Naming a child is a very personal thing. Regardless, you will find that this very personal choice is one of the few that you will make in life that is subject to so much comment and criticism. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to babies, but when it comes to babies’ names, everyone thinks they are way better at picking than you are.
None of our children has a typical name. Brighid, so named because it means strength, and my 2 pound 10 ounce preemie seemed to need all she could get, could have been Bridget – which everyone would recognize. But when you have a child so beautifully and uniquely yours, here to carry on your heritage and traditions, why not give her a name that reflects that?
Naming my children has given me an opportunity to show a love of my Irish heritage, and a love for some of the strongest women our family has seen. Eilis, whose name I actually fell in love with while watching a documentary on conjoined twins, is named after my grandmothers, women who raised families, worked hard, and were in their own right strong and beautiful. And Granuaile, whose middle name is Frances, bears the Gaelic name of Grace O’Malley, Ireland’s pirate queen, who changed the way women in Ireland were depicted. Strength, courage, and devotion to her family were the traits of the original Granuaile, and traits of Granuaile’s other namesake, my sister Frances (Bean).
I’ve had to explain often through the years why my kids have the names they do. I never mind. It’s an explanation I’m proud to give. Just be prepared for a wee history lesson.