• Mon, Apr 16 2012

The Cross Family: Sharing Baby Names Well Before Birth Since 2008

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)

Share This Post:
  • Melissa

    We had our 2nd baby’s name picked out before I was even pregnant! We were talking about starting to try, and I was just browsing my favorite name website one evening while we watched TV, and these two boy names just stuck out and I said “What do you think of Firstname Middlename?” and it just clicked. We knew that if we were to have another boy, that would be his name. It just felt right. Still feels right, three weeks from my due date. :-) And we’re telling people – we like calling the baby by name.

    • Lindsay Cross

      Aw! Congratulations! That’s about how my husband and I decided.

  • Melissa

    We had our 2nd baby’s name picked out before I was even pregnant! We were talking about starting to try, and I was just browsing my favorite name website one evening while we watched TV, and these two boy names just stuck out and I said “What do you think of Firstname Middlename?” and it just clicked. We knew that if we were to have another boy, that would be his name. It just felt right. Still feels right, three weeks from my due date. :-) And we’re telling people – we like calling the baby by name.

  • Kim

    Congrats! I was the same way. From the minute we found out I was having a boy, he was referred to as Nathan from then on, and I have no regrets! My cousin always referred to “the baby,” “the toddler,” and now her son is just “the kid,” and it drives me CRAZY!

  • Ellie

    Eh, to each his own. We don’t care about anyone’s opinion of the names we chose, but we also aren’t interested in listening to them. So we will introduce him with a name when he shows up and we see which name seems to suit him best.

    But geez – when did telling the names become bad luck? That’s just silly.

  • Kel

    So I get that this is a vent, but don’t you think that the expectation that people WON’T want to discuss your chosen name before the baby’s born a little strange (notwithstanding the undertone of “I should be able to have the kind of interaction with people that I want to have and they should all react in the way I prefer!”)?

    You seem to think that this is about people disrespecting your decisions, but I don’t think that’s what it is. You’re forgetting that to everyone else but you (and maybe your partner) your unborn baby is more of an abstract concept than a reality–they don’t experience the pregnancy other than what you tell them. There’s fact and then there’s a proposal–a fact is something that is (introducing your child as Oliver) and a proposal is for something that will be (telling people the name of your future child). As real as your baby is to you, it’s just not for others and won’t be until they meet him. So they’re going to assume that when you tell them the name for a baby that hasn’t been born yet, that it’s a proposal. Hence, they’ll probably take it as an invitation for conversation on the topic.

    Seems pretty natural to me that my friends want to discuss when I tell them my unborn baby’s name.

  • kate

    just an anecdote, but my first was picked out as soon as we knew he was a boy. with our second (first girl) we had alot of trouble picking and constantly threw names around, it ended up coming from the TV show Lost. With number 3, we had some how tired of picking names and I had loved the name Evangeline (also an actress on Lost!!) before we even decided to get pregnant again, so once iw as pregnant and pouring over the name book my husband says “evangline or evan.” so that was it, (we call her Evie). If Lost had been on for the first one I could have named HIm Jack or Sawyer and hald a whole set. :p

  • Pingback: Unbearable: Dear Pregnancy.com, I'm Not Pregnant Anymore

  • Eileen

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with picking a name ahead of time and calling the baby that – it’s cute! I had a name well before I was born, although my sisters were each down to two in the delivery room. And I certainly don’t think it’s bad luck (everything related to weddings and babies is supposed to be bad luck).

    But a friend revealed to me a couple of months ago that his/her parents had had several miscarriages, and that two had been far enough along to have names. Names make unborn babies real people in everyone’s consciousness, so I could understand not wanting to give or share them until you have them outside of you.

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

  • AmK

    THANK YOU!!

    You just summed up my thoughts through both pregnancies. Once the parents can agree on names, no one else really gets a say in the matter, until the child grows up and decides to legally change it.