Stories Behind the Baby Names: A Special Moment of Motherhood


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Hi there!

When I was asked to be a Contributor for Miami Moms Blog, I was flattered and at the same time very excited to be able to connect with people who share my passion for motherhood. The idea of my first entry is to introduce myself.

I want to do so by telling you a little bit about my given name.

It is Defne, the Turkish version of Daphne, originally a mythological Greek name (Δάφνη). I am from Istanbul, in Turkey, a land that is the actual setting of many ancient Greek myths, as well as of some of the Acts of the Apostles in Christianity. My mom loves Greek mythology, and Daphne’s story was one of her favorites. Mom is a very strong and independent woman who found lots of meaning in the story.  There are different versions of it, but all are about a nymph who didn’t want to marry Apollo. As she escaped from him, she prayed to her dad to transform her into a tree. Her wish was granted, and she was turned into a laurel tree, daphne meaning “laurel.”

The evergreen laurel tree’s leaves used to decorate many crowns. When they were made into a circular wreath, they became a symbol of victory and honor. Also, in the Bible, laurel leaves are associated with fame, prosperity and success. Laurus nobilis is the scientific name of the tree. Its leaves are also known as bay laurel, a very common seasoning, mainly in Mediterranean cuisine.

I love my name in any of its versions: Turkish, Greek, Latin, English… They all sound equally beautiful to me, so you can call me whichever you like!

When it was time to name my son, I realized what a difficult task that was.

I am a Turk, but luckily my name is one of the few Turkish names that goes in any language. However, my husband is Hispanic, and he agreed to name our son something Turkish, provided that it was easily read, although the baby would also have a name from his dad’s side.

There were lots of options, but we finally made decision. I wanted his first name to be Tan, which refers to the twilight between dawn and sunrise in Turkish. My husband in turn decided on a Latin middle name, but not Latin as in Hispanic, but literally a Roman name in its original form, Aurelius. Everybody calls him Tan (pronounced “ton”). The main reason why I chose Tan was because of its meaning, a beautiful time of the day, the very first light, which symbolizes a new beginning. Tan was indeed a new beginning for me in a new country.

I believe naming a child is one of the most special moments of motherhood.

It is likely that mom named me in the same spirit that I named my son.

We all choose one special word to call our precious ones. Among lots of options, we pick one that speaks to us, tells us something about our lives, our beliefs, our traditions and so on. When I hear a different name, no matter how it sounds, I always ask about its meaning. I am always amazed by the story behind a name.

I would like to know what the stories are behind your children’s names… Share below in the comments. 


Image: Apollo and Daphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini 1622-25

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Defne was born in Istanbul, Turkey. She finished Italian Middle and High School in Istanbul and received her BA in Archeology and Art History in that same city. Thereafter, she worked in different positions but mainly as a writer and photographer for Marie Claire Maison, for almost a decade. Defne met her husband while she was working in Portugal and moved to the United States in 1999 after she married. Soon she had a baby boy, Tan, who is 17 today. While her son was growing up, she had a passion to teach, and in fact the visual aspect of her job, as well as her Italian schooling and her college years, shaped her philosophy of teaching and finally took her on an exciting journey which allowed her to apply her creative skills in the field of education. Defne is currently teaching Kindergarten along with photography at KBPS. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian and Turkish.