Diary of a Mum: What’s in a (Family) Name

By Cia Merrall

In the next instalment of our diary of a mum blog, Cia Merrall opens up about choosing a traditional baby name based on family.

Cia shares how she went from being absolutely certain on a name early on in pregnancy to feeling a certain pressure and having second thoughts…

When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, one of the first things we spoke about was names. I loved the long discussions over whether to go for a traditional name or something more modern.

I have an unusual name and found it difficult at school as people could never pronounce it correctly. We debated for hours over girls names, never really agreeing on one. For boys names, however, we were completely in sync. William. It was both my beloved Grandads’ names and my Dad’s older brother, who I’m very fond of, is also William. My husband loves the name Will and so it was easily agreed on.

It’s a boy!

At 16 weeks we found out we were having a boy. We immediately started to call him William rather than Baby as he’d been called before. We told our close family that he would be called William and my brother and his girlfriend had some beautiful personalised gifts made which went straight up in his brand new nursery. I was excited to give him a name that meant so much to us all as a family and to honour my Grandads who were such an important part of my life.

Second thoughts

At around 7 months pregnant I suddenly realised that something didn’t feel quite right about the name William, I shook it off, thinking that I just missed the anticipation and wondering what to call him but the niggle persisted.

Eventually, I sat down and spoke to my husband about it. It was hard to explain but I suddenly felt that there was a lot of pressure attached to giving a name that has belonged to people who were so loved and important. What if he wasn’t anything like his Great Grandparents? I also found it hard to think of the name William without associating it completely with my Grandparents and I wanted my baby to have something that belonged to just him.

All change

We went back to the drawing board. We agreed that we wanted to stick to a traditional name but something that had shortened variations so he could choose what he’d like to be called as an adult. We had a short list but I knew that I wanted to call him Edward, Teddy for short. My husband took a little while to come round to the idea as he was completely settled on William. We spent hours scrolling through websites, looking through books, googling names of Kings, names from different eras and talking about the names of characters in books and films. One day, actually on our wedding anniversary, my husband sent me a text ‘let’s call him Edward’. I was delighted, the nursery was changed and we were ready.


Our little boy was born on 4th September with huge dark eyes and dark hair. Teddy was the perfect name for him. As he has grown older his very serious expressions and little old man frown have led to us mainly calling him Ted. I’ve never regretted our name change, it suits him so well and I can’t imagine him as a William at all now. We’ve used his own Grandads’ names as middle names and they fit together perfectly.

I think it’s a beautiful thing to use family names if they were names you already love and if we are lucky enough to have another boy I would definitely like the name William in there somewhere. Until then I can tell Ted all about his wonderful Great Grandads so that we know they are still remembered every day.

Cia writes at www.midsizemama.com about first-time motherhood and post-baby style.

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