Naming the Newborn

Long before we got pregnant, we had been compiling a list of baby names that we liked. The list covered boy and girl names and we just wrote things down when we seen or heard them in books, TV shows, even real life.

The list grew and grew and eventually it looked like we were planning on having 30+ kids, so we started whittling them down. Jess previously worked in a school, so any name that reminded her of a naughty child was taken off the list.

Then we started putting some of the names together to see how they would sound as a first and middle name, or even double barrelled. We managed to get it down even more.

There’s apparently a trick people used to do to know if a name felt right, and that is shout their name from your doorstep as though they had been naughty. So we tried this, but we just felt silly.

We had reduced our list to a few names for each gender, and we decided that once we knew the gender we could narrow it down even more, though it wasn’t the worst idea to have a small pool of names just in case the baby comes and they don’t suit it.

But then we found out we were having a girl, and all of a sudden, we weren’t happy with any of our choices.

Out of nowhere, we remembered about the Swedish lady who saved our wedding. It seemed to come to both of us at the same time. Matilda.

Neither of us had ever met a girl named Matilda, so the name had not been spoiled for us, and we thought it had a classic feel. The name is of German origin and means “strength in battle” so the name also meant something to us after all that 2020 had thrown at us so far.

All of a sudden, we were set on the name, regardless of what she looked like. But we wanted a middle name, as it didn’t sound complete without it. Again, list proved to be useless, offering us no good combinations.

So, back at the drawing board, we had a think. She was due around Christmas, so could we use a name with a yuletide link? Holly? Robin? Gloria? Mary? Gloria was a contender, with the fact that Jess‘s grandma of the same name had recently passed away, but it still didn’t sound quite right with Matilda.

And then, we thought about Noelle, literally meaning Christmas. And that felt right. Matilda Noelle Dobson was going to be our daughter’s name. We absolutely loved it, but kept it to ourselves until her birth. We knew a few people who were expecting before us and didn’t want anyone to use our name. But we could get the final piece for her bedroom, a wooden initial on the wall.

Writing this retrospectively, along with all of the usual comments of “she’s adorable” and “she looks like so and so”, we have received so many compliments regarding Matilda’s name, so we are very happy with our decision.

Years of planning our first child’s name was thrown away when it came to it, so it goes to show how much things can change when it becomes a reality.

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