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  1. #1

    Family naming predicament

    I need a little advice and opinions on the best way to handle this situation. My cousin and his wife are expecting their first baby right at a month after my husband and I are expecting ours. She and I are good friends and have known and gotten along for years (so not already starting out on bad terms).

    Well, the other day I decided to go ahead and email her (cousin's wife) and share some of our top favorite names just so we don't end up with the same ones on our list. And especially since DH and I aren't finding out the sex and aren't planning on OFFICIALLY deciding on a name until we meet the baby at the hospital (so we will go with a list of our favorites).

    In the email I asked her to keep our names on the DL since we wanted them to be a surprise to our family and friends, but i went ahead and told her what were and have been our favorites. For a girl, ours is Willa Josephine.

    Well, she emails back and tells me that she and my cousin were also planning on using Willa Rae for their girl. She kept saying how shocked she was (as was I), but she said that since we are due first and technically told our name first, we could have it. Just to let her know if we change our mind.

    (Almost done, I promise). So, for one, I feel a little guilty if we were to use the name. Should I? Is it rude for me to go ahead and use it?

    And second of all, I'm so worried that if we don't have a girl, we'll lose the name. Do you think that if I don't it frees them up to use it, even though we would certainly still use it on future baby girl?

    It is all awkward, and she is being SO sweet about it but I don't want to handle it wrong and one of us have bitter feelings about it in the long run.

    Any advice?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    New York, NY

    Re: Family naming drama

    If you do end up having a girl and Willa really is your first choice, you should go ahead and use it and not feel bad. (After all, if you don't, she will, and you'd feel like you missed your opportunity.) If, however, you have a boy or you have a girl and use a different name, then the name is definitely theirs to take. But, you shouldn't be upset about that either. It's all too uncertain - you may never have a daughter, or by the time you have one, you may no longer like the name Willa (or you may just love another name more). I understand that you want to avoid the disappointment of having a daughter in a couple of years and being unable to give her your first choice name. But, think about it this way: you are pregnant now; what if you knew right now that you were having a daughter and there was already another Willa in your family. The fact of that other Willa would eliminate Willa as the first choice name and another name would take its place. That's the way it might be if and when you have a daughter someday (assuming you're not having one now). That's also the way your cousin's wife is thinking about the naming of her own child; if she has a girl and at the time the baby is born, you've already had a girl named Willa, then there will already be a Willa in the family and she'll choose something else. I believe that babies should be named as they come; I am not a believer in "reserving" names because I think all it does is create unneccessary problems. Imagine how you'd feel if you have a little boy, tell your cousin not to use the name Willa, she has a little girl and names her something else out of deference to you but you know she's disappointed, then two years from now you have a daughter and don't even want to name her Willa any more, but feel like you have to. The universe of names is vast; as awful as it may seem to have any single name off limits, there is always another one out there. And the right name for any baby is generally not going to be one that comes with any sort of baggage.
    Mom of one daughter, age 2, and name-enthusiast

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Re: Family naming drama

    Well, firstly I think it's lovely how generous your cousins wife is and how well the two of you are handling this. So many times these situations can turn nasty.

    I think you should use Willa if it feels like the "one" for you, especially as she has given you her 'blessing' so to speak. It wouldn't be rude because you have both already discussed it and you know that she is fine with it.

    However, if you have a boy, I think your cousin will/should use Willa if she has a girl (and wants to use it). Just the fact that she asked you to let her know if you changed your mind shows how attached she is to the name as well, and while she seems happy for you to use the name, how would she feel if she couldn't use Willa even though it wasn't being used just on the chance that you may have a daughter in the future? It's one thing to let someone have a name if they are expecting a baby; it's another thing entirely to give up a name because someone is saving it for a possible (but not definite) future date.
    Trends, styles and quirks of British names:

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Re: Family naming predicament

    Well, you did state your name first, and your baby is due first, so if you still love Willa Josephine (great name!) when your daughter arrives, I think you should use it. You didn't know that your family members were considering the same name, so you aren't to blame here. If she was really hurt about it - and dead-set on using Willa - I believe she might not have acted so sweet and told you to use it. I know if my sister or sister-in-law had chosen the same name I love (by accident, albeit), we'd probably have to both choose new names or work out some sort of agreement. But, maybe I'm just not that nice... ;-)

    Anyway, wait until it gets a little closer, see what is going on with their naming situation, and ultimately decide which name you love for your daughter - independent of this situation. You don't want any regrets!
    "Names, once they are in common use, quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth's marvels, beneath the dust of habit." - Salman Rushdie

    Boy Combinations: Archer Solomon James, Ronan Charles Bennett, Everett Hawthorn Thomas
    Girl Combinations: Phoebe Marietta Pearl, Clara Daphne Eloise
    Other Favorites: Eliza (Eliza Wren), Juliet, Rosanna, Thea, Johanna, Jude

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Re: Family naming predicament

    If you have a baby girl, I don't think you should feel guilty about using Willa. However, if you choose a different name or have a boy, I feel that your cousin also shouldn't feel guilty using Willa when their baby is born.

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