what’s in a name? stardust & traditions…


Today is Thursday. The seconds hand is currently ticking away to bring us to 1:15pm and I’m still sitting in my pyjamas on our faux Chesterfield in the dim winter light. Oh how I love lazy days.

I’m reading the December issue of Elle magazine, as you do when some free time comes up, and I have just stumbled across a piece written by Victoria Coren Mitchell (note the double last name here) about her qualms on changing her name once she was married.

It’s an interesting topic, isn’t it? The majority of my brides seem to have already changed their Facebook name by the time they lie their head down on the soft pillow in their honeymoon suite and welcome the new change – the new life – with open arms. Some however, as Victoria explains, start discussing feminism (oh how widely thrown around that word is in todays culture, do we actually know what it means anymore?) and are hesitant to give into letting their new relationship wipe out everything they ‘once were’. (Sidenote, there is no right or wrong answer here; thankfully in our society we are blessed with choice!)

It got me thinking about boy bump. We’ve been discussing names a lot recently, having decided our first name in week seventeen when we’d discovered that he is in fact definitely a mini gentleman. Six weeks later and the middle and surnames have been a little bit of a vast expanse of lake with no lifejackets.

I’m of the opinion that my mind is created by my past, and my intentions for the future. As we all are. And, as we all do have different pasts and different intentions for the future it becomes a bit of a minefield when two of you are trying to put all of that together in one new person.

To the somewhat frustration of my dearest other I’m one of those lets-give-them-a-barmy-name-you-could-imagine-on-a-young-robert-downey-jnr. All I can picture is my son in ripped jeans with a Ricky Hall beard on the cover of NME and perhaps embarrassingly, I do want to give him something to back up those characteristics with. Gary, although he loves our first name, is a little bit more traditional in that he likes to recognise past loved ones and continue the family line. Which is beautiful and thoughtful and — honest. (Again, no right or wrong here.)

To give you a little bit of background in this: half of my name was born in Greenwich hospital around the same time that I was shown into the world. Being true to my character of enjoying nothing more than being cosy and asleep, I irritated both of my parents by being rather inconveniently two weeks late and therefore my poor (ha!) mother was denied her natural birth and booked in for a C section. I think in hindsight that’s shaped the way our relationship has worked over the past 23 years; me being stubborn and her possibly bearing a resentment around it through association. I love her, so I can say that without discomfort. The OTHER half of my name was born – of all places – in a rather opulent hotel in the greyness of Glasgow in January 2011 as a way to bring in the New Year with a New Change.

Neither of my parents have a particularly strong family history line to extend to me and I was always a double-barrelled-lets-confuse-doctors surname child so with about a days thought I took a scroll through a mutual friend’s Facebook list and came up with a new identity; Carter. It probably had a little to do with my greatest love story; Johnny Cash & June Carter and a little of my obsession with America, although an ex-Presidents name wouldn’t spring to mind on that one straight away…

And so it was. I introduced my original middle name back into the mix after years of avoiding it and I became: Claudia Rose Carter. Alliteration Queen.

I can honestly say that I’ve never felt anything but. Everything that I have created in my life since has had the confidence and the integrity that came with my new identity (I wouldn’t have allowed anything but) and I’m really not sure if I could have excelled to the same level without that push. It’s my name, my home, my heart.

So, in coming back to my previous purpose in this blog post (!) we were a little stuck in the mud when it came to passing on a name to our child. Gary’s surname has lasted through his male generation and has been passed on to his two bundles of baby joy before this bump comes along. I wouldn’t want to separate my son from his brother and sister in that vein, and I wouldn’t want to disinherit such a strong and already unique name that makes the one I love who he is. So, his name stays.

However, I’m so proud of my own name and certain that part of my confidence will be somehow genetically passed to my son because of it; because of it’s history with me and so, my name has to stay as well.

As a product of all of this, my son becomes another double-barrelled-won’t-fit-on-the-school-registration-list child. And I’ll tell you what, he better bloody appreciate it.