It began as a challenge – almost as a joke: could we name a little girl after her two grandfathers?
We had named a lot of little girls, and even a couple little boys, after the women in our families: two grandmothers, four great-grandmothers, one great-great-grandmother and three great aunts, to be precise! But the men of our families had been sadly underrepresented. It seemed time to honor our two fathers, especially since Lewis and Verity had recently been named after our mothers, but it really seemed best to try to honor both of them at once.
For a boy, we had chosen a name (which, naturally, we didn’t need) early on in my pregnancy that solidly linked to both grandfathers. Their names, by the way, are Peter Godfrey Young and Bruce James Gilbert. But for a girl? Was it even possible???
We had fun playing around with it for a while (and when I say “we”, I primarily mean me and my name enthusiast friends, not me and Trevor. He generally enters the scene a bit later in the name game, by his preference!). She could have been Godfrina Jamesine or Gilbertine Petra or Brucetta Petrice – there were some very colorful possibilities in those early brainstorms! But it did start to look like it might not be a realistically achievable goal.
But then there was Freya. A name we both really loved that had maybe just a close enough tie to her Grandad’s middle name, Godfrey, to do the trick.
Freya is a Norse goddess of some lovely things like love and beauty, but also of some rather less lovely things like warfare and sorcery. Pagan dieties are not usually our cup of tea, but family names are, and the actually meaning of the name is “noble lady”, so we pressed on. (Also she drives a chariot pulled by cats, and you have to admit, that’s pretty cool.)
But how to honor Pop-pop? We were just about to give up on the whole crazy idea when Poppy entered the conversation. A sweet nod to Pop-pop, and also a perfect fit with our little bouquet of floral girls’ names (Pippa Violet, Juniper, Delphinia). The whole combo just sparkled for me, and was more or less settled by the beginning of my second trimester.
Now here is a fun fact about this pregnancy that we mostly kept to ourselves: for the first time in eight pregnancies, we knew we were having a girl!
On the day of my 20-week ultrasound (the one that actually turned out to be my 24-week ultrasound), only Pippa went back with me while Trevor waited with the gang in the waiting room (they all got to come in for a quick hello to baby at the end).
I told the tech we didn’t want to know the gender, and she let us know when we should look away from the screen. Unfortunately, poor Pip, who hadn’t thought she would recognize much on an ultrasound anyway, accidentally glanced back up a moment too soon in time to see the words “It’s a girl!” typed proudly across the screen (why?!? I have no idea!). I knew as soon as I saw her face that she knew.
Trevor and I talked it over with her, and since she said she was happy to keep her secret, and we still didn’t want to know, we carried on as we were for three excruciating weeks. When Pippa finally slipped and called the baby “she”, I was flooded with both relief at the secret being out and, much to my own surprise, absolute giddiness about having another girl!
As of when she was born, more than half the immediate family knew she was a girl, plus my sister and a whole bunch of people at church and random strangers (because I always panicked when someone asked if I knew what I was having!) Niko and Junie so staunchly did NOT want to know the gender that they turned down the gender reveal cake Pippa had baked to let them in on the secret and took themselves off to bed! (Despite this, poor June accidentally found out she was a girl while I was in labor!)
Knowing that she was a she, and therefore knowing that she was Freya Poppy, before she was born was such a fun and unusual experience for us. It’s not something we ever would have chosen, but we definitely now see the appeal of taking a peek ahead of time!
And that is the tale of how (and when!) our new girl got her name. We hope that despite the somewhat less obvious namesaking, both grandfathers will feel loved and honored by her name, and perhaps relieved that we didn’t go with Brucetta Petrice!