Can I Name My Child After Myself?
My husband and I are trying to come up names for baby Number 2, a sibling for our daughter Clara. We’re team green and are currently trying to tackle our boys' list.
Beckett/Beck has been on my mind, but my husband isn’t sold. He thinks it’s too similar to my name, Rebecca. But I kind of like that? I hyphenate for my last, but my husband and daughter don’t, and I’m totally cool with that! I wouldn’t subject a kid to what I chose as my never-ending last name. My maiden name doesn’t really fit as a first or middle. So Beckett feels like a nod to me and my side of the family. One that didn’t even hit me until my husband pointed it out.
So my questions are: Is Rebecca/Beckett weird? Is it arrogant to kind of name my kid after myself? Does it fit with Clara?
The Name Guru replies:
We have been naming babies after their fathers for centuries. In some cultures, it’s standard practice — In the Italian tradition, the first-born son is given his father’s name — and even those that explicitly don’t use the father’s first name (such as Ashkenazi Jewish culture) tend to give their children the father’s surname.
Junior or not, that’s a lot of honor for dads and their side of the family. And nobody questions it! But when we talk about honoring mom, many women feel insecure, uncomfortable, or undeserving. It’s internalized misogyny — society values men more than women, and regardless of your personal convictions, you may have incorporated some of these beliefs. Such as, it’s arrogant for a mother to name her baby after herself, but totally okay for a father to do so.
You deserve to be honored just as much as your husband does. Plus, it’s a great way to break into feminist baby names for your son. The connection between Rebecca and Beckett is subtle — you didn’t even notice it at first! — but the meaning and intention behind it make it special and not at all weird.
The only potential downfall is nicknames. How often do you go by Bec or Becca? Becca and Beckett sound a lot closer than Rebecca and Beckett, which could lead to confusion if those are common short forms for you.
This doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. It might mean that sometimes your husband will call “Beck!” and you and your son will respond. Or that family and friends will have to transition away from using your nicknames when you’re around your son. It will take some getting used to, but the inconveniences may be worth it to use a name with a significant connection to yours.
Another reason to love Beckett: it’s a great match with Clara. They’re both traditional names with modern style. Clara, of course, is one of the most stylish old-fashioned girl names of the moment. It currently sits just outside the Top 100, making it familiar but not endemically popular in the US. Beckett, on the other hand, has only been in the Top 1000 since 2006, and currently ranks at Number 209. It’s a much more contemporary choice, but its traditional roots as a surname help Beckett hold its own against vintage names like Clara.
I want to encourage you to go with Beckett. Sit with that discomfort you feel about naming a child after yourself (remember — babies are named after dads all the time) and then, think of all the reasons why Beckett makes sense for your family. It works well with Clara, honors you, and you love the name. What could be better than that?