Saturday, 16 August 2014

Lesson 26: What's in a (baby) name?

Choosing a name for your baby. The fun bit. 

Except when it's not fun. When in fact it is fun-less. Devoid of all fun. Actually rather bloody tedious. 

In early pregnancy, baby names were my favourite topic of conversation. Now, with less than three weeks to go until due date, I am sick to the back teeth of deliberating names. 

Don't ask me if we're 'all sorted for names yet'. We don't even have a credible shortlist. 

I feel like I should add some context and justification to this post. Well, quite simply we made a dramatic error of judgment this time around. An error I want to warn all other parents-to-be about.

We started discussing our name ideas with other people. 

This is, I've realised, a fucking stupid thing to do. 

Sounding out a few name ideas with family over dinner, friends over coffee, or strangers on the bus, is like decision clarity suicide.

You may think that you don't really care what other people think. You may even say this to each other as you deliberate names yet again before falling asleep. 

But you will care. And the opinions of others (parents/friends/colleagues/strangers/Tom/Dick/Harry) will start to cloud your judgement. 

Until you are not sure if you like certain names anymore, not sure if you want to like other names but don't, and not actually sure you will ever decide on the sodding name. 

Last time, we picked our son's name almost immediately after the 20 week scan. He would be Henry. 'Henry it is' we told people. And Henry it was. General consensus seemed positive, but mostly our assertiveness that the name had been selected put a stop to any of those comments. You don't slag off a name that is a certainty. We loved it, everyone else either loved it or pretended to, and we still love it now. Happy days.

This time, upon discovering we were expecting another boy, we had no such sense of name confidence. There was no certified front runner. This one would take more deliberation. 

And that should be the fun part. Behind closed doors, the baby name book comes out, along with the random suggestions and slight disagreements on names with your other half (by slight disagreement I mean "100% no. No way. Ever. Not EVER").

If ever there was a can of worms not to open outside of this private family sphere, it is the can of baby name ideas. The wormiest can of all.

The prompt 'so what names are you considering?' should come with the health warning 'you tell me them all and I'll slate each one to varying degrees, and then suggest a whole host of unrelated names I like better.' 

What people seem to forget, neglect to understand or just ignore is that your name 'ideas' may just become THE name. Granted, our suggestions this time have not been as concrete as Henry was. But they are names we are seriously considering. 

Despite this, comments on our rather sketchy shortlist of names, have included:

'You can't call a kid that!'
'Oh god, really?!'
'Well that's one way to ensure he is gay/bullied/has a complex!'
'Not keen on that one!'
'You'll think of something different'

And the less offensive but equally annoying:
'Wouldn't you prefer something nice like...'
'We had _____ on our list, you could use that if you like?'

Lastly, my personal favourite:
Absolute silence

YOU ASKED!  I was providing information. I didn't ask for your opinion. If you don't like the name, smile, nod, hell just tell me it's interesting, unusual, quite old fashioned, not a name you hear everyday...

Don't piss all over my name parade with your unhelpful authority on the history of all good names that ever existed. 

I'm so confused now. 

I have heard so many comments about our top three or four names (well, this week's top names), that I am struggling to separate my own feelings on the names themselves and the feelings shadowed by the patchwork of unwelcome opinion. 

I'm not having any more children after baby Anon arrives in a few weeks. But if I did, I would never discuss the name with anyone other than my husband. This time around it is too late for me to un-hear the chorus of the name mafia (though I am trying).

Lesson 26: Have a baby, name it, and then introduce said baby to the world and his wife complete with a definite name. Job done.

The Unmumsy Mum


  1. Oh god!! We've had this too! We did have a short list but each name was slated by someone! I now kind of have a short list but I'm second guessing myself if I actually like the names! Baby is due in 3 weeks!

    1. The people who slate these names will seem so insignificant post-birth I'm sure, but for now it really doesn't help does it?! Good luck with yours, we may be facing the same name decision at the same time! X

  2. Made me laugh so hard. For a while it was an interesting topic of conversation to bring up at parties but I got a bit sick of hearing "you can't do that to a child" so kept schtum after about week 26. Good luck making your final decision!

    1. Haha! People can be so rude!! Thank you, whichever way we look at it we'll have to pick one name fairly shortly...thanks for reading :-)

  3. Argh. I know exactly what you mean. We told people our choices when I was pregnant last time and, mostly, they were OK but there were a few who were rude and laughed or suggested names they liked better (FYI - have your own baby if you want that name!). This time we made the decision not to tell anyone our choices. But then the husband went and told someone in his family who had an opinion ("Is that a joke? Can't you call it this instead?") which really annoyed me. It's meant that, although we're sure on the names we've picked, I know that the first reaction from that person will always be one that wasn't positive. Ultimately though, once the baby is born and the name is there then that will be it and no one will say anything - I'm sure the name you eventually choose will be perfect. x

    1. 'Is that a joke?' is SO offensive and unnecessary. Clearly we add Joke Names to the shortlist just to mix it up a bit... I mean FFS!! With 2 weeks to go I think we might have settled on the name - but if anyone asks I am saying 'not sure, wait and see!' Thank you for reading :-)

  4. Having a read through your back catalogue....we had a list of about 20 boys names & 20 girls names....basically any name that didnt make us want to vomit/laugh/pull a face at. Bloody baby came 2 weeks early, so we hadnt even narrowed it down....or brought it to the hospital. His name was "dont know" for 3 days, whilst we whittled the list down to a shortlist of 4 (1 of which my dad said he hated but has never revealed which) and my cousin texted me to hurry up "cos people who dont name their baby for ages are weird"....we had an epiphany during a 4am feeding/poosplosion frenzy....his name was Evan :)

  5. Equally as bad is when you tell friends names you like and they use for their baby as they got there first! X

  6. We chose Kobe for our son, we knew all along this is what we wanted.. Two comments on my Facebook were 'Lovely name, sure its spelt Cobe though?????' And 'Jodie are you sure its not Cobie?' NO IM 100% SURE I KNOW THE SPELLING OF THE NAME MY FUTURE SON IS GOING TO HAVE. WE chose it. We WANT it spelt that way. Hence WHY i wrote Kobe! Safe to say i was infuriated and my comment back was a not so nice 'F*ck off'. 3 years on, I hope everytime I post something using my sons name that it really gets on their tits. :)

  7. My mum really pissed over the name I liked which was Freya. She kept "hilariously" say "frayed rope" and would constantly say "so is "ropey" still in the running? It really annoyed me but I started to go off the name. My mum kept suggesting Ruth everytime I saw her which I disliked. She'd bring it up so often that I started asking if she had first stage dementia as I'd already said no to it a million times. Sadly it didn't stop her.

  8. I'm a teacher - took us 3 weeks to name our boy (didn't find out what I was having) because any boy's name reminded me of a hideous child I once taught. There are many names on the 'banned' list but I won't name them for fear of insulting someone. Let me assure you though that there are many boys names that will undoubtedly produce a naughty boy. Fingers crossed for mine! !

  9. We've chosen our two names and they have a had a few eyebrows when we have shared them...thankfully I'm in the camp of 'I don't give a s$%t what you'll have been growing in me for 9's our choice'. :)

  10. OH and I told everyone that my daughter was going to be called Stormageddon, with a straight face...