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When Mom Hates Your Baby’s Name

Journalist Laura Dunphy, today’s guest blogger, enlightens us on what might not be so bad about your Mom hating your baby’s name.

My mother hates my daughter’s name.

And – don’t tell her this, please – I think it’s made me a better person.

My husband and I always thought that if we had a girl we’d call her Sophie Madeline. But when I was expecting our daughter, we decided we’d rather balance the growing popularity of Sophie with a more distinctive French name in the middle: Mireille.

When we officially announced the arrival of Sophie Mireille, my poshest friends raved. “What a lovely, very French-sounding name!” my globetrotting European pal Beatriz enthused. Mireille is a fantastic, seriously underused name,” said Ann, an editor at a major entertainment magazine. My former boss Michelle, a retail executive who is always fabulously attired and never hands out an insincere compliment, gushed endlessly about how much she loved it. Oh, the delight!

Leave it to my mother to put an end to my glee. As we sat chatting around the dinner table one night, she mentioned that a family friend’s daughter, Zoe, was being called Zozo. I scrunched my face and asked, “Zozo? What kind of a nickname is that? It’s not even shorter than the original name.” To which my mother replied, “I don’t think you should be saying anything about anyone’s name.”

Stunned, I asked for an explanation, only to be informed that Mireille was not a real name. I believe my mother’s exact words were, “It’s horrible. We hate it.” My father nodded in solemn agreement. Apparently at some point over the course of the previous decade, I’d mentioned the name Sophie Madeline, and my parents had gotten attached to their vision of a fantasy granddaughter. As in, one with a name they had heard of before.

Efforts to defend Mireille got me nowhere. First, I said that plenty of people probably thought my mother made up Therese, my middle name.  Therese was a saint, my mother replied, as if God had given a stamp of approval to the name.

Well, Frederic Mistral, the poet credited with creating the name Mireille, won the Nobel Prize, I countered. When my mom pointed out that I’d just admitted that Mireille was in fact a made-up name, I could only muster the defense that it wasn’t made up by me.

I was suddenly overcome by a sense of calm. My husband and I loved our baby daughter’s name, a combination of ten years of dreaming plus a splash of confident creativity. And if I wouldn’t let my mother buy my clothes, why would I let her name my baby? So I sat back in my chair and announced, “You got to name your children, now we get to name ours. We don’t care if you like it.” Fair enough, my parents said, and peace was restored.

This experience made me realize how easy it is to be hurt or offended when someone doesn’t share a passion for a name. I’ve been guilty of it myself, whether accidentally deflating a new mother’s excitement when I told her that her baby William is now the third one we know or saying it’s strange to call Zoe “Zozo”. Since I’ve been on the receiving end of a harsh review, I’d much rather focus on the positive, for the sake of the new parents as well as my own. That’s why I now stick to a code of ethics when it comes to other people’s baby names:

*If a baby’s been born and named, I let it go. No sense in telling a friend all the nicknames baby Linus could be subjected to if she’s holding him in her arms. It’s best to assume she thought it through, and her pros outweighed my cons.

*I ask myself whether my opinion is wanted. Is a friend bouncing her Top 10 list off me because I have a young child and she truly wants advice, or has she decided and wants to feel some love? Hard as it is for me to understand, some people want their children to have names that start with the same initial, or sound almost exactly the same, or have unusual spellings. Unless I’m confident my opinion is wanted and welcome, there’s no sense in trying to make someone share my style.

*If I can’t find something nice to say, I try harder. Everybody wants to hear that people like their baby’s name, but the fact is some people won’t. So when I don’t like a name, I try to look on the bright side. Maybe the first-middle-last is honestly harmonious, or it’s so touching that the child was named after a family member. When all else fails, I repeat the name and say in an impressed tone, “Sounds like you’ve got a future – Supreme Court Justice/ CEO/ tennis champ – on your hands!” (Special thanks to Barack Obama, because any name goes with President now.) And even if I have to stretch the truth to utter any of those words, at least I can muster genuine enthusiasm from the fact that they didn’t choose one of my favorites.

Since our Big Name Debate, my mother has encountered a couple of people who’ve known Mireilles. It’s done nothing to help my cause. In fact, the other night, while my two-year-old daughter slept soundly in her room, my mother called to tell me that she was mortified at a luncheon when a friend asked her Sophie’s middle name. According to her, the reaction around the table of her peers was unanimously unenthused and confused: “What kind of a name is that?” “Is it French?” How do you spell it?”

And that’s just fine with me.

As a journalist, Laura Dunphy has covered everything from Hollywood celebrities to the U.S. Congress.  She lives in New York City with her husband, daughter and dog.

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56 Responses to “When Mom Hates Your Baby’s Name”

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susan Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 2:30 am

Love your blog! And I genuinely love the name Sophie Mireille! My mother didn’t like our son’s middle name. His name is Peter Sebastian. But it seems to have grown on her. My father, my M-I-L, and my uncle and aunt didn’t like Sebastian either. I don’t think my husband even liked it, although he pretended to. Now my husband likes the name Sebastian. Plus my father and M-I-L didn’t like the name Peter.
Six years later I got pregnant again. If it turned out to be a girl, I was going to name her Gillian. My sister said no, you can’t name her Gillian because my daughter is Julia and those two names mean the same thing. Eventually I came up with Laura Elizabeth. How benign is that? My sister wanted me to name my baby Laura Kathleen, Kathleen after her first name. But Elizabeth was my mother’s middle name and my husband and I loved it. Then we had a little girl and named her Laura Elizabeth. And we didn’t care what people thought. But most of our relatives loved our baby’s name.

xgravity23 Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 5:40 am

This is great to hear. I love your retort, and I plan on using it, should the need arise. My husband and I have selected some very foreign/created names (Xabi, Sebastian, Baileen, Lavenza) and I expect to be met with lots of criticism. Oh well! It’s our turn to choose names! 🙂

Kim Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 6:09 am

Thanks so much for your Blog!
I am due in 4 weeks with my first (baby Girl) and my Mom and sister havn’t liked the name I have choosen for her but my husband and I agreed on it pretty much the second we found out I was Pregnant!
I have always been the black sheep of the family so I say whatever!! Its like you said theyu have named there kids this time its my turn!! Thanks for the extra vote of cofidence!!

phaedraP Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 8:24 am

I went through the same process. With my first child, I didn’t disclose the name to anyone but a couple of select friends until the baby was born, because I simply couldn’t bear the weigh of anyone’s judgment, should they dislike the name.

Now, expecting kid #3, I don’t really care. It’s freeing, isn’t it? We’re all adults, and we’re free to disagree about what name is great and which one is awful.

It’s also important to remember that when someone proudly announces their baby’s name, and it bugs me. Thanks for the reminder!

Em Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 8:25 am

How do you pronounce Mireille? I used to know French pronunciation, but I’m rusty!

Pam Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 8:34 am

It’s meer-RAY, Em, with the first syllable pronounced like the first of mirror.

Joan Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 8:55 am

Thanks so much for this great blog–something so relevant to all of us who are expecting!

I wanted to add that standing firm about a name you love even if Mom doesn’t like it can be a huge help to your siblings or other family members. My sister’s son was born a year ago and she paved the way for me by naming her son Adonijah, even in the face of harsh criticism from my mom (and pretty much everyone else). Because my sis had the guts to stand up for a name she loves, it will be so much easier for my parents to accept whatever name my husband and I choose for our baby, due this fall!

JustADad Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 9:21 am

My wife and I horrified our families by simply refusing to discuss names with them. We had seen other family members suffer through months of opinionated debate and we decided we didn’t want to endure that, or frankly give people the sense that they got to vote. We didn’t announce our choices until the kids were born. Now, we didn’t pick unusual names, but no one has ever complained about our choices, because they were a done deal by the time they were announced. This gave us great peace of mind, even if it drove our mothers crazy.

By the way, I think Sophie Mireille is a lovely name. I knew a Mireille once (she was from Quebec). No disrespect intended, but Laura’s mom needs to let this go and move on or she is going to end up wounding her granddaughter’s feelings when she gets older. Does she want her granddaughter knowing she hates her name? How will that make Sophie feel? She ought to be telling her lunch group “It’s a lovely name for a lovely girl”, regardless of how she feels about it.

Toni Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 9:21 am

Mireille is beautiful!

My FIL hates my DD’s name. MIL and my parents aren’t thrilled with it, but at least they’re nice about it. FIL makes no mistake that he thinks we made a bad choice and even went so far as to suggest “better” names when he first heard our choice (after she was born). She’s 2.5 months old now and I can’t think of her as anything other than my little Sylvia.

I have also used the “You named your children, now it’s my turn” line.

olivekit Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 9:26 am

I can relate.

My mother doesn’t like any of my girl’s names. Courtney Olive, called Olive – the only positive thing she had to say, was that at least I had the common sense to give her a real first name and when she hates being called Olive (and my mom has no doubts that she will) she can be called Courtney. Plus, a funny conversation about if I was naming my daughter after a fruit? or vegetable? in the hospital room.

With Kit, my mom couldn’t believe I would name her just Kit. Katherine or Kaitlin would be best to put on the birth certificate, she said over and over again even though I told her I didn’t care for those names and we were fine with her just being Kit.

But she loves my girls – no matter what their names are!

I’m expecting my 3rd daughter any day now and my mom ran across a list that I had on the counter of baby names. I meant to hide it and she said she liked them. I was like what?. I have to rethink them! haha

robynkit Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 10:26 am

Good points, all. Not everyone is going to like every name and it’s just not worth injured feelings in the family. The truth is that you are an adult and can name your baby anything you like and they did get to name theirs what they wanted, so be it.
My MIL had a boss she didn’t like named Phil and guess what we named our son? She was gracious and never said anything negative about Philip’s name. I’ve never forgotten her graciousness about it and it’s a lesson for me if I’m in the same boat!
My daughter is having a boy today–and his name will be Seth. The father knew a guy named Seth that he didn’t like but he said he knows that guy didn’t name himself and this will be a different and great little Seth.

Elle Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 10:38 am

I love baby name discussion, and with both of my pregnancies I was open to discussing our name ideas with the family, but I have learned my lesson. Next time around we will be saving the name for after the birth.

With my second son we told the family (with about 3 months to go in my pregnancy) that we had decided on Milo. I thought, and still do, that Milo is a lovely name, and wasn’t expecting to hear so much criticism. Well, ALL of my family instantly proceeded to tell us how awful it was, ask if we needed help thinking of better names, a few even bought us baby name books! But once Milo was born, and he must have been a few weeks old, everyone spontaneously agreed that, he did infact resemble a Milo, and they couldn’t imagine him with any other name.

Jaime Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 10:49 am

A great blog today – one that many of us can relate to. If we have a third, I think we’ll keep our chosen names to ourselves until after the birth – my MIL was very opinionated about all of our name ideas for the first two pregnancies (although she never mentioned anything negative about them once the babies arrived). My husband’s great response to her unsolicited opinions was, “That’s nice. Who asked you?” 😉 Btw, Mireille is lovely. I’ve only known one in real life (a native french speaker) and it’s the perfect complement to Sophie.

Laura Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 11:27 am

Thanks, all, for the support! (Of both my strategy and the name Mireille…)

I’m glad to hear that so many of you are sticking to the choices you love.

Lots of posts touch on the to-tell-or-not-to-tell question. After all I have seen, I would say do NOT tell your choices in advance. We mentioned Sophie Madeline to my parents, and I think a lot of their reaction to Mireille was disappointment because they liked Madeline and knew what they were missing. Maybe if they hadn’t known the alternative, they might not have reacted so strongly. But other than my parents and two very close friends, we just told people we had chosen our top 3 for boys and girls years ago, and we wouldn’t be telling anyone anything until the baby was born. That strategy worked out nicely for us.

JustADad – great reminder on the impact the negativity could have on Sophie – my mom and I had that conversation as well. The peace treaty states that no remarks about “Mireille” are allowed when Sophie is anywhere in the building!

Jen @ blissfully caffeinated Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Personally, I’m kind of pleased when my mom hates the baby name suggestions we make. I think that means we’re on the right track. Because her idea of a great baby name is stuck firmly in the late 70’s. I’m pregnant now with girl #3 and we do not tell anyone the names we are considering. We’ve learned that we don’t want to hear the comments.

Jen @ blissfully caffeinated Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Oh also – LOVE Mireille.

ScarlettsMom Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Wow, good on you hun! I would be devastated to hear those comments from my parents and I’m not sure if I could have come up with such a strong response (but thanks to you, now I’m armed.)

About “Mireille” being a made-up name… aren’t all names really made-up? I mean, “Wendy” was made up by James Barrie for Peter Pan, and I doubt she would have thrown that in your face if you said you were thinking about Wendy for the name.

Gigi Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 1:39 pm

My mother hates my neice Margaret’s nick name Mara. Well she did in the begining and refused to call her Mara. I think since then she has called her Mara,I should pay attention to that.

Boston Girl Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Odd that Mireille isn’t better known, what with our historical fascination for all things European and especially French. I love the name myself; I used it for one of my characters.

If I do have a baby, I expect I won’t tell anyone till the child is born (if I can keep myself from talking about it, seeing how much I love the subject of names). I already have names picked out. If I were to wind up with a boy, his name would be Christian Stephen. The middle name is for my late dad; the first name is simply because I love the sound of the name, since I’m an atheist. Mom is firmly religious, and we’ve already had a long chat in regard to the differences in our beliefs, so she’d probably find it very ironic to have a grandson named Christian…more so because I prefer the full name to the nn.

I’d prefer a daughter since I already have two stepsons. Her name would be Susina Skye. If it happens, I’m going to find the subsequent reaction very interesting. 🙂

ailsa gray Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Very interesting blog indeed, and acute obvservations. It is a touchy subject. I am probably older than all you young things out there – my days of pregnancy are sadly over – but I live with my 88 year old mother, and much as I love her dearly, if she says (for example) that my hair is looking lovely, or she loves an outfit the grandchildren has picked, we get a bit worried and check in the mirror quickly. It is natural, names come and go in waves, and the previous generation is often still stuck in a time warp. It is, however, very rude and hurtful to voice these opinions so strongly. I hope I will be able to bite my tongue if necessary when my teenagers get round to their naming of babies. (I joke with them now that they have to explain to their spouses that it is a tradition in the Gray family for the Maternal Grandmother – i.e. me – to choose the babies names). It IS a joke, though!

I think Mireille is pretty – pronouned Mirr-AY (sort of). There used to be a beautiful French singer called Mireille Matthieu, with the most wonderful voice.

I love Olive and Kit too, and Susina Skye is very interesting. As for Olive being “made up”, it was a Christian name for girls long, long before Courtney, which to my ears, sounds quite American and modern!

I think all these grumpy grannies need to be given copies of BEYOND JENNIFER AND JASON, BEYOND J & J, MADISON AND MONTANA and now BEYOND AVA AND AIDEN, for their next birthday or Christmas present! That will cure them!

ps my copy of Beyond A & A arrived in the post today – very very excited.

Lauren Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I love this blog! It is a very touchy subject for me… I have considered baby names a hobby since I was around 13. Everyone in my family has always thought it was weird, and, now 21 and married, any time I throw out a name they usually disagree and tell me it’s horrible. My husband and I have talked about not announcing the name til birth, it seems like the best option b/c people’s comments honestly hurt my feelings, especially when my names aren’t very outlandish. Of course, my family thinks that anything besides the 50 Caylen/McKayla’s we know is unordinary!

JustADad Says:

July 21st, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Most of our friends are parents. Among those who decided to keep the name to themselves until birth (or adoption), none regret doing so. (I asked.) Among those who opened the names up to discussion, several wished they’d kept the name to themselves because intrusive parental opinion. (This was volunteered when we said we’d kept our names secret every time–that getting familial validation simply wasn’t worth the drama.) Not a scientific survey but I’m just saying.

Charlotte Vera Says:

July 22nd, 2009 at 1:54 am

Wonderful, wonderful post! I personally have stopped asking expectant mothers what they’re planning on naming their children. I love names, but would not want to inflict my highly critical opinions on any soon-to-be-parent’s cherished favourite. When my husband and I were expecting our first (born this April) we did tell people what we were planning on naming her simply because we had decided to name her after my deceased mother-in-law. We figured that, should anyone dislike the name, they would refrain from telling us so due to the sentiment behind our decision.

However, we do not, and have not, told people our favourite boy name.

Kate Says:

July 22nd, 2009 at 2:35 am

I am the mother of 4 with number 5 on the way. When my 2nd daughter (3rd child) was born, my parents disliked her name so much that they refused to call her by her name but said, ‘the baby’ or just ‘baby.’

Fortunately, we moved to Africa when my daughter was only 1 yr old. She is six now, and my parents must call her by name to save face. It took them a long time to accept her name– Butterfly. I love her name, and I knew it was her name from the moment DH chose it for a girl, if baby turned out to be such.

Now that I have a 5th baby on the way, my parents are asking for my name choices. I’m still searching, but they are putting a great deal of pressure on me, and for fear of something ’embarrassing.’

I live in Africa, my kids are homeschooled so they don’t have ‘peer pressure’ concerning their names. I want to be free to name my babies what I like.

Excellent blog article. Thanks for sharing your frustrations with us, and I will have to steal your comment as well!

ailsa Gray Says:

July 22nd, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Wow! Butterfly! That is very pretty. And imaginative. What are your other children called, Kate?

Did I mention that when my aunt introduced her boyfriend, Francis to my grandmother, Grandma didnt’ like the name and refused to call him by it, calling him David instead (his middle name) for years, even after they were married and had children! Nuts
x

Emily Says:

July 22nd, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Uh-oh…why is Linus the example used as a name with lots of potentially bad nicknames?! I think it’s a great classical name that’s at the top of my list. One of the things I like about it is that I consider it mostly nickname-proof, aside from “Line”, I guess. Should I be worried or was this just an arbitrary choice…?

Danelle Says:

July 23rd, 2009 at 9:59 am

My mother and one of my aunts really disliked my 3rd daughter’s name when we announced it. We named her Sawyer Faith, and my aunt actually asked if we minded if she called her Faith. I told her “Yes, we do mind. Thanks for asking, though!” She named her daughters Lacey and Elissa, which aren’t really all that uncommon, but no one told her they didn’t like her name choice. My mother said she didn’t really like the name Sawyer, but my brother told her to be quiet – she got to name her kids already; he liked the name a lot. Anyway – parents should name their kids what they want to, regardless of what others think.

Laura Says:

July 23rd, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Emily – aha, exactly what I was getting at about different taste and priorities! If you love it, stick to your guns, I say!

I used the name Linus as an example because it’s a name that I like but wouldn’t use based on my personal criteria, including teasing potential. I know that doesn’t even register with a lot of people, but it does with me. It’s not that I reject every name with teasing potential, I just ask myself what’s the worst that could happen and do I love the name more than that? Since you’re asking, there are two quite obvious teasing opportunities that could easily arise during some kind of fifth grade health/anatomy class. But if that’s not even on your radar, then I really wouldn’t worry about it. Go with your gut!

ailsa gray Says:

July 23rd, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I love the name Sawyer Faith! I also love Skyler and all its different spellings. Both seem to be used far more in the US than here in the UK but I think they have a lovely sound.

Renee Says:

July 23rd, 2009 at 3:33 pm

We kept our son’s name a secret until he was born…both to avoid criticism and also just for a fun surprise! We still got negative feedback from some of our family members after his birth (the nerve!!??), but oddly enough, it made me feel like I had indeed come up with the perfect name for my son. If the aged 50-to 60-ish and above crowd don’t like the name, then I’m assured that I’m on the right track of new and trendy!

linda Says:

July 23rd, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Fixed.

ailsa gray Says:

July 23rd, 2009 at 4:41 pm

I am 55 and think I am open and receptive to new trends, Renee! Please don’t judge all over-50s as fuddy-duddies! What did you name your son, incidentally?

pam Says:

July 23rd, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Hi Emily — All I’m seeing is your first name. Cheers, Pam

Bridget Says:

July 23rd, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Sophie Mireille is a beautiful name – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! (I am relieved that your response to Toby’s name didn’t touch on the Supreme Court or Wimbledon)

I also agree with not sharing baby names before the baby arrives unless you’re open to critique or persuasion. People can’t help but give their reaction, and if you’re happy with the name you picked and not interested in changing it, I wouldn’t invite the discussion.

Kathryn Says:

July 24th, 2009 at 3:03 am

Last names can really influence this as well! My husband’s last name is ‘Smith’, and although I’ve kept my maiden name, he isn’t comfortable with a hyphenate for the baby. Which means, for my taste, I feel like we have to find something REALLY unique for the first name. Almost every name I like already has a famous person who shares it, or there will be hundreds of other kids born this year with it (not to mention identity theft issues, which we’ve already had to deal with). So a lot of the names I’d always imagined for my child simply will not work. And all the names that will work I just know will get tons of bug-eyed reactions and judgements from family. So as much as I’d love to share or get a stamp of approval, I’m trying not to!

Renee Says:

July 28th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Oh, I’m sorry Ailsa! I certainly didn’t mean to offend all the 50+ crowd. I was speaking specifically of MY family, who is neither trendy nor open. They all have very traditional names (Carol, Mary, Linda, etc.) and just don’t understand why someone would pick anything “non-traditional”. I apologize to anyone I might have offended with my comment! Also, I’m sorry to say, I won’t be sharing my son’s name just yet. Suffice it to say that it’s a modern twist on an ancient name, so definitely not understood by all. 🙂

melissa Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Well, I am glad I found this blog, when I named my daughter no one really liked her name either, but, my hubby and I did and that is all that matters. When we told people her name the response was blank stares. Now, I hear oohs and aahs from people or I get that is so unique and I just say thanks that is her middle name. Jenarosity Unique.

Alexandra Says:

August 4th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Don’t worry about your mother’s reaction. My mother goes on about my husband’s name, Jeffrey. She thinks it isn’t spelled right and that it should be Geoffrey, which is what she thinks is the proper English spelling. She thinks Jeffrey is the American spelling of it. It really really doesn’t matter because we’re Canadian!! But she still complains about it and gives him cards written out to Geoffrey!! We don’t dwell on it since this is the woman that was thinking about naming me Augusta, Agatha or Allegra.

Alexis Says:

January 31st, 2010 at 2:11 pm

With my first child after finding out it was a boy. I decided to tell everyone. No one liked my decision of Paul Cooper. So I changed. Everyone demanded to know what the name was going to be. But we kept it private. That’s what my family deserves for hating my name.

Mireille Says:

March 9th, 2010 at 2:02 am

You can’t imagine how neat this is for me. My name really is Mireille (and I am not French!) and you can imagine I grew up with a lot of mispronunciations, but noone ever said they didn’t like it. My mom’s name was Michele and completely unheard of when she was growing up–she got a lot of “Michael” and “Mitchell”. But she liked Mireille and went ahead with it. I had to continue this legacy…my daughter’s name is Aevia (AYv-ya) 🙂 Thanks everyone for saying such nice things about Mireille 🙂

Sunshinetina Says:

May 20th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

My mom loathed our choice of Matilda Geneva for our first daughter until we told her why.

Matilda was my grandmothers sisters name. We found out she was going to be a she the day great aunt Tillie (her nickname) died. We found it a fitting tribute. As for Geneva, well that was where Matilda was conceived. We wanted to honour that someway.

After giving birth to Eloise Austin, and explaining to my mom that that was how we were going to name all our kids, she loved us for it (Eloise was her sister) and she loves the name Austin.

She still doesnt like the name Geneva, but thinks that it fits Matilda perfectly.

Nicole Therese Says:

May 27th, 2010 at 12:41 am

We named our daughter Sophie Mireille! We had originally planned to give her Mireille as the first name, but we didn’t want to subject her to Texan mispronunciations of both her first and last names. 🙂

Merrill Says:

July 23rd, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Yes, you certainly DO have the right to chose whatever name for your baby….just as your parents chose yours. You also have an obligation not to embarrass your child for life with a weird name!

Consider the name very carefully, as this is the FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT ‘gift’ you will ever give your child.

A name should not be one a child will be taunted about by their peers; the child must LIVE with the name forever and into eternity.

Just because dear great-grandad was Cyril Aloishus, or your great aunt was Vanuella Narcissa, please be kinder to your precious child than their Mother was to them.

You’re not going to pay attention to this if you are somewhat weird yourself, but I had to put a grandmothers two cents in the pot. After all, YOUR child will inherit from Grandma & PaPa, no matter the name!

Jaimalyn Says:

August 12th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I am pregnant with my third currently, and had this problem with my second child. His name is Declan, which is not very common around here and my mother absolutely hated it. I named him that anyway, and of course now nobody could ever imagine him being anything else. He goes by Dec and Decky (he’s still only 3, so that works for now) and I’m glad I stood my ground. I have planned to name my 3rd Mireille, which is how I found this blog. I heard the name in a favorite book of mine, “The Eight” and am glad everybody here seems to love it as well.

Lacey Says:

March 16th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

My husband made the mistake of reveling our small list of possible names at a family lunch once.
We were and possible still are seriously considering Delainey and Emmerson ( girl, Boy)
My fairly opinionated brother-in-law immediately bust in mid conversation with “well, Delainey is a LAST name! I’ve never heard it as a first name. (his name is DANIEL!!!)
And went on to say, “What kinda made up name is Emmerson? What did you just randomly throw together letters to get that name?”
His children’s names are Quinny and Ella. I have NEVER once said that their names are just too cutsie patutsie to withstand the test of time and are not strong adult names. They’re trendy baby names. But I kept my opinion to myself…

I still think about what he said everyday, and am having a hard time getting over it. I still LOVE Delainey, middle name Eden, or Lainey for short. But I find myself scanning the name databases all the time looking for something else because of the negative reaction I received.

Sherry Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

If my daughter has a girl, she wants to name it Embee Grace or Emma Grace. Emma means whole or complete. Embree has no meaning and she heard it first as a male werewolf in the twilight series. So, even if you can find it, it is listed as Embry and and says it is a made up version of the male name Emory. Now tell me what comes to mind when you hear this, and I will tell you what come to my mind, and everyone else’s I have told when asked what they hear what they are thinking. I don’t tell anyone I don’t like it for that reason, they say oh I hope they don’t tease her and call her …..well you see what you think! And then I will tell you what they say! Oh and if they name it Embree, they are calling her Bree! Why if they love Embree? I hate to see people give there kids names that can and will be another thing to tease. I am very sure they are leaning towards embree, by the way. So in my case, I never thought I would care , and I don’t, except for the teasing potential is so high on the radar, I worry about it!

tj Says:

April 25th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

i love all the names i had a list since i was 16 and i always imagined my first child being a boy and had the most wonderfull names picked now i am expexting my first child and found out shes a girl. though im happy i was dissapointed bc i really was looking forward to a boy, so i came up with jesimae and its the only girl name i can think of now almost 6 months into it and my mother liked it at first till one day all of a sudden she didnt liek it and i found out it was bc jezibell kinda rhymes with jesimae and she thinks that name is more or less a umm lady of the night name “stripper” so now i dont no what to think any suggestions

Caz Says:

May 7th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I’m 17, and I love name. I have atleast a few of my future names planned – luckily my family seem to like them when I mention them (big family full of babies, the fact mine are planned is a ‘comfort’ the them! Apparently if I didn’t they’d be worried about me!)
One of the best tips I ever heard for when your mother/parents/family in general dislike the name, is to insist on something much worse.
E.g tj above, tell your mother that you prefer the name Jesibell, insist on it for the whole pregnancy, and then name your little girl Jesimae and it will be the best name your mother has ever heard!

Or in my case, I like the Eliza Naomi, but if my dad says he doesn’t I might ‘like’ Raenbou Kaiyttliynnn for a while…

mairwen Says:

June 3rd, 2011 at 2:12 am

You can always tell your mom that the name “Jessica” was invented by Shakespeare!

Amelie Says:

July 28th, 2011 at 4:47 am

My mum didn’t have a problem with the names we picked, she even suggested so, but my Grandmother didn’t like the names for 2 of my 3 children (just talking first names here, middle names – don’t get her started). I have a Myla, a Keanna and an Emikah. The only one out of all those she liked was Keanna, which coincidentally is now shortened to Kea (and Emikah to Emmy sometimes). I still stand by our choices and like many before me have said – our parents/grandparents have had the chance to name their children, now it’s our turn!

Stac Says:

August 3rd, 2011 at 5:47 am

Kate… I grew up with the same problem; when I was born my mother and grandmother had an argument about my name. my mother wanted Anastasia and my grandma wanted Gidget…I wound up with a shortened version of Anastasia which grandma took stand against. For 25 years (until she passed away)she refused to call me by my name.
And although I did feel special having a darling nickname from her,(she called me Brighteyes because I was born with and still have very bright blue eyes, and yes she sang the song.) it did feel weird that I was the only one of her grandchildren whose name she refused to call, especially between the ages 9 and 12 where I no longer wanted to go by the “babyish” name. Now, 27 years later and after her passing I feel nostalgic of that name as she is the only one to ever call me by it. I plan to call my daughter by it as well.
So if there is a name that you want for your child that your mother does not like then stick to your guns and keep to your name and possibly offer an endearment or nn acceptable to you for mom to use for the child in the early years. It just might appease mad mom and give the child a special memory.

Nyx Says:

September 6th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I had a very similar experience with my second son’s name (Nathaniel “Nathan” Xavier). My MIL wasn’t fond of Nathaniel, but liked that I planned to use Nathan as a nickname (in fact, she wanted to know why we just didn’t put that on the birth certificate – as did my dad). My hubby’s cousin’s didn’t like Nathaniel or Nathan, but loved the MN of Xavier and thought that we should put that first. In the end, I thanked them all of their opinions, and we named our son exactly how we planned… and he absolutely LOVES his name! It was a little disappointing to find out that they didn’t love the names as much as we did… but then I realized that this is my son and that we loved the names and that was what mattered. All of a sudden, all that negativity just washed away.

kitchi1 Says:

April 22nd, 2012 at 6:53 pm

My air is naming her baby hazel and her mother hates it. She told her, “well I don’t care, it’s my baby not yours.” it doesn’t really matter though because she never sees her.

Nedra Says:

May 15th, 2012 at 5:49 pm

How bizarre that your mom would repeatedly tell you how much she hates this name even after the daughter has been around for awhile. I can see a grandparent having an initial negative reaction, but it’s very bizarre to me that they’d actually use the word “hate” to describe your daughter’s middle name.

It’s really good that you both loved it so much, though. I worry that I’ll convince my husband to go along with some middle name that I’m in love with, but that he’s not *totally* wild about. Then, after the baby is born, his parents or friends will say something negative and then he’ll regret going along with me. It’s one thing to feel upset about someone disliking a name that you both love, but it’s another to feel the guilt of having convinced your husband to do something that earns him grief from his own parents.

Gwen5 Says:

November 7th, 2012 at 11:16 pm

When I had the twins, my sister-in-law threw an enormous fit when we came home with Sadiya and Wendy. She stated that Wendy was too old for a child to wear and that Sadiya was made up. (Its an Arabic name.) This was coming from the woman that “stole” the name Barbara from me even after she had a name picked out for her daughter. I explained that they were tribute names for good friends that had passed away. She still laughs about them, but I don’t care.

Name Sage: Grandma Hates the Name! – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

August 18th, 2015 at 10:42 pm

[…] it any consolation to know that you’re not alone? Journalist Laura Dunphy wrote about her parents’ less-than-enthusiastic reaction to her daughter’s name, Sophie Mireille. (“We hate it.”) Dunphy’s parents haven’t come around, but it hasn’t […]

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