included:
Lara (my favorite which doesn't suit her at all)
Aria (my husband's and family's favorite, which I just can't get on board with no matter how hard I try)
Cala (husband likes, but doesn't fit)
Marcela (doesn't work)

Names I love but cannot use:
Anaís (everyone dislikes it)
Elka (husband doesn't get it)
Penelope (too long and alliterative)
Maia (same sound as a software package my husband uses at work)

Family names we cannot use:

We have less than 30 days to formally name her and add her to our insurance. We hope you can help us come up with a name.

Sorry if the letter is scatterbrained, this is a cry for help written on day 4 of little to no sleep.

Thank you in advance,
The parents of Baby Girl

P.S. I also forgot to add that I love the name Saoirse, but fear all the spelling/pronunciation issues. Also don't know how appropriate it is for us to use an Irish name when we're not of Irish descent.


Hey great news!

You have a Baby Girl! With two awesomely named older siblings, Vigo and Luna, so I know you can do this, it’s just that you guys have forgotten because you’re so tired.

But I hear you on Aria, and I’m brokenhearted about Anais, and can I just say thank you so much for having included the names that are off the table because it gives me so much to triangulate from?

Now, here’s the hardest part. Stretch way, way back in your head to five days ago when she arrived and you realized ‘wait, these names aren’t right for her at all’. Was it because they were too slight? Too common? Did you feel like they were too close to her siblings’ names as opposed to being truly her own, or did you feel like a stranger had chosen them and you have no idea why they made it onto your list? Obviously I can’t read your answer through the screen, but if you can pinpoint one feeling, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

But there’s great news—I have so many suggestions that I think could work. Not all of them will float your boat particularly, but almost all of them feel fresh to me and don’t always give me the opportunity to suggest themselves.

The first that comes to mind is Thea—it seems as though with Luna and Vigo as siblings you might be more inclined for a ‘Thay-a/Tay-a’ pronunciation, which I think would fit beautiful? Then there are choices like Zara, which is begging to be used, and not by me. Officially it’s Arabic (as is Yara, if you prefer that), but it’s easy to say in many languages which buys it internationability, as if that was a word. But since we’re on the subject…

I love Saoirse too, and always have, and it’s living at a bit of a critical point in its history, I’d say. Because there are names that were Irish/Gaelic that are gorgeous, but had untenable spellings, like Ruadrhi and Niamh—and they weren’t being used. Then, when the spellings were adapted, by some, to Rory and Neve, they became infinitely more wearable, but lost some of their Irish heritage.  Spelling the name Searsha is going to make it much, much easier to read and say… but takes away the cultural markers of it-of which difficulty is one that, let’s be honest, Irish people a little bit value. So to put it another way, it won’t be people who have a claim to Irish heritage who will change the spelling to make it more accessible…it’ll be someone like you.

That’s not a condemnation, by the way. I do think there are gorgeous names that are never going to see the light of day outside an Irish Baby Name book if they don’t get a spelling update or a simplification; I guess we’re all just waiting on the bold person to do it, and maybe it’s you and Baby Girl! If that feels like a bridge too far, there is Sorcha, which is close but just that much more readable.

It’s OK if you back slowly away from the Gaelic names. I still think you should think about Vera or Zenia or maybe Eliza, or Esme or Zosia, if you can convince yourself to get to the ‘zzzzOSHa’ pronunciation right away instead of wandering around “Zo-SI-ah” one. I also felt like it was prudent to point out that even though Mila has rocketed up the popularity charts, it fits in your world exactly… does it fit? Could it fit? Xanthe? Pilar? I am so tempted to recommend ‘Iola’, as in “Yola”, but everyone would think it was a lazily-spelled ‘Lola’. You know where they wouldn’t think that, though? If you chose ‘Yolana’…

Then I thought about a name that is so out but in it might be perfect – what do you think of Vada? Yes, as in My Girl, but if you don’t think it’s too close to Vega, which might be too close to Luna, I think it could be gorgeous. I also think you might love Daphne. Of course, I’ve been known to recommend Daphne a lot, but I think it works for your purposes in particular… don’t you?

So. After you read this, walk away. Hopefully the baby is sleeping and you can do something fun and go unclog a drain or something. Then when she wakes up and you go back to her, what name pops into your mind first?

This is exciting, and these name choices are ones I never get to make! Thank you and PLEASE let me know what you choose, and consider 3-5 middle names!