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Help me feel better about my daughter's name.
April 29, 2014 8:17 PM   Subscribe

I am the proud mother of a 14 week old daughter. Now I have the terrible feeling I picked the wrong name, and I'm thinking of changing it. Can you help?

Her name is Maeve (rhymes with "wave"). I always liked the name since I heard a little girl called it a few years ago. My husband likes it too -- nay, loves it -- which is surprising since he really hates most of the names I suggested. (We also have a two year old son, whose name -- which is pretty common -- I still like.) I thought it sounded sweet but also sophisticated and not too common.

I guess I am reconsidering it because I thought it would be much easier for people than it has been, and I'd liked it for so long I didn't really second guess it. We also didn't run it by people before naming her it because we wanted it to be a surprise. But my family seriously can't pronounce it. (Even when we say, rhymes with wave!) My grandmother seems like she'll never be able to say it, and calls her Mauve, which makes me so sad. Everyone we meet gives us quizzical looks, and says "Mavis?" which I hate. It bothers me ALL THE TIME, and I get kind of weepy about it. Also we have an M last name and I'm now worried it's a mouthful.

Also, google reveals that a LOT of people (okay, a lot of yahoo answers's people, but still) HATE the name, and think it's unpronounceable (but it shouldn't be!) and that it sounds like an old lady. One girl wrote that she's going to change it when she's 21. I read this and look at my daughter -- again, weepy. I obsessively search for opinions on the web.

I now want to change it to something simpler -- I have a name I really dislike, and it breaks my heart to think that I might have done the same to my daughter! Maybe a name that would work better in more languages? My husband says I'm fixating on the name issue as way of channeling all the anxiety about being a mother again. (He may well be right about this). He points out all the people who say they like they name, and he really does NOT want to change it.

What do you think mefites? Can I get over this? Do you like the name? (And if it's your name, do YOU like it?) And is it too late to change it now that she's almost four months old and we've already sent out a million announcements?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (200 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Maeve is a lovely name. I know two Maeves and they are classy interesting women who like their names. You sound like you may need some sleep. You made a fine decision and I'd stick with it.
posted by jessamyn at 8:19 PM on April 29 [196 favorites]


I know a little 3 year old Maeve who is basically my favorite toddler on the planet except my own. I think it's a beautiful name, and I wouldn't second guess yourself. You like it, your husband likes it, and your family will figure it out eventually. That's all that matters!
posted by gerstle at 8:21 PM on April 29 [10 favorites]


Names have a trendiness curve over time. I think that after they fade from popular consciousness as an "old person name", they can become cool again--and I think Maeve is totally poised to do that. I know an amazing toddler with an old-fashioned family name and I think it's great.
posted by rivenwanderer at 8:24 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


Maeve is a lovely name. I can pronounce it fine. If it would help, she could go by Mae, which most people can handle.

I don't think you need to worry about it. I had a lovely name that everyone liked when I was born, and I changed it when I grew up anyway. Naming a baby is always kind of just your best guess, so don't feel bad. It's not like it's a weird name like Chalupa Batman or anything, so you did fine.

You picked a name that you both liked, and it sounds like everyone else needs practice being gracious.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:24 PM on April 29 [39 favorites]


Maeve is pretty and not hard to pronounce. I suspect that if the folks who are giving you grief knew how much they were bothering you, they'd stop (at least I hope so? Are they nasty people otherwise?) I can't imagine what your grandmother's problem is, honestly. It's one syllable!

Also, Yahoo Answers is pretty much the butt end of the web. Please don't take anything on there to heart.

Your girl will let you know if she wants to change it when she's older. Until then, give yourself a break and a hug. Maeve is pretty and dignified and there won't be eight of them in her class. You did good.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:25 PM on April 29 [7 favorites]


Oh, what an awesome name! The family will figure it out. It's a pretty easy pronunciation, so it might just be a glitch with the family. Also, if you go online, there is going to be someone who hates their name. Don't look there.

I love it.
posted by Vaike at 8:26 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


As another data point: I really like the name, too. I'm sorry you're having a tough time with this. Does your little one have a middle name you/she could consider as an alternate?
posted by moira at 8:26 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I would never say this just to make you feel better. It really is a great name, and if you give it enough time, everyone will be saying it just fine.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:27 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


Does she have a more, err, conventional middle name? If so, she/you can always fall back on that later if her first name doesn't work out.
posted by flimflam at 8:27 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


Don't stress! Maeve is an excellent name and you could even start calling her Maven (like raven) to get people more on board with pronunciation.
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:27 PM on April 29


I went to high school with a Maeve, and I thought then — and think now, a dozen years later — that she has the coolest name!
posted by thejoshu at 8:27 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


I was also going to suggest that maybe she can have Mae as a nickname? Not that Maeve seems at all hard to pronounce. But yeah, people are often very, very weird about pronouncing names. My last name is pronounced exactly how it's spelled (very uncomplicated) and people come up with the strangest, most difficult ways of saying it.
posted by Blitz at 8:28 PM on April 29


maeve is a wonderful name. anyone who gives her trouble over it should be backed off harshly.
posted by bruce at 8:29 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


I have a friend named Maeve and I've always loved her name. I'd totally use it for a baby of mine. You made a perfectly fine choice.
posted by chiababe at 8:31 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I've told this before, but here's my example: My daughter's name is Aurora, and we call her Rory, and everyone loves both of those names, but I have never not had some variation on this conversation when introducing her:
"Her name is Rory."
"Laurie?"
"No, Rory."
"Roy?"
Yes, I named my daughter Roy. "Roar-ree."
"Roey?"
That's NOT a NAME. "Are owe are why."
"Oh, is that short for something?"
Short for 'Seemed like a good idea at the time.' "It's short for Aurora."
"Laura?"
...

So... people never hear it right, but it's still a great name, and people remember her because she isn't another Brytnee or Kayeden. I wouldn't change my daughter's name for anything, and neither would she.

Maeve will be fine. You made a terrific pick.
posted by Etrigan at 8:31 PM on April 29 [80 favorites]


Father of five here! I love that name. My wife gave all our kids an unusual name and I have grown to love each one of them. She will love it!
posted by Mhead at 8:31 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


You have a 14 week old daughter and are getting weepy over her name? Please, please consider that you may have given your daughter a perfectly lovely but somewhat unusual name (which surely you knew and appreciated and wanted for her!) but that you may be experiencing something common to new parents and especially to new mothers: Lack of sleep, disrupted lifestyle, and, of course, massive hormonal swings the likes of which your personal ecosystem has never known and you can't even recognize as such because you're in the depths of it.

I'm a new parent (8 month old kiddo) and I went through similar thoughts! We named him wrong (should have had a more distinctive first name! or middle name! or should have gone with two middle names! should have named him an even more traditional first name and done something wacky with the middle name!), we're horrible people because we didn't finish a picture-perfect nursery beforehand since we're cosleeping (hell, we didn't even put the crib together until he was 3 months old), we didn't buy enough things that everyone else has, etc etc etc.

Also, I cried at every Facebook post about kids and every commercial about kids and/or puppies for like three months after kidlet was born. I highly, highly recommend taking some time for yourself every now and then and maybe rethinking the name thing in a year. It's just as easy to change her name a year from now as it is now.

Congratulations, by the way!
posted by erst at 8:31 PM on April 29 [45 favorites]


Also, when my little girl was born, I felt very strongly that we had picked the wrong name for her, and that her middle and first should have been switched around. I wonder if this is a common thing?

I got over it, and we all love her name. She insists on all three syllables of it now at 7 yrs., though she does sometimes try out her middle name.
posted by moira at 8:32 PM on April 29


Maeve is really not that weird or hard to pronounce. If you'd spelled it Medbh, then it would be hard to pronounce (for English-speakers, not for Irish-speakers). Seriously: it's a great name, and your relatives are being difficult. They will learn to pronounce it, and in six months they won't be able to imagine your daughter having any other name.

Congrats on the new baby and her delightful name!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:32 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


.... my name is Crystalinne. No one can pronounce it or spell it. BUT it's not the end of the world. I love my name.

I just get used to correcting people and accepting misspellings because I like my name. Call her what you want. If, when she gets older she wants to go by something else, then let her decide. She can ALWAYS change her name on her own accord in the future. But at 14 weeks she doesn't even have a say in the matter.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:33 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Love the name. Agree with all that Mae as a nickname works.
Family will figure it out.
posted by k8t at 8:34 PM on April 29


I also gave my daughter an uncommon but beautiful name. Sometimes we have to explain when a more common name wouldn't, but she loves her name and is growing to own it's beauty soon.

Maeve (wonderful, btw) will forever be an old woman's name until we decide it's not.
posted by unixrat at 8:34 PM on April 29


Everyone we meet gives us quizzical looks, and says "Mavis?" which I hate. It bothers me ALL THE TIME, and I get kind of weepy about it.

Apparently everyone my mom told my given name to replied with "Oh...that's different." It upset my parents, especially my mom, so much that I was officially Baby Girl Furillo for three days AND I don't have a middle name because picking the given name was so hard. Thirty years later, my name is on the "classic but trendy" upswing, no one seems to struggle to pronounce it anymore, and I get compliments all the time on how beautiful my name is, to which I always reply, "Thanks! My mom picked it out for me!"
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:34 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


I have a very unusual name...as a child it often got jumbled, and I always have to spell it. But I wouldn't have changed it even then, and especially not now. When I named my daughter I gave her the first name I loved for her, a very classic (easy) middle name, and a second middle name which has special meaning and is coincidentally a very gender neutral name. I think this gives her a nice choice of names that are legally hers to use, but can adapt to a wise range of situations. Maybe if you are worried about her having an unusual (but lovely!) first name, you could add a middle name which is more familiar to many people. That said, I love Maeve! I think it's a great name.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 8:35 PM on April 29


Maeve just happens to be the name of one of my favorite clothing brands at Anthropologie and I also think it makes a lovely first name!

And I really do agree with the sentiment that more "old-fashioned" type names are making a comeback and you and your husband are way ahead of the curve.
posted by sely at 8:35 PM on April 29


I think it's beautiful and wouldn't change it. (Personally I've loved it since hearing it on Ryan's Hope as a kid - hello aging myself!)

I too am in possession of a classic old (English) first name that should not be difficult for anyone with a basic reading level to say, but damned if 97% of people don't mispronounce it. And the mispronunciations are like nails on a chalkboard to me. But I love my name and am pleased to have it especially since my last name is uber-common. When it's pronounced correctly I think it's lovely. So it doesn't bother me and I just gently correct the worst pronunciations and tolerate the rest. It's the price you pay for not being named Jennifer or Mary.
posted by cecic at 8:36 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


My name's Elizabeth. Pretty fucking normal. When I was like 7 I decided I hated it and declared that my name was now Liz. My parent were cool with it, teachers were cool with it once I told them I preferred it, and the change has gone on to cause me exactly zero angst or confusion or bureaucratic issues in my life.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:36 PM on April 29


I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you I really like the name Maeve. I think it is pretty and perfectly suitable for a little girl. You say you originally thought it was sweet but sophisticated and not too common, and you are right! The Maeve I know in real life is a vibrant, smart, funny, lively young woman. So that is what I think of when I think of Maeve. Nothing but good connotations here.

As for your grandmother, well, I am sorry to say it but I burst into giggles when I read that she keeps pronouncing it "mauve." I'm sorry! It's just, well, grandmas gonna grandma, you know? I'd try to think of it as a quirky endearing fault of hers, NOT a fault with the name.

And as for others mispronouncing it...well, add me to the list of people with a very easy to pronounce last name that gets mangled regularly. People just can't read or don't listen or I don't know what, have some kind of freaking weird mental block about pronouncing names properly. It's pathological for some people, I swear.

(And yes, a gentle plus one to the possibility you might be just a bit sleep deprived and it might be colouring your feelings about the name issue right now. I only say this because I think it is that, and not that you made a giant mistake, that's making you feel weepy right now.)

Best of luck and internet hugs to you and your Maeve.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:37 PM on April 29 [15 favorites]


I think it's a lovely name that English-speakers can pronounce easily. I think you're getting weepy because you're exhausted. Your grandmother can call her Mauve (which I think is a charming nickname) but really everyone will learn to pronounce Maeve. (Especially because I, like many other people here, think it's soon to be a popular name.)

I hate my name (which isn't Maeve and which gets mispronounced and which is apparently horribly out of fashion now), and you know, life goes on, I love my parents, it has not ruined my life or our relationship.
posted by jeather at 8:38 PM on April 29


Also, if your family is insisting that they can't pronounce it even after you say "it rhymes with wave," I wonder if they're being purposefully obtuse in order to not-so-subtly try to shame you for picking an unusual name.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:38 PM on April 29 [75 favorites]


I'm sure your grandmother is a fine, upstanding woman but you need to sit her down and have a big old come to Jesus with her wherein you say: her name is Maeve. It rhymes with wave. Do not call her mauve. That is not her name. Repeat as necessary with other family members.

It's weird and disrespectful that she/they are having trouble pronouncing it, especially since it's one syllable and rhymes with wave.
posted by kate blank at 8:38 PM on April 29 [74 favorites]


Maeve is a great name. I love it. It sounds hip and classic at the same time, breezy and solid at the same time, and in most circles of people your own age and their kids, should be absolutely in step with old fashioned or Irish-sounding names making stylish comebacks, and not difficult.

I do NOT think you should change it, because it is a fabulous name. HOWEVER. Just in answer to your question: 14 weeks is not too late. I know several people who changed their daughter's names; in one case the baby was 7 months and in the other case 11 months. (The girl whose name was changed at 7 months to something totally different changed it back, on her own volition, to her original name when she was a teenager though!) In both cases, the mother just had a feeling that she didn't want to live with the name for various reasons.

So: as you can see, everyone loves your original decision. No one thinks you should change it. Grandmothers often do this with unfamiliar grandkids' names. But keep the name because you feel right about it, not because it's too late, because it isn't too late to change -- it's just not necessary!
posted by third rail at 8:39 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I've got a niece named Maeve...it's fine....relax.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:40 PM on April 29


I am really surprised that there are so many negative reactions. While Maeve isn't super common it's definitely on my radar of names that I've heard of. I had a classmate in high school named Maeve, and there is an author named Maeve Binchy. Of all the Irish names it's really not that "out there" - it's not Siobhan!
posted by radioamy at 8:41 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Maeve is a lovely name and I know a few. If you like, my cousin's daughter is Maeve but she goes by Mimi. But Maeve is a good name.
posted by kat518 at 8:42 PM on April 29


If it helps with regards to your grandmother: my grandfather pronounced my name wrong until the day he died. I did not love him any less, and it gave me a funny way to reassure people who have trouble with it ("don't worry, even my grandpa couldn't say it!").
posted by jeudi at 8:44 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


how soon before you tell young queen maeve about the cattle raid of cooley? i say no earlier that 14-15, for the unabridged version.
posted by bruce at 8:44 PM on April 29 [14 favorites]


My sister and I both have unusual names and mine often gets misspelled or mispronounced the first time around. She and I wouldn't trade or change our names for anything. Keep her name as it is. It's a beautiful name and she'll be fine with it. There's no need to nickname her to something "easier", she's lucky to have a distinctive name.
posted by quince at 8:46 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


My 6 month old niece's grandparents and uncle have had some slip-ups spelling and pronouncing her fairly uncommon (but easily pronounced) name. This has dramatically decreased, though, over the past few months, and I'm sure by the time she's 2-3 it won't be an issue in the slightest, at least in the family. As for people outside family and close friends, she will learn to correct them and they'll learn her name.

Maeve is a good name, and it sounds like before your little Maeve was born, you loved it. It also sounds like most of us here are familiar with it and don't find it strange at all.

Finally, don't make this decision until you've lived with it longer - and until she's at least a few months older...newborns are exhausting! Don't make a big decision when you're exhausted!!
posted by violetish at 8:51 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Just as another data point, I went to high school with a Maeve, too. I always thought it was a lovely name. Nobody had any trouble pronouncing it that I recall. There were plenty of odd names at my school, but this wasn't one of them.

There will be people with any given name who don't like it. But the preponderance of people I meet with slightly unusual or uncommon names are proud of them and glad to have something unusual -- particularly as adults.
posted by diamondsky at 8:51 PM on April 29


My son is named Talan. He's two and a half. I have pretty much had to repeat and spell his name to everyone, including family members who should know it by know, every day for the last two-and-a-half years. His great-grandmother calls him "Tylen". And I don't care. He's obviously Talan and could be no one else. You made the right decision.
posted by daisystomper at 8:52 PM on April 29


Looking at ssa.gov's baby-name statistics page, Maeve is slowly getting more popular:

Popularity of the female name Maeve
Year of birth Rank
2012 529th most popular name.
2011 590
2010 535
2009 590
2008 634
2007 619
2006 646
2005 695
2004 710
2003 644
2002 710
2001 757
2000 778
1999 669
1998 881
1997 955


I wouldn't worry about it, much. I'd suggest making sure she has a vanilla middle name, because all kids have potential for irrational name-related angst. I think "Sebastien" is a good middle name, probably.

I'd also suggest nicknaming-her "Mae" or "May" around the grandmom, who means well. And also completely not-worry about weird spellings. From the grandmom, teachers, etc.

Also, google reveals that a LOT of people (okay, a lot of yahoo answers's people, but still) HATE the name

Well, there are people who hate being named Elizabeth, sooo... to heck with them? This is why fall-back middle names and nicknames are handy.

Also, standing here with both feet in 2014, we can have no idea how a 16 year old girl will feel about the name Maeve in 2030. And she will care not at all about the 30-year-old women in 2014 who were fussing in Yahoo answers about their name.

Now, go get more sleep. You've got new-parent-sleepless-brain-syndrome.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:53 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


I'm not a parent but I imagine it to be a lot like "here is this perfect being, I love her so much, please let me not screw this up," so to me it's only natural that you'd need something to obsess over -- so maybe you can just see all this worry as an extension of your love for her, and be grateful and pray that the worst thing to ever happen to her is a name she wants to replace with a nickname. I think it's a great name.
posted by salvia at 8:53 PM on April 29 [7 favorites]


I know a toddler named Maeve, and her mother (who is my friend) recently told me that they've already met two more on the playground in Chicago. It's unusual, but she'll meet others unless you live in a rural area.
posted by juniperesque at 8:53 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I love that name. Don't change a thing Mom, you did great.
posted by jamaro at 8:54 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


It's a lovely name. Your family will learn how to pronounce it, even if your daughter has to teach them her own self. You chose well, and you don't need to change a thing.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:57 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Maeve was on our name list...I adore it and so did everyone else we mentioned it to. And they all pronounced it right. We ended up going with Nora but still I love Maeve. (Oh, and she pronounces her name as "Noya" so right now that's her name. They kind of pick their own eventually anyway.)

Get some sleep and don't beat yourself up - you are in special-new-mommy-mode and may be having all the feelings for a while. It'll chill out soon as I'm sure you know. :)
posted by tristeza at 9:01 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Just another opinion that Maeve is a lovely name. I really like it!
posted by ainsley at 9:03 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I love "Maeve" so so much. But I know exactly how you feel. My second daughter just got the "next best name" that was previously on the list for my first daughter because I really thought I liked the name enough for it to be second on the list, why wouldn't I love it for the new baby? Well, I didn't. I felt like it didn't fit who she was - which is kind of crazy because who ever knows what a kid's going to be like when it's not even born yet? And yet, I felt that way. And that feeling had faded quite a bit by the time she was 3 or so but it's still there to some degree and she just turned 5. If you are really obsessing about it and you have another name in mind, I don't think it would be the end of the world for you to change it but you'll need to do it soon.

What has helped me is the nicknames I've made up for her and, honestly, to just try not to think about it. No one else is bothered by it (it's a totally run-of-the-mill name) so I know it's just my thing for whatever reason.
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:04 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Maeve is beautiful. People are so weird about names. My son's name is Adam (ADAM!!) and I got grief about it from family. Go figure. Once you get some rest and the hormones calm down you'll see you made a wonderful choice!
posted by Cloudberry Sky at 9:05 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Also, google reveals that a LOT of people (okay, a lot of yahoo answers's people, but still) HATE the name

Maeve is a beautiful name.

I also suspect your googling is fraught with anxiety. I searched for 'what do you think of the name maeve,' and browsed the first ten Yahoo Answers results. I would describe seven of the threads as overwhelmingly positive, two as distorted by the name 'Mavis' being offered as an alternative, and one as negative (possibly poisoned by an early reply). I tried a couple of other names--one among the more popular names of the past few years and one I just happen to like--and the responses seemed to have about the same proportion of positive to negative replies. My tentative, unscientific conclusions are that the stimulus is irrelevant and haters are positively correlated with hating.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:05 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


Maeve is a lovely name!

My husband says I'm fixating on the name issue as way of channeling all the anxiety about being a mother again."

Your husband is a wise man. Heed him.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:09 PM on April 29 [15 favorites]


Ok, this is really weird because I JUST watched this pilot (unrelated: it's funny), and thought to myself: "Maeve. Why haven't I heard that name before? It's gorgeous!!"

...Then I mashed it together in my mind with the last name of some dude I think is cute, because we are obviously going to have babies and I am obviously insane.

All of this is to say: another Internet stranger thinks you picked a truly lovely name.
posted by jessca84 at 9:10 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I love the name Maeve. It'd be on my short list of baby girl names if it worked with my husband's last name. Don't second guess yourself, it's beautiful.
posted by makonan at 9:10 PM on April 29


I think it's a great name! Go back and look at any name-related question or FPP and you'll see comment after comment from people with names of all kinds with all kinds of stories of how people mess up their name, no matter how common. Stick with the great name.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:11 PM on April 29


What do you think mefites? Can I get over this? Do you like the name?

Allow me to be a dissenting voice. "Maeve" is...strange? I've never known anyone named Maeve in 45 years on this planet. The name sounds like the parents are desperate for their child to be something named something unusual. It sounds invented.

However: What do I think? What do you care? What do you think? No, seriously. That's all that matters. I think Maeve sucks, as does the whole "I can't name my kid the same thing that other people other people name their kids" movement that's been so predominant over the past twenty years. But you know what? I have no kids. Name your kid whatever the hell you want.

I'm not joking. You shouldn't give a rat's ass what other people are naming their kids and what other people think. All that matters is what you and your partner want. End of story.

(Well, not end of story. Anyone naming their kids something unusual should ask themselves why it's important to do so. Recognize the lifetime of questions you're bequeathing them, for good or ill.)

Your child has been named Maeve for four months? Let her be named Maeve for four decades. And more. What's done is done.
posted by jdroth at 9:13 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


My granddaughter's name is Fern. Her middle name is Hazel. When my son told me this before her birth I was shocked and wondered how she'd manage with such an old-fashioned name. She's managing just fine. I can't imagine her as anything other than Fern. She owns that name like no other! The Hazel part is sweet because it's her great grandmother's name.

The name Maeve is beautiful and unique. If it's the name you wanted for her, give it time. She'll grow in to it and it will be hers. Nevermind those that question it. I've seen a whole lot worse!

Enjoy your new daughter. They'e the best!
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 9:19 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Maeve is on our short list for the baby girl we are expecting next month!
posted by missjenny at 9:21 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]



Also, google reveals that a LOT of people (okay, a lot of yahoo answers's people, but still) HATE the name


Those people are wrong. Especially if they are from Yahoo Answers, which is a notorious seething hotbed of wrongness.



As far as people having problems pronouncing it, people have problems with everything. My name is Emily and people used to have conniptions about my weird old lady name until the last decade or so when everyone decided they loved it and now the joint is freakin' lousy with Emilys to the point I don't even turn around anymore when someone says it because I am sure it is someone else.

Maeve is an awesome name, it sounds like it belongs to a person who is at once ethereal and wise. Pay no mind to the naysayers and the pronunciation manglers.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:22 PM on April 29 [11 favorites]


Maeve is a beautiful name. It's Celtic, from what I recall, and very pretty.

That said: my name is not Maeve, but I have a somewhat unusual name that no one could nickname or spell. When I was younger, I thought it was a Big Tragedy. Older, I had such an unusual name that it actively helped me in networking, no one to mix you up with. I love my name now. I'm glad my parents didn't change it because of the strangeness!
posted by corb at 9:22 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Maeve is a beautiful name. My friend's kick-ass teenage daughter is a Maeve and she has never had trouble with people understanding the name. Take a deep breath, you made a good choice.
posted by Sal and Richard at 9:31 PM on April 29


It's a nice old-fashioned name and I have no idea why your GRANDMOTHER, who, of all people in your family, should be old enough to have heard it before, is being so obtuse. But, I will just say that if all the preceding answers by people who like the name don't change your feelings about it, then it's okay to change it. I had a guy in my law school class who changed his daughter's name not once but twice in her first few months. People do it. Whatever you do is fine. But I like Maeve.
posted by HotToddy at 9:45 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Maeve is a lovely name. No one I have ever met has been able to pronounce my name properly upon first try (it is unusual for the country I live in but not for the culture I am from). To be honest, I didn't like the attention that brought while I was growing up but now I love it. I have made it my own. I'm sure your daughter will too.
posted by liquorice at 9:46 PM on April 29


Just want to chime in to say I have a 2 year old cousin Maeve. She can say it, her 4 year old sister can say it, and my entire family (80% non-English speaking) can also say it. People will figure it out. It's a great, interesting, UNIQUE name.

Sincerely,

One of fourteen (!) Jessicas in my high school gym class.
posted by justjess at 9:49 PM on April 29 [14 favorites]


Maeve is lovely! Your family will learn to pronounce it. You and your spouse like it, so keep it.
posted by studioaudience at 9:53 PM on April 29


If there is a time, around the age of 5, when Maeve doubts her name, read her Kevin Henke's charming "Chrysanthemum." And that is a big IF, since I know a young Maeve who is sassy and awesome.
posted by nkknkk at 9:55 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Maeve is a wonderful name and I love it. Don't change it!
posted by Mallenroh at 10:02 PM on April 29


Names cycle - around 70-90 years, so they're basically your grandmother or great-grandmothers' names coming back again as new parents think back to names that have a sense of familiar history and love and go back to their grannies. In fifty years, Britney and Dakota are going to sound adorably old-fashioned and classic again.

Maeve is returning and has a great history and will look totally normal by the time your daughter is a teenager.

Try nicknames though before a formal change - our Margaret Jane solidly turned into a Maggie at six months. Your grandma might be the one who calls her Mimi or Mavy, while you call her Maeve.
posted by viggorlijah at 10:03 PM on April 29


It sounds invented.
All names are invented.

Maeve is a lovely Irish name. If this still bugs you in another 14 weeks, change it then.

Perhaps telling people it rhymes with "Dave" will help. Wave isn't a name and that might be confusing people.

Congrats on the little one.
posted by sockermom at 10:11 PM on April 29 [9 favorites]


My mother (who ran out of girls names by the time she got to the third girl, so my youngest sister didn't get a middle name!) once opined that choosing names was pointless, and babies should just come with a tag giving them a name at random. Once the baby was grown into a child, the name would be more strongly associated with the child than with any other associations it might previously have had (positive or negative) in the parents' mind. I'm not sure if this is the whole picture (since other people your child will meet won't have those positive associations), but I am pretty sure you will love your daughter and she will be awesome no matter what you name her. (For the record I like Maeve - I think its time has come).
posted by Cheese Monster at 10:13 PM on April 29


It's a lovely name, really, and there's lots of fun ways it can be turned into a cool nickname, so that's fun too. I have kind of an old-lady name and it really doesn't bother me at all. What I really do like about my name is that my first and last names start with the same letter, it gives the name a nice cadence, so don't worry that 2 M's will be a mouthful, it makes a name flow nicely.

Maybe you can get your husband to have a little talk with your grandmother about pronouncing the name right?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:16 PM on April 29


: "But my family seriously can't pronounce it. (Even when we say, rhymes with wave!) My grandmother seems like she'll never be able to say it, and calls her Mauve, which makes me so sad. Everyone we meet gives us quizzical looks, and says "Mavis?" which I hate. It bothers me ALL THE TIME, and I get kind of weepy about it."

You are upset over a perfectly rational thing to be upset about. Which is that your family members are being peevish about your choice of a name for your little girl. They're caught off guard, a little too surprised by an unfamiliar choice of name, and therefore are acting...well, self-centered and dismissive. That hurts. Because seriously, that's rude. And tell grandma that it really hurts your feelings when she says "mauve."

Look, I'm not calling your grandma a jerk. But yes, she can too pronounce it. For pete's sake, if she can pronounce traditional Biblical/Hebrew names like Ezekiel, she can manage to reliably produce one freakin' syllable that rhymes with "wave." You might try this:
1) Ask her to stop thinking about the spelling at all and tell her that the child's name is "MAVE." Repeat until she gives up overcomplicating it in her head and utters the sound MAVE confidently.
2) Then, make the connection to the spelling (and the legitimacy of the name) by asking how she would pronounce the name "Mae." Okay, the name is spelled like that, but with a V sound added to the end. So, according to the way we spell names, you get Maeve.

Between you and me, practically speaking, she's likely getting tripped up because she's picturing how it's spelled while trying to make a sound that doesn't seem to "match" in her head. Sounding it out goes all wrong, because it yields two recognizable words/names -- "Ma" and "Eve" -- that are nearly unpronounceable if you jam them together. On the other hand, look at the name "Mabel." I bet she doesn't get all tongue-tied as to why it's not pronounced "Mah-Bell."

Really, this is not hard, it's not a foreign-to-English sound you're asking anyone to learn. And it's not a battle that will go on forever with your family, either. They just need a little "seriously, WTF" reminder right now and this too shall pass.

Meanwhile, try not to get knee-jerk defensive about quizzical looks from others. It's an unusual name and you're going to get utterly earnest mis-hearings or well-meaning requests for clarification. Assume all quizzical looks are curiosity and conscientiousness rather than judgement, and you'll be right more often than not.
posted by desuetude at 10:17 PM on April 29 [8 favorites]


Also:

All names are invented.

While this is strictly true, I don't think it's wrong to value having a name with heritage. And 900 years is probably enough heritage to satisfy this criterion.
posted by Cheese Monster at 10:19 PM on April 29 [9 favorites]


In 1985, my parents named my baby brother Ian.

At the time, in our small southern town, the name Ian was completely unheard of. Nobody could pronounce it. People didn't even understand it as a name.

By the time Ian graduated from high school, there were dozens of other Ians around town, and it was just another name. Now there's a whole generation of kids with vaguely Gaelic names running around.

Maeve will be fine. She has a lovely name and a mother who loves her very much.
posted by Sara C. at 10:23 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I know a little girl named Maeve and I always thought it was the cutest name! It's feminine but still strong. It's unique and memorable.

The Maeve that I know is precocious and sweet and an all-around amazing little girl. No one I know has trouble pronouncing her name. I wonder if some people are being intentionally dense as a form of protest? People are weird. Maeve is a cool name, and it certainly beats all of the McKenzies, Mackynlees, Jaydens, Neveahs out there.

Your daughter will rock her name.
Hang in there.
posted by Ostara at 10:25 PM on April 29


I think girls' names that start with "M" are typically feminine sounding, so I think it's a fine name for a girl. But I do think there are two schools of thought on names: some people like unusual names, and some people like names that are easy to spell and pronounce (or another way of thinking of those is they are "efficient" because you don't have to spend time spelling them out or correcting mispronunciations). Both schools of thought are valid and have merits. You have to decide for yourself which one you are in because you typically can't be in both since less common names by and large or going to be more challenging for people to grasp and more common names are going to be easier for people to grasp. The only "opinion" I'd like to offer is that I firmly believe some commenters here are downplaying the difficulty a lot of people sometimes have with unusual names. Before reading this posting, if somebody said the name "Maeve" to me, I would have had no idea it is spelled "ae". Does that matter to you? You decide, but I don't think you should take the highly literate AskMeFi crowd as representative of the general population. There are many such names these days (many more than when i was a kid), so Maeve will not at all be alone in a classroom of kids whose names are not common.
posted by Dansaman at 10:26 PM on April 29


Maeve is a lovely name and if I'd had a daughter, it would have been on the list. (And Ian for a boy if I could have avoided the family naming traditions!)

But my name story is about hating my name. I hated my name growing up and fantasized about changing it to something, anything else. Tried on different names (in Spanish class, because my name sounds awful, with two Gs!) and the whole nine yards. I got divorced when I was not quite 30 and got a free name change then. But my name was mine and it didn't even consider changing it! (And I knew a woman who'd changed her name from Stephanie to Maggie and took her grandma's birth surname on her divorce, so it wasn't like I didn't know the options.)

If little Maeve really hates it when she's grown, she can change it, and probably will. But she probably won't hate it and really probably won't hate it enough to change it.
posted by immlass at 10:26 PM on April 29


cecic beat me to it -- I came in to say that I've loved the name since I heard it on Ryan's Hope when I was a kid. I love Irish names, and always thought that (spelling aside), Siobhan was also a fabulous name. Those Ryan's knew how to name people!

People get all sorts of names wrong -- even boring ones like mine that are incredibly common. And people get all sorts of OTHER things wrong about babies. Everyone mistook my sister for a boy because she had no hair. My multi-ethically-married friends have had people mistake them for nannies/sitters and not parents, or as adoptive parents. People are stupid; ignore stupid people. (Or ignore the people having less-than-adoring reactions, as you're probably just noticing them more than the ones with "Oh, cool!" reactions. New mommyhood is rough on you; that weeping will give way to pride that your child isn't one of seven kids in pre-school with the same name.)

A few random people think Maeve sounds like an old lady name? 20 years ago I'm sure they'd have said the same thing about Emily and Emma and Grace and any of a dozen of the names that are so popular now. Gertrude probably isn't ever coming back; everything else is cyclical.

You picked a great name that you both like. Teach your grandmother to say "Watch Grandma Wave At Little Maeve" and make her say it over and over until she gets it right. Or start calling Grandma by the wrong name and she'll figure it out double-quick. Enjoy motherhood, and enjoy Maeve. You and your husband built a human being. Congrats!
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 10:40 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Maeve is a fairly common name in Ireland, I'm actually surprised people can't pronounce it. I've always liked it a lot, it sounds peaceful. It brings to mind a lot of lovely women.

Plus it's an actual NAME, and a girls name to boot and you've spelled it in the traditional way. Which puts you way ahead of half the people naming kids these days.
posted by fshgrl at 11:06 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


My grandmother was a huge fan of the writer Maeve Binchy, but she also called her "mauve". Must be a grandma thing.
You're fine. :-)
posted by exceptinsects at 11:24 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


Maeve is a beautiful name, your husband is wise, and your family is being weird and/or stupid for no reason.

I have a very common name (it was number one for girls within a few years of my birth) and I've never really liked it, despite the fact that everyone having baby girls at that time really liked it. (I don't hate my name, though, and I've never gone by anything else.)

You have given your daughter a name that is both beautiful and strong, with some easy variations if she wants to play around (May and Mae, as people have pointed out; and Maven and Raven are awesomely adorable nicknames). I think you scored a gold medal in baby naming, girl's name division.
posted by jaguar at 11:27 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Eve, if she takes the last three letters!

I am seriously considering legally changing my name to Maeve, at this point, as it's quite possibly the only name I've ever loved that actually does go with my weird last name.
posted by jaguar at 11:28 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Yahoo answers is so well known as a hotbed of idiocy that it has its own Tumblr blog - Maeve is a beautiful name, your grandmother will work it out soon and you'll all laugh about it in years to come.

Friends have named their daughter this combination, again two previously "old-fashioned" names making welcome comebacks.

Please don't worry, she'll have plenty of fellow Maeves this decade - as others have said, focus on getting some sleep so that you can enjoy your new baby and her wonderful name!

p.s. Bonus: should she ever move to Europe she'll meet plenty of folk who can pronounce her naming without the wave ;-)
posted by humph at 11:31 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


All the Maeve's I know have been dynamo athletes and great teammates, as well as natural leaders.
posted by spunweb at 11:32 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Hey there buddy, I think your lack of sleep and anxiety might be fueling this, I well know as the father of a four month old (second time for us, too!).

Our kids, reflecting their Viet heritage, after named Quynh and Mai. Virtually no one gets it right, and one of my dearest family members still consistently spells quynh's name wrong (I confess I'm not really sure why Mai is such a challenge as it's pronounced exactly how it's spelt but whatevs).

I don't really care. No one is gonna say those names more than us, the parents, and we know how to say them.

Additionally, my name is Patrick, a name you would think is idiot proof both to say and spell -not so. You would be surprised how many people spell it wrongly (I would say, bafflingly, around thirty percent.). The moral of the story is that people get unusual and usual names both wrong, and it doesn't really matter.

As mother of an infant, you get to make your husband have the come to Jesus talk with insensitive family members. Enjoy being able to outsource it! Your daughter has a beautiful name.
posted by smoke at 11:35 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


I grew up with a name that no one can pronounce, spell, or even hear properly. Half of my family members and friends add a syllable that doesn't even exist in the name. I don't care. I have a beautiful, unusual name, and I love it.
posted by xyzzy at 11:49 PM on April 29


It's fine! I grew up with a very unusual name (Leokadia) and although I don't use my full name (Kadia is quite enough syllables) I do like it.

Yeah, it gets old to have your name mispronounced at you, but it's honestly not the worst thing in the world. Get a bit fierce with your family about getting it right and she won't have any day to day annoyances. There are many things in the world that people are stupider about and it's their problem, not hers.

It doesn't rhyme with anything obvious and it doesn't shorten to anything rude or silly - you've done a great job. I give you permission to stop it with the weepiness.
posted by kadia_a at 12:21 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


It’s a lovely, lovely name. My oldest daughter is named Evangeline and she has rocked it every day of her short life. Several members of my husband’s family clearly did not care for it, and played the same game your grandmother is doing- pretending they couldn’t pronounce it. Whatever, they got over it. I just ignored that bs.

My girl has a cute nickname (Evie) that she sometimes goes by, and Maeve shortens beautifully to Mae if she wants a nickname. I think you’ve made a fantastic choice.
posted by aviatrix at 12:32 AM on April 30


We gave our daughter a common name with a spunky nickname which stuck immediately. I regretted this HARD for about two weeks when she was about three months old. Then she suddenly grew into it or something and now I cant imagine calling her anything else, including her given name! The nickname IS her.

I also love Maeve - I have never heard it before but adore it. Maybe your family senses your ambivalence and would lay off if you firmly tell them one last time "Maeve. Rhymes with wave. That's her name and we'd like it if you learned it."
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 12:36 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Maeve is a lovely name and really shouldn't be that hard to pronounce, so I think you just need to have a chat with your family. My parents did something similar because a family member kept calling me something that wasn't quite my name as well.

Maeve can be shortened nicely as many people have pointed out, which is useful for later life. My name is common enough but does occasionally throw people but I frequently use the shortened version because sometimes I just can't be bothered with correcting them, especially if they're strangers that I'm not going to see again.
posted by halcyonday at 1:24 AM on April 30


Change it. I have changed the original spelling of my name to as phonetically as I can get it, and have made peace with the fact that I will have to have the same conversation for the rest of my life with a large percentage of people, no matter how phonetically I spell it or how clearly I enunciate it -- no, it's pronounced YOUSEF, not Jewsef or Joseph or Yosef or Oohsef or Yuhsef. A large portion of people are simply not culturally prepared to deal with my name, but I've become attached to it and will not change it any further.

Maeve? I seriously thought it was pronounced Mohve or maybe Meeve until this post -- but definitely not Mave -- and I have a wide vocabulary and a sensitivity to this particular issue.

You can wish people would understand all you want, but the fact is most people have never even heard the name spoken before. Are you going to force your daughter to be the proper-pronunciation-of-Maeve-fairy to each of the thousands of people she meets in her life? Don't you think she'd be better off without that weirdness coloring every social interaction she ever has with a new person?
posted by malapropist at 1:26 AM on April 30


Wow, okay I had such a gut reaction to this question that I answered without reading any comments and am genuinely surprised the reactions are so positive. It's just an odd name that people aren't going to have much experience with, and if it's already causing you this much doubt at 14 weeks, imagine how much doubt it will cause your daughter as she navigates childhood.
posted by malapropist at 1:32 AM on April 30


My ex-mother-in-law, a wonderful lady, really, couldn't help but call my Caitlyn -Caitlind - which is not even close to a name and I just threw a y (ok, yes, I know, I was young, alright) in a very old traditional name that no-one had heard of until the year my daughter was born and then every mother (and mother ducker) called their daughter that with so many outrageous spellings,MIT became ridiculous. hello? Do I look like a person who follows trends? NO! Anyway, my daughter grew up, usually one of 4 C/Kate-lyn s in her class, but she turned out kind of okay, I guess, if you call being accepted into a phd program in fine arts by the age of 21 years and some-teen days. Oh, and she became most completely and absolutely and totally a Caity.

I still hate my simple easy to spell, ordinary, reasonable, well known but relatively rare in my age group name (joy) and choose to introduce myself as Jo but there you go - there's no pleasing some people.

It's going to be okay. Lovely, lovely name, and if you like the colour mauve, run with it as a theme for your adorable Maeve.
posted by b33j at 2:33 AM on April 30


I'm biased because I'm Irish, but Maeve is a lovely name and one of the easier Irish ones to pronounce (I get all sorts of variations on mine.) Also my best friend is called Maeve so I have very fond associations with it. My friends and I call her Mavis when we're being affectionate (or Mavis Wavis to give her her full title) so I don't even think Mavis is bad as a pet name (YMMV). I'm also a fan of matching First Name /Last Name initials so the MM is a good choice.

I wasn't dying about the name my sister chose for her second girl, although I never told her because it's so rude when people criticise your baby's name, but now I love the name because I love my niece, and it will be the same for your little one. Do feel free to "accidentally" get Grandma's name wrong a few times so she realises how annoying it is... And congratulations!
posted by billiebee at 2:54 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Maeve is a lovely, elegant name, and thank goodness you did NOT go the Jayden/Kaden/Hayden route!

I've got a pretty simple name; I was expected to be a boy and named Paul, but I turned out to be a girl, and Mom always said she "wasn't feeling real damn creative that morning", so she just slapped an A on it and voila: I'm Paula..... it may be easy to spell and pronounce, but it's amazing how many times that A gets dropped on forms! Your little Maeve won't have that problem, thankfully.

Oh, there's certainly a chance she'll have times she doesn't like her name: everyone goes through that, don't they? When I was around 8 or 10, I really REALLY wished I'd been given something fancier; my preference was (and I shudder to admit it) Elizabetta Anabellina Marie... yikes!

My recommendation for you is a) stay off Yahoo answers for a while (they obviously have no class or taste!), and b) get some rest, you must be exhausted.
posted by easily confused at 2:59 AM on April 30


Maeve is a great name! Your family is being weird.

I am someone who hates my (perfectly normal) name. Haaaaate it. And no one calls me by it, because it doesn't fit at all. Most people call me by my (totally awesome) last name, or my initials, which helpfully spell a common name that fits me much better. If your daughter doesn't like her name, she'll find a way around it.
posted by punchtothehead at 3:21 AM on April 30


I've noticed that this is a grandparent thing, the wrestling with what they perceive to be unusual names. And I've wondered more than once if, like your uncertainty is linked to your anxiety about being a new parent, this is linked to some anxiety of their own about the role.

At any rate, one of my daughter's grandparents' versions of wrestling with her name ended up as an family endearment. So there's that possible outcome, too.
posted by gnomeloaf at 3:55 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


I know someone who changed her daughter's name at about the same age. It worked out well.

You can always just have her go by her middle name.

Your family needs a stern talking-to, by the way. How awful they are being...and your husband may be right that it's anxiety, but it's not "just" anxiety.

You deserve lots of support and love right now. I'm sorry this is so taxing on you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:04 AM on April 30


Maeve is a wonderful name. I should know, since that's also my daughter's name. I wanted something unique and Irish. Much to my chagrin Maeve had become recently a very popular name, so don't worry about people being confused forever. In her first two yesrs she has already met two other Maeves, tho I guess that will depend on the amount of Irish heritage in your area. Also I considered the spelling Medb but my wife talked me out of that. Now that could confuse some people.
Maeve was also the Queen of Connacht, and featured in the Ulster Cycle from Irish mythology. It's a strong name. Of course I'm all for my daughter being the only Maeve, but I don't think you should change it.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:06 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


I felt this way about kid2's name. Kid1 just embodies his name, it fits him perfectly. The name i wanted for kid2 would have duplicated a famous person so we compromised, but it's never been a natural fit. Worse, we then moved to a part of the country where a variant spelling/pronunciation is very common. He's misspelled and mispronounced all the time.

But I love his name. I helped him learn to write it himself, watched him sign his artwork with it, insisted he write thank-you notes with it, called him a dozen nicknamey variations of it, growled it out in anger at him, made up a song or two to pass the time on roadtrips with it as the subject, saw it in playbills and, last spring, saw it on a high-school diploma. I can't imagine him with any other name.

His name is his, and having to graciously correct someone from time to time is, for him, more an exercise in compassion than a blow to his self-esteem. He's not one of many with his name. He's just himself. Like Maeve, it's a name with roots and I am baffled and amused (as my boy is) when people can't grok it. It's really not that hard, and it's sad that some people's worlds are so small that a name outside the usual stops them in their tracks.

Maeve is a lovely name. (You can pm me for details about my lamb's name, just don't want to put it out here.)
posted by headnsouth at 4:09 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Hi! I'm Kimberly R. That R (formerly a D) will always be part of my name because the world is lousy with 35-45 year old women named Kimberly. When I was a teen, I begged to either change the spelling to Cymbrelei to be different, or to get it legally changed to Lola. That's how much I hated the 4th most popular name for girls at the time. Now I love it and would never change it. (Even to Lola.)

What I'm trying to say is that Maeve will most certainly hate her name for a while, no matter what name you chose for her. And her eyes, and her hair, and that weird mark on her shoulder that none of her friends have, and the car you'll pick her up from school in, but she'll get over all of that.

It is a lovely and charming name, and your family is being doofuses about the pronunciation. I'd be a doofus back and not answer questions about the baby until they properly say her name.

I, too, loved Ryan's Hope.
posted by kimberussell at 4:19 AM on April 30


Maeve is lovely, please keep it. My husband's grandmother insisted on calling him Aaron for about 8yrs, although that his name doesn't even share any of the same letters. She just preferred Aaron. My grandfather wanted me to be called Barbara, and harped on about it for years. Grandparents are just weird about baby names, ignore it.

Also all names get mispronounced so changing it will not necessarily help anyway - my name is similar to Anna and I get called Heather on a regular basis - Anna is shorter and more common than Heather so who knows wtf that's about. The people who call me Heather have obviously just decided that's what I'm called. The same people email me so they do see my actual name in print on a regular basis.
posted by tinkletown at 4:22 AM on April 30


It sounds invented.

Oh god no, anything but that.

Seriously, Maeve is a lovely name and not at all weird. My iPhone even knew exactly how to spell it when I typed it just now, which can't be said for my own "invented" name.

Maeve can also be shortened to May for people who are morons and assnecks about this sort of thing.

I know someone who did change her baby's name but that was because she inadvertently named her something that sounded really white-supremacist influenced. Oops. Your situation is nothing like that and I think you should keep it.

And btw I was named before google, and yes people get my name wrong all the time, but it's totally fine. Very often when I meet people they tell me how much they like my name, which will happen for Maeve as well and which will rarely if ever happen for the Ellas and Emmas and Madisons.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 4:25 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I also thought that I named my baby wrong. His name is Hugo, which is a middle-of-the-road name where I live. But somehow I forgot that in the state where I am from, North Carolina, Hurricane Hugo is still a huuuuuuuuge deal in the popular consciousness. I have had to field questions from so many family members and friends about why I named him after such a terrible natural disaster.

But you know what? Being a parent is basically 90% people telling you you're doing it wrong, and I felt like having to defend my son's name at the very beginning made it easier for the rest of the stuff to roll off my back. People will get used to it, and I think you'll be glad you didn't change it.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 4:28 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


40 million readers around the world proved themselves perfectly capable of pronouncing your daughter's name by purchasing Maeve Binchy's novels. It is going to be fine.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:40 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Here's an opposite (anecdotal) data point: My mom intended to give me an unusual name (Michal, common in Hebrew, but not in English) and as she was filling out the form the baby nurse commented on how naming a daughter Michael was such a great and unusual choice. My mom had been teased as a kid for her name, and she didn't want that for me, and she immediately decided to give me the very common English girl's name that was closest to her original intention. So I grew up one of the zillions of Michelles born that year (thank you Paul McCartney), and I have never ever felt like the name suited me or did me any favors. I really wish that I had had the opportunity to grow up with the original name - having a popular name didn't save me from being teased in any way, it just made kids switch to my last name and other cruelties.

Maeve is a lovely name - if you have second thoughts about the name you can of course change it, but if you do, don't settle for a name you don't also love.
posted by Mchelly at 4:45 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


It's a beautiful name. It looks good, it sounds good and if people stuff up the spelling of it on occasion then so be it. As mentioned previously, it's one syllable so that's not hard. Your extended family will get used to it and before you know it her name will be as much a part of her to them as her undoubtedly beautiful face. You did fine.
posted by h00py at 4:58 AM on April 30


I have a ridiculously common first name and people still get it wrong and unsolicitedly call me by variants that I dislike (anyone who's ever addressed me as "Kathy": I do not forget, and vengeance will be mine.) If people know how your daughter's name is pronounced and insist on calling her something else, they are disrespectful dicks. People on the internet are also often dicks.

I once worked with a Maeve McIrishlastname, and I thought it was a great name, and I'd never heard anyone else struggle with it. Maeve is really in that sweet spot of names right now: common enough that many people have heard of it, easy to spell and pronounce for the people who haven't (and I will go toe to toe with your Grandma on that if I have to), but not insanely trendy.

I agree with your husband's interpretation that this is a symptom of new-mother anxiety. Being a new parent is one of the toughest things in the world already, and it doesn't help that the world is full of assholes who are eager to tell you all the ways you're doing it wrong. But they're no more qualified than you, and as long as you're trying and put thought and kindness and love into your parenting decisions, you're doing just fine.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:01 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


My son is named Dane. His paternal grandmother called him Dean for the first I-forget-how-many-but-it-was-too-many months of his life. I bit my tongue, sucked it up, and now she calls him Dane. Usually.

If they don't get it, it's THEIR problem. I agree with everyone upthread, Maeve is a lovely name. Stick with it. (I bet she'll be Mauve-ish - smart, sweet, slightly sassy and altogether amazing.)

And regarding spelling... I was asked today how to spell Dane. Too many, um, creative spellers out there have made it possible that my son is named Dhayne, apparently. You can't escape that.

You made the right choice, and all these Mefites (and her father) can't be wrong.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:12 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I'm going to add to the crowd and say that Maeve is a perfectly lovely name.

At the time my mother had me, she had been trying off and on for 10 years to have a baby. They were living in Spain at the time for my father's work, and she got pregnant (the only time, it turns out, that she was ever able to get pregnant). She felt she owed me to Spain, and decided to give me a Spanish first name. The fact that I am mostly German and English, and have a very English (but not usual in the U.S.) last name did not deter her. She picked a name that was unusual then, was almost never heard of then in the U.S., is 3 syllables, and is and was not easy to pronounce for Americans. That did not deter her. I've had it mispronounced my whole life even though it has become more popular in the U.S. now. My own mother's sister and my mother-in-law never pronounced it correctly their entire lives. Just last night I was saying to Mr. gudrun that we have to think of a polite way to tell his cousin she is pronouncing it wrong (again - she picked it up from mother-in-law).

But you know what, I really like my name, would not consider changing it, and I dropped the shorter nickname for it (my name's version of Mae) in grammar school. And, my mother picked it for me with love, so there is that as well. Stick to your guns and don't stress about it.
posted by gudrun at 5:21 AM on April 30


Maeve is a beautiful name. Grandma can call her M. It will be something special between them. I do know where you are coming from, though. I named my son Mackenzie, a month or so before it became a super popular name for girls. He teases me about it sometimes. It hasn't hurt him at all but, as a mom, you want to be perfect and do the big things right. Know that you did this big thing right. When she starts school, there won't be three boys with the same name in her class or any other girl, either. She will have an identity early on, which will help her to become the strong woman that you want her to be.
posted by myselfasme at 5:23 AM on April 30


Everyone we meet gives us quizzical looks, and says "Mavis?" which I hate.

Who cares, really. Anything even slightly unusual or unexpected confuses some people. They'll get over it and will forget it was even an issue. The name is pretty and just unusual enough that she will stand out and not unusual enough she will be teased for it. 'Mae' is a perfectly good (and idiot proof pronunciation) abbreviation.

There's nothing wrong with it, your husband is right, you're panicking about this and it's not even a deal, never mind a big deal.

Anecdotal: I knew a 'Maeve' at University. But she was proper Irish (from Northern Island) and her name was spelt the Gaelic way: Maebdh. Still pronounced 'Mave', but THAT was confusing. Your version is a walk in the park compared to trying to remember how to spell that.
posted by Brockles at 5:27 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


My grandmother spells my name Millesa and sometimes Mallisa, but never (ever) Melissa. The bank still cashes the birthday checks.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:28 AM on April 30 [9 favorites]


Maeve is a lovely, strong, and beautiful name, and the youngish adult I know who has the name is a wonderful person. In the context I know her I've never heard anyone get it wrong after hearing it for the first time. (My reaction inside my head, having never met anyone with the name before but knowing it from mythology, was "yay, that is a great name and also you are awesome!") And as others have said, Mae/May and Eve are really pretty as nicknames if you or she decide those would be preferable... and she's always free to decide she'd like to be called something else entirely.

I think that for any name there will be people who don't like it and want to change it, and they may be disproportionately represented online because they're more likely to go on the Internet to talk about it--I know this is true of my name (even though lots of people say they like it also) and that doesn't matter to me at all. I like it!

Also, no matter what name you choose, some people will misunderstand or misremember it. I have a common name and I have been called by every name that sounds remotely similar, every name that feels stylistically similar even if they share no sounds, and some names that don't even resemble my name that much stylistically but probably result from people thinking of other people they know, maybe? (My favorite guesses for sheer off-the-wallness relative to my actual name are Anne, Michelle, and Francesca.)

It might help to think about people misunderstanding or misremembering your daughter's name as being a weird thing about people as opposed to being a weird thing about the name. If you and your husband still love the name, that's all that's important, and please know that you can explain it and insist that it be pronounced correctly without apologizing for it. Everyone deserves to be called by the name that belongs to them, or, when they're old enough to have a preference, that they want to be called by.

You clearly care deeply about doing the right thing for your daughter, which I'm sure will help you be an excellent parent to her in the years ahead. And you have done fine with your name choice!
posted by beryllium at 5:36 AM on April 30


It's a lovely name. Add me to the long list of people who know a Maeve (in my case, a teenaged Maeve) who is awesome.

I have an old-fashioned family name that is weirder, harder to spell, and less common than Maeve (trust me, it's long and unusual). It was definitely a name that raised people's eyebrows in the 1980s, among all the Jessicas and Amandas and Heathers, but now it's something people compliment me on. I have never hated my name. (In my experience people who hate their names tend to have super-common names, or common names spelled in a weird way. Maeve is neither.)
posted by pie ninja at 5:38 AM on April 30


Maeve is a lovely name. Just keep on using it, but try to not freak out if people do end up accidentally saying Mavis* or a name that sounds similar. It is not malicious. I have a very common last name that is easy to pronounce, but a fair number of people mispronounce it. Don't get your knickers in a twist about something you can't control.

*And, I do think Mavis is a lovely name too.
posted by missmerrymack at 5:39 AM on April 30


It's a great name and I hope you keep it. If it does not turn out to be a good fit for your daughter, you can call her Mae or something else. There are a lot of people using names for everyday that are not the same as the one they have on paper.

Congratulations!
posted by BibiRose at 5:45 AM on April 30


One of the most beautiful little girls I know is named Maeve. I think the name is elegant and elevated and lovely.

Our first son is "Jonah" and still occasionally gets called "Noah". Don't sweat it.
posted by DWRoelands at 5:48 AM on April 30


It's a beautiful name. I have a young friend named Maeve and it's never caused her a moment's anguish. She's learned a little bit about Queen Maeve and is very pleased that she has a royal name.

My name is Candace. It's not so uncommon a name now but it certainly was when I was growing up. And it's not spelled with an 'I' so that totally throws people. Let's not even get started on people deciding they can call me Candy without so much as asking if it's okay (it is most assuredly not okay). I have to spell it all the time, people still spell it wrong, sometimes they think I said Janice (which, what? Okay then.), and on and on. But really, in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. It's my name. I love it.

Maeve is a lovely name and you have my permission to silently or not so silently tell people to suck it if they have an issue with it.
posted by cooker girl at 5:49 AM on April 30


I like the name you've selected, and I'm shocked that people are being weird about it because when Ryan's Hope was on TV, Maeve was the Matriarch of the family and everyone knew how to say the name.

Your relatives are being jerks. But not to worry, you'll feel better soon (post-partum is a bitch) and you'll look into her sweet face and be very happy with her name.

FWIW, my name really is Ruthless. Or that's what my first and middle names look like together. My parents didn't put it together until I was SEVEN and I came home furious because I signed my full name (I've always loved it) and a teacher said, "Ruthless?" (It's pronounced Lee, but it's spelled Lys.) I still think that I have a pretty name, and as you can see, I've made my peace with Ruthless.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:51 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Data point: my first name and last name are so common as to border on sounding like an alias, and people still get it wrong, spell it wrong, say it wrong, and confuse my first name with another common name (which doesn't rhyme with or share more than 1 letter in the same position with said name - it's like confusing or mishearing John and Jack). For extra fun, my boss has that other common name that people always confuse with mine.

TL;DR - she might as well have a name that you like, because people will always screw up names until they learn them. I've been involved in naming 2-3 companies, and the same applies. My current main employer's name is a 3 letter acronym, and people confuse the order of the letters. Seriously.

If she REALLY hates it as an adult for some reason, she can go by a nickname, a middle name, or head to the courthouse.
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:59 AM on April 30


It's a fine name. Really. No matter what the name there are people that hate it. Lots of Johns in the world who want to be called something else. And fwiw, I've always thought a name is a placeholder. When you turn 18 you should decide to keep it or change it, that at the end of the day it is up to you what you will be known as, but it is no reflection on your parents if you decide to change it. In my family out of five siblings three have at least changed the spelling of their name... it's ok.
posted by edgeways at 6:10 AM on April 30


Nthing liking Maevis here. My two girls are 9 and 13, and I suspect they are the only ones in the US with their respective names, which are not made up, they just are not popular names here. People grok them when I say/spell them but they've never heard them. That felt like quite a leap--I was pretty nervous. To me it seemed kind of almost...ridiculous...to give babies such heavy, grown up names. But my goal was to give them both "strong" names, knowing that they would be adults most of their lives and any daughters of mine would probably find a hyperfeminine (imo) name like "Daisy" a somewhat ill-fitting.

When they were small (2/3) they could not tell other people their names well, and I gave them nicknames that were related to their names so they could tell people. When they were about 4 they both grew out of that and forcefully dropped the "baby" nicknames and gave me and family friends an earful of "MY NAME IS X!"

I think I'm on your page with cool, less common female names. I got shot down on a lot of "old fashioned" names before finding a compromise with my partner. I am glad I got shot down on Dorcas and Portia, tbh. Great, great old fashioned names but I think that was the hormones talking when you consider the potential for teasing. Good luck, OP. I really think the name will" become" her.
posted by Lardmitten at 6:16 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Also wanted to mention we like "Maeve it rhymes with brave" when explaining our daughters name. Because seriously who doesn't want their kid to be brave?
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:24 AM on April 30 [28 favorites]


People who are perfectly healthy and happy don't get on the internet to check out WebMD and determine why they are so lucky, and can jog ten miles, and do 100 pushups, and eat everything they want with no consequences. No. Those of us desperately referencing Dr. Google to find out if our drippy noses are actually Ebola are doing so because we are unhappy and also a bit frightened that the poison ivy on our hands might actually be flesh eating disease.

There are probably thousands and thousands of happy Maeves out there. You are seeing the unhappy few because the internet is where people go to bitch about these things. It's a self-referencing and reinforcing cycle thingummy, just like the paranoia that can be induced by having too much medical information so easily at hand.

I say this as someone whose parents *did* make up my name. It's four letters. No one can spell it. No one can pronounce it right. At least at first, anyway. It's normal for strangers to be stymied. If they are still doing it after knowing me or working with me for a month and just don't give a damn that I've corrected them a dozen times, then I use it as a yardstick as to what I should think of *them* as a person, and whether I want to bother to know them better.
posted by instead of three wishes at 6:41 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I just came in to add that I LOVE THIS NAME!!! I just had a little boy, but this was one of my desired girl names if I had a girl. It is so beautiful.

My older son has a name that is very common in Scandinavian countries but not in the US. It is four letters and should be easy to pronounce, but we do get a lot of mistakes. I love his name, and so does he, and my personal feeling is that there's always going to be some issue with your name. I had literally 3-5 other people in every grade with my name, and we always had to go by some variant with last initials, etc, and I hated it.

I also didn't tell family our names before the babies came because I didn't want the input, frankly. Don't let grandma bum you out.

Congrats to you and the whole family on little Maeve!
posted by handful of rain at 6:43 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Kid Zizzle has a very Irish name that in the US is pretty exclusive to girls. I worried about doing that to him for a little bit, but now he's 5 and everyone gets it, except for a few people on the phone.

My daughter has a very a Italian first and middle name. The middle name was my grandmother's name. It is highly unusual and I have never met anyone else with that name in my life, though variants of it are somewhat popular.

Haters are going to hate, but they'll grow up and get over it or Maeve will learn to correct them. Because there's nothing like a kid saying, "My name is..." to get people to back off.

Maeve is a positively gorgeous name. My cousin Maeve agrees. And kids do this thing where they grow into their names marvelously. And you can't imagine them by another name because they were always who they are. Your Maeve is your Maeve. Through and through. Your family doesn't know her the way you do yet.
posted by zizzle at 6:44 AM on April 30


I think sometimes people habitually "mispronounce" names they consider annoyingly unusual as a passive aggressive commentary. My parents are suspiciously bad at pronouncing my wife's Hungarian cousins' names, even though they're only five letters each and pronounced exactly as they look.

They'll figure it out or they'll embarrass themselves, not you or your kid.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:47 AM on April 30 [6 favorites]


Maeve is a lovely, sweet name. I also know of a little so-and-so who has it and wears it well.

Logged in to add: Remember, too, that these are the weeks and months when everyone is asking you her name, so you're repeating it multiple times a week and getting multiple reactions. Once she gets to be 5 or 6, she'll be in a classroom somewhere and everyone will know her name and you won't be introducing her to someone new every day.
posted by dreamphone at 6:50 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I have a name that is quite common (especially for girls my age and younger) but has a lot of variants and is vulnerable to mispronounciation. Specifically, my great aunt never learned to say it right, and always called me by the wrong variant. I didn't know her well as a kid but lived nearby for a while as a young adult. Even after months of regular reminders, I was never able to teach her how to say my name.

I am 100% sure there was no malice there. It was just some weird pronounciation/memory thing. I got over it (actually, I grew to enjoy it--it was a quirk of hers, and it was funny) and we had a really great relationship.
posted by snorkmaiden at 6:52 AM on April 30


My name is Jane. People can't pronounce it. People are idiots but that doesn't stop me from being very fond of my name.

Also, my family has historically acted like they couldn't spell or pronounce baby names if the parents didn't use the name suggested by the family. Families are idiots but they learn to act right eventually.
posted by janey47 at 6:56 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


My daughter has a story about a kid named "Bucket of Beans." The narrator says that the first few times you hear it, it sounds really weird, but after a while it's just a name like any other. "Hey, Bucket of Beans! Over here!" you call, not thinking anything of it.

My daughter's name is Aletheia. There are virtually zero other young Aletheias in the world, and everybody told us what a mistake that name was. "She'll never learn to spell her name!" "You are making it so hard for her teachers!" "We can't even pronounce that!"

To which I responded, politely but firmly, "That's her name. Start getting used to it." We did offer up "Allie" as an quicker nickname.

Young Aletheia is now seven. Teachers learn to spell it. Family and friends can pronounce it. She's been spelling it herself since she was three. I still love it. (It's Greek for truth; I took Greek in college.) Not only that, but she loves her name, and maybe moreso because it is rare. I think Maeve is a seriously wonderful name, and the people who don't think that (1) are wrong and (2) will get used to it. Maeve will almost certainly like it herself, and you have no way of knowing at this point whether she will like it more or less than something else. Some people love their usual names, some people love their commons names, and vice versa. If she herself doesn't like it, she change change it down it road. For now, I'd say you will feel great about this in six months if you stick by your choice now.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:57 AM on April 30 [8 favorites]


My grandmother seems like she'll never be able to say it, and calls her Mauve, which makes me so sad.

This is extremely annoying but yet perfectly normal. I think it's an age thing-- my grandmother frequently mangled first names (even relatively common ones) into related names she was more familiar with (a friend "Alex" somehow was always referred by her as "Alec", for example). I personally think it is a combination of ingrained habits, stubbornness, and a brain that is less flexible than it used to be.

Maeve is a perfectly great name and I think I poised to become more popular in the coming years.
posted by deanc at 7:01 AM on April 30


Let me tell you about my grandmother, who used to make birthday checks to Madeline. My name is Natalie. This went on for 7 years, and only stopped because she passed.

Let me tell you about my friend's daughter, named Lola, whose mother has been told: "That's a stripper name!"

Let me tell you about the terrible and cruel comment section of any website when a baby's name is announced.

For some reason when people hear a name they aren't used to, it seems to trigger something in them as if they just realized they don't have control over the world and they need to act out about it.

Maeve is a wonderful name. If you need permission to keep it, you now have it, in spades, in this comment section :) Go and help Maeve be the best Maeve ever!
posted by haplesschild at 7:07 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


I have a friend with a completely distinct legal name. Her parents also gave her a completely mundane nickname and used them somewhat interchangeably when she was young and let her decide which one she wanted to use. During the awkward teen years she preferred the normal one. In her later teen years she switched to the interesting one.
posted by Candleman at 7:08 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


More name random crap.

My Dad is Herbert. He has a cousin, also called Herbert, they were born within a few weeks of each other. So to keep things easy, they called dad Marvin. Well, Cousin Herb's nickname was Herky, so they just called him that for the rest of his life. People in my father's family STILL called him Marvin. When they went to get his bar mitzvah suit, the tailor asked my Grandfather for Dad's name, and he honestly could not tell the man what it was.

Here's what Frank Zappa had to say:

Cohen: Is one of your children named Moon Unit?

Zappa: Yep.

Cohen: Son or daughter?

Zappa: Daughter.

Cohen: What are your other children’s names?

Zappa: Dweezil and Ahmet.

Cohen: Is Moon Unit the oldest?

Zappa: Yep.

Cohen: What do you call her around the house?

Zappa: I call her Moon and I call Dweezil ‘Dweezil’ and I call Ahmet ‘Ahmet.’

Cohen: I’m wondering what psychological effects a name can have.

Zappa: Well, first of all, I knew that they were going to be unique anyway because of certain other attributes, so why not have a name that goes with it. They all like their names and the kids at school do too. They don’t make fun of them; in fact, most of them are jealous of their names. You know, it always amazes me when someone who is in my age group, or even younger, asks me a question like why did you name your children that. It’s a reactionary kind of question. Why the f*ck not name your kids something like that? They’re having a good time. Besides that, if they ever wanted to change their names they can do it. It only costs about $15.

Cohen: You can’t tell from the name Moon Unit whether it’s a boy or a girl. Had Moon Unit been a boy, would you have named him the same thing?

Zappa: No, I would have named him Motor Head.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:08 AM on April 30 [12 favorites]


I think Maeve is nice name. It's pretty and simple but unusual.

People mess up all names, even common ones. I'm a Laura (through most of childhood, a very-unhappy-to-be Laura P, since I was born in the great early-80s era of Lauras and Laurens) and even now, people think my name is Lauren regularly. There is no foolproof name that everyone will get right and everyone will love. I will say that I often wished I had a more unusual name so I didn't have an appended initial at the end throughout school (really, though, I wished I had my same name and that all the other Lauras were named other things, because I believed I was the Ultimate Laura.)

Keep Maeve.
posted by millipede at 7:09 AM on April 30


I think sometimes people habitually "mispronounce" names they consider annoyingly unusual as a passive aggressive commentary.

I came to post something like this but my version had the word "asshole" in it somewheres so I am just gonna quote DirtyOldTown instead.

Maeve is a fine name, lots of history, beautiful imagery. Please let your daughter keep her wonderful name and grow into it with pride. Also, every time you or anyone else says her name, give yourself a silent pat on the back for not naming her Nevaeh or Retaeh or some other actually terrible name.
posted by Sternmeyer at 7:18 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I know why your grandmother (or people her age) is doing this! Here are the naming stats, over time (in the US) for Maeve, and here are the stats for Mavis. Look where each name peaks. Because of this, your grandmother probably thinks "Maeve" is some weird made-up nickname off Mavis, given that it basically did not ping the charts before the first wave of Celtic-inspired names.

But it's not some weird made-up nickname -- it's an Anglicized Gaelic name, no weirder than Kathleen -- is subtly pretty, has a couple awesome historical namesakes, and fits in just well enough with all the Avas and Olivias (similar sounds, mostly) running around without being the 2014 equivalent of Jessica in the '80s. You probably knew a lot of this going in, but it's an awesome name.

Also, Yahoo Answers sucks at a lot of things, but it sucks at naming threads in particular. It is notorious for sucking at naming threads.
posted by dekathelon at 7:19 AM on April 30 [5 favorites]


My mother is notorious for not spelling her grandchildren's names...turns out she has some sort of dyslexia that we had not noticed until she started with the grandkids. We did not correct her though because that is not done in my family.

She got better at it though when one of my kids did the exasperated sigh, rolled her eyes and said "Geez, Grandma, if you loved me you would spell my name right?" Family reunions are now occasioned by peeps using "her" names on name tags....!

And I love your Celtic (Irish) name, my mother in law came from Ireland and we have a bunch that a lot of people could not pronounce and now there are tons of folks with those names....so have a glass of wine, it will all work out.
posted by OhSusannah at 7:28 AM on April 30


seriously? no one's ever heard of maeve binchy? wtf. your grandma sucks.

and also? my name is SARAH and people still hear that wrong. cora? laura? christ.

maeve is an awesome name.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:32 AM on April 30 [5 favorites]


Oh honey, at 14 weeks in you are still hormonal, and exhausted to boot.

Don't let anyone talk you out of this name that you and your husband love. You will be so pissed at yourself later for giving in to peer pressure.

Truthfully, Maeve is an unusual name, so you will have to correct people, that's just something you will have to get used to. But by no means does that mean you should change it. As others have said above, no matter what name you give her, there will always be people who will get it wrong and who will need to be corrected.

If your family (Maeve's family) keep getting her name wrong, let them know in a little stronger way that she is family, and they damn well better learn her name.
posted by vignettist at 7:48 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


One more person saying it's a really great name choice. Just keep repeating it for the denser members of your family. Make sure you do a birth announcement, and maybe have it embroidered on the diaper bag, or otherwise get the spelling in front of people. As a new mom with another kiddo to take care of, you have a lot on your plate. Please don't let this ruin your precious sleep, or your enjoyment of beautiful baby Maeve.
posted by theora55 at 7:52 AM on April 30


Oh, and if I recall being a kid correctly, if you change it to Jenny and she finds out when she's 10 that her name could have been something as freaking cool as Maeve? She'll throw a tantrum until you change it back:)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 7:57 AM on April 30 [5 favorites]


I want to address the issue of the wrong name people call your kiddo being one you hate. I have this issue too. My daughters name is Eleana. Pronounced, EEE-Lee-ah-nuh. I really, really dislike the name, Elena. Pronounced El-a-nuh. Hate it. 99% of people who read my daughters name call her Elena. It bugs me; I feel like I should have spelled her name differently and that would not happen. But. She is almost 14 and she owns her name. She doesn't care if someone can't read it correctly, she corrects them and moves on. There are people in my family who still don't say her name right, and probably never will. Those people suck for many reasons, not just the name thing.
posted by shmurley at 8:06 AM on April 30


A bit of name regret is typical, but I just want to add to the heap to assure you that it isn't a problem you need to stress over. I've seen some actual bad names (person who named kid after an Aunt who committed suicide and didn't ask any family members how they felt about this comes to mind) but over time it all smooths out. Be calm and carry on.
posted by dgran at 8:22 AM on April 30


My first name is Lorena (like lorraine with an "uh" at the end, not even the trickier Spanish lorrrrrr-eh-nuh) and my grandpa called me Lorraine until the day he died. I cracked up at the phrase "grandmas gonna grandma" up there. It's very true, and the issue lies with them, not the name.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:28 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


You could try introducing her as Baby Maeve. It would give people a few more syllables to hang Maeve on.

You can light-heartedly create a ditty that goes like this "this is Baby Maeve, she's not a knave, it's time to wave (grab her little paw and make her wave) I'm Baby Maeve!"

Done.

If she's not present and someone asks what name you chose, you say "She's little Baby Maeve!"

In a few weeks, you can just call her Maeve and people will get it.
posted by vitabellosi at 8:30 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


My nephew's name is Naoki, which is super common in Japan, where his mom is from, and not very common at all in the US. Various family members were a little perplexed by the ao combo at first, but we all got it. I really don't think that any of your relatives will call her Mauve once she learns to talk. Fierce warrior queen baby that she is, she'll probably correct the if they do.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:34 AM on April 30


My name was not common when and where I was growing up - I don't think I met another Katrina until I was a legal adult. (..and my name will never see a popularity surge, I think - most resistance to "famous hurricane names" tends to be regional, but this one...yeah, I don't think so). I suffered very little being "oddly named", and loved hearing the story about WHY I got the name I did, so I wouldn't keep worrying, were I you. I agree with your kind husband and his theory of where your stress is coming from. Take care of yourself!
posted by ersatzkat at 8:40 AM on April 30


Maeve is a beautiful name!

It's so natural to stress over giving your child the best start in life, and there are SO many voices out there SCREAMING at you that every decision you make right now is going to RUIN HER LIFE FOREVER!

I think it can be especially hard with girls right now, because we're SO worried about image, and women being taken seriously, and not making things more difficult for young women than they already are, etc.

I think you made a good decision and need to cut yourself some slack.

The suggestion of "Mae" as a nickname upthread is a great one, and can take some of the mispronunciation stress off you. I think once she's older and gets out into the wider world out of your family and circle of acquaintance, you'll run into more people who are familiar with it, and who are more willing to learn it if they aren't.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:41 AM on April 30


As long as we’re sharing anecdotes: I’m from rural New York State, and my sister has a Russian name. We’re not Russian at all; she’s named after a character in a book. I was named one of the top 5 names of my birth decade, simply because it rhymed with my sister’s Russian name. (Mom’s a twin and didn’t know how not to give her kids non-rhyming names.)

I’m not sure any of our grandparents ever got our names 100% right. If they ever did, they used them on the wrong kids. We tried all kinds of nicknames, but they just never stuck. My sister had her name misspelled and mispronounced all through school, while I always had a number or my last name added to mine to keep it straight from the other girls in my class with the same one.

But all our cousins had inherited family names, and so they grew up with juvenile monikers like “Junior,” “Sis,” “Chipper,” “Skippy,” “Boy,” and “Baby,” that they haven’t been able to shake into middle age. On the other hand, my sister loves the compliments she now gets on her “exotic” name. And, I have an instant in-joke whenever I meet someone with mine: “Were you [FirstName] One or [FirstName] Two in your class? That [FirstName] One was such a teacher’s pet!”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:56 AM on April 30


Maeve is a great name! I've never known a Maeve, but I already knew how to pronounce it. My spouse is picky about names (and especially sensitive to names that he perceives as too "out there") and he said he not only likes it, but would consider using it if we had a girl. So there are a couple more data points for you!

I agree with dekathelon's statistics-based comment about this being a less-familiar name for the older generation, but one that's rising in popularity without being too common. It fits beautifully with the short, vowel-rich sounds of some of the most currently popular names for girls (Ava, Olivia, Mia). As she grows up, she'll have a name that fits right in with her peers, while still being relatively unique.

I think Maeve M- sounds lovely, too.

Many congratulations!
posted by fussbudget at 8:57 AM on April 30


I'm not sure if you are still reading but as a kid, I went by a longer version of my name and people used to mispronounce it - think Beti-Bethi. As a teenager at school I got some entertainment value out of ignoring the teacher until s/he got it right. They'd periodically get mad and say "why didn't you answer?!" "Because that's not my name!". (Look, I was a square kid - that's about as rebellious as I got but it was fun.)

Almost everyone I know has to spell their name periodically. There's always someone somewhere who doesn't really listen or has seen Bob spelled Bahb or Bohb or whatever or doesn't care to try and figure it the name of the person they are talking with. It's a perfectly good name. You picked it for a reason. Trust your instincts.
posted by Beti at 9:00 AM on April 30


I know another baby Maeve. English speakers with a 2nd grade phonics education should be able to pronounce it so you family is being difficult for whatever reason.

My name is Jennifer, the most popular name of the year I was born. I have been called JenFur, Jenny IF Fur, Jeany, etc, all by other Americans, usually by old people when I was a kid. Olds can be really resistant to aclimating to new things.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:11 AM on April 30


My daughter also has an old lady name, but after all she was named after my 90 year old grandmother, so no surprise there. At first my in-laws hated it and insisted they were going to call her by a nickname. After a few months of, "Her name isn't $nickname, we named her $name." They now always call her by her name and even like it. I think it just takes some getting used to and that's okay. ToddlerJungle is about to turn two and completely owns her name, Maeve is a lovely name, just give them some time to get used to it.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 9:12 AM on April 30


One girl wrote that she's going to change it when she's 21.

So many girls go through that phase. I used to comb through the works of Edgar Allen Poe trying to decide what I was going to change my name to when I turned 21, until I found out how much it costs in New York State. I bet Maeve Yahoo Answers will grow out of it, too.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:51 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I just thought of something. Could it be that your grandmother is positive that YOU are pronouncing it wrong? Like the people I travel with who keep saying "la kwinta" for La Quinta, and obviously think I'm wrong for saying "la keenta"?

Or maybe she's just being whimsical? Like pronouncing Diana "dee-ah-na" in a sort of joking mock elegance (in the US, obvs that would be correct in some other places)?

Not that it really matters. Just trying to figure out what's up with grandma.
posted by HotToddy at 9:59 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I live in Indiana, and I know several Maeves, one woman from Ireland and the others young American girls. So it's perhaps not as unusual as some might think. As a mom of two, I encourage no major decision making until baby's six months old, if one can help it. It's just hormone no-sleep crazy time. As for grandmas, my son's grandma called him Ira (which happens to be his name backwards) for a couple of weeks even though she knew that wasn't his name. It just took her some time to get used to it.
posted by percolatrix at 10:11 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Maeve doesn't seem unusual to me & I don't think it would get a second glance in the area I live/circles I run in.

We gave one of our daughters an uncommon name and I had these same regrets for the first few months. She's four now & I can't imagine her as anything else. After the initial introduction, where we inevitably have to spell it for people & explain that it's Welsh, there is never an issue. It's just her name. Honestly, we got more pushback for her extremely-common middle name, because my cousin's daughter has the same one and my mom thought we were "stealing" it.
posted by belladonna at 10:11 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Also, if your family is insisting that they can't pronounce it even after you say "it rhymes with wave," I wonder if they're being purposefully obtuse in order to not-so-subtly try to shame you for picking an unusual name.

I think sometimes people habitually "mispronounce" names they consider annoyingly unusual as a passive aggressive commentary

Exactly this.

So my first name is long and sort of formal (think Alexandra) and I go by a short nickname of that (think Alex). My middle name is Marie. When I was about 8, my mom told me that I was originally going to be named Alexandra Naomi Marie Lastname, but everyone in her family made fun of her. They were cruel about it, insinuating that my mom was acting like some fancypants hot shit has-to-be-original special snowflake.

My grandma and my mom's sisters were totally obsessed with it, because they are sad, boring busybodies who can't think of anything but other people's business (this is still true, BTW - they are just cruel people). They sniped and mocked, telling her I would hate her, that it would cause me so many problems to have 2 middle names, and she actually decided not to do it.

I loved the idea - having 2 middle names seemed like the coolest thing in the world. So when I turned 18, I changed my name legally. So I'm "Alexandra Naomi Marie Lastname," finally.

Maeve is a great name. If you love it, ignore the haters!
posted by peep at 10:12 AM on April 30 [3 favorites]


Honestly? I've -never- seen/heard the name 'Maeve' before. Going against the popular opinions expressed above, I think it sounds like an old lady name and she's going to have to constantly correct people on how to pronounce the name. I've been there - legally changed my name at 21.
posted by stubbehtail at 10:23 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I have a weird, unfeminine name with one syllable. It's not necessarily from any ethnic background, but I've been told it's Welsh. People can't spell it and they correct it for me all the time. I hated it as a preteen (mostly because I simply hated everything involving my parents and, god, mom, stop standing so close to me!), but I loved it in high school because my name helped me not only be comfortable with but also to pursue being unique. As an adult I love that everyone, from colleagues and interviewers to baristas and the mailman, remembers my name after meeting me. I love that I'm the only one of my name in a group of women and I get a little thrill that my name is way, way down the popularity list for girls, let alone my girls from my birth year. And when I meet another woman with my name, which has only happened about four times in my life, we have an instant connection.

You can't control what Maeve will think of her name, but in the right home environment, having an interesting name will make for a richer, more complex self-identity. It's a great name.
posted by theraflu at 10:25 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I will also add that when my niece was born, my sister gave her a name nobody liked. There were a LOT of plastered on smiles and behind the scenes mutterings, and a good deal of "Well, we could just call her, umm, something, as a nickname..."

Three years later, while I am still not a fan of the name in the abstract, in the specific it's a delightfully perfect name for her, and every single one of us got the fuck over ourselves.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:31 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Maeve is beautiful and once she gets to college everyone will think her name is so cool. You'll keep calling her Maeve-rhymes-with-wave, people will catch on, she'll eventually be old enough to say her name and the name will not be steamrolled by people who aren't trying to listen. It will be OK!
posted by stoneandstar at 10:45 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Maeve is beautiful and once she gets to college everyone will think her name is so cool.

You are probably going to go from "oh no I named my kid a weird thing" to "oh no poor thing is one of three Maeves in her class" within a few years.

When your grandmother was a girl, her grandmother's generation was decrying names like Shirley, Doris, and Gerald as "weird names". This is not a new thing, at all. If your mom has a name like Karen, Cynthia, or Tammy, your grandmother probably got the same treatment she's kicking down to you.
posted by Sara C. at 10:59 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


My grandmother seems like she'll never be able to say it, and calls her Mauve, which makes me so sad

Be sad because your grandmother is being unpleasant, not because you gave your daughter a beautiful name. If you want to talk about post-partum depression and intrusive thoughts, drop me a line.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:09 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


> I think it sounds like an old lady name

My kids have had as many classmates named Cherokeez, Wuhibiti, and Vaden as they have had classmates named David. Names are very different now than they were a few decades ago. Don't worry about it, OP.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:12 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


I think Maeve is a great name, and not really THAT uncommon. I'm surprised your family is having such trouble!

I don't mean to sound glib at all, so please understand that: weepiness kind of comes with the territory as the mom of a new baby. However, if you continue to feel weepy, please check in with your doctor about it. I am absolutely not trying to minimize your concerns about the name, just as a fellow mom, a reminder to take care of yourself.
posted by freezer cake at 11:12 AM on April 30 [5 favorites]


I agree with everyone saying that hormones are effecting you too much right now to make a decision like this. When she has her first birthday, think about it again. Things may look different - or not!
I also want to chime in to say that you can give your kid the most ordinary names you can think of and people will get it wrong in their own special way. It's their problem, not yours (or Maeve's.) This will differ by cultures and families but I would not hesitate to gently remind grandma what the baby's name is several times and (unless she's clearly mentally declining) then seem confused when she keeps getting it wrong. "Mauve? Who on earth is that? My daughter's name is Maeve. Is that who you are talking about?" Repeat as necessary.
posted by bijou243 at 11:19 AM on April 30


My name is John, and people misspell it (and not just as "Jon"). I roll my eyes a little, but names are kind of a weird part of language where there's more creativity and fewer rules. How often do you get the chance to make up a word? So I cut them a little break if they think it's possible I'm named Zhan or Jahn or whatever.
posted by jjwiseman at 11:40 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I know several Maeves. It's a lovely name and not that unusual in the grand scheme of things. It's fine.
posted by pemberkins at 11:42 AM on April 30


Don't change it! I adore that name.

As others have said, there is no guarantee that people will not mess up a more common name. My name is fairly uncommon, but it rhymes with a much more common name. I get the more common name all the time. I also have a simple four-letter last name that gets misspelled constantly, so on the phone, I spell out both my first and last names. Even simple names can be complicated.
posted by anotheraccount at 11:51 AM on April 30


Maeve is a gorgeous name. Keep the name.

And frankly, a huge percentage of people hate their names. I have a friend named Tiffany and she hates it because it sounds like name for a cheerleader or something. I hate my name (Lesley) because I feel it is more of a man's name and it is CONSTANTLY being misspelled. I know a Matthew who hates his name because there were so many Matthews in school growing up that he never knew if the teachers were talking to him or not.

So even if you were to rename your child to a more common name that is no guarantee that she won't hate it. Unless you name your daughter something insane like Bootface or something I think you're good to go. Maeve is nice. Just go with it. And if someday your daughter decides she hates she can always change it. I doubt she will though. That is a lovely name.

...I wish my parents had named me Maeve. :(


sidenote: I had a friend in school whose middle name was Nimrod. When I found this out I decided that while I still didn't like my name it certainly could have been worse. Perspective and all that.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:10 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I know of a few Maeves, I don't think it's unusual at all. I think Maeve is much more common than Mavis.

Are any members of your family who are having trouble pronouncing your daughter's name non-native English speakers?

People, especially babies, end up with all kinds of nicknames too. Your family might call her Mae, or Maevie, or Maevey-Wavey or something. Unless your family is deliberately being jerks, you will probably look back at "Mauve" and laugh one day.

I'm sure if you google any name you can find teenagers who say that they hate it and plan on changing their name once they are 18.
posted by inertia at 12:41 PM on April 30


I like Maeve, I've never had any problem pronouncing it, and I know people with that name. Honestly, no matter what you name your kid there is a chance 1) they will hate it when they get older for any number of reasons, and 2) that people will mispronounce it. My older son's name isn't super common and does get confused often. If it is someone that is my friend or family, I correct them, random strangers? Eh, whatever. The crossing guard still calls him the wrong name every day. He doesn't care and I don't. As far as anyone close to you, mispronouncing it, if it is a continual problem make it clear that it is hurtful that they don't try. Old people (e.g. your grandmother) might be an exception to this, just keep trying, maybe write it down spelled phonetically in case hearing is a problem.
posted by katers890 at 12:53 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


My mom's (maternal!) grandma wanted to name her "Patsy", though her parents named her "Carolyn". Grandma kept calling her Patsy throughout her childhood. Grandmas can be weird.

Maeve-as-in-brave is an awesome name that I've only seen in people younger than my 40 something old self. You chose beautifully!
posted by ldthomps at 1:08 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


[This is a followup from the asker.]
Your responses bring tears to my postpartum eyes! Thank you so much for taking the time to help out a weepy, stressed mother. Sounds like the vast majority's vote is to keep it, and all the comments help me remember why I loved the name in the first place. (And yes, I think there may well be some passive aggressiveness from the family side -- I hadn't really thought of that.) THANKS ONCE AGAIN mefites -- I knew I could count on you.
posted by cortex at 1:51 PM on April 30 [15 favorites]


A coworker named their daughter Maeve and it was the first time I heard this name. I had no idea how to pronounce it. Rhymes with "Dave" helped me.

I think Maeve is an unusual, old-fashioned name. I also have an unusual, old-fashioned name that is misspelled, mispronounced, where people leave off the last letter because it's silent, the whole works. Drove me nuts in school, made me stand out in a way that kids hate, and I generally had a hard time with my name growing up.

It took me until adulthood to love my unusual, old-fashioned name. But love it I do and I would have been so sad if my mom had changed it.

Maeve is lovely. Don't change it.
posted by vivzan at 1:57 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I have an unusual first, middle, and last name. My first name is coming into style with a different spelling. I've wrangled several different nicknames out of it.

I love my name and don't want to ever change it.

Baby Maeve will most likely love her name too.
posted by RainyJay at 2:16 PM on April 30


Agreeing with most everyone else, it's a lovely name! And the old fashioned names are coming back, but I think you're still in the sweet spot where she'll be just enough ahead of the curve so that by the time she cares, there are very good odds that 1) it'll still be unique enough for it to feel special to her and 2) people will like it even if they haven't heard it before, because it just resonates right for the times. I am slightly biased about old fashioned names though as our top girls name choice is both old fashioned and unusual (a family name).

Also I have a very unusual name that people always have to ask twice, often mispronounce or misspell. It doesn't bother me at all, I like my name, it's part of who my parents were when I came around and so has a flavor of my childhood. I also like that it's unique and who cares if people can spell it. I don't even have a fake starbucks name, I just tell them what it is and I don't care how they say or spell it (of course that's just starbucks ;).

But I do understand it's different being the mom - my 1 year old boy's name isn't very common (though it probably is in Ireland :), and I like it and I don't regret it, but I occasionally still have a moment of hesitation/defensiveness when someone seems to question it or seems 'unimpressed'. I don't think it has anything to do with the name, I think it's more that a tiny little voice interprets their doubt as being related to my ability as a mother, my trustworthiness to make decisions for my son. That's not at all what most of them are actually meaning, and the ones who are, are jerks and to hell with them! But I understand why it's a little sensitive.

I hope you don't mind, but now I totally want to put Maeve on our girls name list in case someone else in the family uses the name we've picked first! It really is lovely :)
posted by pennypiper at 2:19 PM on April 30


Yeah, when I saw this question I was sure the name in question would be much more unusual than Maeve. That's a name I have heard before and can pronounce. Everyone else is just being dumb.

Also, as posters above me have attested to. I have a very common, and short, name which people still frequently and inexplicably mishear/ misspell. So you wouldn't have necessarily prevented this with a more common name.

I also think 'rhymes with wave' is perfectly adorable. I have a friend with an unusual name who introduced herself to me as '_____, rhymes with _____ [cute geological feature.]' I love knowing that I always pronounce her name right and Maeve-rhymes-with-wave ought to have the same experience with her own peers, if not family members. But family members are always weird anyway.

And lastly, re: the poster above who was one of fourteen Jessicas: I'm eternally grateful to my mom for vetoing that name, which my dad liked. Unusual is good especially when it's not a made up name which Maeve is most definitely not.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 2:20 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I have an unusual, old-ladyish middle name. It's the same as my paternal grandmother's first name, and she is the only other person I have ever met with this name, though the name was popular at one time. Like, you would recognize and be able to pronounce it.
I HATED it as a kid. My aunt, the daughter of the woman I am named after, once asked my father what the hell he did that for. I used to avoid telling people about it at all costs. Then for a while, I would tell people, but only if they asked. I had this actual conversation with a roommate:
Roommate: What's your middle name?
Me: Ugh, I hate it. It's so awful.
Roommate: It can't possibly be as bad as this guy I went to high school with! His name was (almost identical male version of my name)!
Me: (falls to floor laughing)

For a long time that's how I perceived it: that name so bad you couldn't believe someone was actually named that.
I wouldn't say I love it now, but I don't mind it. It's fine, and a little unusual.
And here's the thing: on Name Voyager, my middle name declines from the nineteenth century until it falls completely off the chart in 1970 (well before I was born) and never comes back. Maeve, on the other hand, is increasing steadily in popularity. It's not super common, but to people of her generation it will definitely not be an old lady name. It will be a normal but not super common name.
I also just think it's a super cool name.
posted by Adridne at 3:08 PM on April 30


I also had second thoughts when our daughter's name didn't meet with everybody's unbridled glee at first. Our families both thought it was too unusual. We got the last laugh on the first day of kindergarten when there were three other girls in her same class with the same name.

As for grandma, that'll be a fun story someday. "Hey, remember how grandma couldn't ever pronounce Maeve's name right? Ha, grandmas are so funny!"

Don't sweat it!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:44 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


As if you haven't gotten enough positive feedback, I'll throw this in: Maeve is the name of a faerie character in the Dresden Files books. She's a badass.
posted by tacodave at 4:02 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


I have an eight-week-old daughter and I think your husband's onto something. I was horribly anxious all the way through my pregnancy and now she's safely here the worry has subsided but far from disappeared. I think your fixation on her name is a kind of emotional lightning rod: her name is one of the only things about her you actually have control over, so your anxiety over whether you've got it right is totally understandable. You *have* got it right - now stop worrying and enjoy your little girl!

(I gave my daughter a flower name, but apparently it's such an obscure flower that no-one knows it is one. When I announced her name to family and friends I got a whole load of "oh, I thought you wanted to give her a flower name". Honestly, I think people are just a bit dim about names sometimes.)
posted by raspberry-ripple at 4:07 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


I have an androgynous name (that is now very popular for girls, but wasn't when I was born). My mom got SO MUCH shit for my name, and my name is super duper easy to spell and pronounce.

In short: People like to complain about things. Ignore them.

Maeve is a beautiful name. I knew a few Maeves growing up. Haters to the left.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 4:40 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I think people can learn to spell and comprehend and pronounce Maeve a whole lot better than a lot of other Celtic names out there. People will live.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:56 PM on April 30


Maeve is a lovely name. So people have a problem pronouncing it, that's THEIR issue, not yours or Maeve's. When we had our third child, we had a name picked out that was very unusual, but when she was born, she just didn't "look" like that name would fit, so we changed it to Emily. EMILY, and my husband's mother had a fit because the name was "so weird." Our beautiful girl, my M-I-L's issue.
posted by LinkyVal at 6:22 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


I also have an unusual Irish name that is pretty straightforward but constantly mangled. I won't lie-- when I was a kid I hated it, in large part because people frequently mispronounced/misspelled it. But you know what? I love my name now, and I really can't imagine being called anything else.

When it comes to mispronunciations there are ones close enough to my name that I let slide so I do think you need to pick your battles sometimes. But really, there is nothing so difficult about Maeve that would mean that her family at the very least shouldn't be endeavoring to get it right. So when grandma or whoever calls her Mauve or Mayvee or Moove just keep saying "it's Maeve" until they get the hang of it.
posted by fox problems at 6:42 PM on April 30


Maeve is wonderful, and when your daughter is a year old, her name will be such an integral part of her you won't be able to imagine anything else.


She is and will be the queen and the light of your world.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:51 PM on April 30


I know a woman who chose Maeve for her own screen name because she loved it so much better than her own.

Also, grandparents are weird about names and don't understand that they don't get a vote. My dad rang me up three days post partum to tell me that he'd thought about my baby's name and if I only changed one letter it wouldn't sound so harsh. Then he sent me text messages about how he hopes she won't be teased for her name in school. Her name is Amelia.

He's freaking nuts and I gave him the sharp answer he deserved. Then he studiously avoided mentioning her name for a whole month.

So tell grandma to get with the program already. You're a good chooser of names. And if your kid ends up disliking it she can change it herself.

Also, consider that you may have PPD? Just throwing it out there.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:41 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


I think kids can and will end up hating their name no matter what you pick. I'm a Jennifer from the 80s, and practically everywhere that I go, there are at least 2 or 3 others, which is sucky in its own special way (my husband is a Jonathan, so we both get stuck with that, whoo). I think the idea of having a slightly more conventional middle name might be a good alternative, so at least she has the option to change to that if she wants. If you want yet another internet person's opinion, I think Maeve is lovely. But really, you like the name and your husband likes the name, and that's all that matters.

Also, yes, people have trouble pronouncing and spelling everything. My last name is one syllable and a super-common English word, but I still get asked to spell it. C'est la vie.
posted by ashirys at 7:06 AM on May 1


My daughter's name is Imogen (her biological mother named her) and I love her name. It always gets mispronounced, though, at the dentist's office and places like that. We call her Imi (rhymes with gimmie) and people call her Amy sometimes. You'll have those kinds of issues, probably, but they are small. Like I said, I love her name. And I love the name you picked for your daughter. Her name is not her destiny. It just feels that way right now.
posted by orsonet at 11:38 AM on May 1


You may be interested to know that your sexons guessing is not a new phenomenon. Going through my recently deceased mother's personal information, her name was changed within a few months of her birth in 1943.

Congratulations on your little bundle of joy.
posted by valentinepig at 12:00 PM on May 1


I meant to add in my anecdote above - by the time she hit 70, Grandma used all her grandchildren's names pretty much interchangeably anyway. Your name might be Caitlin, but your name for the day at Grandma's house would be "Tam... Deb... Johnny *point*" so it didn't matter whether Grandma had ever learned how to pronounce "Caitlin" in the first place.

I guess it might matter to Johnny, AKA "Sco... Jen... Caitlin *point*" but he was a little brat, so who cares.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:15 PM on May 1


Maeve is an awesome name. It's musical and lovely and dignified. Also, Maeve is the queen who started The Cattle Raid of Cooley -- bad ass!

My four children have Celtic names, and they wear them just fine. Mind you, if you have gone with, like, Siobhan or Aoife, then you might have cause to worry. But Maeve is easy; rest assured that she will be awesome. Which reminds me: go to bed!

Look, the stuff that goes through your mind in those first few months at home is *cough* not always to be trusted. Doubts, questions, and the rest -- they're just mirages; if you have time to fret, then honestly you have time for a quick nap. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 1:28 PM on May 1


Things I would do if I could:

-Magically cause my infant self to have been born clutching a telegram that said HER NAME IS MAEVE PLEASE FILL OUT ALL PAPERWORK ACCORDINGLY.
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:27 PM on May 2 [4 favorites]


Also, feel free to fuck with people. Send emails that explain "Maeve. Rhymes with Niamh."
posted by DarlingBri at 6:57 PM on May 2 [10 favorites]


I'm doubly biased as I'm Irish and my niece is named Maeve, but in case you needed another vote - and I see from your response that you don't - you should definitely keep it, because it is a lovely name.
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:32 PM on May 5


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