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  • Anna Brix Thomsen

The Name I Gave My Daughter and What It Means to Me. 127

When my partner and I set off to pick a name for the baby we had on the way, we did as most couples do, and started gathering a list of potential names. I knew that I wanted a name that was strong and grounded and not too cute or girly as I find some names can be where they are well suited for a small baby but perhaps not for an adult. I also wanted an international name that people could pronounce and understand in many different languages, as our family is multi-lingual (I speak and write three languages on a daily basis; Danish, Swedish and English). When we started going through potential names, it was obvious that someone always had some association with virtually every name we came up with. I really liked the name Vivian for example, but many of the people I talked to about it immediately associated it with Julia Robberts´ character as a prostitute in the movie Pretty Woman, and so therefore experienced an aversion towards it. Others reacted to personal associations with names, like how a certain name could be perceived as a ‘bitch name’  because someone knew a person with that name in their childhood who was a bitch.

In fact, there wasn’t a single name that everybody liked (Obviously. Why would there be?). There were barely any names that my partner and I both liked. When we finally came up with a couple of names that we both really liked, someone in our close environment didn’t like it, and I realized that because they didn’t like it, I immediately didn’t like it as much. This experience (which happened a couple of times) caused an entire avalanche of reactions within me, and opened the point of how I’ve been extremely dependent on other people’s opinions and approval of me.

Rather than blaming them for it and saying that they ruined my baby name, I realized that I wanted their approval, I wanted them to like my baby name and I placed (my own) value in them liking the name. Had they liked the name, I would’ve most likely liked the name even more and I would’ve been really satisfied with it.

Thus, if I stood clear and stable within myself in trusting and standing by the name I had picked, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to be influenced by someone not liking it, because it doesn’t really have anything to do with me or with my child whether they like her name or nor. In fact, I realized that I only told them about the name to see how they would react, to get their approval. On a deeper level I could see that when I allow myself to be influenced by something someone says, then I am not actually being influenced BY THEM or their words, but by my own interpretation thereof. What I am in fact being influenced by, is my own mind. It is my mind that places value on others opinions of me, who believe that it does truly affect me what they think.

The real issue is not about my relationship with others, but about my relationship with myself, my body, my being and my mind, that I allow myself to be inferior to, through accepting certain limitations, beliefs and ideas about myself and about my relationships with others.

So I’ve been working with stopping these reactions, with detaching myself from this dependency and fear in relation to others and to bring focus and attention back to myself. I then decided that I wouldn’t share any more name suggestions with anyone until my partner and I had decided for ourselves, because really, it isn’t a democracy where everyone gets to cast a vote on what we should name our baby. It is in fact something that my partner and I decide on our own.

Ideally I would have preferred for my child to pick her own name, because she is after all the one who has to live with it, but since she can’t do that, I started playing around with talking to my baby inside the belly and try to get a ‘feel’ for what her name was or could be or what she’d prefer to be called.

As my partner and I kept discussing names, I kept having the same letters come up that I seemed to prefer over others, especially the letter L. As I played with asking the baby in my belly what it wanted to be called, I got a very strong ‘sense’ that it was a name that ended with the letter A. I can’t say for a fact that I did indeed communicate with my daughter in the womb, but it was the closest I got to actually be able to ask her, and not simply pick a name that I liked but that may not suit her, or to pick a name that everyone else could agree on, just to not risk displeasing anyone.

Slowly but surely the letters started gathering into a name. Initially I thought it was Lola. I also though of Loa. Other names that started with L and ended in A was Livia, and Liva. But what kept coming up within me – very clearly – was the name Lora.

It wasn’t a name I particularly liked. In fact, I had absolutely no reference or association to it whatsoever. It was ‘blank’ in a way. I kept pushing it aside because it wasn’t something I could relate to at all.

One day I talked to a friend on the phone and she asked me if I had asked the baby what it wanted to be named. Hesitatingly I replied that I wasn’t sure. My friend said: “Of course you know what the name is, just trust yourself!” After the conversation I had a look within me and admitted to myself that I had indeed ‘seen’ or ‘felt’ the name Lora, but I had rejected it because I didn’t trust myself and because I didn’t have any associations to the name that I could attach myself to. I also didn’t know whether it was something I came up with inside my brain somehow or it was her signaling to me telepathically.

I actually thought it was something I came up with (or rather, that she came up with) until I Googled it and found out that it isn’t that uncommon at all. I shared the name with my partner and he also didn’t have any associations to it. What I really like about this name is exactly the fact that I don’t have associations, let alone any preferences for or against it. So it isn’t a name I have picked (unless it comes from some deep subconscious point in my mind) because of my likes and dislikes and my ideas about how I want my child to be. Because it is blank, it is pure, it is clean and therefore it can be her 100 %.

Now, sharing the name we had decided on after she was born, opened up a whole new can of worms as people reacted much like we did initially; with a blank stare. When we told them that her name was Lora, they’d go “huh, uhm, Lora, with an O?” “Oh you mean Laura” – “No, its Lora.” “Oh ok, that’s unusual”. People get this dead/confused look in their eyes like they can’t compute and they don’t know what to say.  So it is clearly a name that most people don’t have any associations to, at least not in our part of the world where it is not at all common. In all of Sweden there are only 65 people called Lora.

The same person that initially reacted negatively to some of our name choices that I spoke of earlier also very blatantly blurted out that we had made a terrible mistake and that this was a bad name and we should think about what we were doing to our child. (Lora happens to rhyme with the word for ‘whore’ in Swedish.)

Every time we were to share with a new person our choice of name, I was confronted with my fear of not pleasing others, of them not finding me worthy or liking me, and because I had already made a decision to stand by myself and the name I had decided on, it has been quite a cool experience for me – to make a decision based on self-trust without any external influence, that others may even react strongly to – and to keep standing, and stand by myself. It has in fact supported me greatly to start expanding in other areas, where I see that my effectiveness is contingent upon me trusting myself and building confidence in myself and to not worry about what others might think. It has even made me realize that there are areas where I trust myself very much because I know who I am and I have done my research and cross-referenced the points I see.

Now, I love the name Lora. It is growing on me. Because it is the name of my daughter. As she grows up and develops she made decide to change her name or take on a different name, and that too is perfectly ok with me – because she is who she is, and it is not something I or anyone else can decide for her. Who she will become, will be her own creation, and I will do everything in my power to support her on her journey, as I am sure, she will support me – as she already is.

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