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You never know when inspiration will strike.
I’m talking about baby names, of course.
When I was pregnant, my husband and I kept a running list of potential baby names. The problem was that between our jobs – he's a teacher, I'm a journalist – we had a lot of bad associations attached to perfectly good names. This meant we had to find a name that didn’t make us think of a kid in detention, a city councilperson, or a criminal.
First we looked to family names and ancestors for ideas, and that gave us only one (Alice).
Then my husband mined his favorite movies for potential baby names, and he came up with nothing but Private Ryan. Meanwhile, I’m a book nerd, so I thought about all the authors and characters who have touched me. That was fruitful: Maya, Charlotte, Harper, Esme, Matilda, Ramona, Eloise, Zadie, and Sylvia.
We moved on to historical figures, then teachers, activists, and role models. My husband checked out a series of baby name lists, all themed something like "baby names taken from nature" while I scoured "hipster baby names" and lists of the most popular baby names in other countries. That landed us Lola, Cleo, Hazel, Iris, Ivy, Sadie, Saffron, and Wren.
Then we found out we were having a boy.
Back to square one! (We’d gathered a few boy names here and there, but we were just meh about all of them.)
As a last resort, I turned to maps. I pored over an atlas in search of place names of some significance to my husband and me, but that was difficult. We’ve only made a couple major trips together; most of my journeys have been solo.
I think of myself as a traveler, though. I have itchy feet, always looking ahead to the next hike, road trip, and adventure. And the more I travel, the longer my must-see list grows. Finding a travel name actually seemed to fit.
Then on the map, it leapt out at me. Everest. The biggest, toughest, most significant journey of them all.
The name instantly connected with me, for everything we had already been through just to get pregnant, as well as for everything still to come. And you know what? It turns out Everest is so very him.
This is why I love to hear how other people named their babies and why this our site community thread is incredibly fascinating. There's almost always an "ah-ha!" moment.
This is such a personal journey we make and names carry so much importance –- our child’s name almost says more about us than it does for him or her.
Images by iStock and Maggie Downs
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.