Picking a name for your baby is an important decision. Choosing between baby names is a meaningful moment in parenting that will remain a treasured memory. It’s something that will represent that baby their whole life. The name-choosing process can bring the first feelings of parenthood to the forefront for expectant parents, especially if it occurs during the first pregnancy. Something about finalizing the name finalizes the fact that a child exists because of you and you will now be a parent. I've had the joy and privilege of experiencing this five times. Here’s how the names were chosen each of my children.
The Naming Process
For each of my subsequent baby girls, I wanted their names to be unique. In fact, their names are so unique that it's possible no one else has them - at least not exactly as they are. I put a ton of time and effort into choosing the names for my girls, composing most of their names myself, including the meanings for each one.
The names needed to include French and/or Native American influences. The first names needed to be very unique and the middle names needed to be simpler, in case the girls wished to use an easier name as they grew older. One has chosen to use her middle name with friends.
I spent entire months of each of the first two pregnancies combining letters to form possible names, keeping note of my favorites, eliminating name after name as time went on to eventually come up with the final choices. Ironically, with my second daughter, after all that work, I changed a couple letters last minute as I was filling out the paperwork for the birth certificate. It just came to me to change it for some reason.
However, with the fifth child (fourth girl), my partner (Richard Rowell) and I varied slightly by choosing something that is an existing name, but is very unique. We wanted a unisex name that still had the French and Native American influence. I narrowed the choices down to a list of several and sent it to him, not telling him which name I had in mind. He actually favored the same name. So, we went with that.
To me, there is no one like any of them and I wanted the kids’ names to reflect that. Names should reflect each person’s individuality, rather than going along with the crowd. They should not be copied, but should instead come from the heart. As the kids have grown older, it’s been fun to watch their personalities develop into exactly what the meanings of their names are. They have made me even more of a believer in baby name choice being such an important decision.
With my son, I had different thoughts. He was originally going to be a junior, simply because he was the only boy and that was special to his father (my partner at the time). But, that didn't happen. On the day of his birth, I all of a sudden got a change of heart in this baby’s name. I said to him, “I want to name him after your father”. He agreed. Two months later, his father passed away very unexpectedly. I now feel like that was not only an instinct of motherhood, but some sort of sign when I got that change of heart on the name.
The Final Names & Their Meanings
KaShayonay Amber [Kuh - Shy - Uh - Nay; Am - Ber] - KaShayonay is my first daughter. Her name means patient, kind, loving, ambitious, beautiful, strong-willed, and stylish. The spelling and pronunciation are influenced by both French and Native American languages. The middle name Amber refers to the gemstone, which is similar to the color her eyes are sometimes (they change colors). I felt it went along with the stylish and beautiful definitions. She does love fashion and is very creative. Interestingly, all of the meanings did end up fitting her personality.
Tiala Chérie [Tee - Ah - Luh; Shay - Ree (Fr.) or Shuh - Ree (En.)] - Tiala is the second born. Her name means cheerful, sweet, helpful, kind, loving, and strong-willed. The spelling/pronunciation of this name has origins in both Native American and French languages. Chérie is French for dear or sweetheart, which goes along with her sweet and helpful aspects.
Ajaléa Naté [Ah - Zhuh - Lay - Uh; Nuh - Tay ] - Ajaléa is the third-born child and third daughter. Her name means strong-willed and stubborn, creative, loving, kind-hearted, and helpful. The spelling and pronunciation is again influenced by Native American and French languages. Her middle name is French-influenced and means creative and strong. She is definitely both. (Hear the Zh sound)
Nathaniel DeWayne - Nathaniel is the fourth-born and goes by Nathan for short and never Nate. Nathaniel means “gift from God”. I’m not religious and this name was simply to carry on his grandfather’s legacy. However, I do feel he is a gift from the universe. Curiously, this is also a French name. DeWayne is his father’s middle name and means “wagon maker,” which goes along with his creative nature.
Nova Skye - Nova is the fifth and is still growing in the womb, as we speak. Her name also has Native American and French roots. In English, Latin, and French, Nova means “new”. In Native American, it means “chasing butterflies”. We also chose it for the starry phenomena known as a supernova. Because of the starry connection, we chose Skye to go along with Nova. The meaning of Skye is obvious. It is a variation of the word sky. We will have to wait and see if her personality matches these definitions in the exact manner those of her siblings have.
Bonus Tips From An Experienced Mom
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