I Gave My Baby A Name No One Can Seem To Pronounce
Growing up, I always wished for a unique name. Perhaps I wouldn't have felt that way if I had one instead of the common name Amanda, but I decided early on that given the opportunity to name another human being, I would pick something unique. I followed through with that decision when my son was born. His name is Everyn (pronounced ev-rin). We made it up. Before a second baby was a thought, I was reading a novel (Her Fearful Symmetry — a great book!) that had a character named Elspeth. I told my husband, "If we ever have another baby and it's a girl, let's name her Elspeth." He read the book and loved the name as much as me.
When I became pregnant and we found out we were having a girl, we were set. But first we wanted to check in with our son to see his feelings on his unique name — and asked him if it bothered him that people get it wrong sometimes. He loves his name, and he thought the name we had picked out was perfectly fitting for his sister-to-be.
When Elspeth was born, there were people who had trouble with her name, just like we assumed. Many couldn't pronounce it right or it sounded stifled when they said it. There have been strangers who refuse to repeat it and acquaintances who have asked for a nickname instead. We named her Elspeth, so that's what we would prefer. I have patiently worked with people to help them pronounce her name. I know it can be a bit tricky, but it's my daughter's name.
The worst pronunciation has been "El-Spith," which sounds similar to "spit" at the end. Not pretty. It's a bit painful on the ears to hear it like that — maybe even more for me since I'm her mom and named her. I usually just use her name often in front of those individuals, in hopes they will catch on. Or, you know, "It rhymes with 'Beth' there at the end..." Sometimes that works.
Despite these issues, we've never regretted the names we have chosen. We've also never planned for nicknames. We let them form naturally once our children were born. Everyn is Ev or Evy (Ev-E) sometimes and Elspeth gets Elz or Elzie (we have to use the "z," so as not to confuse it with the name "Elsie." Complicated, we know!)