Nikki’s second baby is nine months old and she has just changed his name. I was completely fascinated by this and wanted to find out more so I asked Nikki to share some questions about the name change. As Nikki opens up to us you will see that this is more than a story about a name, it is a story of a mother who followed her instincts and listened to her heart, it is a story about a mom being brave despite what others may think, and it is a story that is full of inspiration for other mamas.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am passionate about animals, especially dogs. I opened my own pet grooming business when I first moved to Joburg nine years ago. Starting off as a mobile groomer, I ended up creating a beautiful little parlour from my home in Parkhurst once I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, and continued to groom hands-on until I was 41 weeks pregnant.
My mom had given birth naturally four times with ease so I was convinced that my journey would be much the same. I booked in at Genesis, and I waited eagerly for my baby to arrive. I had a traumatic, but life changing birth which ended an emergency caesarean, and my little girl was born.
My plan was to tie my baby to my chest and continue my business, and 2 weeks after she was born I re-opened. I was determined to not allow being a mother change me. But every mother knows that from the moment a child is born both you and your life are changed forever. When Sienna was three months old I realised that I needed to put us first, and I closed my business.
An armed robbery involving my little girl, two miscarriages, and building a home later, I found myself 35 weeks pregnant with my second baby, a little boy. A remarkable birth counsellor, reflexology, an osteopath, and hours of yoga found me, once again, determined for a successful v-bac, and knowing I only had 40 weeks until my doctor’s cut off, time was running out. My little boy was born via a beautiful Caesarian at just over 40 weeks and he was perfect.
My husband, Marcus, and I now have a magical three year old girl, Sienna, and a 9 month old boy Jude. My journey of motherhood has been like most others – intense happiness, desperate despair, and remarkable self discovery. I do not know the person I was before I became a mother because motherhood is my soul’s description and my purpose on this earth.
You decided to change your son’s name when he was nine months old. What was his name and what did you change it to?
His name given at birth was Alexander, and his name now is Jude. We announced ‘Jude’ on social media at 9 months but we were calling him ‘Jude’ at home and with family a little while before that.
What prompted you to change his name?
A name is such a powerful word. My belief is that, other than your own name, the sound of your child’s name should be the loveliest word to your ears. His birth name stopped sounding lovely to both my husband and I, and in discussion we both agreed that in the greater scheme of things it was ok to follow our hearts and simply change it.
You mentioned your son chose his name. What do you mean by this?
My husband and I discovered Jude together, and both fell in love with his name. During my pregnancy I knew that he was a Jude. Marcus felt uncomfortable after realising that Sienna Miller and Jude Law were married, and I was forced to wipe the idea out of my mind. After his birth we didn’t have a name for three days, and Marcus and I settled on Alexander eventually because it is a beautiful name, and our families would be very accepting of it.
Days and months past and he simply didn’t feel like an Alexander so I asked advice from an older friend who is a physiologist specialising in mothers and sons. ‘Have you ever heard of this before?’ I begged. ‘My sons name is Jude – am I going mad!’ She replied that I should call him Jude for a week, feel his response, and see if it fits. I did this and the transition was easy. He responded immediately and it just felt right. All moms will know that babies are expert communicators long before they are bound to language and social appropriateness.
Was there a specific moment you just knew you had to change his name or did the feeling grow over a period of time?
The feeling definitely grew for me. I was intimidated by what my family, friends and Sienna would feel about this slightly crazy idea! I kept wiping it from my mind and forcing myself to just settle. It was Marcus that first said ‘should we change it?’ and then I knew I was not alone, and that together we were making the right decision for our child.
Were you never completely happy with his original name in the first place?
I was so relieved to have a beautiful, healthy child and a conscious, present and memorable birth that I didn’t really think about how completely happy I was with the name. I loved the name Alexander, and it was right there at the top of both of our lists! But yes, looking back now, a voice inside me always knew that his name is Jude.
How did you decide the name Alexander?
My husband and I both love the name. David is a family name so we loved Alexander David as it is strong and sounds good!
How did you decide the name Jude?
I didn’t decide – Jude did 🙂 Honestly when I was pregnant the name Jude felt like it popped out of the pages every time I came across it. Before I was pregnant with him, I never ever thought I’d have a son called Jude. I thought I’d have one called Alexander! But now I look at him and he is a complete Jude inside and out!
Was the name change your decision or a joint decision with your husband?
It was completely mutual and has been an incredibly bonding experience for my husband and I. I would never have taken the plunge without his support and I don’t think he would have without mine.
How did you tell family members about the new name?
I told my family by having an emotional in-depth discussion about how we had made the wrong decision, and we felt we need to change it, describing all my thoughts and feelings in great lengths and depths. My husband sent an email to his family saying ‘Hi family my parents have changed my name to Jude. Please don’t be cross, they are a little crazy!’
Anything else you would like to share with us about your little boy’s wonderful name story?
It hasn’t all been easy. I lay awake many nights riddled with anxiety. I have been criticised and insulted. It’s been slightly embarrassing and really not something I would like to experience again. I am a spiritual person and have always felt that a name beyond all else carries incredible power and a strong sense of self. I would have loved to have named him Jude at birth and not gone through this confusion for my toddler and for everyone else, but this is his story and we have grown so much from it. If you cannot stand up for and beside your child, beyond all else, then parenting is not for you!
Thanks for sharing a part of your motherhood story with us Nikki! And hello Jude!