I was about 30 weeks pregnant when I woke up with an anxiety attack. My eyes opened and I was immediately overwhelmed by the thought of what was about to happen. Not the giving birth or labor part. I had done my research, I had spent countless hours watching birth videos and taking natural childbirth classes. I felt oddly confident in my ability to give birth. It was the rest of it that scared me. I was so concentrated on the birth part that I hadn’t given much thought to my child’s whole entire life.
The “bigness” of it all hit me like a giant wave that came out of nowhere. My thoughts started racing and I couldn’t slow them down. This child is going to grow up. They’re going to interact with other people. They’re going to choose a career. They’re going to VOTE. They’re going to be someone’s significant other. They’re going to be an actual human and it was our job to make sure they were a decent one.
Will woke up to me sobbing over the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book I had started reading to calm me down (lol). He held me and reassured me that we could do this. We were both raised by incredible parents. We were both on the same page about big picture child raising. We both already loved the crap out of this baby and everything was going to be ok. “Babe, we don’t have to raise the kid in a day. It will grow slow and we can figure it out”. Those are words I’m still repeating as I hold this tiny future productive member of society.
Because we waited to know the gender, it was hard for me to picture our child’s future or personality. I liked it that way. I couldn’t place any expectations on them. They were going to be who they were going to be, but we had to give them a name. This part came rather easy for us.
We wanted our baby to have an original yet classic name. Not a name that was too out there, but not too trendy. I’ve always been a fan of old fashioned names. Names that have meaning and sound cute on a tiny human but also fit a grown adult. With me being a teacher, we had to think outside the box.
I’d had my girl name picked out since I was 17. I was working at a summer camp with 2nd and 3rd graders. One week, this tiny little nugget with blonde hair and blue eyes came up and asked me what was for breakfast. Y’all she was stinkin’ precious. I asked her what her name was and she said, “Winifred” with the most adorable voice and I was sold. The more I thought about that name, the more I fell in love with it. It was classic and mature, but “Winnie” was perfect for a little girl. I then saw the movie Tuck Everlasting. The main character, played by Alexis Bledel, was named Winifred and they called her Winnie. I just loved it. It solidified the name in my mind. I was so lucky that Will felt the same way.
Her middle name changed a few times. I had originally wanted something like Elizabeth or Margaret, but that would have given her the worlds longest name. So, we knew we had to give her something short and sweet. For some reason I love the way “J” names sound with out last name, so we started there. Jane was our first choice. However, I’d noticed more and more couples using Jane as a middle name. I figured it was about to become the “Marie” of our generation. I was stumped. Searching for another “J” middle name was proving rather difficult until the summer! June. A beautiful and simple name that also happened to be our anniversary month! Boom. Winifred June. Her name was perfect.
I love repeating her name. Screaming it across the house as if she were in trouble, saying good morning to her, coming up with nick names, picturing her principal saying it as she walks across the graduation stage, writing it down, all of it. Naming a human is a huge responsibility, I wanted to get that part right.
The anxiety is still there sometimes as I wonder what she’ll be like. But for now, I’ll hold her, kiss her, love her, and make sure I raise her the best I can.