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Samantha Turnbull Writer, mother, anti-princess

Jonah

What’s in a name?

As I held my hands on my slowly swelling belly I knew I wanted a family name for you.

There were plenty of beautiful girls’ names from both sides to choose from – Marie, Ainsley, Rosa, Maisie and Mable were all tossed around. I was leaning towards Eleanor in the end.

The boys’ names weren’t so appealing – Norman, Aloysius, Oswald, Waddy and Donald just weren’t floating my boat.

We all became preoccupied with something bigger, something tragic, halfway into the pregnancy.

Your beloved nanna was very sick, very suddenly. It didn’t look like she would make it to the birth. She didn’t make it through the week.

As we drove back from the hospital, I wondered if we should call you Joan in her honour – if you were a girl.

Still, I flicked through book after book, searching for a boys’ name your dad and I could agree on.

Asher, Declan and Benjamin were all thrown into the mix, but nothing sat just right.

Perhaps we should search for a name with greater meaning, rather than something that simply sounded nice.

Peace came to mind. A name that meant peace.

I typed it into the computer and a few suggestions came up. Amani – too rich. Axel – too rock ‘n’ roll. Calum – we knew too many. Humphrey, Godfrey, Wilfred – all names of friends’ dogs.

Then I saw it – Jonah – meaning dove, meaning peace.

And it was a family name. Your departed nanna’s name. She would live on through you.

It was what we were looking for.

I’m not a religious person, but what happened next could only be described as spiritual… or hocus pocus to the skeptical.

When we scattered your nanna’s ashes, it was a sad day. We left the beach feeling lost, depressed, empty.

The next day, your dad, your sister, and me with you in my belly, returned to the sand – just us.

It was sunnier, brighter, better. We looked out to sea and saw a humpback whale so close to shore, we could’ve swam out and touched it.

It lingered in the water for such a long time. And it waved. It flapped its fins at us for what seemed like hours.

It made us smile again. It made us feel at peace.

A few weeks later you were born.

A beautiful baby boy.

As I handed you to your dad and the midwife turned the lights on, I looked around the room.

Right in front of the spot where you entered the world was a huge painting of a humpback whale and calf.

Call it coincidence, but the fact that Jonah first appeared in the Old Testament alongside a whale, was all the proof I needed that your name was perfect.

Just like you.

* Yesterday our family celebrated Jonah’s naming day

** Linking up with My Little Sunshine House on the topic ‘in a name.’

17 responses to “What’s in a name?”

  1. Suzie Becker says:

    Beautiful story Sam. Yes there will alway’s be a little Nana Joanie around while our gorgeous, precious little Jonah is around. He has magnificent eyes that reach right into your soul. He will be an exceptional human being who will leave a lasting impression wherever he goes. He is and alway’s will be a little miracle had in heaven with the most kissable cheeks at present!!xxx

  2. Tegan says:

    Such a beautiful story. I love that your son’s name has so much meaning.

  3. Alicia says:

    That is so beautiful, I have tears welling too xx

  4. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen says:

    And now I’m crying! Sam, in my mind, Jonah is the only name you could have chosen. All those signs were definitely leading you in that direction. No hocus pocus there!
    I’m so glad I found your space through Zanni’s Sunshine Sundays. x

  5. Lila says:

    What a beautiful story for his name, so wonderful that the whale ties in to this story in so many ways.

  6. Kate @ From Katie to Kate says:

    Wow. What a beautiful story behind a name.

  7. Zanni Louise says:

    I have already commented on this, but I so love this story. Thanks for linking up for Sunshine Sunday! x

  8. Renee Wilson says:

    Oh my goodness! This story has given me chills!!! I absolutely loved it. Jonah definitely does seem to be meant to be 🙂

  9. Lizzie Mikellides says:

    Beautiful sam, I have goose bumps all over, beautiful family, l always have a warm feeling all over after having spent time with u guys.xxx

  10. Zanni Louise says:

    That is beautiful. Jonah was one of our boy names too, but we had two girls. It’s amazing how serendipitous these things can be. x

  11. gems says:

    Might be lucky that I missed it in the end- I would’ve been a blubbering mess. Lovely words, Sam. Jonah is a lucky little boy with a wonderful family.

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