Areli Vivianne – A mother’s baby name story

When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, we were in the process of relocating from South Africa (where my husband is from) to the United States (where I’m from). Adding a baby into the transition changed our plans slightly, but we were excited to meet our new little bundle; and began adjusting our plans in order to prepare for baby’s arrival. We decided not to find out if our little one was a girl or a boy, so we started looking for names we liked for both genders. We had a girl’s name, Areli, picked out, but still did not have a boy’s name decided upon when I went into labor.

When the midwife placed our precious newborn on my chest, I found out I was cuddling a baby girl. We immediately named her Areli (pronounced Ahh RE Lee). Areli means courageous. We felt that courage was something that both of us needed as we embarked on our international move and transition into our new home. We were stepping into the unknown— moving countries, homes, careers—everything—and courage was a word that perfectly encompassed what we needed during that season. Every time we say our baby girl’s name, we want to declare that she’s courageous; and we want her to grow up believing that.

Vivianne is Areli’s middle name. My husband, having grown up in lower class South Africa, had a woman who took him under her wing. He called her his “gran” and she paid for him to go to a private boy’s school and to college because his parents could not afford it. His “gran’s” name is Vivian and we chose to name our baby girl after her (just altering the spelling of the name). She is 91 years old today and has blessed my husband so much and helped changed the course of his life. We wanted to honor Vivian and she’s someone we always want our daughter to remember.

Submitted by Holly M.