Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Name, A Legacy


It's hard to believe that I am half-way through this pregnancy already! I had my 20 week ultrasound last Friday.


I am amazed at the quality and resolution of ultrasound pictures these days! Hello baby!

As I share pictures with friends, I'm having a lot of them asking me if we found out the gender of the baby.

The answer is, "no". We have never found out the gender of our babies through ultrasound. The only time I ever regret this decision is when I visit a garage sale that has, say, an entire rack full of adorable baby girl dresses in near-perfect condition for $1 each. (I resist the temptation to buy them anyway).

We much prefer the surprise--not just for us, but for other people, too. Somehow, I feel, the excitement gets lost when the whole world knows the baby's gender and name four months before he or she is born.

But maybe that's just me.

One thing we don't wait until the last minute for is to choose names for the baby. Although we generally don't share them with others until we're announcing the birth, we do ponder the decision frequently and, usually, make a choice well before baby's birth date.

I have been particularly fascinated with nomenclature ever since I was a young girl. Whenever my family and I would walk into a bookstore, I would head straight for the stacks of baby-naming books to see if I could find my name in any of them. I usually didn't. When I did, I encountered a variety of  meanings. Some books declared that Tiana meant "fairy queen" in Russian. Others said it meant "beautiful" in Chinese. Still others gave it a Greek origin, and a meaning of "princess".

While my name is gaining popularity (no thanks to a certain Disney character), today's baby name books now tell me that my name is a completely made-up name of American origin, with no meaning whatsoever. Nice.

Try telling that to my parents, who named me after Tsar Nicholas II of Russia's daughter, Grand Dutchess Tatiana Nikolaievna, (remember the legendary Anastasia? Her older sister.) They figured, probably correctly, that it was a little long for an American girl, and so "Tiana" I became.

I have recently learned that Sam Houston's second wife was a Cherokee woman named Tiana Rogers. While she doesn't seem to be as noble of a namesake as the Grand Dutchess, it is intriguing to me, since I have a Native American heritage that I know very little about.

Having spent almost my entire life pondering my name and its meaning, I have come to take the process of naming babies very seriously. An ordinary or trendy, "everybody's doing it" sort of name won't do, but neither will a completely newfangled, nouveau, totally-made-up name.

We want our children's names to give them a sense of identity, a great meaning, and a strong, honorable namesake.

So, we've turned to the Bible.

Picking baby names sends me to parts of the Scriptures that I might otherwise neglect--lists of names in Numbers and Nehemiah. Obscure, passing references to godly people in the books of 1 and 2 Kings, or at the ends of the epistles. While I have yet to choose a name off of one of these lists, reading these passages reminds me that God's redemptive history has included many more people than the "major players". Multi-generational faithfulness necessarily involves many generations of people who are called according to His purpose.

Over the next week, I'd like to share the story of how we chose the names of our first three children, and maybe even some of the thought processes we are going through as we seek God's wisdom in naming this fourth child.

How did you choose your children's names?

8 comments:

Christine D. said...

Beautifully written! I agree with you 100%. The naming of one's children is not something that should be approached frivolously. DH and I go through great lengths to pick what we think is the perfect name for our children - I do alot of praying and seeking God's wisdom during the naming process. We never go with trendy.

As for how we picked our kids' names, well Adira was supposed to be named Indira. My ILs' threw a fit because they thought her name was unacceptable (they wrongly assumed we were naming her after a Hindu goddess...we weren't, but that's beside the point). DH backed away from the name so we began our search for a new one. I can't say how we discovered her name, but we knew once we heard it, it was the one. :)

As for my little guy, he's Emil IV. We're keeping the legacy going.

I want to have another one, and even before I get pregnant I'm already going through baby names with DH so we can be decided on what we are to use when s/he is born.

BTW, I'm seriously contemplating NOT finding out the gender of our baby this time. I agree that it does spoil the surprise.

SmallWorld at Home said...

Sweet baby!
We thought of names for babies long before we were married. Like you, I've always been fascinated with names. We chose our names for a variety of reasons. 4 out of the 6 names (first and middle--Jesse, Lee, Rose, and James) are family names. The first names of my second and third--Laurel and Duncan--were chosen because we loved them. Laurel is a beautiful flowering plant here in East TN. Duncan we just loved the sound of, plus it's Celtic.

But what I really want are triplet girls named after my 3 favorite Southern women writers: Flannery, Harper, and Carson.

*Mirage* said...

I LOVE to find out the gender in advance! For me it would take all the excitement out of it to NOT know. All that would be left would be frustration. You see, I LOVE to crochet little hats and booties and blankets. I LOVE to talk to and sing to my baby by name. I love it when my 3 year old proudly tells people we meet that her baby sister (insert baby's name here) is growing in Mommy's tummy. I love it when she tries to look into my bellybutton and then tells me it's too dark in there, and when baby sister hears her sister's voice so close she begins to kick and wiggle. I love to have my mommy intuition confirmed at that ultrasound. I feel that God knew how much I need to know the gender so He lets me know from the beginning so I'm not stressed out about it, and then just when I start the "but what if I'm wrong this time?" phase it's time for the ultrasound and I get to watch this little person squirming around and it's confirmed that the attachment I've been feeling toward a particular gender is right.
Our firstborn is named for when she was conceived rather than when she was born, with Grace as a middle name, because my husband and I had been scared out of having kids at all until by the Grace of God I got pregnant while on 2 kinds of prevention.
Our secondborn's middle is name a variation of the name of my husband's earliest known ancestor. I kind of envy my husband being able to trace his lineage back thousands of years over 3 countries. My husband wanted this name as a first name but I could not stand the nicknames that stem from it. I wanted our son to have the name though because it is a reminder of his lineage so we chose it as a middle name.
The wee babe I'm carrying... well I got pregnant with her at Christmas time but the summer BEFORE that I had a dream. In my dream I got pregnant again and the baby was named after my paternal grandmother with the middle name of Anne after Anne Shirley because she was my favorite character as a child. I woke up and told my husband. He laughed. Because he didn't like the name and because he informed me that we were done having kids. We had 2 and can stop now. I smiled because I knew... and months later when I got pregnant almost the first thing out of my mouth after showing him the test was that I already knew what her name would be and reminded him of that dream. This time he didn't laugh. And when the ultrasound confirmed it was a baby girl, he was the first one on the phone telling all the relatives what her name is. Proudly even, despite having claimed not to like the name last summer. ;)
So my firstborn was named for the meaning her birth has to us, my secondborn for his ancestor, and my bun in the oven for the dream that announced her to me before she was conceived.

Lauren said...

I'm a new follower- I'm loving your blog!

I have one boy and one girl and didn't find out the gender for either. I just thought it was fun not knowing, so why spoil the fun? Also, I like making other people wait :)

I have a system for naming children now. For the girls, we will choose a pretty name with a good meaning that is not really old, but not extremely modern. Like, one that was popular 20 years ago and is familiar to people, but they won't be one of 3 kids with the same name in their class. (So my daughter is Cassandra, which means 'helper of men') Then for their middle name I am using characteristics of God. So her middle name is Grace, and the next girl we have will have Mercy as her middle name.

For boys, we want a strong biblical name (most of the ones we like are from the Old Testament) for a first name, and a family name for the middle name. So our son is Elisha James. We mostly call him Eli though.

My husband and I really struggle to agree on names though, so this system has only held up for 2 kids. It might be put on the shelf next time if we can't agree!

The Mrs. said...

Not finding out the gender has always been something my husband have initially set out to do, but the temptation was always too great! So, we've known the gender of all four of our babies...but I was in denial with #3 because even though they said boy, I swore up and down it was a girl...I wasn't bending until I saw the stem on the apple after he was born.

Our philosophy when it came to names was fairly casual. The firsts were something we had to really like, and the middle names were always family names! My first and my fourth both had their names picked out before they were born, while the middle two had NO name until we were forced to fill out paperwork at the hospital for their certificate and social security card.

When we picked our first boy's name, I had never known an unkind boy named Justin, and they were always good looking :) In all honesty, my cousin Justin was one of the greatest guys I've ever known, so that's where we got his name. His middle name, Daniel, came from my dad. I did not have a good relationship with my dad and I put him through some messy stuff, so it was my way of honoring him.

With Owen, that was a completely different ballgame. Husband and I were driving to Colorado from Washington (when I was about 25 weeks along) and randomly spurted out "How about Owen" along the drive. I didn't like it at first, my mom HATED it, but my hubby was insistent that his name be Owen. When we were in the hospital, it was between two names: Owen and Kyler. We ended up settling on Owen Scott, Scott after my father-in-law's middle name and my husband's middle name.

For my third, we were clueless. We had two names in mind: Jacek (Jay sick, traditional Polish pronunciation is Ya sick) or Kyler. Well, we put the names up on the board and Jacek got the most votes, so he became Jacek Edward, Edward from my maternal grandpa (polish) and one heck of a guy! He died the day before my first son was born.

For Hannah, that was something my husband took over. As soon as we found out she was a girl, she was Hannah. There was no ifs, ands, or buts about it! Since this was "his" baby girl, his princess, his sugar pie, I let him take the reigns on all aspects of her, including the pink camouflage crib set. Except the middle name-I claimed that one. We bounced back and forth and narrowed it down to a non family name (noelle) or Alysabeth. Now *elizabeth* was a family name (for my aunt Betsy), but I refused for my daughter's initials to be HEL, so we had to change the spelling. Well, neither name won out. Hannah became Hannah Kyler. I finally got my Kyler, and my brother (Kyle Robert) finally got his namesake!

Anonymous said...

How nice to bump into your blog! It's the first time I am here but I'm sure I will come back to read more. I am also pregnant (32 weeks) and naming baby has been on my mind for a long time! (I've been praying for God for so long to show me a name!)

When I was pregnant with our first child (a boy) we didnt know the gender for a long time. Untill we went on vacation and we got an opportunity to get a 3d ultrasound, that was with 27 weeks. Now, the thing is, we live on a small island where there is NOT much to buy (really), and the idea was to buy our babyclothes while we were on vacation. But, once we got to the stores we couldn't find anything neutral, everything was either BOY or GIRL colours. So, we took the opportunity to get an ultrasound. And, just as we both thought...a boy! We named him Joshua (for me and my house will serve the Lord), and his middle name is my husband's name. His name (Joshua) was picked by my husband even before we were married. So I didnt have any name choosing to do with our first child, but I did agree with the name and still find it beautifull. His name by the way is because my husband had decided and told God "me and my house will serve the Lord", because he was in love with me but I wasn't a christian. And my husband didnt want to begin a relationship without God. So, what I thought was impossible became real some time later, when I became a christian. But that (our story) is another story, a longer one! haha

So, now with our second baby I didnt want to know the gender, I told my husband I really wanted it to be a surprise, and eventually he agreed. It just seems like such a bigger suprise! I am sooo looking forward to the moment of finding out. If it's a boy we have a name from the bible (old testament). I think it's very important to look at the meaning of a name and not pick a name just because it sounds nice.

The trouble for me is looking for a girls name! Ohh so hard. I've been looking in the bible but I haven't fount the one yet. We do agree on a 1 name for a girl, but I'm still not sure it's the one. So, the quest continues, smile. Thank God we still have some more weeks.

Anonymous said...

We have 8 children....

Ashley Elizabeth - Ashley because that's what I felt like her name was and Elizabeth after my sister.

Joshua Kullin - Joshua because he was the first boy...leader. Kullin is a family name.

Christopher Eric - Christopher after me (not my idea..) and Eric which is his Dad's middle name.

John-Patrick - John after my Great-Grandfather who was a noble and honorable man and Patrick after my brother, also noble and honorable.

Emma Katherine - Because my hubby liked it. We had a "deal" that he could name the baby if it was a girl. I really thought it was a boy! ;) This was the first "big decision" that I totally submitted to him in. I think he did a fine job!

Jalon Ja'Von - We will be changing that...new life, new name. He wants to be called "Jay" anyway. Likely it will be James Noble because James fits with being called "Jay" and Noble because that is an attribute we want him to have as a man.

Bailey Abigail Rose - Bailey was named such by her biological brother and although it wasn't my choice of names, when we got her, I asked God her name and He clearly said "BAILEY!". Bailey it is. Abigail was a compromise...her birth middle names were Ashlynn Gayle and her bio-grandma wanted us to leave the Gayle. We didn't really want to. Her CPS worker suggested Abigail as a compromise and we loved it! Rose is after my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother who were very strong women. Bailey came home to us on what would have been my Great-Grandmother's birthday and what was the anniversary of my Grandmother's death. We didn't even realize that until after we had adopted her and changed her name.

Chaniya Lanise - Lanise will change when we adopt her. We were going to change Chaniya too until we learned that it means "landed in a safe place" in Hebrew. Since we got her from a stranger in a parking lot, we think that was meant to be her name. Instead of Lanise, we are thinking Ruth because of the verse her birthmother wrote to me in a letter sent from her prison cell.

Blessings to all,
Christina

Teri Miller said...

Tiana - I'm all for claiming the meaning of your name, 'Princess' - as you ARE, of the Most High King!
As you know, we also prayerfully seek the naming of our children, and actually believe that God has the name for that child long before we contemplated it...

Caleb Daniel, Autumn Grace, Eliza Joy, Ian Nathanael, Canyon Joshua, Serene Eliana, Nekoda Scott

Some named for family, Biblical heritage, character, etc. - but every time, it felt to be inspired by the Lord.

Can't wait to hear the name God has for your new little one!

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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

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Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
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World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*

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