Pregnancy Journal: The Name Game

From 5 Minutes for Parentin

By Kelly

I am very pregnant.

Ergo, I am the recipient of all types of random, potentially offensive comments.

“You stomach looks like a torpedo,” said a fellow mom at school last week.
“You’re not due for another four weeks?” said the incredulous cashier at Target.
Or, maybe the best of the lot: “WHOA!” shouted a man as I rounded a corner (belly first) at church on Sunday. “Way to go, Dad!”

Honestly, I’m more amused than insulted by the attention. It’s true that people might want to think before they speak to a woman who is uncomfortable, hormonal and weary. But I know most aren’t trying to be rude. Their internal censors have just been temporarily fried by shock. It happens.

But there is one question that makes me grind my teeth a little, and I get it all the time. It is, simply, “So do you have a name for that baby yet?”

The rational side of me recognizes this is an innocent statement. But the irrational side of me wants to tear my hair out by the fistful (being pregnant, I have plenty to spare) when someone asks it.

Because here’s the deal: My husband and I are horrible at choosing names for our offspring. It’s laborious. A name that I might like is almost guaranteed to be at the top of his Names I Will Never Name My Children Even Under Threat of Torture list, and vice versa. I do not want to discuss it with any one other than my husband, and I most certainly do not want my momentary favorites to be fussed over as if they are dessert choices on the potluck table.

Naming a baby is war, an intense battle that requires strategy and secrecy. Doesn’t everyone know that?

This being baby number four for us, my husband and I are experts at the never-ending duel. We know to keep one ace in the hole for when the other person proposes something truly hideous. (Corey’s ace this time is the threat to name the baby Samuel Diego, or Sam Diego for short. I don’t believe we need to name our child after a city, even if it is America’s Finest.) We are grimly amused by baby name web sites. And we both acknowledge the name question will not be settled until we write the final decision on the birth certificate. We might walk into Labor and Delivery with a short list, but our babies are never named until after they are born and I have had at least one shower and a meal.

In the end, we aren’t fighting each other so much as we are batting through the haze in pursuit of the perfect name. The one that is acceptable to both of us, the one that has a strong meaning, the one that doesn’t sound dorky with our surname.

The one that fits the baby. After all, he’s the one who’s going to have to live with it for the rest of his life.

Thankfully, Corey and I know it’s possible to navigate this mess without becoming enemies. And at this point, we really like the names we chose for our older three children. It’s funny how a name, aptly chosen, seems to mold to the child, eventually seeming as natural and fitting as skin.

But for now? No. I don’t want to talk about it.

Kelly is currently 36 weeks pregnant with her fourth child and yes, she’s a tad cranky. You can also find her blogging at Love Well.

15 Responses to Pregnancy Journal: The Name Game
  1. Stephanie
    April 21, 2010 | 8:48 am

    I completely understand!! But I do always love hearing the name announced when baby arrives! 🙂


  2. Megan
    April 21, 2010 | 2:16 pm

    We’ve always kept our babies’ names a secret until they are born. Since we find out and share gender, we like to at least have SOMETHING fun to announce. I can’t wait to hear your little man’s names – y’all may struggle to choose, but you do make great choices when all is said and done. 🙂

  3. Sara Joy
    April 21, 2010 | 2:42 pm

    People are crazy.
    We like to have gender and name secrets. My mom always says people will say awful things when you are considering a name, but rarely after you stick it on your child. Or something like that, I’m sure she says it far better.
    Anyway, we don’t tell, that’s between us and our kids until the baby is ready to share him/herself with the world. 🙂

  4. Kristen
    April 21, 2010 | 3:45 pm

    With #1 as soon as we came to an agreement, we (read “I”) announced it to the world. With this one it has taken MUCH longer. #1 was named after DH’s grandfather, the middle name just happened to be a name I Loved and the maiden name of my great that worked. With little boy #2 I wanted a name from my side. My DH wanted to name him James Stweart…after his favorite actor…ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
    War has been waged this time. But…I WON!!!
    This little bundle will be named after both of my grandfathers. And it only took 32 weeks to nag, pester, and cajole my DH into agreeing to it 🙂
    I have announced it to the family, and a few friends, but I will wait until the arrival to facebook it 🙂

  5. Michael
    April 21, 2010 | 4:15 pm

    In Jewish tradition, Hebrew names are chosen in memory of a dead relative–one reason you’ll find so few Jews named Mark Junior or Isadore III. English names match the Hebrew, more closely in some cases than others, and we originally planned to name our first Sharon Beth. In the end, we went with Susan Brooke.

    Now, we can’t imagine calling Susan Sharon. But if we had named her Sharon, we’d find Susan very inapt today. There’s no way to pick a name that fits the baby, unless you want to go with something cute like Poopsy. Eventually, the name fits because it’s been there a long time.

    Personally, I’m recommending that Kelly and Corey opt for a really trendy name like IPod or Bluetooth. That will give you blog ideas for a long, long time.

  6. edj
    April 21, 2010 | 5:23 pm

    Oh I can SO relate to the whole long drawn-out bloody name discussion!! I have horror tales of naming our children–in fact, I joke that’s why we had to stop at 3. Any further children would have been called different names by their mum and dad. 😉 (That’s less a joke than we might hope)

  7. Melissa
    April 21, 2010 | 8:03 pm

    I’m with Megan, up there. We tell the gender, but keep the name secret till the baby is born. It’s amazing to me how it upset people get! Whether they know us or not! Dave’s mom did everything in her power to get us to reveal Mookie’s name before she was born, and we just wouldn’t do it. She’s more relaxed this time, though.
    Really, it’s no one else’s business.
    I will say, however, that I’ve had this baby’s name picked out for about 5 years…it’s just really convenient that (a) God saw fit to give us another girl because a boy might catch some crap for being named this, and (b) Dave agreed when I told him what it would be. :o)
    (I also had Mookie’s name picked out, but Dave vetoed it, so we had to figure out another one, but it worked out great!)
    I’m sure that once you figure out what your little man’s name is, you’ll both be 110% ecstatic about it. :o)

  8. Krista
    April 22, 2010 | 12:36 am

    I have heard of people making snide comments if you announce the name ahead of time so with Cory we kept it a secret even though we knew for awhile. With this little guy, Noah, I was where you are. Don’t want to talk about it. I had very specific criteria (not too weird, but not too common) and my husband would propose these names that I thought he was specifically trying to piss me off! We already had a middle name (his Grandfather’s) so we had to find something that went with it. Poor little guy wasn’t named for 2 days after he was born and then Noah is more common than I would like… and it’s still taking me awhile to get used to it! But I vaguely remember that it took me awhile to get used to Cory too!
    Oh, but the kicker is that everyone loves it, but my mom’s first comment was “well, that’s different, it will take me awhile to get used to it”. I was like “wha???” Crazy!

  9. Louise
    April 22, 2010 | 6:49 pm

    We blurted out our name choices to people as soon as we settled on them, and after our second daughter was born I told Carl that IF we had any more we were keeping both the gender AND our name picks secret. I got so sick of people giving us their unasked-for opinion, I kept thinking: “If I want to name my child Mahershalalhashbaz, what business is it of yours? How is it going to affect your life and happiness? I’m not asking YOU to bear this name for the rest of your life!”

    I already have a boy’s name and a girl’s name picked out for our not-happening third child (just in case God decides to have some fun with our plans). Carl’s given them the okay … and I’ll never tell anyone what they are.

  10. Happy Geek
    April 23, 2010 | 8:48 am

    My niece was ONE WEEK OLD before she had a name. We called her baby girl for a whole week. So, nothing wrong with a little indecision.

  11. Julie-in-law
    April 23, 2010 | 2:19 pm

    That’s your sister’s favorite question. What is she supposed to ask you now? Your sister was asking my favorite baby names about 4 years before I had any babies, and the question continued until after the last one was named.

    One of my favorite stories is when she asked me my favorite girl name for a baby, and I had no idea because I had no plans to have a baby. So, I said the name of my first cat which was Riley. Of course, I didn’t say it was my cat’s name, it’s just the first name that popped in my head. And wouldn’t you know it, her eyes got wide as she revealed that Riley was top on her list for girl names. However, because I had voiced it first, she was going to let me have it. Now none of our girls are named Riley because of that overly ironic debacle.

    Wait! Riley is a great name for boys too. Are you going to name him Riley? 🙂

  12. Heather of the EO
    April 23, 2010 | 4:31 pm

    “Naming a baby is war, an intense battle that requires strategy and secrecy. Doesn’t everyone know that?”

    YES! Totally agree, lady.

    That baby of yours will have the perfect name. I just know it. Sooner or later….

  13. gretchen from lifenut
    April 23, 2010 | 7:44 pm

    I can’t wait for the big reveal. You are so close! Why do other women’s pregnancies fly by?

    We never share our potential names. We don’t actually chose the ~final~ name until after we see the babe.

  14. Gillian
    April 27, 2010 | 12:35 am

    As one who has asked the “so have you had any thoughts on names?”, I apologise.

    In my defense, it’s more about having a conversation than knowing the names. I’m very happy to only hear the name once the child is born.

    If you replied with “the ones at the top of my list are the bottom of my husband’s list!” Then I could see that being a useful conversation starter 🙂 Maybe we’d end up just discussing names that we can’t stand, rather than potential names…

    All the best for your final name decision!

  15. Para Ma
    April 15, 2012 | 1:36 am

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