Therese’s Baby on Board: What’s in a name?

Therese (L) and Brian (R) as babies.
“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

At least, according to William Shakespeare.

In my family, a “Rose” is common. We have a few of them, with various derivations of the name. My mother, Karen Rose, is named after my great-grandmother, Rosalie (fun fact — my great-grandmother was a long-time Cape Coral resident!). I also have a great-grandma Rose on the O’Shea side of my family.

I’m sure if any of them had been named anything else, all three would be just as sweet.

Good call, Shakespeare.

Until now, the only names I’ve been able to help with thus far have been that of three family cats. Still, no easy task, but a big responsibility at a young age. When I was nine, we adopted Julius. He was named at the shelter we brought him home from, but I decided “Marvin” was a handsome middle name for our orange tabby. Why? We’re still not sure.

Then there was Rosalita (notice the family name making another appearance), but she was mostly named after one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs.

Finally, Seamus O’Shea. I adopted him on St. Patrick’s Day, so I figured an Irish name was the only way to go.

Now I find myself tasked with my most important naming yet — for my first child. It’s probably the question I get the most when it comes to my pregnancy. “What are you having?” comes first. Then it’s “What are you naming him?!” Needless to say, there’s a lot more pressure to choose the right name for a human than a cat, and my husband and I have toiled over the topic for months now.

We started talking about names long before we were married. It was one of those things we did while dreaming about the future, along with what our wedding would be like and what house we’d live in someday. While the house is still merely a dream, the wedding has come and gone, and now it’s crunch time on choosing a good name.

It probably would’ve been easier had we been expecting a girl. The night before we found out our baby’s gender, we agreed on a couple of girl’s names we both loved. Sure enough, the next day, our results were in: “Male.” Shoot. Do we have any boy names we both like?

The answer, for quite a while, was “no.” The more we talked about names, the more irritated I became, and the more my husband would laugh at my unnecessary frustration. Another reaction to blame on the hormones.

After several conversations on the topic, I decided to buy a book called “The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby.” While it didn’t provide any “magical” answers to what we should name our little boy, it provided a good amount of insight into why we’re drawn to particular names.

One chapter called “The Baby Name Map: Trends Across America” nailed down both of our tastes. Being a Northeastern girl, I’m drawn to mostly traditional names. They’re names you probably grew up around, like Jack, Nicholas, Molly and Julia. My husband, the Midwesterner, also has an appreciation for tradition, but is a little more open minded than me. Some of his region’s top names include Alexander, Samuel, Grace and Paige.

Being that we live in Southwest Florida with a healthy mix of Midwesterners and Northeasterners, I’m sure whatever we choose will be something you’ve heard of and can appreciate. We’re definitely not the type to come up with something trendy, and I’m staying far away from the “Top Baby Names of 2016” list. According to, this year’s top three are Noah, Liam and Ethan for boys, and Emma, Olivia, and Ava for girls. Four out of six already belong to close friends’ babies born in the past three years!

I will say, growing up a “Therese,” it wasn’t easy having a seemingly different name. I’ve spent the past 27 years defending, correcting, and pronouncing my name for strangers, friends, and even family members. It’s not “Ter-eese,” “Ter-ezz,” and it’s definitely NOT “Theresa!” But my name is unique, and it has a great back-story thanks to my mom and my great-grandmother (yes — Rosalie who lived in Cape Coral!). I still struggle with my name all the time, but I’ve finally come to terms with not just accepting it, but appreciating it.

My husband, on the other hand, is a “Brian.” That means he’s had an easy 30 years of people typically understanding and correctly pronouncing his name, with the occasional question of whether it’s spelled with an “i” or a “y.” We learned by reading our “Baby Name Wizard” book that his name is not just a classic favorite, but it’s also nickname-proof and tease-proof. Lucky guy.

That’s just one of the things I want my son to inherit from Brian (along with his height, sense of humor and athletic abilities– all of which are better than mine!). We want to make sure that what we choose is strong, masculine and won’t give this kid too much grief through the years.

Speaking of being given grief — such is why we’ve decided to keep our short list of names quiet until our little boy is born. Think about it: how many times have you seen or heard of a friend or family member’s baby name choice BEFORE the baby came along, and said “Really? They’re going with THAT?” It opens you to early scrutiny on a decision that should solely be decided by the mother and father. It also opens the door for people to chime in with comments like “I knew an (insert name here) in elementary school. He was awful!” or “Wasn’t that the name of the cartoon character from that movie?” Once comments like that come into play, they’re hard to dismiss.

By the time any healthy, happy bundle of joy is delivered, no one can dispute the name. Friends and family are typically so overjoyed by that point, that the name somehow just fits. We’re hoping that our family and friends are so overwhelmed with love once our son is born, that they’ll also love whatever we name him.

Aside from that, keeping the name quiet until he’s born is the one thing we can surprise the world with. To our family and friends (and, of course, loyal viewers!) reading this: Stay tuned!

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.