Naming Ivy

Naming a child is one of the most stressful parts of impending parenthood for me and it got increasingly stressful with each child. A name is for life and can have lasting effects on a person’s life.

With Maia, I was the only one making the decision, so I had free reign. I made sure she was named after a Greek goddess (well, technically a Pleiad, not a goddess, but you know what I mean) and that her name was short and started with an M like mine. A few years later, she was one of THREE Maias/Mayas in her class and she hated it. So when it was time to choose a name for Robin, our priority was to give her a name that wouldn’t be that popular. Since my husband and I couldn’t agree on a name, we decided to simplify matters by choosing a unisex name. I came across her name in a book I was reading while pregnant with her and it stuck.

This time, I went into labour and we still had no idea what the baby would be called. Had she been a boy, we’d probably have called her Boy. If she were to be a girl, we had a list of favourites but no winner. At the top of my list was Alice and at the top of my husband’s was Juliet, but the closer her due date loomed, the less convinced we were about both names. Other names started to join the list: Florence, Juno, Anouk…but none were approved by both of us. A few weeks before the baby was born, my husband suggested Ivy. I liked it but it didn’t excite me particularly. I just didn’t have a personal connection to the name. So we stopped discussing the matter.

Halfway through my labour, I remembered we didn’t have a name. At which point, my husband looked up and smiled vaguely into the distance. I followed his line of sight and saw he was looking at a box sitting on a table in the delivery room. On it, written in black marker, were the words IVI NEEDLES.

This was a sign!

Then it occurred to me that that day was the anniversary of my grandma’s death, whose name sounded a lot like Ivy. The 18th of December had long been my mum’s most hated day of the year. Her own mum had passed away at the age of 38 (my age now), when my mum was only a teenager and one of 13 children. Our baby would finally exorcise that dreaded day forever. As it turned out, my mum felt that her own mother had sent us Ivy from heaven. The thought of it, whether it makes logical sense or not, makes me well up.

This, too, was a sign!

A couple of days earlier, while chatting to one of my closest friends who happens to be a lawyer, I was reminded that the 17th was the feast of St Ivo, patron saint of lawyers. Ivy was born on the 18th, but St Ivo’s feast was close enough to her birthday.

Did we really need a third sign? Not really. It was pretty clear by now that we were having a girl named Ivy (or a boy named Boy). Thankfully, it was a girl.




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