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Baby name dilemma

Jan 22, 2013 - 9 comments

I'm nearly to my third trimester and I never thought I'd ever have this predicament, considering my husband and I chose two names (boy and girl) a year and a half ago when we planned this pregnancy. We found out last month that we're having our third son, and confindently had a name to call him the moment we knew, a name that we had waiting for him: Asher Zane.
He is known by that name now, not just to our immediate family, but, everyone. Once we knew we were having a son, we announced it to all friends and family along with his name.
The fact that we chose this name so long ago was not just to have the first moments of knowing our child's gender and being able to give him/her an identity, but also because the meaning of the name this time around was very important to us. If this had been a girl, we would have named her Laurel Evangeline; Laurel after my mom, Laurie, who passed away last March, and the name means victory and esteemed stature. Evangeline means "bearer of good news and blessings."
Well obviously, we're not having a girl, and our boy's name, Asher, means "happiness" or "joyful" and Zane means "God's gracious gift." Since I don't necessarily find myself fond of the name Laurence or any other variation of that name for a boy (in order to name him in honor of my mom), we found and decided on Asher Zane since we liked the ease of flow and sound to it as well as the meaning bearing a lot of significance to us, especially since this pregnancy is the biggest blessing and source of joyful anticipation since the passing of my mom 10 months ago. Also, although this pregnancy had been planned over a year and a half for our lives, we did not think or expect that when we started the trying-to-conceive process last August that it would happen on the first try. So it really seems like everything about this conception and expected child has been a source of happiness and a gift from God.
But here's where my recent name dilemma has come into play. While meaning of a name holds the most significance to me, origin is kind of my weird OCD thing about names. Everyone in my immediate family (myself, husband, and two older sons) have names with origins that are either English or Welsh. Personally, I like how all our names "fit" together from the same general location of Europe, the British Isles, my name being Audrey, my husband's, Brandon, my youngest son's, Greydon (all English), and my oldest son's, Trevor (Celtic/Welsh). Even our middle names are of these origins.
Now, as much as I am in love with the name we've chosen for our youngest based on its meaning, it's entirely Hebrew in origin. Asher is a Biblical name (one of the 12 brothers of Joseph) and Zane is a Hebrew variation of John...or so says many of the baby name sites and books. me, as much as I'm used to the name already and have told everyone that this baby will be named this name and everyone is already calling him by this the back of my mind, every time I hear it or say it, I honestly think the name stands as kind of the odd one out in our immediate family. Nothing I can't get used to, I'm sure, and just forget over time. But for now, it's a soundbit that doesn't quite fit with the flow of our names. But I realize this is just my personal weirdo issue and no one else cares, so like I said, this is something that I can get over in a matter of time and not even notice after awhile.
Anyway, a few days ago, I was scanning through a bunch of names on an app to help a friend come up with some ideas for the baby they're expecting a couple of months after ours is due. Naturally, I look up categories of origins that appeal to me first--generally starting with Celtic and moving along into English, Gaelic, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, with many of the names falling into multiple categories (like Gaelic, Celtic, and Welsh, for example, and Irish and Scottish). By chance, I came across two names that immediately stood out to me when I saw them (both of Irish/Scottish origin), each by sight, pronunciation, and meaning. It was like finding two needles in a haystack, honestly. They do not have the same meanings as Asher and Zane, but the meanings they do have give me more connection to the memory of my mom as an individual, rather than meanings surrounding circumstances and emotion. However, these two names, being of Scottish/Irish origin, are spelled uniquely and would almost certainly need to have the pronunciation of them corrected with anyone and everyone who encounters it, BUT they are names that, once you DO know the pronunciation, it's easy to see the phonetic connection and simply adjust your brain to saying it that way with total ease--unlike many of those names that I do like, but would never use simply because the spelling and pronunciation, no matter how many times you look at it and say just can't make the connection unless its a name that is used in that specific realm of origin--know what I mean?
The significance these names have in their meaning to me in connection with my mom is, in the first name, "mighty." My mom, to me, was my hero. She was the strongest person I knew, from her stong-willed personality, intelligence, creativeness, assertiveness, and her zest for life. Nothing could bring her down, nothing could stand in her way, nothing was too much of a challenge for her. She fought into the very last moments of her life, sure to hold on for me and wait for me to rush to be at her side before she let go. She took her last breath as I leaned down to lay my head on her shoulder and told her I was here, and she could let go. She literally fought for every breath, every second of her life, to be sure I could carry on, live with myself after her death, knowing I had been there the moment it mattered to say goodbye and how much I loved her and would miss her. Yes, my mom, to me, was Mighty, which is why this name stood out to me in a way that connection could honor her.

The name is Raighne. It is pronounced "RAY-nee" or "REH-nee," either way. I prefer "ray-nee."

The second name, which I'd use as the middle name because the spelling and pronunciation are just a little more "unique," is Achaius. It is pronounced "ah-KEE-us." It means "Horseman" (Irish) or "Friend of horses" (Scottish).
This name has a special connection to memories with my mom because one of her most favorite animals were horses. She grew up with horses and often told me stories of her childhood and being labelled by her teachers and classmates as the "horse-crazy girl." I think she knew every classic horse story ever written, from Black Beauty to Misty of Chincoteague to collections of books in general filled with short stories and non-fiction about horses. She kept many of those books from her childhood and I have them on my bookshelves now. Her love for horses never ceased with age, and I inherited the same passion for horses and horseback riding as she had herself, so it was a really special connection. When we had two "pasture ponies" for years, some of my fondest memories I have spending time with my mom were on long trail rides around our ranch. A couple of years before she passed away, she got to fulfill a lifelong dream she had, and that was to purchase a saddlebred horse and learn to ride either saddleseat or drassage. She found a local stable that provided saddleseat lessons. Her gelding she bought was a giant gray goofball named Charlie, and my gosh that horse was the definition of gorgeous (I recently had to sell him, which broke my heart).
Also, horses to me signify a lot of just who my mom was. Elegant, strong-willed, graceful, beautiful.
So you can see why that name also holds much significance to me. Along with that, be honest it just flows with our last name in its meaning too, because our last name ALSO means "lover of horses," lol. Redundant, perhaps, but...I love horses so what does it matter?!

So here lies my name dilemma, and it's not as simple as just "plan to use the name for your next child." That is not realistic, in my opinion. First of all, I don't know if we are going to have another child. By golly, I'm about to have THREE boys (along with a husband who instigates as much mischief, if not more, than my sons) and honestly, I'm overwhelmed with that thought at the moment. IF we do decide to have a fourth, number four may turn out to be a girl. And going for a fourth is a BIG "maybe."
I can't imagine five. Even the exremely low nearly impossible most likely never will happen chance of having five, again, who's to say the fifth won't be yet another girl?
What I'm getting at here is that there is no guarantee I'll never get to use one boy name or the other ever again. So it's either choose Asher Zane and stick with it, or change it to Raighne Achaius (and obviously, he will go by his first name only--middle name will only be used on documentation and when he's in trouble, lol).
My husband is completely fine with whichever I want to choose. I know he's leaning more toward the preference of Asher but that's only because he's used to it, as is everyone else. But he said if I feel that strongly about changing the name, that he doesn't mind at all and will support the decision I make since, as he tells me, "You're the one going through the physical demands of growing a human inside your body and you're the one who has to push him out, so you are totally entitled to the final say on his name as far as I'm concerned."
I've honestly not only spent the last few days deliberating this in my head and heart, but it has seriously been stressing me out! I truly feel like both names are absolutely perfect in their own significant ways and I'd probably do myself a favor to just flip a coin already, I don't know. With the name Asher Zane, I feel like I'm giving my child a name that carries a meaning of joy and healing in the midst of the toughest trial I've ever faced in my life so far, and with the name Raighne Achaius, I feel the meaning carries a strong connection to honoring the wonderful memories I have of my mom and her personality. Asher is an easy, culturally familiar name no one will have any issues reading or pronouncing. Raighne is of origins that "fit" with our family names and, once you tell people how it's pronounced, they'll "get it," much like with my son Greydon's middle name, Rhys (the original Welsh spelling of Reese, pronounced the same).
Trouble is, if I do decide to go with Raighne, then I don't think it'll be received too well by friends and family because like I said, everyone is already used to calling him Asher. Ultimately, it's a choice that falls only on myself and my husband, and Brandon has already told me that he's basically leaving it entirely up to me. If I change the name to Raighne and people don't like it, so what, right?
I don't know. I'm thinking maybe the best way to go is to wait until he's born and see which name suits him best, but until then, I don't think I can bear having people keep calling him Asher if I'm undecided and then just throwing everyone for a loop the day he's born and he is given a different name--that would be inconsiderate, in my opinion. Especially if some people plan on having little gifts personalized with the name Asher and ready to give for him when he's born.
Not really sure what to go with here.

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973741 tn?1342346373
by specialmom, Jan 22, 2013
I would, in all honesty, not try to make your child's name so complicated no kids can pronounce it.   Asher Zane is  simple and has enough meaning and you've loved it for a long time.  As you have a lot of emotions going on, it is understandable to be confused and ponder this.  I get it.  And in the end, it is your decision.  

Your son would forever-----  and I mean forever-----  have his name mispelled and mispronounced with your second choice.  It's a beautiful thought but that is something to keep in mind.  

peace and luck to you sweetie.  The time is near to celebrate your baby boy's birth and it will be wonderful and joyous no matter his name.  

13167 tn?1327197724
by RockRose, Jan 22, 2013
I totally agree with SM.  Asher Zane is lovely,  everyone who sees it can pronounce it and spell it.  

I'm a stickler for names that are traditional - and spellable and pronounceable and gender specific.  ;D  

134578 tn?1546634665
by AnnieBrooke, Jan 22, 2013
Even with the idea in mind of making a child's name a memorial to your beloved late mother, please don't give your child a name where no one will ever be able to say it right on the first try, and don't give a boy a first name that sounds like "Rainee," a not entirely common first name but (when seen) a girl's name.  People who hear it but don't see it will always misspell it, and people who see it but haven't heard it will always ask the kid "HOW do you pronounce that?  Gee, what kind of a name is THAT?" and nobody will be able to remember it on second try easily, unlike Asher.  It will not take too long before the child dreads being introduced in a new classroom, to new friends, etc.  That is not a good memorial to your mom, to put that on a little child, no matter how laudable your intentions.

Asher is a wonderful name and Zane is hip, and the two together are immediately understandable and sound great.  Along with the other ladies, I urge you to stick with your first choice.

184674 tn?1360864093
by AHP84, Jan 22, 2013
Thank you all for your input--I truly do appreciate it greatly.
I've always loved names that are not too common or unique, but not absolutely ridiculous either. I like the thought of my kids having either a completely non-traditional name without being "weird," like Greydon, or a name that won't be so common that there will always be another kid in the classroom with the same name, like with Trevor. Greydon is going to be three years old this weekend and in my 28-year lifetime, I've heard the name only once before, given to a child that I babysat when I was about 14 and I never forgot the name, hence how I ended up choosing that name for my son. The name Greyson has hit the top trending list over the last five years or so and I love the fact that my child has a name that sounds trendy, but is still unique. With my son Trevor, we meet maybe one other child or man named Trevor per year, if even that. He's going to a school with a pretty large student population currently, and one of the admins in the office told us the day we enrolled him that there is only one other Trevor in the school and how much she loved his name.
Asher is a name that currently is getting "trendy." I'm a bit of a nerd in that I actually enjoy looking up names, origins, meanings, and popularity as a time-killer. The names Asher and Zane are both becoming common enough to become Top 100 names by 2013 or 2014, meaning by the time my son is school age, there will most likely be a handful or quite a few more Ashers and/or Zanes through his generation. That doesn't get me down too much, honestly, but I really like a sense of my kids having individuality that stands out in a good way.
I've always considered the name pronunciation of "rain" unisex, about as equally unisex as Alex, Jamie, Morgan, or Tracey, for example--but much less traditional--and not as "unequally unisex" as names like Haley, Stacey, and Taylor, which lean more toward being known as "girl names," for example. In fact, the only person I can associate the name pronunciation "rain" with is Rainn Wilson, the actor from the sitcom "The Office."
To be honest, when I first saw the name Raighne, I thought it was pronounced like "rain" but found out after looking it up on another site to be sure of the pronunciation that the "e" is pronounced at the end. But when I first read the name, it didn't strike me as "weird" really--just a more unique yet still phonetically applicable way to spell Rain (which is a name my husband and I have liked for a while too, but in variant form of Rainer). So I figure if we were to go with the name Raighne, I honestly would probably just pronounce is as "rain" instead of "rainy," depending on the responses we got from people.
I really don't know though. I think with the general public, the name Raighne would be readily accepted with few issues except maybe needing to spell it out for people and occasionally correcting pronunciation, which isn't that big of a deal in my eyes. Traditional names like Aiden, Caitlin, Cameron, and Michaela can no longer be assumed by anyone under the age of about ten to even be spelled the traditional ways anymore because they have so many variants like Ayden/Aidyn/Aden, Katelynn/Caitlynn/Kaytelin, Camryn/Camron/Camaren, and Makayla/Mikayla/Mykalah, for example. I've seen some pretty interesting spellings of completely traditional and very common names, some of which even throw me off with the pronunciation, lol.
So I guess I feel if I did go with the name Raighne, in this generation of children, it would be much better received with very few issues with the general public of teachers, neighbors, and even other children.
My biggest hesitation with choosing the name Raighne over Asher, quite honestly, is the reaction I'll get from family and my closest friends, who of course would never tease or belittle my child for his name, but my husband and I would probably never hear the end of it for years. WE'D be the ones getting the flack, I suspect, and it would be from those closest to us because there is not really that "be polite and respectful of others' choices" boundary. Close friends and family are going to tell you how it is, without holding back. At least, that's pretty much the way our family and close friends are. I guess I just need to decide if I'm ready to receive that kind of reaction, because unique is not as readily accepted as traditional.
I'm trying to think too what my mom's reaction would be if she were here and I told her I was considering this name. She knew we had the name Asher Zane picked out and she didn't seem turned off by it at all, but even if she was, and she knew if my heart and Brandon's was completely set on the name and we loved it, she would have graciously smiled and accepted our decision. That's just how she was. She'd tell me if she wasn't crazy about the name, but that would be about as far as she'd take it and then say something like, "It's your baby. Name it what you think is best and what you love. I'm going to love my grandbaby anyway!"
I am sure she'd prefer Asher over Raighne, but that she'd tell me what she always did when I was trying to pick out names for my other two--to go with what I feel is best for my child. I know she would also like the idea behind the meanings of the names Raighne Achaius, but, knowing my mom...she'd probably smile and shrug...kind of like my husband does to me when I suggest this name, and say it's up to me because this is a baby that is going to be loved and adored no matter what.
*Sigh* I didn't ever think I'd find myself having such a complicated time choosing a name. I realize that my second choice is a bit strange when seen at first, but I don't think it's so much that it's because it's unique/weird, but rather unique/unfamiliar/foreign. We do not live in Ireland or Scotland, obviously, so this is a name that, in the US, is not immediately recognizable, BUT, it's also not a name I just made up by spilling out a box of Alpha-Bits cereal, lol. They are true names and both are for the male gender only and are not unisex in their origin.
I will most likely end up sticking with Asher Zane, and that does not disappoint me, but I do feel uneasy and disappointed that I can't feel confident in announcing what I feel is a great name with a lot of meaning and value to my family and closest friends without ME being ridiculed or even verbally chastised just because the name has never been heard of before. And since I'm not too keen on confrontations or conflict, especially with family, I'll most likely stick with what is already accepted by everyone as the name we chose for him, which no one objects to except my MIL (but she's a different story and we don't really care that she hates the name Asher Zane, lol).
Again, thank you all for your input because I really wanted to get opinions here where I won't feel belittled or teased about a choice I'm considering and take it too personally. :-)

719902 tn?1334168783
by jenkaye21, Jan 22, 2013
Audrey, I absolutely love unique and meaningful names, too.  I think Raighne Achaius is totally cool! (:  I also like Asher Zane.  A LOT.  I can appreciate your dilemma, and I know you don't want to have "naming regret", LOL.  Either way you're honoring your mom in a special way.  To be honest, I feel like Asher Zane fits in better with the other names in your family.  To me, it would seem unusual to have such an uncommon name(s) for one child in a family with otherwise fairly mainstream (though not exactly common) names.  Just my opinion.  Good luck!

377493 tn?1356505749
by adgal, Jan 22, 2013
I also enjoy unique names.  I have to say I love Achaius.  I like Raighne as well, I just like Achius better.  Asher is my younger nephews middle name, and it's the only time I've ever heard of it.  When I first saw you post Asher Zane, I thought it was really nice.

In my son's school there are some really unusual names.  They are nice names, but with unique spellings and not at all traditional.  I agree with you that to this generation, it's not such a big issue.  When I was a child, an unusual spelling would have provoked teasing.  Not anymore, at least I don't think so.  Go with your heart.....but I really really like

1169162 tn?1331235953
by nola0805, Jan 23, 2013
Here are my two cents.  I think that Achius is far more phonetic and easier to guess at than Raighne.  I would really worry about people's ability to pronounce Raighne.  I feel your pain though - I adore the name Eamon and if I ever had another boy, I would love to use it but most likely would not for the same reason.  But ultimately it is your choice.  I know that some people wait until the baby is born and wait to see what name seems to suit him best.   Another option is to compromise: Asher Raighne or my favorite Asher Achaius - you would have to worry much less about how to pronounce a middle name and you would still have some Celtic and motherly connection to the name.

Good luck and congrats!

184674 tn?1360864093
by AHP84, Jan 24, 2013
So I've spent the last couple of days pretty much silently obsessing over this...either that or talked it out to myself while driving (the only real quiet time I ever get, lol).
I love both names equally and I really don't think that will change, but I'm pretty sure I've made my final decision for my son's first name, at least. I am going to stick with Asher, because I really dread even suggesting I'm considering something different and very unique and the backlash reaction from family and friends we'd most likely get. However, my biggest deciding factor is that both my boys are also very used to the name already, and refer to their baby brother as "Baby Asher" consistently and attentively as if he is already in their presence. They are 8 and 3, so I think it would be a lot harder for them to adjust to a new name for their brother and I really don't want them to have to go through that.
I do still love all those four names so much, though, that I may choose one of the others as the middle name for Asher instead of Zane. I don't know yet. At least I still have a while to figure that part out! :-)
Thank you again for your input, everyone!

134578 tn?1546634665
by AnnieBrooke, Jan 25, 2013
I agree with nola in that Asher Achaius sounds quite dandy.  

For what it's worth, we knew for a long time that our son was going to be named Augustus (nickname Augie), and right at the last, a whole boatload of other names began to look good to me, things as fun as Jack and as classic as Logan.  There is something about having decided long ago but still having time to change it, that is pretty unhelpful because you begin to second-guess.  But Augie stayed Augie, and it's great.  He has defined the name as his.

Take care.

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