To those of you who have been following our journey, I’m very sorry to have left you hanging so long! The days and weeks following the birth have gone very pear-shaped (our housing situation became unstable, but the land we purchased is not yet habitable, so we’re all split up while we try to push through the utility permits and whatnot. That means I’m functionally single mothering at the moment!) so I’m only now making time for catching up on all my social media stuff.
T, S, and I are beyond thrilled to announce the birth of our sweet baby Nugget, who came five days early and managed to be a February baby! She was 7 pounds, 15 ounces of pure adorableness, with huge blue eyes and a ring of dark hair around the lower half of her head like a little monk.
With your help, we narrowed down our original pool of 140 options to this list of 30 names, which we took to the hospital with us.
After much deliberation, we chose…
Nimue Fern Lunaria (KAY-lar)!!!
Nimue was the first name that all three of us agreed on. I had secretly been thinking of her as Nimue for the couple of weeks leading up to the birth, but didn’t say anything for fear of swaying my partners’ opinions. I had written all of the name options on index cards with the name and pronunciation on one side and the meaning, associations, and reasons for considering the name on the other. S read through the meaning side of each card without looking at the names themselves, and based on that, Nimue was her top pick. And T had asked me to show them only the cards that were first name options, and of those, they also liked Nimue the best.
The name comes from Arthurian legend, in which Nimue was an enchantress, a priestess of Avalon, the Lady of the Lake who bestowed the mythical sword Excalibur. In many versions, she was Merlin’s apprentice, and in some, his lover. She is one of the few canonical female druids, and is said to have had Fey blood. Different sources claim her name has different meanings: “cloud; pale wanderer; memory.”
In addition to the meaning, Nimue is an honor name for my sister Naomi, due to their similar sounds. She was the baby of the family, and at 11 years her senior, I was kind of her mini-mom, which resulted in a really close relationship between the two of us. Nimue is also a tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy, who plays Spock in the original series of Star Trek - fitting not only because he was a wonderful human being, but also because that show helped me survive the brutal first months of my pregnancy, when I was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Nickname Nim references The Rats of NIMH trilogy, which I loved as a child, as well as the eponymous character from Nim’s Island, which is a further homage to my sister, being her favorite movie.
We’ve gone a little wild with the nicknames, including staples such as Nim, Nimmy, and Nim-Nim, but also creative gems such as Nimsy-Whimsy (S), Niminy Cricket (me), and Invader Nim (T).
The second middle was the next one we decided on. We had it narrowed down to three options: Illyria (T’s fave), Sylvestra (my fave), and Lunaria (which we all three loved.) The tipping factor was a witchy omen S experienced the night before the birth. She had gone to her parents’ farm to tend the animals, and when she came out of the barn, she looked up at the sky, and there was a cloud in front of the moon shaped like a rabbit. The cloud was positioned with the moon inside the rabbit’s belly, and as it moved across the sky, it looked as though the rabbit was giving birth to the full moon. S immediately felt this was a sign from the universe that the baby was going to be born that night, and sure enough, by 6 a.m., I was in labor! When she shared the story with us, I knew we had to choose Lunaria.
The name Lunaria comes from genus of flowering plants in the fern family, known by their common name, “honesty.” The plant’s seed pods bear a strong resemblance to silver coins, earning it the nickname “money plant.” These same silvery seed pods are also responsible for the name’s “moon-like” meaning. Lunaria is also known as moonwort and believed to have magical properties. In folklore, witches were repelled by iron, but moonwort nullified the effects of iron amulets and protective barriers, allowing witches to walk by night wherever they pleased. I also love that if you take the individual meaning of each of the parts, “luna” and “aria,” you get “moon song / song of the moon.”
The first middle was actually the hardest one to decide on! We knew we wanted a nature name with a connection to the land, so we easily narrowed it down to two options, Fern and Alder. We had a dickens of a time deciding between them, though! T really loved Alder, especially for its unisex vibes; S had adored Fern from the start; and of course, I was no help because I loved them both! We even sought some grandparent opinions when we couldn’t make a decision, but they were evenly split, with T’s side loving Fern and my side loving Alder. We ended up taking too long to choose one, and they told us we could take her home and mail in our choice once we decided. (This was technically true, but boy howdy, did it screw up her paperwork like WOAH. Some unsolicited advice: if you live in the US, name your baby before you leave the hospital!!! Seriously, it will save you so much time, money, and paperwork!) For a while there, it was looking like Alder was going to win, because S had come over to that side - she liked how Nimue Alder Lunaria flowed better than Nimue Fern Lunaria. But first I had a very fairy-tale-like dream featuring the image of a baby in a bed of fiddlehead ferns, which swayed me back to the Fern side. Then when we repeated the combos with our last name attached, that changed S’s mind back to Fern, because the syllable count was 3-1-4-2 instead of 3-2-4-2, and she liked the flow of that better.
Fern is one of those few botanical names that has a meaning beyond just the plant it describes; it means both “bold voyager” and “one who lives among the ferns.” In addition to having the special connection to the land we bought to homestead on - located smack in the Pacific Northwest rainforest, and thus dripping with ferns - variant Fearn is also the third letter of the Ogham, a sacred druidic alphabet of trees used in astrology, magic, and divination. Fearn is the rune that represents the alder tree, associated with protection, strength, and defense. It is connected with the divine warrior Bran the Blessed, who descended into the Underworld and returned with oracular powers from the ancestors - thus the rune also symbolizes prophetic guidance. The fact that Fern is so connected to alders made me feel like we were getting the best of both worlds by choosing this name as the final piece of the puzzle.
I want to extend an ENORMOUS thank you to the Berry community. You have all been so kind and supportive and helpful (and patient!) throughout our name journey, and I could not be happier about our final selection. Thank you, thank you, thank you so so much.
Love and well wishes to you all!!!
~ T, S, N, and I