what you should name your daughter (unsolicited advice free gratis!)

We didn’t find out either of our two children’s sex until birth. It was partly a desire to put off the inevitable crush of gendering as long as possible, partly a piece of my generally low-intervention experiencing-my-body approach to pregnancy. But it meant we came up with lists of “girl” and “boy” names both times–different lists for each pregnancy, reflecting our different cultural moments (nearly 6 years apart!).

Since we had two penis-bearing babies, all those “girl” names are going to waste.

Well, we’ll use them for fictional characters and dogs/etc., of course. But we’re full up on babies.

So, I hereby bequeath those names to you … because I totally think my pregnant readers will let me name their daughters. (Right? That’s true, yes?)

  • Emme [that's what Simon would have been named had he been differently equipped: Emme Lisette]
  • Chloe [the Noah pregnancy alternative name--Chloe Adeline (for Virginia Woolf), though Chloe has since become way too popular, along with Sophie and Phoebe, which I also like a lot ...]
  • Esme [um, obviously for Granny Weatherwax]
  • Ida [for Ida B. Wells: are you gathering that we like the formidable ladies?]
  • Poppy
  • Plum
  • Dahlia
  • Naomi

So there you go …

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  1. Rachel Olsen
    Posted 12 November 2013 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    I really enjoy your blog–I live in a red state so it’s not easy to commune with feminist parents. My daughter’s name is Louise Plum–I love that someone else sees the beauty in using Plum as a name! We chose Louise because of its strong meaning (“renowned warrior”) and because many artists and writers are named Louise. Glad to know I’m not alone in geeking out about baby names.

    • Molly
      Posted 12 November 2013 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

      Louise Plum is so nice! And, yeah, naming is very exciting–playing with the possibilities, the sound of a life …

  2. Posted 12 November 2013 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    Yay Terry Pratchett!!

    This list helps me not at all. With boy #3 we are really struggling to find a name we love. Got any leftover BOY names? ;) Rincewind or Carrot Infoundersson just wouldn’t do, I feel, although I do like the idea of a literary reference.

    • Molly
      Posted 12 November 2013 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

      Oh, come on, Carrot’s a nice sturdy name! ;)

      It’s funny. Noah’s first name came to me as though in a vision in the late 90s (I was a teenager at the time, nowhere near partnered or pregnant, but that was going to be my first son’s name if I ever had one). We decided to use Simon if we ever had another boy just a year or so after Noah was born (so, half a decade before we actually had Simon), when a friend thought about that name for her own baby but ended up not using it–Eric and I just both really liked it and never considered others. So there were never really boy name lists!

      I love Basil, though.

  3. Posted 12 November 2013 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    We are strrrrrrrugling with a girl name so I do appreciate your generously sharing this list! Meaning /origin /namesake means the world to me and I get very wrapped up in the search at times!

  4. Erin
    Posted 12 November 2013 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    Family name for our never to be girl: Rosa Mae. I also really like Lucy.

  5. Posted 13 November 2013 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    This list is fun, Molly. And they are beautiful names too!

    Sometimes I think that my boys’ personalities are better suited to their “girls names.” Miles would have been Simone Antonia. Alec would have been Josephine Antonia (and we would have called him Josie). And Eric would have been Lyra Josephine.

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