I am due with a baby girl in 4 days and my husband and I are still undecided on a name. About a month ago we narrowed it down to either Ava or Rowan. We love both names equally, but for different reasons. I had originally fallen in love with the name Ava because it is short, sweet, feminine sounding, but strong and not too girly for my tastes. Once I did some research and found out how popular it is though, it lost some of it's appeal for me. Then we came across the name Rowan and learned that it has many interesting meanings and associations with it- being a tree traditionally thought to bring good luck, and a Celtic name for the full moon in February, which is exactly when she's due. We are very nature-oriented people.I thought- perfect! But, it sounds harsher to me, and I am afraid we will constantly encounter people saying, "Isn't that a boys name?" Or "hmm, that's a different name." Two other considerations....we have a very difficult to spell last name (so not sure if a gender-neutral name like Rowan will add to the confusion), and I've always wanted to give my daughter the middle name of Mae, after my grandmother who I was very close to. The combinations we are talking about are either Rowan Mae or Ava Rowan....Ava Mae was on the table for a while, but I'm not sure I like the combination of two 3-letter names...they sound a little too similar to me. I love both name combinations, but we are torn between choosing a name with a lot of meaning behind it, or one that we just think sounds really beautiful....any suggestions? Help!!
This is going to sound like a really, really lame suggestion, but I'm going to suggest it anyway: I suggest choosing the one you like better. I know, right? Lame? But! When naming my own children, I had to have this revelation several times. I'd be debating the relative merits of two names, this one or that one, this one or that one---and then I would think, "Well...which one do I LIKE BETTER?" and it was as if it were a BRAND-NEW concept for me each time. As someone who has made a hobby of baby names, I think I sometimes get distracted by my lists of pros and cons.
I can offer pure opinions, if you like, but of course those are only about what _I_ like better. Still, it's fun, so I'll do it. Here are my opinions:
1. I think the name Rowan is beautiful, and a solid choice, and unusual without being TOO unusual.
2. I think the name Ava is beautiful, and a solid choice, and its popularity wouldn't rule it out for me.
3. I like the combination Ava Mae. I think it would be fun to call her "Ava Mae," too, as a nickname or when there's more than one Ava in the room. I like "Ava Mae" better than "Ava Rowan."
4. I like the combination Rowan Mae. I think it ups the femininity of the name Rowan, without being a style clash.
[Edit: You know, I've had another thought about how to make a decision. Think of what names you might want to use in the future, and see whether Ava or Rowan sounds better with those names. If you love the boy name Ryan, perhaps that's a reason to go with Ava instead of Rowan. If you love the girl name Aoife (pronounced almost like Eva), perhaps that's a reason to go with Rowan instead of Ava. Even if you're planning to have one child and no more, this is a helpful exercise to see which name better lines up with your tastes.]
A poll will, of course, only show you what other people like better---but again, fun, so let's do it. I'll put a poll over to the right [poll closed; see below], and everyone can choose which name they prefer, Ava or Rowan.
Poll results (266 votes total):
Ava: 122 votes, roughly 46%
Rowan: 144 votes, roughly 54%
Name update 02-17-2009! Ashley writes:
Thanks for your help! The poll and everyone's comments were really helpful. Little Rowan Mae was born on February 9, the day of the full "Rowan Moon!"