Category: baby name decision
Our sincere thanks for permission to reprint this moving article which appeared recently on romper.com.
When you’re pregnant, it can often seem like your body, your baby, your decisions, your life are public domain. Everyone wants to touch your belly. Everyone wants to know what kind of genitalia your baby will be born with. Everyone wants to know how you’re feeling and tell you how to feel better. And everyone wants to know your baby’s name.
In all honesty, I didn’t mind the belly rubs as long as people asked first. I talked openly about my brutal morning sickness and intolerable heartburn because if someone asks you how much you throw up in a day, they better be prepared for a gruesome answer. However, when the inevitable question came up, I didn’t tell anyone my baby’s name because, in the end, and like everything else in pregnancy and childrearing, it was none of their business.
By Esmeralda Rocha
When picking a name, it can be hard to find opportunities to test the name in a way that gauges the true ‘wearability’ of the name and the reactions it is likely to elicit. People’s abstract opinions of names (“Meredith is an old lady’s name,”“Billy doesn’t work on a grown man,” “Zenobia is utterly ridiculous,” “no-one will ever be able to spell Aoife correctly,” “Harper is too feminine to be a boy’s name”) are not necessarily great indications of what people think of the name once it is attached to a flesh-and-blood human being.
And while sharing name options with friends and family can be valuable, it can also be fraught – should you really discount Millie because it was the name of your mother-in-law’s pet cat when she was 7?
Is your cousin’s opinion that “using Enzo is not OK because you’re not Italian” valid? If you’re looking for dispassionate and real-life reactions to a name, may we suggest the following strategies. These are based on scenarios where names are required but you never need to show ID:
We’ve had second thoughts. Specifically, my lovely wife Cassandra has had second thoughts that were my first thought. Levi, which she thought was trending too close to popularity and therefore rejected to my great disappointment, didn’t become so popular and she thinks it might have been better than Laszlo, which is our son’s name.
He does seem like a certain type of Laszlo, but he seems perhaps more like a Levi. He didn’t turn out to be the Judah I pushed for – he’s fair and lanky and un-Macabee-like. He’s cautious and sensitive and pretty Levi-like.
When my husband announced the birth of our first child to my family last June, they were convinced, thanks to a bad cell phone connection, that we had named our daughter Tetra. My dad Googled the tropical fish, and my brother, who was wielding a video camera, performed a dramatic zoom on its Wikipedia page.
In the two confused minutes it took to convey that the baby’s name was actually Petra, my grandmother had started to come around to Tetra, which just goes to show that even the staunchest traditionalist can accept the weirdest baby name, as long as it’s attached to someone tiny, adorable, and genetically related to her.
Has it really become harder to name a child?
It seems to be the theme in recent days. Over at Offbeat Mama, Caitlin wrote about her struggles to name – and eventually rename – her youngest child. The New Zealand Herald reported the same thing, noting a 12% increase in parents filing to legally change a child’s name prior to his or her second birthday.
My maternal grandparents named their first three children in accordance with family and cultural custom. My dad’s mom, undecided, pulled his middle name out of a hat. As for my parents, they felt no obligation to honor anyone, and chose short, peppy, upbeat names for their three daughters – until along came a son, and suddenly, family names mattered. If any child ever went nameless for months, or if aunts were divided over accusations of name theft, I’ve never heard the tale.