I become very hesitant when people ask if I’ve chosen a baby name. In fact, sometimes I’m downright scared. This is because of other people’s reactions. I’m not sure why people, including friends, feel the need to throw in their two cents when it comes to my choice for my baby. But they do.
I had always wondered why people kept their baby name a secret before they give birth, but now I understand why. It’s so much easier to tell people the baby name you have chosen after the baby is born. No one says, “Why did you pick that name?” or, “Really? That’s the name?”
I think if you announce the baby name after the baby is born, people know it’s a done deal – with an actual baby to prove it – so there’s no point in saying anything other than that you love it. But if you say what the name is before, they think they can change your mind, or that it’s fair game to suggest other names or tell you, sometimes point blank, that you can’t possibly name your baby that.
Years ago, I wanted to name my daughter Apple. The jokes were immediate and fast. “It sounds like a dessert!” some would exclaim. “You can’t do that to your child. Have you ever met a lawyer named Apple?” others would say (and my daughter hadn’t even been born yet). This was six months before Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple, mind you, so it turns out to be a blessing in disguise. (I didn’t want people to think that I copied Gwyneth!)
In Britain, names like Apple, Peaches, Poppy and Clover – all names I really like – are pretty common. It’s just in North America we can’t seem to wrap our heads around these names. (Ironically, the only person who didn’t mind the name Apple was my father, who was in his 60s!) But my ex didn’t like the name Apple and, quite frankly, I was such a bitch during my first pregnancy that I let him pick out the name for our daughter (Rowan.) The name took three years to grow on me after she was born. (When she was a baby, I’d sometimes whisper ‘Apple’ to her.)
I recently spoke to a “baby naming consultant” for an interview I was doing and she mentioned that a lot of people come to her after their baby is born because they think they made a mistake with their name. I can completely understand that. And why should you feel bad if you think you’ve made a mistake in naming your baby? You have to call your child that for the rest of their lives. So if you think you’ve made a mistake, own it, and pick another name you think is more suitable.
In any case, if I was having a girl this time around, I had a great name picked out: Blu. Thankfully, I’m having a boy, because Beyonce ruined that name for me (again, I can’t follow a celebrity!). I don’t know why people were so shocked at the name Beyonce chose. It’s been on my baby roster for years. I also had a boy baby named picked out: Holt. And I didn’t want to tell anyone because this name really meant a lot to me.
When my grandfather came over to Canada from Poland, he couldn’t get a job, because of his Jewish sounding last name, Burnholtz. So I wanted to bring back his last name. But I was terrified of the reaction from people, especially since this name was so personal to me. So I didn’t tell people for a while. But now I have been. And when people ask, “So do you have a name?” I say, “Yes, but it’s a done deal so you have to like it.” And then I tell them the name.
Once you tell people it’s a done deal, they know there is no point in giving their opinion, except to say, “I like it!” It’s strange to me that people would have anything negative to say when you tell them the name you choose for your baby. But what’s that saying? “You can’t please everyone all of the time?” But, really, why do we need to worry about what other people are going to say about our baby names? People do seem to like the name Holt better once I tell them the story behind it. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life having to explain the reasoning behind my baby name choice. So now I just say “It’s a family name,” and that seems to satiate people.
Did you share your baby’s name before birth? If so, did you sometimes feel like you were being judged?
(P.S. I also really like the name Jupiter for a girl. Could you imagine the reaction to that?)