Family

Libby Matthews: What’s in a baby name?

Columnist Libby Matthews discusses her choice of baby name, and questions why others feel so inclined to comment on it.

Libby Matthews
Libby Matthews

Naturopath, author and co-owner of blog Julia and Libby is a first time mum to daughter Maxwell. Over the coming weeks, she'll be sharing her progress as she gets to grips with motherhood, and all the changes it involves.

“For the entire nine months of my pregnancy, I was convinced I was having a baby boy.

I became so adamant that a little boy was on the way, that me and my partner Michael had even decided on a name.

We were going to call our newborn son Beau, and then have Maxwell as the middle name.

When I gave birth to a girl, I was over the moon. But it did mean the name we’d spent so many nights deliberating over didn’t feel right to us.

There are many things to consider with baby names, and we’d struggled for ages to come up with one we both liked.

If either of us knew someone with a particular name, it had an association, and that caused so many names to get thrown out of the running!

I was starting to think we'd never decide, and to make matters more complicated, I wanted to get some kind of family history into the name.

We picked Maxwell initially because it’s a family name from my dad’s side, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it, even for a little girl.

This has obviously had a mixed response.

I’ve had plenty of comments from people who say it's a cruel or silly choice for a girl.

Others have said it’s confusing or unfair to her growing up, but I think you’ve got to do what works for your family.

When I'm standing in the supermarket and have to repeatedly explain: “It’s Maxwell, but she’s a girl,” I do start to second guess myself.

But to us, Max is cute and perfect for our little baby, so I'm trying not to listen to critics.

Her middle name, Milou, is to honour my Dutch roots on my mum’s side. We thought it was a beautiful name and it fits so well with Maxwell.

Catch you next time,

Libby x”

Maxwell name meaning
Traditionally Maxwell is a masculine name with a fascinating origin. A combination of the Scandinavian name ‘Magnus’ with the Old English Wella – meaning steam. It’s overall meaning is “Mack’s Stream.” See more from Behind the Name.

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