I’ve shared how hard it was for me and Vishnu to agree on a boy name. I had a 5 year old spreadsheet with about 10 names that I liked, and my husband vetoed every single one of them. And then he had the audacity to suggest the name Sawyer. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the name Sawyer, but Vishnu knew I would never agree. Crazy man!

Anyways, I digress. Once we agreed on the name Kaiden, I brought up the whole middle name thing. For some reason, Vishnu was okay with me selecting it, so we went with Shiv. I’ll explain more about why in a minute, but let me back up and explain how this whole middle name thing works for us.

In Gujarati tradition, when you get married, you take on your husband’s name for your middle name. All of your kids are also given your husband’s name as their middle names. So for example, my mom, sister and I all had my dad’s name as our middle name.

And on the other end of the spectrum, Vishnu doesn’t have a middle name. The whole name thing works a little differently for South Indians. I don’t want to misrepresent it, so I won’t go into details. Vishnu’s family isn’t very traditional in this sense, so it’s not all that complicated. But no middle name for him.

When we got married, I decided to make my maiden name my middle name, dropping my dad’s name. My sister kept her full birth name and tagged on her husband’s last name. To each her own!

When it came time to decide on Kaiden’s middle name, I picked Shiv because it’s the name of a Hindu god, and for some reason, that was important to me. Also, with Kaiden being a modern/non-Indian name and our last name being very long and traditional, I wanted something simple with an Indian feel. I also love the flow to his whole name when said together – it just works!

Even though I didn’t get my top boy name pick (or my 10th!), I’m glad Vishnu let me select K’s middle name. Otherwise, we would’ve ended up with Sawyer for sure!

Your turn – does your culture or family follow a certain naming convention? Is there a story behind your name – first or middle?

By Parita

4 thoughts on “What’s in a [Middle] Name?”
  1. I feel you on the boy name thing! We couldn’t agree on anything so we named him after my husband and picked his middle name based on astrology. that’s how we got Baadal! I’m glad he has an Indian middle name because I feel like it connects him to his Indian roots.

    1. Love Matteo’s name! It’s unique, tied to his roots, and easy to say! 🙂 All very important.

  2. My husband and I are both Gujarati and we follow the same traditional naming convention that you mentioned. However, I never changed my middle or last name. So, my middle name is still my dad’s name and my last name is still my maiden name. With my son, I too wanted something Indian for a middle name so we named him Veer. We choose Veer because he was born 6 weeks early at 3 pounds. He was a very brave little boy 💙
    For some reason, I also wanted to carry the dad’s middle name tradition so he has two middle names.

    1. Love the meaning behind Veer. So special! And as far as how you name your kid…I say, your kid your choice! HA!

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