To tell or not to tellL…

October 15, 2008 Linda Rosenkrantz

Whether or not to reveal the baby’s name before arrival has become a more and more pressing question for parents.

And it seems that people  are increasingly opting for keeping it a secret, for not exposing their ideas to public–make that family–scrutiny, judgment and criticism.  Because let’s face it, most relatives of an older generation–parents, in-laws, grandparents, uncles and aunts, who didn’t give much thought to the process when they were naming their kids Steven or Susan–are apt to have a very different perspective on both individual names and contemporary naming concepts and trends.

So why risk a shudder when they hear Sadie or a blank stare at the suggestion of Brayden?  No matter what name you propose, some family member or friend is bound to not like it, and may well introduce negative factors that can start to sour you on your favorites.

A recent forum on one of our favorite sites,, came down pretty much on the side of keeping the name a secret.  The interesting comments there included horror stories of relationship-straining name-napping by neighbors and in-laws, a number of parents who wanted to keep their options open for making a change if the name didn’t seem to fit the baby once she made her appearance, one couple who would only reveal the middle name choice publicly–and several people who had revealed the name of their first child only to receive such toxic comments that they resolved not to do it the next time around.

People on the “Tell” side tended to feel that being able to address their unborn child by name gave it (no longer an it!) a real identity and was a strong pre-birth bonding experience.  Probably not surprisingly,  parents were more willing to share a  classic choice like Elizabeth, than a more unusual one that they wanted to lay claim to and protect.

In the end though, with all these pros and cons, the decision, like all the others concerning your child, is ultimately yours.  After all, you know your sister-in-law better than we do.


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