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    I gave my daughter an uncommon name. People always pronounce it wrong but I still love it.

    Stanislaw Pytel/ Getty Images

    My name Sara is pretty common, especially spelled with an h. I named my daughter Charissa Anne, giving her an uncommon name first. It was a popular name decades ago, but now it’s popularity has dwindled and that’s why I chose it. 

    I was named after my great grandmother on my father’s side and my great-great aunt on my mother’s. My name also appeared on the top 10 girls names lists throughout the 80s, so everywhere I went there was another Sara(h). Even in my small high school graduating class of 50, there was another Sarah. I went to college and there were two other Sarahs just on my dorm hallway. At that point, I started being known by a nickname.

    Since Sarahs with an h are about three times more common than those without, it is the default spelling. The spelling people even use when replying to emails signed with the correct spelling. I have a friend that I’ve known for almost 10 years that still spells my name wrong. At some point I just gave up on correcting her.

    I married a man with a common name as well. Even worse, he is a junior, so he has the same first and middle name as his father. Childhood family gatherings were even more confusing, because he also had a grandfather, uncle, and cousin who shared his first name. Nicknames were necessary so everyone knew who you were talking to and about.

    We wanted to name our child something that wasn’t popular

    The author (right) and her husband have pretty common names, so they gave their daughter a less common one.

    Courtesy of the author

    When my husband and I started talking about future children, we knew we wouldn’t be naming them either a family name or a popular, common name. We wanted them to have names that felt more special, ones that they wouldn’t encounter too many other people with, if at all. But we also didn’t want to name them something too unusual, that they could potentially be made fun of for.

    When I got pregnant we started brainstorming. I always thought that if I had a girl I would name her after my favorite literary character, Anne of “Anne of Green Gables,” a spunky creative who also had to correct people that spelled her name wrong. Anne has been out of vogue as a popular girls name for decades, but it is a classic girls name that already belonged to multiple people we knew, including an extended family member. So it ended up being demoted to a middle name.

    I had the gut feeling that the baby was a girl long before we officially found out at the gender scan, just like I had the gut feeling that a name I came across early in the pregnancy was her name: Charissa. It felt even more right when I did an online search and saw it hadn’t cracked the top 1,000 since the 1980s. There were three variations on the spelling and my husband and I chose the one that we liked the best.

    I didn’t realize people don’t know how to pronounce Charissa

    What we didn’t anticipate was that there would be confusion about how to pronounce it. The first visit to the pediatrician’s office when her name was called, pronounced incorrectly, was the first time that it occurred to me. I initially dismissed it as one person pronouncing it wrong, but then it seemed like everyone who was encountering her name in written form first was getting it wrong.

    It has become a pleasant surprise when someone pronounces it correctly. While anyone that she has regular interaction with knows the correct pronunciation, unfortunately she’ll have to constantly correct new people she meets throughout her life. Which is disappointing as someone who has experienced frustration due to her name and its spelling her whole life.

    Even so, I wouldn’t change her name or its spelling. It is unique and beautiful, just like her.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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