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5 Smart Ways to Upcycle Grandma’s Name and Make It New Again for Baby

Upcycle Grandma's Name for BabyI was having a pretty depressing day today. I found out, once again, that I am not pregnant — and I’m being haunted by the same thought I’ve had at least once a week since the loss of my twins at 17 weeks pregnant.

But like most of my woe-is-me moods, it didn’t last long. And this one was sweetly interrupted by one of my favorite things — baby names — with a post by one of my favorite baby name blogs, Appellation Mountain.

The brilliant Abby Sandel (the voice behind Appellation Mountain) reposted a blog from January 2013 to her Facebook page today: Reinventing Grandma Names. Her timing was perfect. Not only was I primed for a pick-me-up, but I’ve also often considered using either of my grandmothers’ names. Della (my paternal grandmother’s name) would be right in line with naming trends, but my maternal grandmother’s name? Not so much. Lorraine. I do not like Lori as a nickname at all. But Raine could be a contender.

So how can we upcycle grandma’s name to make it new again for Baby? Abby has some great suggestions. Here are a few of my favorites, but be sure to check them all out at Appellation Mountain!

Modernize the Name

Names like Mary are classic, but generally still worn by older ladies. Instead, use a modern form of the name, like Maren, Maris, Mara, or (my favorite) Marisol.

Spunk It Up

Names like Susan (my mother’s name, and as her brothers and my gram call her, Susie) sound dated, dated, dated. So take this dull name and spunk it up. Try Susannah or Susette — or be daring and use Zuzu.

Chop It Up

Cut the end of the name off. Cut the beginning of the name off. Chop it up for a present-day feel. Like my grandmother’s name, Lorraine — I’d likely give the full name, but use the nickname Raine. There are also options like turning Karen into Wren, Cynthia into Thea, Pamela into Milla, or Michelle into Elle.

Flip It Up

Names like Lisa Ann, Betty Ann, and really any -Ann name, can be flipped around for a fresher feel. Annaliese, Annabeth. Really, if you’re lucky enough to “have” to use Ann-anything, you’ve practically hit the jackpot. Anastasia, Vivianna, Julianna — the list goes on.

Use a Variation

Linda might make you cringe, but Linden, Rosalind, Adalyn, Linette, and Melinda all sound fresher. And you could always tie into the meaning of the name. Take Donna, for example. Other, more modern names that mean “lady” include Leda, Kyra, and Melvina.

Do you plan to honor a grandmother when you name your baby? How are you handling it?

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Source: Appellation Mountain
Photo: Nathan Bittinger

Read more of Aela’s writing on Babble and at Two Moms Make a Right.

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