baby namesGuess what ladies? If I’m ever blessed to have a beautiful baby boy, his name will be Oliver. That’s right, I can tell you right now without any hesitation what I plan to name my future son, if I’m lucky enough to get that chance.

No, I haven’t been dreaming of naming a baby Oliver since I was a teenager trying to plan out my life. It isn’t the name of my father or grandfather. And no, I don’t particularly care about anyone else’s opinion on our name choice, though you’re welcome to share your feelings if you’d like.

When my husband and I decided we were ready to have children, we obviously started to think about what those children would be like. As every couple does, we threw around names for our possible future kids. Reading a book or watching a movie, one of us would yell across the house, “Hey hun, what do you think of Caleb?” The other would either immediately dismiss it, make a noncommittal mumble or voice their agreement. (Apparently my husband isn’t a fan of Caleb.)

One of those random suggestions was the name Oliver. And my husband and I both decided that we really liked it. So if a ultra-sound tech ever looks excitedly at my husband and proclaims, “It’s a boy,” we’ll start calling the little one growing in my stomach Oliver.

I’m not the only one, either! My sister was recently blessed with a beautiful baby boy. She found out around Thanksgiving that she and her husband were going to have a son. By Christmas, my mom and I were getting presents for Cooper, not for “the baby in my sister’s stomach.”

Maybe it puts me at odds with most moms-to-be. Maybe my sister and I are inviting horrible luck when we not only name, but share the name of our fetuses. But I wouldn’t change our family tradition of early naming for anything.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I immediately shared her name. I didn’t think of her as “Munchkin” or “Peanut.” I didn’t worry that what anyone thought about my less-than-traditional choice. I learned I was having a girl and started referring to that girl as Brenna. That little human being growing inside of me was a person. I read to my daughter every night, even when she was still inside of me. I talked to her, laughed at her and felt a connection to her. She was my Brenna, and I didn’t need a birth certificate with her name on it to prove it.

I’m not saying that anyone else needs to share their baby names before they give birth. I don’t think that those other in-utero children are any less of children because their mothers refer to them as “Sweet Pea.”

But I’m really tired of hearing about the bad luck I’m drawing on my unborn child because I choose to name them early. I’m tired of people who want to critique my choice of baby name because, “I shouldn’t share it early if I don’t want other people’s opinions.” That presupposes that I’m not certain on that name. It assumes that I might be contemplating changing the name and would therefore welcome further discussion on the topic. I’m not and I wouldn’t.

Baby names are important, personal decisions for parents to make and we should all be free to make that choice whenever it works for us. In my family, that happens pretty quickly. If I’m fortunate enough to go through that process again, I won’t hesitate to start calling my child by name months before we ever get to see what he or she looks like.

(Photo: Thinkstock)