On May 8, 2017, Bristol Palin gave birth to a daughter with her husband Dakota Meyer. But while the event was indeed a happy occasion, the moniker they decided to give one-time vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s granddaughter left many people scratching their heads. We have to wonder if this new showbiz name will ever catch on…
Bristol Palin’s children have been at the center of her time in the spotlight. And Bristol herself first became familiar with media attention when her mom ran for vice president in 2008. In fact, she was thrust into the limelight at a rather inconvenient time for her politician mother.
That’s because, during Sarah Palin’s campaign bid, the then 17-year-old Bristol discovered that she was pregnant. The father, Levi Johnston, was her high-school sweetheart and a future Alaskan mayoral candidate. And following the revelation, Bristol famously received much media attention. For a moment, at least, she was almost as well known as her mom was.
Many of Sarah Palin’s opponents pounced on the news and used it to challenge her stances on abstinence and abortion. Some people even suggested that Sarah’s youngest son Trig was actually Bristol’s son, too. For better or for worse, the coverage made Bristol a celebrity and a talking point.
And in December 2008, a month after Sarah and Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s defeat to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Bristol gave birth to her first son, Tripp. However, despite revealing plans to marry following their pregnancy announcement, Bristol and Johnston eventually split the following year. The pair would also continue to face off during a long and acrimonious custody battle.
Following Tripp’s birth, though, Bristol began promoting abstinence as a means to prevent teen pregnancy. In addition, she made good use of her celebrity by appearing on shows such as Dancing with the Stars. She even published her autobiography, Not Afraid of Life, in 2011 and appeared alongside her mother on the show Amazing America.
And it was while filming the latter program in Alaska in 2014 that Bristol’s life would change once again. During filming, she met Dakota Meyer – a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan who had earned the Medal of Honor for his actions there. The two immediately hit it off and soon after began dating.
Though the pair proved a great match and even got engaged, their relationship wasn’t without its difficulties. In fact, the two even split up days before they were meant to be married in 2015. But then Bristol dropped a bombshell that brought them back together – she was pregnant again.
On December 23, 2015 – just days before Tripp’s birthday – Bristol gave birth to her first daughter, Sailor Grace. Sailor’s birth seemed to ultimately help mother and father reconcile. What’s more, the pair finally got married in 2016, a year after canceling their first engagement.
And although Bristol already had two children of her own, her family would soon grow even bigger. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight in December 2016, the couple revealed, “We are so excited to announce that our family is expanding. A springtime baby in the Meyer home and we can’t wait!”
Five months on from that announcement, moreover, Bristol would give birth. She was taken to a maternity ward near her home in Austin, Texas, and on May 8, 2017, she gave birth to a healthy girl weighing seven pounds and four ounces.
“Her birth was a breeze,” Bristol wrote on her blog a week later. “We had the best doctor/nurses imaginable, and Dakota did amazing!!” She then added, “I could not have a more supportive husband. This pregnancy has strengthen[ed] our bond and made our relationship stand even firmer on the foundation that we have proudly built up for our little family.”
Just hours after giving birth, in fact, Bristol sat down with Meyer and their new child for their first photo together. Uploaded to Instagram, the snap not only gave Palin’s online followers a glimpse of her new daughter, but it also revealed her unusual name. “Welcome to the world, Atlee Bay,” Bristol announced underneath the snap.
While she is indeed a healthy and beautiful baby girl, Atlee is special in more ways than one. In particular, her name itself – like her siblings’ monikers – is certainly unusual and definitely helps her stand out from the crowd. So where did Bristol and her husband get their inspiration?
So far, neither Palin nor Meyer have explained why they chose the obscure name, which is rarely given to children these days. However, a few notable figures have been given the moniker – something which may have inspired the proud parents. For example, children’s novelist Beverly Cleary shares her middle name with Atlee.
Meanwhile, the name also has roots in the political world. Most significantly, former U.S. Senator Atlee Pomerene – who represented Ohio from 1911 to 1923 – and former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee are two namesakes. And while the pair’s left-leaning political stances would surely clash with the Palin family’s Republican affiliations, it’s an intriguing connection nonetheless.
Whatever the reason behind Atlee’s name, though, the Palin family actually has a few traditions when it comes to naming children. For example, website The Daily Beast pointed out in 2008 that the Palin men all have first names beginning with the letter “T.” Her father is named Todd, while Bristol’s brothers are known as Track and Trig, and her own son’s name is Tripp.
There are also personal backstories to some of the Palin clan’s names, as Sarah herself explained to Esquire in 2009. “I worked at the Bristol Inn, and Todd grew up in Bristol Bay,” she said about her daughter’s name. “But also, Bristol, Connecticut, is the home of ESPN. And when I was in high school, my desire was to be a sportscaster.”
So while the exact motivation behind little Atlee’s name remains a mystery for now, there is nevertheless no doubt about how happy her arrival has made her family. “Babies are the best ingredient in our world, and we’re blessed to help welcome Atlee Bay to it,” Sarah told the Daily Mail. “The whole family couldn’t be more thrilled!”
Meanwhile, Bristol has been sharing adorable snaps of her new daughter with her online friends. From nap-time pictures to shots of her and her grandfather Todd, Atlee is making more people than just her family smile. But no one, of course, is as happy as Bristol herself. As she wrote in a post in May, she’s “in heaven with another girl.”