From Pickles to Julia {what’s in a name}

I’m sure a few of you were disappointed we didn’t actually name our baby Pickles, but I just couldn’t get on board with that name. As much as I want her to stand out in life, naming her after a sour snack isn’t the way to do it. Although, we did hear some interesting versions of Pickles—someone suggested we name her Picklina, which isn’t actually too horrible compared to some other names floating around out there. 

So now onto how we named her Julia…

Way back when, around the time I was playing tetherball and four-square at recess, I loved the names Christina and Kristin, and I was almost certain that when I grew up and had a daughter I’d name her Kirstin (notice that little letter switch? I thought it was so beautifully clever). I clung to those names, probably because they belonged to the cool, blond-haired, popular girls, but put them on the back-burner, stashing them away for when I’d need them. But then I got pregnant and those names went down the drain. They’re lovely names, but they just weren’t right for us, and they weren’t right for her.

When I was around 11 weeks pregnant I had an inkling that I was going to have a girl. I never said anything about it out loud because I didn’t want to jinx it, but the feeling lingered. I actually had to convince myself right before the anatomy scan that if my mother’s intuition was wrong and I was carrying a boy, it would be okay.

Regardless of gender, my husband and I knew we wanted our baby to have a name that had some sort of Italian significance since she would be born here. I was so convinced that I was having a girl that I referred to her by this name even before the anatomy scan. My husband had to remind me that I should maybe think about a boy’s name just in case she was actually a he. It turns out my gut was right—the scans didn’t show boy parts.

So how did the name come about? The region where we live, like Tuscany, Umbria, or Veneto, is called Friuli-Venezia Giulia. I said our region aloud one day in that first trimester and my tongue lingered over the last word: Giulia. I repeated it several times in my head and then finally said it out loud: Julia.

It instantly felt right. We tossed around several names that all had ties to Italy either in spelling, pronunciation, or meaning, but we always went back to Julia. There’s something comforting about a simple, classic, and beautiful name, and while unique names are fun, we decided to go with the American spelling. Julia, just Julia.

As for her middle name, Grace? Well, it just felt right. We went through practically every name under the sun and paired it with Julia, but kept falling back on Grace. We knew the name was a keeper once my husband started referring to her as Gracie more often than Julia. Actually, more often than not, he calls her Gracie Lou Freebush…poor girl! I never knew the name Grace was so popular as a middle name until we let the cat (her name) out of the bag.

So that’s how we came up with her name! Out with Pickles and in with Julia Grace 🙂


  1. Great story! It's a beautiful name! We've barely talked about names. We're not finding out the gender, so we'll have to do a couple names for each. I can't wait to start talking about names!

  2. My husband and I have the same initials so we decided a long time ago to pass our initials on to our children. Since moving to Japan, we've talked of naming our future children something Japanese but I just can't bring myself to name my child Junko or Junichi!

  3. I love her name. So classic, so pretty! I had similar reservations about a name I had picked out for the longest time – Caroline. As soon as I found out it was a girl, Caroline just didn't fit anymore.

  4. I love that you were able to incorporate Italy in there without being over-the-top about it. I really, really love the name Julia, and we almost named our baby that. I also had a name that I clung to for many years that just wasn't right any more (Layla/Laila–my cousin had a Lila the year before, so that sorta squashed it, but it wasn't right anyway).

  5. I love that you incorporated where you are currently living into her name. Such a unique story that she'll always be able to tell!

  6. I love love love this post!! How cool that you named her after a place that you all lived together. Our baby's name is going to have some ties to Italy as well (since I'm 1/2 Italian). I think her name is beautiful and the fact that you can still call her pickles as nickname is super cute too.

  7. Oh, I love it!!! I totally understand going with traditional [American] spellings, but I think I would've gone with the Italian since she was born there. 🙂 But that's just me. Charlotte's name just felt "right" for us, too. It's hard to explain how you just know!

  8. Julia has always been a favorite name for me! Such a lovely name! When I was a young girl, I always thought the name Stacy was so glamorous and named all my dolls and Barbies Stacy. So funny how those things change so much!

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