Thursday 26 October 2017

What's in a Name?

When I first found out I was pregnant in 2014, I already knew what I would call the baby had it been a girl. I've never had any favourite boys names but I always fell in love quite easily with girls names, particularly the one I had in mind for my eldest.

As soon as she was confirmed as a girl, she was constantly referred to by her name and it felt so right. Not once did I ever worry about her not suiting her name once born or me going off of it.
My two favourite girls names at the time were Niamh and Aoife, both of which are Irish so I knew that my husband would approve of them. We decided to use both names but to alter the spelling slightly for Niamh to Neave. Our little girl was born as Aoife Neave and I will forever love her unique name (in Wales at least!).
The meanings behind both of these names also sold them to me. The name Aoife means "beauty" from the Gaelic word aoibh. There was also a warrior princess in Irish legend with the name Aoife; as soon as I found this out I knew that I would raise a strong willed, fiesty daughter and I was right. Niamh, which can be altered to Neve or Neave, means "bright" or "radiant".
People have often asked why we chose the non Irish spelling for her middle name. My answer to that is with her first name being so difficult to spell and pronounce in Wales, I wanted to give her a bit of a break!
When I found out that I was pregnant just before Christmas 2016, I knew that choosing a name was going to be difficult, especially for a boy. I already had a favourite name picked out for a girl, but my husband wasn't too keen on it at all.
As Aoife had an Irish name, we decided to have a Welsh name this time round. Eventually we decided on Seren for a girl and Dylan for a boy. Both of which are strong Welsh names.
At sixteen weeks we booked a private gender scan as I was way too impatient to wait another month to find out. It was there that we found out we were expecting our second daughter, little Seren. Although, straight away the name didn't feel right to me at all - it didn't feel like her name. This is what started months of name searching, all the while I was referring to her by the name that I had loved from the start, just so that she could have some sort of identity.
Eventually, we had a good few names shortlisted; Layla Grace, Evelyn Grace, Alys Mai, Gracie Mai, but still none of them blew me away or stuck with me like Aoife's had.
Eventually our daughter was born and the midwife asked "does she have a name?' and my husband straight away said "Ffion". It had been one of our names on the list and was a Welsh name meaning purple foxglove. When prompted for a middle name I responded with Evelyn, a name that I have always been fond of.
When we announced her name, a few people were surprised, especially as I had been referring to her by a different name throughout the pregnancy. For the first few weeks I tried my hardest to get used to it and to call her Ffion, but it didn't feel right; whilst the name itself is gorgeous, it just wasn't her name. I couldn't even bring myself to write it down and just referred to her as "the baby".
She was eventually registered and I walked out of the registry office feeling defeated. She was officially Ffion and that was that, I had to get used to it. But I couldn't; I tried my hardest but she was still just "the baby". I know that in the grand scheme of things, her name was just a minor issue; the main thing is that she arrived her safely and was well. But I hated the fact that I didn't love her name like I did with Aoife's.
One evening recently, I was asked by a friend on a group chat if I liked her name as she had noticed I constantly referred to her as "the baby". This was the moment that I confessed it out loud to others that I couldn't even bring myself to type it, let alone say it. These ladies were fantastic and so supportive; it was from them that I discovered I could change her name up until twelve months from the first registration.
After having a chat with my husband about how much I didn't like her name and also about how common it would be in a Welsh school, I was given his approval and go ahead to change her name.
Today I went to the local town hall and re registered the newest member of our family using the name that she had been referred to all throughout my pregnancy.
Instantly a weight was lifted off of my shoulders and I felt like I could shout her name from the rooftops.
The name that will be on her birth certificate comes from a Latin word meaning "blossoming" or "to flower". We will be using a diminutive of this name as her everyday nickname.
Finally, introducing Florence Evelyn - or Florrie as she will be known.
*Photos by Sarah Debnam - check out my review here*

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