Baby Name Link-Up

Friday, February 28, 2014
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” 
-L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

Like most mothers, I am a baby name aficionado. When I was younger, I loved dreaming up baby names and what I would call my future children. When I was a teenager I loved names like Bailey and Parker. My teenaged self would probably be horrified that I ended up giving my children "old-people" names.  But now that I'm a tad more mature, I really love classic names and names that have withstood the test of time.

We take naming our children pretty seriously. After all, this will be a person's name for the rest of their life! Because of this, we stick to pretty traditional names. We try to choose names that will be cute enough for a child, but sophisticated enough for an adult. The names of our children all have significant meaning behind them. So without further ado, why we decided to name our children what we did.
Hannah Claire
When we got married I thought for sure we would have a honeymoon baby, or at least find out we were expecting shortly thereafter. I really wanted that to happen. But when a few months went by and then a few more and still no baby, I started to worry a bit. What if we couldn't have children? What if something was wrong? I prayed and prayed and prayed for a baby and hoped that God was not asking us to carry the cross of infertility. And He wasn't. He was just asking us to wait. 

Although that waiting time was very difficult, for me especially, I am so thankful for it. It gave me a new perspective on the blessing of children and a small insight into what women with infertility suffer. We are not owed a child simply because we want one. We cannot plan for a child the way we plan to buy a new sweater. To have a child is to be incredibly blessed. Children truly are a blessing and a miracle, each and every one of them.

As I prayed and pleaded with God for a child, I began to notice how the burden of bareness weaves its way through the Bible.  Many of the women who played an important role in salvation history suffered the cross of infertility. Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth, to name a few. 

Each of these women reacted differently to bearing that burden. Sarah laughed when she was told she would have a child in her old age. She seemed a bit skeptical and perhaps slightly cynical. Rachel appeared desperate, "give me children, or I shall die." St. Elizabeth, like Sarah, was also "advanced in years." Despite my admiration for these biblical women, I had difficulty identifying with them. Except for Hannah. 

Hannah, who was known for her beauty and intelligence, also possessed a quiet steadfastness and faith. She longed for a child, yet she chose the path of petition and prayer and a promise. Her patience was rewarded. She vowed she would dedicate her child to the service of the Lord. And she kept her promise! She brought Samuel to the temple when he was three years old to be brought up as a man of God. I cannot imagine keeping a promise like that, but she did. Her faith and strength was and is impressive. 

In her song of thanksgiving in 1 Samuel 2, Hannah praises God.
“My heart rejoices in the Lord
   in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
    for I delight in your deliverance.
There is no one holy like the Lord;
    there is no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God."

Her prayer mirrors Mary's Magnificat:
"My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty,
hath done great things to me;
and holy is his name."
(Luke 1:46-55)
 I love that Hannah can be seen as a precursor to Mary. 

When we finally did become pregnant, I knew that I wanted to name the baby Hannah if she was a girl. I pray that our Hannah grows to be just like her namesake: smart, beautiful and holy. 

We played around with a few middle names for Hannah, but ultimately decided on Claire. Hannah Claire had a nice ring to it. We didn't intend on it, but we (especially Matthew) often call her Hannah Claire. 

After she was born, it dawned on me that Mary's mother (Jesus's grandmother) was named Hannah. She is often referred to by her Anglicized name, Ann, but she would have been called Hannah in Hebrew. Our Hannah likes that connection she has to Mary.

Well, that was a long explanation, but there you have it. 

*If Hannah had been a boy, she would have been named John.

Abigail Elizabeth
As soon as we found out we were expecting again, Matthew was convinced the baby was a girl. He pretty much chose her name from the start. The name 'Abigail' means "my father's joy," which we liked and it went well with Hannah, so Abigail it was. We also liked the tie to Abigail Adams since we live in Quincy. 

Abby and I share a middle name. There are so many great St. Elizabeths. Matthew likes to think she is named after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, but I'm somewhat partial to St. Elizabeth of Hungary

We love Abby's name, but when she was born and I was filling out the birth certificate at the hospital, the hospital administrator commented "Abigail, that's a popular name this month," which bummed me out. I didn't want her name to be too popular, although it is in the top 10 baby names. Oh well. We often call her Abigail rather than Abby, so I feel like that's a little more unique. Right? 

*If Abby had been a boy, her name would have been Charles.
 Lucas Francis
With our third child we decided to find out the baby's gender in utero. Since we found out we were having a boy, we knew we only needed to focus on boys names this time around. 

We actually decided on Lucas's middle name before his first. We knew we wanted to name the baby after my grandfather. He passed away a few months before Lucas was born. He meant a lot to both of us and it seemed fitting. So, Francis it was. It was a happy coincidence that the new Pope took the name Francis as well.

For first names we had a little more trouble agreeing. A major naming problem is that Matthew went to an all boys high school and so has a lot of (mostly negative) associations with boy's names. 

I've always liked the name Luke, but Matthew wasn't too keen on it. Yet, in gallant fashion, Matthew's birthday gift to me was to let me choose the baby's name. So again I threw out Luke. He suggested Lucas. Lucas it was. We liked that Lucas had a little more versatility than Luke. He can be Luke on the football field and Lucas in the classroom. Not that I'll ever let him play football...

I love Lucas's name. We really like that he is named after my grandfather. My Grandpa was also a doctor and St.Luke is the patron saint of physicians. It is also believed that St. Luke knew the Blessed Mother well and had a deep devotion and love for her. The Magnificat only appears in the Gospel according to Luke. I pray our Luke has the same devotion.

We also like that St. Francis and St. Clare were such good friends, so it's nice that our first and third children's names tie together in that way.

*Although we knew Lucas was going to be a boy, we were considering Nora for a girl's name.

Other names we liked and considered: Peter, Leo, James, Nora, Isabella

How and why did you choose your child's name? 

Linking up with Kathryn at Team Whittaker for the Baby Name Linkup. Love this! 


  1. I love that, especially all the details about Hannah. I didn't know much of her biblical story and it's beautiful. I am not like Hannah though, I am much more like the desperate Rachel. I which I were a Hannah though.

  2. Oh girl, I hear ya. Some days I was like Rachel too. It's not easy. Prayers for you.

  3. I love these stories and I'm even more honored you shared them with all of us! Ever since becoming a mom I've questioned my mom endlessly on how she came up with my name and my brother's. Fascinating!

  4. Dang so thought out!! Loved reading the meanings :)


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