Before Leo was born we had already picked out his name. I talked all about how we named him quite a while ago and so I thought I’d talk a bit about Tayo and how he came to own his name.more
Having nine days in hospital before his arrival I had plenty of time to ponder what his name might be. But do you think I could decide? Of course not. He was four days old before he had a name. I had a list, some stayed all the way through, some got crossed off and added back on again.
With Leo we had sort of agreed that he would have a more western first name with an African middle name – just like his Dad and I was really keen to carry on this tradition but we just couldn’t settle on anything.
I couldn’t remember where I’d heard the name Tayo, perhaps I’d read it somewhere but either way it came to me and on his second day in the world it was the one I was the most drawn to out of my ever dwindling list. Tayo. I really liked the sound of it so after a very quick google search you wouldn’t believe my amazement to find out that it is a name that comes from the Yoruba ethnic group in Nigeria (It also has origins in other parts of the world too). It is common practice to name your child from the language of your own ethnic group… My husbands family is Igbo. I wasn’t sure we’d be ‘allowed’ to use it.
Turns out Igbo and Yoruba people are really good friends and after a few conversations with Grandpa he confirmed that it would be totally acceptable to use the name. Although, I had settled on the pronunciation Tay-O when actually they pronounce it more like Tai-O but we all agreed as a family that in fact if that’s the pronunciation we want then that’s what we should use. Turns out that lots of people pronounce it different ways and I’m actually ok with that.
The thing that drew me most to the name? It’s meaning. It means joy or happiness and my gosh was I a happy lady when I knew he was finally here safe and sound. It just seemed so fitting for him and our whole situation. Names mean so much in the small ethnic groups that exist in Africa and babies are named for reasons, wether it be the day they were born or for the circumstance surrounding their birth so it seemed to suit us perfectly.
So, we had Tayo, which I thought might be his middle name.
We went on and on going through names. We’d found an Igbo name we loved as well… Could he be an Ozi?
The Igbo name Ozioma means good news; another extremely fitting name for our rainbow baby. I thought Ozi was cool and a name that could carry him through life but I wasn’t too sure I was brave enough to give him such an ‘outlandish’ name. Would people make pre conceived notions about his ethnicity when they saw it written on a CV? Could he go through life definitely having to spell his name? We debated it for what felt like forever. Ozioma… I wasn’t sure it rolled off the tongue. Not as nicely as Tayo.
In his heart of hearts I think Anthony would’ve loved to go with Ozi. But as it seemed this new little baby was going to in fact end up with two African names, he let me have the final say… Nothing like pressure to get it right!
I think Tayo had always been a favourite. It was on my list for a few weeks and it never came off. I felt really happy with it; it seems strong but gentle at the same time and I couldn’t get past it’s meaning.
We went with Ozioma for his middle name and I love it. To my astonishment I have had two people question me about his name… One Yoruba and an one Igbo. I have loved both of those conversations. We knew that using a mix of the ethnic groups names might be questioned from time to time, especially if he was ever to visit Nigera but I didn’t expect it from my GP! We had such a wonderful conversation, she told me all about how when she was born her parents knew she would be coming to the UK and so the name they gave her means ‘safe journey’. How wonderful. And it turns out that she is Igbo and her husband is Yoruba! It explained why she knew so much abotu his names… She even knew that Ozioma meant good news. My heart swelled.
So there you have it. I now have my Leo Obiora and Tayo Ozioma… My Obi and Ozi… My heart and my joy.
How are you getting on with choosing your babies name? Did you know straight away what he or she would be called? Was your baby left nameless for a period of time whilst you tried to fit a name to a new face? Have you got any naming traditions?