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My Miracle Baby Needs a Perfect Name!

I was told I had no viable eggs after going through chemotherapy for cancer, but now I am pregnant with a little girl. I have always loved the name Claire and my husband loves it as well, which is great, but we are stuck on a middle name. Ann is both my mother's middle name and mine. Its meaning in Hebrew is "God has favored me," which I love. But "Claire Ann" doesn't flow and we have a short last name, too, that goes with NOTHING. What should I do?

– In the No-Flow Zone

First of all, allow me to congratulate you on your amazing, unexpected pregnancy! Whatever one's religious beliefs, it's impossible to hear a story like yours, with this immense joy coming out of suffering and despair, and not feel grateful. Not only are you pregnant after doubting you ever could be, but you also have a chance to give your daughter the name you've cherished for years, without husbandly vetoes or uncooperative baby genders: a truly rare event!

This perfect alignment of events seems to demand a perfect name. But as you've noted, yours doesn't quite fit the bill. I'll choose a one-syllable surname name at random to stand in for your short surname. Claire Ann Smith, for instance, doesn't have as mellifluous a sound as Claire Elizabeth Smith or Fiona Louise Smith. Conventional naming wisdom calls for a mix of syllable lengths spread between the components of a name: 2-3-1, say, or 3-1-2.  Studies show that listeners rate more favorably names with that kind of flow rather than more repetitive distributions of syllables, like 2-2-2 or 1-1-1.

If you had a three-syllable name in mind that you love as much as Ann to pair with Claire I might recommend you choose it. But you don't. Not only that, your reasons for choosing Ann run deeper than simply its sound or balance as a part of the name overall: family connection and spiritual meaning.

In the end, there isn't any such thing as a perfect name, just the name that speaks most powerfully to your heart. Your daughter has found her way to you in spite of immense odds. A name with "imperfect" flow won't change that.


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January 5, 2015 10:22 AM
By Sasha (not verified)

I think Claire Ann is nice. You could also add a second middle name, like Claire Ann Elizabeth. Or hyphenate Claire-Ann and add another middle name. Or hyphenate two middle names.

January 5, 2015 10:39 AM
By Anonymoose (not verified)

The full name won't be said very often, so don't worry about flow. Claire Ann is a good name.

You could smush Ann with your husband's mother's name. If his mother's name is:

Linda - Lindann
Barbara - Annara
Jennifer - Annifer
Mary - Maryann or Marian
Lisa - Lisann or Annaliese

January 5, 2015 1:20 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If you like Ann best then use it. Claire Ann sounds lovely.

Or you can choose a name with Ann in it:


January 5, 2015 2:26 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)


Claire Ann is fine. The meaning trumps flow IMO.

If the flow issue really bothers you, why not use a variant of Ann? Anna, Hannah, Annabelle, Annelise, Anya, etc. There are dozens to choose from, you'd keep the nod to the family name & you'd keep the lovely meaning as well.

January 6, 2015 1:40 PM
By Lisa in TX (not verified)

Have you thought about variations on Ann? My middle name is Anne. When we passed it on to our younger daughter we changed it to Annette, since she's the smaller one.

January 6, 2015 1:53 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Claire Anise
claire Anais

January 6, 2015 2:00 PM
By Elizabeth (not verified)

I grew up with an AnneClaire and I always envied her name.

January 6, 2015 2:49 PM
By anon (not verified)

I too think meaning trumps flow here, but I'd be tempted to hyphenate and make the first name Claire-Ann, for two reasons: 1. It actually sounds really good and 2. with both names being important, it seems a shame to relegate one to the seldom heard/seen middle name spot. You could either add another name for the middle or just not give a middle name at all. I would not, however, change to another form of Ann, as it would dilute the meaning and connection of the name, which is the important part.

January 6, 2015 3:18 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think Claire Ann is perfect. No issues.

January 6, 2015 4:01 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

what about lengthen Ann to Ann names eg

Claire Annabelle, Annabella, Annette, Annali, Annalise, Annalise, Anastasia Annabeth Anne-Marie

or names like


congrats on your miracle baby and wishing you all the best

January 6, 2015 4:07 PM
By Isolde Jane Holland (not verified)

Congratulations! You know, the lady after you named her eldest daughter Elise. Claire Elise is extremely pretty, and has that flow you're seeking.

January 7, 2015 11:04 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

There is nothing more perfect than having 2 names that you both love and a baby to bestow them upon. Don't worry about syllables. The name works just fine. Congratulations.

January 7, 2015 3:42 PM
By Carrie (not verified)

I agree with the flood of comments saying the meaning trumps flow! I don't think little Claire will mind how it sounds when she knows that both her names are very special to you. As people have noted already, hearing your full name is a pretty rare event. I think Claire Ann sounds fine anyway, but using Anna would solve the syllable problem if that's important.

January 8, 2015 12:24 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think you should go with Claire Ann. My name was Mary Ann and I dropped the middle name anyhow and my daughter is Jaclyn Ann and she never uses it. If you really like Claire, or Claire Ann, you should use it. You will enjoy saying it every day you have her in your house. A Mother of 3 girls

January 8, 2015 12:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Another lovely and classic Ann alternative: Dianne.

January 8, 2015 12:35 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My daughter's name is Claire Anne!!! (We have a long last name) I think it is a pretty combination!

January 8, 2015 12:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think Claire Ann is fine, but if you liked the flow better, you could always use Ann Claire, and go by Claire. My grandmother is Margaret Shelagh, and goes by Shelagh. I have always thought that was kind of neat, to go by the middle name. My friend's little boy is John Liam, and goes by Liam. He says that John is his "secret name" and he really likes having his first and middle in that order.

January 8, 2015 9:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You have so much to love about these two names, I think it says a lot that you don't love her full name quite yet.

Did you notice that you can't spell the word "Miracle" without the letters in Claire? The only thing you're missing is the "M", so how about giving her a middle name with an "M' in it?

My suggestion is to take inspiration from the name Mia. I found some websites that say Mia means "mine", and some that claim MIa means "wished for child"--either are lovely and appropriate for your sweet miracle.

My suggestion is to combine Mia with Ann to get Miann or Mianne (rhymes with Brianne), which is a rare but known name in Denmark. I actually knew a girl in high school with that name, and she was absolutely lovely. The added syllable might help with the flow: Claire Mianne "Smith".

No matter what you choose, congratulations on your miracle--all blessings to you and your family!

January 8, 2015 9:05 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I love the idea of lengthening Ann, but Annette has to be off the table. "Claire Annette" is just too close to Clarinet. :)

January 9, 2015 1:56 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I knew a girl named AnneClaire and it always sounded like Aunt Claire. My mn is Anne and I gave it to my girls. I like Claire Anne.

January 9, 2015 4:06 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Claire Anise might be pretty.

January 9, 2015 4:33 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Claire Annika
Claire Antoinette
Claire Dianne
Claire Lizanne
Claire Julianne
Claire Vivianne
Claire Annie
Claire Anna
Claire Antonia
Claire Elianne
Claire Annsley
Claire Annemarie
Claire Anniston
Clairann ?

January 9, 2015 5:06 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

How about Claire Stanley? It has "an" in it, and President Obama's mother's name was Stanley Ann!

Claire Annika
Claire Antoinette
Claire Dianne
Claire Lizanne
Claire Julianne
Claire Vivianne
Claire Annie
Claire Anna
Claire Antonia
Claire Elianne
Claire Annsley
Claire Annemarie
Claire Anniston
Claire Georgeann
Clairann ?

January 9, 2015 5:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Claire Ann is beautiful because it has so much meaning to you! I'm a Claire and my middle name is Maureen. I actually had a good friend with that exact name as well. It's an alternative to think about.

January 9, 2015 11:46 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

On a daily basis the middle name would not be used, and I don't think that 2 one-syllable names sound strange (Ex: Claire Smith). Congratulations and go with your heart!

January 10, 2015 9:52 AM
By Patricia (not verified)

Because of the special connection of Ann for you as the middle name of both you and your mother, as well as the perfect meaning of the name ANN for this longed-for baby, I would encourage you to use Ann as your daughter's middle name. Claire Ann sounds lovely -- and exactly right -- for your baby girl. Best wishes!

January 11, 2015 6:59 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree about using Clair Ann. I have a Clair Joyce, and she loves her name.

January 11, 2015 7:00 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree about using Clair Ann. I have a Clair Joyce, and she loves her name.

January 12, 2015 12:58 PM
By BitsyPoet (not verified)

I don't know why everyone is suggesting alternatives to just Ann. Ann obviously has deep meaning behind it, so maybe instead of Claire you can use a name that Claire can be a nickname too. You probably already went through these, but I wanted to try and help incase there's something out there you haven't thought of before. Bonus, almost all forms of Claire have the same meaning as Claire does, which is "Bright, Clear, Illuminated, Famous".

Clara Ann
Clairey/Clarrie Ann
Clarisa Ann
Clairette Ann
Clarity Ann
Clairice Ann

Clara Ann would make a good double barrel name if you prefer. In not Claire Ann as a double barrel flows well, and then you could always use another name with meaning to you with it, or even a name that means miracle. Claire Ann Miracle doesn't flow the best, but these might.

Claire Ann Mireille
Claire Ann Alazne
Claire Ann Amari
Claire Ann Ayah
Claire Ann Eijaz
Claire Ann Mireya

Since this baby was long awaited, maybe a middle name meaning "wish" would be appropriate like

Claire Ann Eleuia

One meaning of Mary is "wished for" and many of it's diminutive forms share the meaning. And there's a lot of choices there too

Claire Ann Maisie
Claire Ann Mamie
Claire Ann Madie
Claire Ann Mariam/Miriam
Claire Ann Mariette/Marietta
Claire Ann Marion/Marilyn
Claire Ann Mimi
Claire Ann Minnie
Claire Ann Molly/Polly/Moyra

And then there's Claire Ann Mirit. The sound flows well in a surprising way. It's not popular like Claire and Ann so it gives the name a balance, yet it's not extremely difficult to pronounce. Mirit not only means "wished for" but also means "strong willed" which fits your daughter. It's Israeli in orgin, and though it's unisex it's most often used as a girl name. It's also Hewbrew, which also fits well.

If you still don't see anything else you love, then stick to Claire Ann. It's a little choppy, but not extremely so. You could always double barrel it and exclude a middle name, but Claire Ann _____ should be just fine. The meaning behind the name makes up for the slight stilt in the flow. Plus, since it's a girl, there's a good chance that one day she'll have a different last name.

January 12, 2015 4:42 PM
By DMNES (not verified)

What about the lovely Spanish name Clariana?

January 19, 2015 3:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

How about simply adding an 'a' to make Claire Anna ?

January 20, 2015 1:06 PM
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February 4, 2015 2:09 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

How about Anna-Claire?

February 18, 2015 8:40 PM
By Katieerby (not verified)

I went to school with a girl named Clareanne! Her parents were in the same situation- Both the names Claire and Ann had deep meaning so they combined the two names with a unique spelling. I always loved it! We would sometimes call her Claire for short!

February 18, 2015 8:40 PM
By Katieerby (not verified)

I went to school with a girl named Clareanne! Her parents were in the same situation- Both the names Claire and Ann had deep meaning so they combined the two names with a unique spelling. I always loved it! We would sometimes call her Claire for short!

March 14, 2015 8:22 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My neighbors little girl is named Clairiana. She is an absolute doll.

March 14, 2015 9:12 PM
By StephJ (not verified)

My eldest daughter's name is Claire Elise. I say if you love the name Claire Ann then name her Claire Ann. Like otger mentioned, you will rarely use her middle name, so go with the name you love that is meaningful to you. I think that after having waited so long for your little miracle, you may be overthinking it a bit and second guessing yourself, which is normal. My Claire is full of zest for life, and I hope yours is, too!

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