Naming Names: How I Chose Names for my Twin Girls

I saw an article on Huffington Post the other day called 7 Ways To Choose Baby Names For Twins and it got me thinking about how Devo and I chose our twin girls' names. I didn't really write about my pregnancy here - in fact I barely mentioned it - but when I shared the above article on my Facebook page, I got a few requests to share the story behind my girls' unusual names. It's too long winded an explanation for Facebook, so I'm sticking it here instead for posterity.


The very first 'pregnancy dream' I had, when I was expecting the girls, featured me sitting on a bench with two small baby girls on my lap. They turned to me, the tiny babies, and introduced themselves (in remarkably fluent English!) as 'Annette and Janet' and I remember thinking "Oh, ok... I wouldn't have chosen those two names for you, but fair enough. It's nice to meet you. I'm your Mama"

Instead of paying attention to my own intuition I instead decided that my dream was wrong and that I was going to have a boy and a girl rather than two girls, so I immediately set about choosing names for each sex. Eventually though, as the due date drew nearer, I conceded to logic and thought I'd better cover all the bases and choose names for each combination. Girl/Girl, Boy/Boy AND Girl/Boy - which at that stage I had CONVINCED myself I was definitely having.


Girl/Girl was the easiest combination by far to decide on. I should have recognised that as another kick from my intuition but of course I ignored it too. 

I had written my university thesis on the etymology of and the use of the name Sadhbh in Irish language literature and folklore (a vanity project if ever there was a vanity project) and had discovered the variant Sábha as I researched it. Even though I had no intention of ever even getting married at that stage, let alone having children, I must have carefully tucked the name into the back of my mind, because it was on 'the list' from the beginning.


And, ever since I spotted it on an ancient poster I unearthed while clearing out a dusty cupboard in an office I once worked in - again, years before my babies were even a twinkle in my eye - Lile was on my 'future baby name list'. I've always loved it.

That was the Girl/Girl sorted.

The boys names, on the other hand, were SO much more difficult to choose and I remember Devo and I really struggled to agree on very many.  I think it was  Liam and Miles that topped the list but as we all know by now - we didn't need either in the end!


In terms of the HuffPost article, it turns out we actually did follow some kind of formula when we named our girls - though we had no idea we were doing it at the time. We did, however, do one thing that isn't suggested on their list. 


It's pretty obvious that Lile and Sábha's first names are linked by origin in that they are both Irish names (that ticks number 5 on the list) and they also share the same number of syllables (that ticks number 2). Their middle names also link them (ticking number 3), but their middle names link them in a different way to what is suggested on the HuffPost list.


Lile and Sábha actually share the same middle name. And not just because we ran out of names we both could agree on ;) 

Sharing a name symbolises their unique bond as twins and it also honours Devo's dad, Stephen, who passed away the year before they were born. Devo and I wanted to honour him in some way BUT as there are already so many Stephens in the family - we didn't want to add another to the confusion. Plus - we had girls - so Stephen wasn't really going to work anyway. But where there's a will there's a way. 

We looked into the meaning of the name Stephen - which is crown or garland  - and then translated that to the Irish:

Coróin

It's not technically a name, but I love the sound of it (cur-owen) and it really works with their first names. It's unique and it's special - just like my girls. 


How did you choose your baby's name? I love the stories behind people's names - please feel free to share yours in the comments!

22 comments

  1. That's lovely! (As are the girls, of course.)

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  2. Sádhbh this would be lovely as a linky. Gorgeous post, as always.

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    1. Thank you, sweet Laura! You're right. I may just set one up so I can be nosey!

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  3. Beautiful girls with beautiful names, and I love their middle name, such a lovely way to honour their granddad.

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  4. Oh I love this post, had to read it as I am obsessed with picking names (even though those days are gone!) and I love Lile and Sábha's names so much. I have a complicated explanation as to how I named my daughter, I'll try and keep it brief! I got married under a hazel alley and had a photo of the hazel alley on all wedding stationary with Yeat's poem "The song of wondering Aengus" overlaying it; Poem chosen because it references a Hazel wand. After said wedding, I wanted to read the full story which inspired the poem so read of the legend of Aengus and how he fell in love with a girl in his dreams (who spent half her life as a swan and sang like an angel). He eventually found her and married her. She was called Caer Ibormeith. I said if I ever had a daughter that would have to be her name and lo and behold my first born was a girl. :)

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    1. Oh that's gorgeous! How romantic a choice. I love it. I adore the stories behind names too. They are chosen with such hopes and dreams entwined with them that each and every story is special.

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  5. Oh wow, love those names: Lile was on my list, as inspired by you!! Naomi (above), that's a fascinating story about Caer's name! I won't go into the long epic story behind our babies names- we would be here all night!!-I'll wait for that linky :)

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    1. Thanks so much Emily! I remember you asking about Lile's name alright. I can't believe it didn't make the cut. ;)

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  6. I don't really have a story to go behind our choosing. We found a girls name really quickly but really struggled with boys names. My eldest, a boy, had no name for three days as we deliberated over the two we had shortlisted! Second time round even tho I was convinced I was having a boy we half heartedly looked for boys names but didn't choose any, we were sticking with the girls name from first time round. Lucky for us it was a girl not sure what we would have done if it had been another boy..........!

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    1. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who struggles with boys' names! Why is it so much more difficult!

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  7. Gorgeous post and gorgeous girls. I love their names!

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    1. Thanks so much, G! You have some pretty fabulous boys yourself.xx

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  8. How wonderful and what beautiful names! I have 4 year old twins, a boy and a girl, called Harrison and Stella. Both are family names (my husband's grandfather and my great aunt) but the only question we get asked is 'Oh, so you're Beatles fans then?'. Presumably because of George Harrison and Stella McCartney. The connection hadn't crossed our minds! We also get told that their names are 'unusual' - I don't think they are, but I take it as a compliment!

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    1. Gorgeous names! We have a little friend called Stella and I just love that name. I've only heard of one other Harrison (apart from Ford ;) ) I never would have thought of the Beatles connection either!

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  9. Aw love this post! Your girls are beautiful and so are my their names! I knew from a film when I heard a name that one day I would have a little girl and that would very her name. I couldn't choose a boys name till I was in the middle of labour. We had a girl and she is Lilliana Rose x

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    1. Lilliana is such a pretty name. And very unusual too. I don't think I've ever heard it before! It must be related to Lile too as Lile is the Irish for Lily!

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  10. I LOVE this! That's a gorgeous middle name and I love that they share it. Unfortunately there's no romantic story behind Tabs' name. I was in the process of getting my first horse and had a list on my phone for a few weeks of possible names for the horse (who ended up being Daphne). A week after I got Daphne I found out I was 22 weeks pregnant and when I had gone to the maternity hospital emergency ward and was waiting for a scan we just decided Tabitha (which had been on the list for the horse!). Her middle name is Mae (my grandmother's middle name) Josephine (her dad's God mother's name. And she has my surname and her dad's double barrelled name so it's a right mouthful! :)

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    1. Thanks so much B! Haha! I love the story behind Tabitha's name. It'll be a great one to joke about when she's older. I love the name Daphne too actually. There's something very romantic about it. Even on a horse!

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