One thing that I wanted to discuss in this blog is what I call The Name Game. Deciding on a name for your child, deciding whether to tell people the names you are thinking of, or keep them secret; or taking it to the other end of the spectrum and choosing a name while baby is in utero then calling the baby that name until they are born and creating a personality around the name you have already chosen. Somewhere in the middle of keeping names a secret, and deciding a name right away are those folks who wait until baby is born and you meet them before choosing a name that suits them. I guess I will start by saying we are the former of those choices; I don't know what I will choose to name this little one until I meet him or her, maybe she does look like those names I keep tossing around in my head, but maybe she/he does not? So, I am going with the 'roll with it' philosophy and we will choose a name when we meet this little stranger.
First, I have noticed and discussed in this blog before, that people really want to get involved when you are pregnant, people want to know what choices you are making regarding everything, especially with the baby's name. I think that people are so interested in the name because it's something that everyone can relate to, everyone has a name and everyone has an opinion about names; so its something that people with or without kids can talk about. Personally, I have a hard time with those people who choose to keep the name secret; and its not because they aren't telling me the name at all, (because I love surprises) its because these people tend to get really defensive when talking about names and they don't want to discuss the subject of names at all! It's the defensiveness that bugs me for two reasons: it's your child's name, why should you care what anyone else thinks about it, be confident about it and don't get upset when people want to get involved; and second because names are fun to talk about and it makes people feel connected to your pregnancy and your child. I asked a friend once why she wouldn't share names and she said; if I tell the name after the baby is born and people don't like it, no-one will say anything because the child is already named. I think that is totally wrong, if people don't like the name, they are still going to say they don't like it, whether they say it to you or not, it still will be discussed either amongst themselves or maybe even to you. (as she found out later) Don't fool yourself into not hearing the negative, because you might still hear it and its gotta be harder to hear the negative words about the name that's already written on the birth certificate than it does when the baby is in utero.
I remember when one of my cousins was born, and my aunt and uncle didn't tell anyone the name they had picked out, it was uncomfortable hearing that they didn't want to talk names at the baby shower or any other time, and it was a touchy subject for 9 months that we had to tiptoe around because they got so upset when names were even brought up in conversation. Not every person in the family knew they didn't want to share names, so every time someone asked they got more and more defensive and upset. No matter what, people are going to ask and talk about names, its one of the few things everyone can get involved in, and you can't expect people to know your decision not to share the name. This defensiveness is how every single person that I know, who did not want to discuss names, reacted. One girlfriend's sister wouldn't even tell her names they discarded and their relationship as sisters changed in that time because it was such a touchy subject. Of course, its the parents decision to make these choices, but my advice (my opinion) is to just roll with it, if you don't want to tell that name you picked, totally fine, but at least let people be involved with name process and don't get so defensive when asked about it; share your discarded names, share names you sort of like, share family names; talking about names is fun and its the conversation about names that people really want; people like to talk names, that's just how it is. They will never know you didn't tell them the name you picked out and it helps people feel involved in the process who care about you and are excited about this baby.
On the other end of the spectrum are those people who pick out a name and stick with it, they paint the name on the wall or have it printed on baby items, but they have not even met this baby yet. What if the gender was wrong from the ultrasound, or what if the name doesn't suit the baby? I don't fully understand this either, only because I never think anything is set in stone (but that's just me). My question is; what if the baby really doesn't fit the name, then what do you do? Do you stick with the name because that's what you have been telling everyone and calling baby for so long, or do you change it at the last minute? I have one friend whose daughter is 19 now, and she was originally going to name her daughter Sienna; but when 'Sienna' came out and she held her daughter for the first time and called her this name, it didn't fit and she had such a hard time making the decision to change it at the last minute. She had already bought Sienna letters for the nursery and told everyone baby would be Sienna...but she went with her gut and changed the name. I wonder how often this happens and how many families just stick with the original name even if it doesn't suit the baby? Maybe when you create a name and personality for the baby while it's in utero then it will fit the child in your eyes?
I see posts on facebook all the time about people who picked out the name already, and are calling their child this name and buying her princess clothing and creating a personality around the name. But what if this child doesn't like that stuff? What if they are a little tomboy instead? Then again, everyone has to choose some sort of theme before the baby is born and who really knows if your child will like princesses, trucks, or sports? I almost think then you are creating a personality for the child around a name and then they won't get to develop that personality themselves. But maybe its not? I am not judging, I am honestly just curious; and the gender stereotyping of names, clothes, and personality is another subject completely.
Of course, everyone has the choice to do what they want with the name; and for us, we will discuss the names we like, but we really don't care if one of the names we like is that of your high school ex boyfriend, or the coworker you hate; because this is our choice. I think the last time to worry about judgment is when you are choosing your child's name, its our decision and I am not going to feel badly if you don't like the names that we do. While I am pretty sensitive about lots of things, this is one area where I am learning to overcome judgment without being sensitive or angry. We have heard a lot of opinions about the names we like, many people don't like our choices, or will say; 'don't name your baby that, it reminds ME of this,' or they will try to give us another name instead. Some people get offended when we say; "I don't like it" to the name they chose for our baby. But not everyone is like that, and because I don't have a name for this baby, I do enjoy hearing other people's name choices, I just wish they wouldn't get upset if I don't like them. Just like I am not getting upset when you don't like those names that we do. Its all a matter of opinion and this is once incidence where I can say "you can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself" and that is what we will do. So if you don't like the names we do, that's okay by me, you will love our child just the same and the name will grow on you, and if it does not, at least we know that we chose something that we loved.
Again, this is just my opinion on the subject, and none of it reflects my judgment of your choices, so as a reader, don't take it personally; as I am learning to not take things personally regarding my decisions for pregnancy, childbirth and even baby names. There is no 'right or wrong' answer, just a topic to think about.