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When Naming Your Child Is Your First Mistake

The challenge and gift of naming bicultural and multicultural kids

If you're a mom and you haven't visited the Coffee + Crumbs blog, you must check it out. The site is wonderfully beautiful, and the heartfelt essays on motherhood, pregnancy, work, and more will touch your heart. Here's one of my favorites: Imposter Mom.

I'm so tickled to be writing for them today about the trickiness of naming our bicultural babies. You might say it hasn't turned out exactly how we planned. Here's a sneak peek:

"What's your name?" the little boy asked, poised at the bottom of the slide. 

My daughter, halfway up the rope ladder, turned to her new playground BFF and responded, "My name is Gabriella, but you can call me Gabby." 

I nearly fainted. 

Like all parents, my husband and I had agonized over the naming of our first-born. Well, I had agonized while he casually dismissed all of my ideas. When I asked for suggestions instead of only negative feedback, he handed me a piece of paper with five names and way too many z's and x's. I refused to name my daughter Xena. 

One challenge we faced was our desire for a multicultural name. My husband is Guatemalan and a primary Spanish speaker, whereas I was born and raised in the U.S.. We wanted a name for our little one that allowed fluidity between both birth cultures, a name that would help establish the bicultural, bridge-building identity we were praying for our baby. 

The name Gabriella had been a last minute surprise.


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