April 7, 2009

Baby Name Stories: Heather's Story

Meet Heather, a dear friend of mine with fabulous naming style—so much so that this post has become quite popular based on her daughter's names! She wears many hats—mom, wife, associate pastor, and writer. She has three lovely daughters—Una Isabella Rose, Evelyn "Evvy" Nova, and Naomi True. Heather writes:
Naming each daughter was a process that required a lot of mental work—it often seemed
like there was a “ just right” name for a baby and it was just a matter of sorting through
thousands of options and then meditating (for months) on a few before the right names just
sort of crystalized in our minds as theirs. In fact, there was only one time in all our years of
baby-name contemplation that my husband and I actually read a name out loud in a name
book and liked it immediately (that name was Nova, Evvy’s middle name).

Una’s name came from the Anne of Greene Gables series, but I didn’t know that when
we named her. I was reminded of her name while I was pregnant and reading Crime and
Punishment, in which there is a “Dounia.” The letters reconfigured themselves in my head
and I remembered Una, from a book I’d read in childhood (though I couldn’t remember which
one); I could picture a young girl with long, dark hair. It wasn’t until Una was a year old,
when my husband and I had taken her to the emergency room for an allergic reaction, that
a doctor breezed into the room and proclaimed, “Una!! From Anne of Green Gables!” It was
a happy revelatory moment, as I’d read that whole series over and over as a kid (Una was
a character in the fifth book). Rose, Una’s middle name, is her great-grandmother’s. And we
simply just loved Isabella—so we put it together with Rose to make her middle name.

I used to think the name Evelyn was horrible and boring and old. Then, when I was in college, some family friends had a little girl and named her Evelyn. I thought they were nuts to do that to a baby. Then I met this little girl when she was 6 years old. She was zingy and sassy and smart and energetic, and she went by "Evy.” I fell in love with the name because of that girl. And it stuck with me for years before I was ever pregnant with her. Evvy’s middle name, Nova, was a freebie we didn’t have to work too hard for and seemed to fall out of heaven and fit her perfectly.

After I had Una and Evvy, I didn’t plan on any more children. But one day when I was dropping Evvy off at preschool, the teacher mentioned her tween-aged daughter, Naomi, and something about that name just grabbed my attention in that moment. I actually had the thought: That will be my next daughter’s name—if I have one! Years went by and my half-brother passed away. After his death I got to know and love his other half-sister, who I’d only met once in my adult life. She was a Naomi. By the time I was pregnant with my Naomi, Naomi felt like a perfect fit to commemorate my brother. Her middle name, True, came from a combination of my maiden name (Truhlar) and a tattoo my brother wore, spelled across all ten of his fingers—STAY TRUE.

Despite their formal, given names, nicknames abound in our house. We have a Una-belle, an Evvy, of course (who sometimes gets called silly things like Evsy Websy and Ev-Web—both plays on our last name), and a Nay Nay.

I’ve been asked if there were obstacles to choosing names. I think my own anxiety about picking the “right” name made it tricky. There’s also the fact that there are already cousins with names that we might otherwise have chosen (had we had boys!). I tend to think parents should name their children without reference to what “other people” are doing, but let’s face it, it’s difficult when there are three Elliots or two Judahs opening presents from Grammy on Christmas morning.

I’m still thrilled with our choices, although once in a blue moon I feel bad that we gave Una so many initials—and not even a particularly nice arrangement of them (U.I.R.W!). I also wonder if we should have just given Evvy the name Evvy on her birth certificate. But then I think that some day, when she’s interviewing for a serious job, she might like to have a more serious, formal name on her resume. We’ll see. So far there’s nothing too formal about her personality—she truly is an Evvy—Tigger-like in the way she bounds through life.

Heather Weber blogs about life, faith, and parenting at www.onravenstreet.com and writes for ForeWord Reviews. She lives with her husband and three daughters in North Liberty, IA, where she works as an associate pastor at LIFEchurch. Her book, Dear Boy, has just been released in paperback and Kindle formats.


  1. I love this story! I have twin boys and I am currently expecting a baby girl. needless to say I have been going crazy to come up with THE perfect name. I have always loved Isabella , but it has become too popular. My husband loves the name Una, so we thought we would combine and go with Una Isabella. I typed that into the google search engine and found this blog! I have to say I am excited to see another mom went with this name fairly recently. I am nervous how our families will react because the name is so different. But, we love it and don't want to shy away from something different because I know people will get used to it once it is her name.

    thanks for the perspective, your girl's names are beautiful!!

  2. CenzLuccsMom— What a great story! So glad Heather's story gave you more confidence in your choice. I think Una Isabella is beautiful. Una was more popular in the 1800s, and those names are coming back. It's a lovely choice.

    ~Laura Em

  3. Wow, I love the names of both of her children. Una & Evelyn are vintagy cool. I adore Nova, and the combinations are gorgeous!

  4. Una and Nova are beautiful names. I think Evvy is far more gorgeous than Evelyn.

  5. I love these names!! Very beautiful with a lot of deph!!



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