The Name Game: When to Choose and Share Baby’s Name

Originally posted January 24, 2016 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

Like many women, I had a list of possible baby names picked out long before I ever stepped foot in a fertility clinic. In fact, by high school I had the names of my three future children all picked out. I also was certain I’d meet their father before graduating college. That was my first swing and a miss, but who’s keeping score?

Even as my name choices expanded and changed over the years, though, I always thought naming a baby would be one of the enjoyable and controversy-free parts of getting pregnant. After all, no one would mess with me once I was pregnant by making fun of my top choices. Even my older brother would grow out of the need to mock his little sister. Yup, that was strike two in the predicting-my-future game. Guess I should have had a better poker face when he shared some of his top choices before my nephew was born, because revenge isn’t so sweet on the receiving end.

But as I near my final trimester, I’m pretty happy with the name I’ve tentatively chosen, and I’m thankful I did ask for some feedback, as it forced me to really explore what was important to me in the name I chose for my little guy. So now the stress is over, and I can sit back and . . . do what? Share? Not share? Make it final? Keep my options open? Call the baby by the chosen name? Stick with the silly nickname he’s had since my first ultrasound?

Turns out people have as many opinions about when to chose and share a name as they do about the names themselves.

When to Decide

Some religions and cultures are adamant that babies not be named until after birth, due to a fear that it increases the chance of something going wrong. Other people just feel you can’t choose a name until you know the baby some.

Being both a little superstitious and a believer in the importance of carefully chosen names, when I first got pregnant I thought I’d go into the delivery room with a handful of names I equally liked. I’d wait until meeting my little one and then pick the name that fit him or her best. Part of me still leans this way. What if I hold my little guy in my arms and the name I’ve been calling him for months feels wrong?

Then again, part of me is starting to understand the perks of choosing a name earlier. Lately, when I’ve been talking to the baby, which I do quite frequently now that I feel him squirming around in there, I occasionally call him by the name I’m leaning towards. It’s been nice to try it out, to get used to the sound of it, to feel it on my lips and in my heart. And it makes me wonder, will I really know him any better in those first few hours after birth than I do now feeling him grow inside me every day?

When to Share

While some parents-to-be happily share with the world the name they’ve chosen for their yet-to-be-born baby, most who decide on a name early fall into the category of waiters. Reasons to keep baby’s name a secret include not wanting to hear negative comments, not wanting the name to be ‘stolen’, superstitions/beliefs that it could increase the risk of something going wrong, fear that it would make it harder to cope if something did go wrong, or just for the excitement of getting to share it for the first time once the baby has arrived.

Despite other bloggers or parents online who feel very strongly about not sharing, I feel like this one’s just a matter of personal preference. Maybe this is because I’m still in denial about the fact I’ve pretty much already chosen a name and have therefore convinced myself there’s no risk in sharing, or maybe it’s because I’ve never been able to keep a secret anyway. I feel if you want to keep it a secret, great. But if you want to tell the world, that’s great, too. I fall somewhere in the middle; if you ask, I’ll tell you, but I’m not ready to embroider his pjs quite yet.

I have to laugh at how many people have asked me if I’ve thought of a name yet, then look shocked or horrified when I’m willing to share with them the name I’m considering, as if I’m breaking some unwritten code of secrecy. Then again, I’m pretty sure my family is laughing behind my back at my insistence that the name I’ve chosen is still just a potential, despite the fact I haven’t changed my mind about it or even really considered another name in over two months. Hopefully they’re right and I’ve already hit my name game home run. But that little stubborn streak is keeping me from making an online announcement quite yet!

So how did you play the name game? Did you swing early and miss? Keep your eye on the ball until just the right moment? Or have some other batter’s box ritual that helped you choose just the right name?

 

 

Photo credit: Realinemedia

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