Hi, Duana!

Hoping for some quick help. I've just found out that I'll be delivering at 34 weeks on March 11, due to some complications that have also landed me in the hospital on bed rest.

All this time with nothing to do has me going in circles about the name for our son. Given how tiny he will be, I want a strong name. Middle name will be a family name (probably William but we've got a few options if the first name doesn't work with that).

We had narrowed it to Ezra William or Leo William, but neither feels quite right to me now (blame too much time to think?). I love Samuel/"Sam" and my husband loves Isaac/"Ike" but we both have some resistance to the others' choice. Our older son is Charlie and my husband and I both have very traditional names, so I don't feel like we can go too far afield, but using the obvious William for a first name felt a little too British monarchy-themed for us. 

We seem to both like short, strong names (or at least a short, strong nickname). What are we missing?! Given all the bad luck we've had lately, I'm feeling due for a strike of brilliance here!

Many thanks for any help you can provide!



I am so sorry you’re suddenly in this situation – of course I’m glad your medical team is on it and knows all the right things to do to mitigate it, but I understand it can still be startling and confusing. 

I have good news, though. Usually, when someone says “what are we missing”, my answer is usually something like “you have to reframe what a ‘strong’ name means”, or “You say you want Jack but everything you’re writing is actually about how you don’t want Jack.” There’s not usually a specific, one-name answer. 

But in your case there is! I received your letter a couple of days ago, thought of the solution, and earmarked it to be written today. When I opened it this morning, I thought, “I know I had an answer for this one, what was it again?” And then – ding! – I remembered, and it was the most peaceful ding I’ve ever felt. I hope it feels that way for you too. 

What you’re missing is …Zeke. 

Ezekiel, more formally – Ezekiel William fits beautifully together, those repeating Ls are gorgeous, and Charlie and Zeke are super-fun to say as a sibling pairing. It has bits of Ezra, and bits of Ike. It’s the newer, better version of the ever-popular Zack (related – I just discovered ‘Zack Morris Is Trash’ and I really thought I was done with Saved By The Bell nostalgia, but this has reinvigorated it, and I encourage you to find yours, too), but has tons more charm and newness at the same time. 

If for some reason there’s an Uncle Zeke who’s persona non-grata or some other factor that makes this a non-starter, you might like to go with Calvin – the two ‘C’s don’t bother me since they sound so different (and because I’m not anti-alliteration anyway) – or with Irwin as it has ‘win’ right in the name! Or Duncan William or Franklin William – Charlie and Frankie are a pretty fun pair too – or something like Keegan or Ronan or Malcolm or Lionel; I know I suggest that one a lot, but I really think it fits here, and while you could use Leo as a nickname if you wanted, imagine ‘Lion’ as a nickname? Come on now. 

I still love Zeke the best. I hope you get the ding! that I did. But if you don’t, I think there are a bunch of options that will make you feel inspired and secure when it comes to crossing that finish line oh-so-soon! Sometimes, actually, names surprise us kind of like this: 

Can’t wait to find out what you choose!