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Kristel and David were told they couldn’t have children, but just as they gave up trying, they discovered they were expecting a baby girl, who will arrive in a few months. They are still a bit in shock, but naturally overjoyed.

There is only one name they have both agreed on – Grace. As soon as they found out the baby’s sex, Dave began calling her Gracie. As well as both of them liking the name Grace, it seems appropriate, since their daughter feels like something of a “miracle baby”.

However, Kristel is worried that the name Grace is too popular, and hates the thought that their daughter might have to share her name with four other girls named Grace in all her classes at school. She has suggested other names to Dave, such as Amelia, Elisa, and Stella, but he doesn’t care for them. Dave quite likes the name Estelle though.

Kristel believes this might very well be their only child, and she wants her daughter to have a suitable, traditional, classic, feminine name that she will hopefully like and feel proud of.

Another issue is that Kristel and Dave have a one syllable surname that sounds similar to a vocabulary word, such as Cooke, and people have told them that because of this, they need a longer first name to balance their short surname.

The middle name they have picked out is Audrey, a family name which the baby will share with three other generations. However, Kristel is open to suggestions.

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Kristel and David, congratulations on your wonderful and very unexpected news! After years of waiting, of course you want your baby to have the perfect name, and it’s natural to feel that this is your one chance to get it right.

My instinct is that you have got it right, because I immediately connected the name to your situation, with Grace implying a divine gift or blessing, related to the word grateful. The Greek goddesses known as the Graces were also connected with fertility, giving it another level of meaning.

Furthermore, Grace seems to tick all your boxes very neatly, because it’s a classic, traditional, and feminine name. Blog readers are in agreement that Grace is a beautiful timeless classic, simple yet sophisticated, suitable for all ages, and intelligent and professional, so it seems eminently suitable. I think Grace Audrey is a very attractive name combination as well, and love the idea of using a family name that has been passed down for several generations.

But what about its popularity? Grace is in the Top Ten if you look at names without combining spellings, and is #12 on the combined spellings list. That represents just a little over 1200 babies called Grace born in Australia during 2014 (about 0.8% of baby girls). There are around 7000 schools in Australia which accept primary school students, so statistically that isn’t even one Grace per Year 1 class. More good news is that Grace’s popularity has been stable for more than a decade, making it a safe, if popular, choice.

I can’t guarantee that your daughter will be the only Grace in her class, but I would be astounded if there were five girls called Grace. In the case of name-sharing in a classroom (or sports team etc), a nickname is often a help, so should it happen, Gracie could perhaps come to the rescue.

Is Grace too short? I haven’t been strongly persuaded by the argument that a short surname needs a longer name to balance it. Looking at famous women named Grace, singers Grace Jones, Grace Slick (born Grace Wing), and Grace Knight sound perfectly fine to me. In fact Grace Jones was born Beverly Jones, and she chose to use her “too short” middle name Grace instead.

Two short names together do sound quite strong and punchy, and I think there may be a touch of sexism involved, as people seem to be most keen that girls with a short surname be given a longer name. I wonder if you were having a boy instead, and were considering the name Miles, would you be given the same advice, or would Miles Cooke sound okay? If your daughter feels that Grace Cooke is too abrupt for her, she has the option to go by Gracie Cooke if she prefers – and I guess she could always go by her middle name if she wanted to.

In a case where they were worried about name length and popularity, some parents might choose to use Gracie as the name on the birth certificate, but is that the right choice for you? Because you say that you want a traditional classic name, that seems to point more towards Grace than cute Gracie. I get the feeling that you would prefer your daughter had a name like Grace, and kept Gracie as a nickname only.

Whether a name is too short or too popular is a matter of personal choice, and you and Dave are the only people who can answer these questions. But it feels as if you have really settled on Grace already. It’s the only name you agree on, and Dave seems to have begun getting emotionally attached to the name, already thinking of his daughter as little Gracie. I imagine it might be quite a wrench for him to think of her as anything else.

Although I can’t promise that your daughter will love her name, there is nothing wrong with the name Grace, and lots of things that are right. And I can’t imagine anyone not feeling proud to learn the special meaning of their name, and touched to know that their father was already calling them by their pet name before they were even born.

As you say, this is most likely your only child, and I would hate to see you compromise on another longer, less popular name together, such as Estella, and then regret it later. Deep in your hearts, do you already know that her name is Grace?

UPDATE: The baby’s name is Grace!

POLL RESULTS
96% of respondents didn’t think that Grace was too popular to use. 46% of people said not to even think about popularity once you’ve found the right name, 35% thought Grace was a little bit too popular, but still usable for someone who loved it, and 15% flat out said it wasn’t too popular. Only 4% of people thought Top 10 Grace was too popular to even consider.

93% of respondents didn’t think that Grace was too short matched with a one-syllable surname. 69% of people thought it sounded good, while 24% thought it seemed okay. 4% thought it did seem a bit odd, but not enough to worry about, while only 1% (one person) thought it sounded ridiculous. 2% of people weren’t sure.

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