The Name Game

malachy delphi cheska
This post was written for The Name Game.
You can see the original post here.
The Name Game is a website dedicated to the stories of how people came to name their children and also has an emphasis on finding “different” baby names. I highly recommend!

Liam on TV pretending he had no idea about our kids names (easy answer when the story of how they came about is a bit lengthy!) haha

My partner Liam and I are quite sentimental about names. I know people must look at our children’s names and think we are a bit alternative or maybe even pretentious but we don’t feel that way at all. We just had to find names that meant something to us and fit our children. We were never going to pick a name just because we liked the way it sounded. We are too symbolic to do that although I can understand why people chose names this way.

Liam and I have similar taste when it comes to picking names. We were lucky like this as we never argued or had too many issues with agreeing. Although there were a couple of times Liam and my mum said I was getting a bit “too out there” and pulled me back in, haha.

196446_10150513596090377_4880823_n Baby shower cake when I was pregnant with Malachy

My children having the last name “Picken” made things a lot harder. It essentially meant that any flower or anything that could be “picked” was out. I absolutely loved the name “Banjo” for a son and its connection to the poet Banjo Patterson but “Banjo Picken” sounds like a bit of a hill billy! My little sister so desperately wanted us to call one of our girls “cherry” and that was never going to happen either.

Naming Malachy was a lot easier and smoother than naming our twins. Malachy was the first child and there was no thought about if his name “fit with the other names of the children we had in the family” and the normal length of his gestation meant we were able to be prepared at his birth with a boys and a girls name ready to go. Our twins came at 27 weeks and we were incredibly unprepared. The experiences were so different.

199074_10150513608455377_2178050_n Fresh Malachy and I the morning after his birth

– Naming MALACHY-

Pronounced the Irish way “Mal-ah-kee.”

I was surprised to find out I was pregnant on a Tuesday and that following Friday my brother passed away. We were extremely close and I was devastated. I would never want to put emotional pressure on any of my children but I do credit Malachy as the reason I didn’t totally self destruct after my brother’s death. Previous years I had gone through some pretty serious mental health issues and made some very poor decisions. When my brother passed I was forced to keep it together and look after myself as I had another life depending on me. I thank god everyday that Malachy arrived in my life when he did.

So when I was about 4 or 5 months pregnant my partner, Liam, went overseas to Ireland to play football. Both my partner’s Mum’s side of the family and My Dad’s side of the family have Irish heritage. While he was over there we would discuss names on the phone and one Irish name stuck out. “Malachy.” Malachy means “messenger of god” or “my messenger.” I don’t consider myself particularly religious but it was very fitting that Malachy came into our lives and lifted our souls out of this very dark cold place when he did. He really did give me the message to go on and enabled me to feel happiness again.

It is also family tradition I my family that first born’s go on to have a girl as their first born. So my great grandmother was first born, then my grandmother, then my mum who obviously had me. My family joked that I never “stuck to tradition” and that they thought I could possibly be the one to break tradition. I knew that members of my family would see this break in tradition as a sign also.

Additionally, it would be nice to have a little boy because after my brother passed there were no more boys in our immediate family apart from my dad. The symbolism of life taking one boy I loved and also giving me another boy to love.

So Liam and I agreed that if by some fate that we gave birth to an unlikely little boy who wasn’t planned, who arrived at a time when all we knew was loss and also broke family tradition he would be honoured with the name Malachy.

 twin ultrasound The ultrasound that told us we were having twins. Delphi left, Cheska right.

– Naming Twins –

It was much harder to name our twin girls. It was my second pregnancy and we were already running around after Malachy so we were pretty laid back about finding names. That was until they were born at 27weeks and we were totally unprepared and frantic. For a week they were called “twin 1” and “twin 2” and I wasn’t at all coping at all with them being numbers. It seemed cold and mechanical to me. I put pressure on Liam to make a decision with me as fast as we could.

We had a list of about 10 girls names. I know this sounds awful but we both agreed we wanted one to be called “Delphi.” So yes, we had a favourite name. We agreed which ever one was born first got the name. It just so happened that Delphi was born first and thank goodness because Cheska just wouldn’t suit being a “Delphi.” We then had to find a name that fit in with Malachy and Delphi so we knew we didn’t want an “ee” sound on the end. Liam was being quite indecisive but I got sick of waiting and calling her “number 2” so I walked into NICU one day and said to my little premmie baby in the humidicrib “Hi Cheska.” The name was one of the top picks on both of our lists and after a while Liam and I couldn’t see her as anything else.


– Naming DELPHI –

Delphi is a feminist name. It comes from the Greek word delphus meaning “womb” and there is also a Greek town called Delphi that suggests the towns people in ancient times venerated Gaia, the Earth Goddess (although I fully recognise you don’t need to have a womb to be a woman.) Liam and I both want our children to grow up in a world where females are respected, valued and given the same opportunities as men so it was fitting that one of our daughters held a name that was unapologetically woman.

Our Delphi is officially “Delphine” on her birth certificate (though we do not call her that.) Liam wanted her to have the option to chose which she liked better when she got older. Delphine means “Dolphin” and obviously the word Dolphin comes from the greek meaning “fish with a womb.” I personally love all animals and Dolphins are no exception so I didn’t mind her having the formal name Delphine either.

Coincidentally though, Delphi is our child that hates swimming (though she has got a lot better.) However, she is definitely playful and intelligent like a dolphin.


– Naming CHESKA –

Cheska means different things in many different places of the world. Cheska in Europe is derived from Francesca which means “to be free” or “peacemaker” depending on which country you take it from. In the America’s it means “nature” and is thought to have been derived from the Chuska Mountains in Colorado. Either way, they all fit traits that we value. Although, Cheska is more of a trouble maker than peacemaker!

When she was born she was under 2lbs and was jaundice. So quickly got the nickname “Cheska Chestnut” and it stuck. She is still quite tiny like a nut so it still suits. It is also common for her to get “Cheeky Cheska.” Needless to say, she suits her name.

  Left to right: Malachy, Cheska, Delphi (plus Bambi, Pickles and Gherkin!)

 And as a final note that  forgot to put in the post on The Name Game. My brother’s name was “Thomas.” We thought there was so much symbolism surrounding the birth of Malachy that when I had my daughters it felt like we were not going to receive any “signs.” It wasn’t until they were a few weeks old that I realised that Thomas means “twins.” So much joy can be found in a name although I’m open minded to them changing their names if they don’t like them in the future 🙂