• Tue, Mar 27 2012

Sharing Your Unborn Baby’s Name Is A Really Bad Idea

pregnancyI 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?)

(Photo: iStockphoto)

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
Share This Post:
  • Shelly G

    We picked out Ripley for our daughter – while we were a bit inebriated and watching Alien over a year before we got pregnant. Once we sobered up, we realized we really loved the name and it was something that we could actually agree on (should have seen the arguments over potential boy names, sheesh). But when people would ask, we’d say “we’re naming her after one of the first really strong female leads in cinema – Ripley.” Sort of a concise way to say “yes, we thought about it. Yes, this name means something.” So we didn’t hear too many negatives outside of the few “will she have a girly nickname?”

    • quinn

      Wow! I LOVE that name!!!

    • Julie

      I have a friend who named her daughter Ripley. Maybe it’s coming back?

    • Kelly

      Gorgeous Gorgeous name! I’m 5 months pregnant and we are naming her Ripley, although we are not telling anyone until after she is born…

  • Ellie

    We never told anyone, not even our parents, what names we had chosen. for just that reason. Too many people feel like they somehow get to have a say in that decision.

    Instead, we told people that we had two names picked out, and once we saw our son we would decide which one fit him. That was true the first time, and most people were cool with that. This time it’s not really true, we’re pretty much settled on what we’re going to call #2. But that’s nobody’s business but our own.

    It’s a lot easier to introduce a new person as ____________. Nobody is going to rip apart a new baby’s name to his face. :)

  • Rachael

    I would prefer to hide the baby name because of the surprise factor. I’ve found with relatives and friends who have kids that when they reveal gender/name, it takes the suspense away.

    “It’s a boy named Jimmy!” vs “Jimmy’s been born.” Some people might prefer the latter for their peace of mind/other reasons, but I find it a bit of an anticlimax.

    Obviously, it’s everyone’s choice and it’s no less a happy event, but it still bugs me!

    Good luck with your pregnancy.

  • Melissa

    We’ve shared our babies’ names before the birth both times and we don’t regret it. I don’t really care what people think. It’s my kid.

  • anna

    ‘In Britain, names like Apple, Peaches, Poppy and Clover – all names I really like – are pretty common.’
    Rebecca, this is not true. Peaches Geldolf is an exception,I’ll concede Poppy but Apple and Clover? Maybe for a cow??

    • Kelly

      Yeah, *you* are wrong. Depends on where you are, I guess.

    • Bea

      I agree. Apple, Peaches, Poppy and Clover are NOT common names in Great Britain. Even in the most pretentious, middle class areas these are not common names. Like Anna said, I can only think of Apple Martin and Peaches Geldof.

  • Alex

    When my partner and I decided to name our son Gabriel, most people loved it, except for the mother-in-law. She said ‘You can’t call him that, I don’t like it, and other kids will call him Gabby!’ I’ve never heard of a Gabriel being called ‘Gabby’ before. It pissed me off for weeks; if you can’t be constructive in your objection to a baby name, just keep your bloody mouth shut! ;D

    • LiteBrite

      I’ve known a couple of Gabriels, and both were nicknamed “Gabby.” I don’t think it’s a bad nickname, at least no worse than others I’ve heard.

      I love the name Gabriel. If I had another male child, that would be the name.

  • DebMoore

    Yes we told everybody who asked. At first I was going to say that since we chose a classic name (Elizabeth) nobody said anything, but then I remembered just about every person said “thats a long name for a little girl” Yes but she will only be a little girl for a short period of time, beside there are tons of nicknames for Elizabeth! So you are right, everyone has an opinion.

  • KMilt

    People had a very strong negative reaction to our daughter’s name before she was born – it was ‘too old fashioned’ for a little girl, apparently. Nobody said a word when she was born and we still used the name, even those who protested loudly beforehand. Who cares what people think – it’s your kid, just name them what you want.

  • Amanda

    I agree with the previous posted: it’s anticlimactic. But we did share with our first because it was our first and we were so excited. Will be excited next time too, but more laid back. We found out the gender the first time and the next time we won’t. So that should be a good enough reason not to have a definite name and I’ll probably just tell people that we have no clue (even if we do). But I also hated being asked….it feels like you’re put on the spot, and what if you think you’re sure, then you meet the baby and a different name makes much more sense? Better not to “lock it in” in my opinion.

  • Jessie

    I don’t have any children yet, but if I ever do I will not be sharing the name I choose until the very last minute possible if I can avoid it. The reason for this is the same as many: Too many people with opinions and judgements around me, and it will just tick me off. Based on my experience with friends, you don’t really want to tick off a pregnant lady.

    This is also because, like Rebecca, I favor more offbeat and unusual names, or just plain uncommon ones. I tend to find names I like in fantasy novels or video games, same goes for my husband, in fact our name for a boy is from one of my favorite games of all time that I grew up playing since I was about 6 years old, but I know if I told my family and friends I was naming my kid after a video game character there would be backlash like nobody’s business. So, when or if the day comes, I’m just gonna keep it quiet until that baby is coming out of me and the nurses ask what name is going on the certificate.

    • Jaci

      Just reading this now….and wanted to share that BOTH of my kids, both boys, are named after video games! I have a Colgan (after Culgan) and a Ridley. We didn’t want family names, and wanted something different. So, we went with my husbands love of video games to decide. And a little piece of advice: Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks, they will love the kiddo no matter what, and if they don’t like the name that much, they can come up with an adorable nickname that’s just as well. Good luck to you! :)

  • kate

    first, i really like Holt. that is a nice boys name. With my first two children we told people early on. no one had much issue with my son Alek, then Juliette was going to be Summer, then Leia and we got constant ribbing for changing it periodically. I went agaisnt Leia when everyone kept saying it “Leah” (the star wars jokes didnt bother me, the mispronciation did) She wasnt named Juliette until right before we left the hosiptal, and i sitll got comments! So with baby number three we kept her name close to the vest for the whole pregnancy (it was picked out before i was even pregnant) Her name is Evangeline, and plenty of people dont like it but we dont care! ;)

  • mrs. lynn

    I agree with a previous comment, it’s only a bad idea if you care what other people think. And I don’t. People want to know what we’re naming our son, I’ll tell them. They don’t like it, it’s their problem.

  • Jessica

    We decided our sons name before we even knew he was a son. When I tell people that I’m naming my son after his father and grandfather, my friends can’t believe what I’m saying. “how sexist” they tell me. “what about what you want” they say, as if I had no choice. I love the name and the men he’s going to be named for. Why shouldn’t I be proud of them?

  • Cortni

    I wanted to name my daughter Elliot or Parker, but my boyfriend was set against them. So we decided on Harper. Of course within six months after her birth, at least three celebrities named their daughters Harper. ):

  • JLH

    I kept our daughter’s name quiet until she was born. We named her Pemeberly Jane (I’m a bit of a Jane Austen fan). We call her PJ. Everyone still hates it, but I love it and so does my fiance so they can deal. Her Nana calls her Lee (for the LY at the end of her name) because everyone in her family has the middle name Lee (we clearly declined to continue that). So she decided that’s the route she took. Oh well. We like her name!

  • Taz

    I told whoever asked. Including my pregnant SIL (she said she wouldn’t use ‘my’ name if I didn’t use “her’s'…well she used mine. And I couldn’t bear to have my kid share the same full name and age as someone else for so many reasons. After that I kept my mouth shut.

  • Ellie

    Re: it’s your kid, doesn’t matter what people think

    Of course it doesn’t matter. But what I’m trying to avoid is the negativity generated by the loudmouths. I just don’t want or need it. Why give them a chance to nitpick?

    Plus, it’s just fun when the nosy ones are annoyed at my non-answer. :)

  • Katie

    We didnt share our daughter;s name until after she was born because we had a few names we liked a decided to wait until we actually met her.

    We copped a bit of flack for naming our daughter Sage, but all you can do is walk away and ignore the person.

  • Pingback: Bruce Willis Welcomes Baby Girl – Loving The Old-School Name

  • Rowan

    I love the name Rowan.
    But then again, my view will be bias.

  • Brandie

    I regret telling my husband’s Grandma our baby’s name because everytime I see her I’m asked “Are you still going to name him THAT?” or “It’s not too late to give that baby a real name.” My husband and I are high school sweet hearts and have had two baby names picked out (a boy and a girl) since our senior year of high school. We absolutly love our name choice and it hurts to have such rude comments constantly made about a name we thought so hard about. This isn’t a new reaction from her either, she doesn’t like my husband’s sister’s name either and even though she is 25 years old now she still complains about her name. I worry that as our baby grows up all he is going to hear from his Great Grandma is constant complaining about his name just as his Aunt has.

  • Kel R

    At first I was just thinking you like weird names because yours is so blah and generic, but now I legit think your brain has fallen out. Jupiter? Jupiter???

    And I proudly share my baby names. Because unlike you, I have a mind of my own and don’t care what others think. I don’t spend my time trying to impress or please other people. I’m naming my son Tristan and my daughter Summer, because I like them. Your name choice is retarded. But if you were confident and secure in yourself it wouldn’t matter.

    • Jessica

      Wow, every post I stumble upon by this poor chick is being aggressively attacked by the omniscient Kel R. Why am I not surprised that such an intelligent and blatantly classy mom would use a derogatory word such as “retarded”. Please Kel R, do us all a favor and stop commenting on these articles. You are clearly not only an embarrassment as a mother, but as a sentient person.

  • Pingback: What’s in a name? | Mom de Plume

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004037735765 Mccart Brenda

    Hello am hear to testify of the good work of Dr Grace, she is the best
    solution of having a baby without any operation carrying any test on you,
    she deals with purely root and herb for her medicine. i was married for
    more than 16 years of no child, i went to the best hospital in my
    country and yet there was no solution to my case, i never was sick or my
    husband but no child, so i told a friend of mine who also was having
    this kind of problem i was having, but now she is a mother of 3 kids, so
    i ask her what did she do to her case, then she told me that it was Dr
    Grace that she contacted who help her with her root and herb medicine. i
    was never a fans of all this kind of thing so i decided to try if i can
    get something out of it i contacted them and she also prepare the root
    and herb for me and send it over to me in my country. i took the medicine
    as it was prescribe to take and all they told me to do with my husband
    after i have taken the medicine, so after 3 month of taking this medicine
    i discover that i miss my period and i went to the hospital for test
    and it was confirm that i was pregnant, i never believe tat i was going
    to have my kids with my womb until i waited till the 9 month and i
    deliver a bouncy baby boy. I really thank Dr Grace for saving my
    marriage and also putting smile into the face of my husband, i want all
    you my fellow women who are looking for baby and also those who are
    looking for a baby boy so badly to contact babyboyhospital@yahoo.com
    and her fee is affordable to pay. she will put a smile into your face.

  • roccos mom

    when I was pregnant and told my boyfriends family I planned on naming our son Rocco, his father kept saying “that sounds like a dogs name, i know a dog named Rocco”. Im sure he was hoping Id go with another name, but it annoyed me that he kept repeating it. Then a perfect stranger (sandwich maker at subway) asked what I was going to name him, and when I replied, she looked disgusted and said “is that a family name you feel you need to preserve?”. I couldnt believe how rude people were. After his birth, the only comments we get are I LOVE IT! its even grown on his grandfather, im sure from now on when he hears the name hell think of my baby instead of some dog.

  • stef

    i can still tell you that your baby’s name is stupid after it’s born.

    my brother and his wife are expecting a baby and they won’t tell me the name. it just makes me sad.

  • mommy2be

    everyone has their own taste
    if a mother and a father want to name their child : APPLE or PEACH that’s THEIR choice.

    Ive changed my unborn baby’s name 40 x maybe, because of people’s reactions..It hurts and it keeps u awake at night, it’s not just something simple. it really hurts my feelings when people say: oh…. that’s special…(sarcastic)

    I seriously cried when my mom nagged me for days about my choice, it’s so annoying.

    So now, I have a name and I’m keeping it a secret from everyone and they’ll just have to see when they recieve a card in the mailbox

  • Newmama315

    I hate how often I get asked what the baby name is. And I chose the middle name to be my Mom’s name who passed away when I was 18. And one girl when I told her the name, she goes “NOT that I hate that name” and I said “It was my moms name” you think that would have stopped her in her tracks, but I guess the past tense didn’t phase her and she went on to talk about all the girls shes met with that name that she hates…and I said “Well she died when I was 18 and I really want to honor her” then she stopped like a deer in headlights. I think next time around I will be flat out and say we arent announcing the name until the baby is born. But people are so forceful!!! They don’t even say “Do you have a name?” They say “What names do you have picked out?” like you don’t have a way around it. And if you avoid the question and say “Nothing yet” they ask like every week what the name is. I found out I was pregnant at 3 weeks and people were already asking. GET OVER IT people….

  • Pingback: Ciao Maria / Why We are Not Keeping our Baby's Name a Secret - Ciao Maria

  • Renababy

    Me and my fiancé both love the name Merci for our baby girl. My mom loves it but all of my close friends have negative feedback and one even said ‘you just made my heart drop don’t name your baby that. Is Merci so horrible?