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Did You Regret Your Baby's Name?

By EmilyBMalone |

Do you still love the name you chose?

I have to imagine that as parents, choosing our babies’ names is one of the most personal decisions we make.  Our names follow us everywhere – school, jobs, relationships – and rarely does anyone actually change it.  We chose Cullen’s name about halfway through my pregnancy, and I loved it from the day it was decided.

As it turns out though, according to a poll on the Today Show, one in ten moms admitted to having regrets after naming her child.  While I personally love my son’s name, I’ve certainly heard my fair share of negative feedback from those who don’t.  So do I regret our choice?

No way.  After he was born, we got a few “ohhhh you must be huge Twilight fans!” types of comments here and there.  At first they honestly confused me.  Neither my husband nor I have seen the Twilight movies, although of course I have heard of them.  Since the books/movies have no meaning in our life, it never really factored into our decision.  We chose his name because we wanted something Irish or Gaelic, and we both loved that it was unique but not totally unknown.

I tend to find that the only people who question Cullen’s name seem to be people who don’t really know us very well.  Our family and friends know that we aren’t the type of people to name our child after a teen book or movie character – it’s just not really our thing.

On TODAYMoms, another mom shares a similar story about her own baby name woes…

Mom blogger Charlotte Hilton Andersen wrote about her own baby-name regret on Redbook’s mom blog. Her son’s name? Jonas. Yes, like the brothers. No, they didn’t see that coming eight years ago when they named him.

Andersen wrote: “The first time it happened, we giggled. But this weekend when yet another little girl tittered and asked my 8-year-old son Jonas if he was named after the Jonas Brothers, the only sound was my son’s sigh. ‘Couldn’t you have named me Bob?’ … While I still love his name, I can understand why he gets tired of the jokes. At this age the girls are mostly reverential but if Nick, Joe and That Other One I Can Never Remember stick around the scene, by high school my son might have a legitimate complaint.”

As far as my own son goes, I’m pretty sure that by the time he is old enough to be joking with his friends, the Twilight fad will be long behind us.  In fact, I think his biggest battle will actually be not being called “Colin.”

Names are so personal, and between funny spellings, common associations, and most popular lists, it’s hard to find anything that someone isn’t going to dislike.  As parents, all we can do is choose what feels best for our family and our children.  Parenting is tough enough as it is, and in my opinion we just have to trust our instincts and do what feels right.  Who has time for regrets?


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About EmilyBMalone



Emily Malone shares her adventures in cooking and parenting on her personal blog, Daily Garnish. Read bio and latest posts → Read Emily's latest posts →

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22 thoughts on “Did You Regret Your Baby's Name?

  1. Ro says:

    You seem dismissive of “the type of people ” who name their child after a book or movie character. People choose names so many different ways, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being inspired by a work of fiction!

    1. EmilyBMalone says:

      Hey Ro! Not dismissive – just more trying to say that I know people close to us would know that’s not really our thing (the whole teen pop culture scene). And actually, my mom named me after Emily Dickinson. I’m sure plenty of people get their inspirations from books and characters!

  2. Robyn Kaylynn says:

    Ohhh names! Coming from someone who being named “Robyn” I have heard EVERY bird joke, or batman and robin joke people can think of. And neither are even spelt the same as mine! I think, having a unique name, that might give you some trouble, only makes you stronger. And either you grow up to truly love your name for being different, or hate it. – I’m on the love it side.

  3. Ro says:

    Ahhh, gotcha. Yeah, Twilight prob wouldn’t be my first choice either :) And while I do think Cullen is a great name, btw, the only thing that matters is that you and your husband love it!

  4. Laura says:

    I was named after Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie books. I’ve loved that connection to the book series. I wanted to keep the tradition going and loved the name Charlotte but its so popular and we were trying to avoid that.

    I do think its important not to go too trendy with baby names since times change & you want that name to work for a 6 month old, a 16 year old and a 60 year old!

    I’m not a Twilight fan myself so when I first heard your baby’s name I just though “Lovely name!” and I imagine as time passes that will be what most people think of it!

  5. Tanya says:

    We named our son August. He was born in January. We get asked all the time, “like the month?” and “was he conceived then?”If they did the math the wouldn’t have to ask. We wanted a traditional German name and just really liked the nickname Augie. We found out after he was born that it’s a family name…2 relatives were named August! It made it even more perfect for our munchkin!

  6. Mary Holland says:

    Our daughter is named Junior Grace. Yep. Junior. We call her June. We get all the looks. My hubby and I really like it and wouldn’t have named her that if we didn’t. It suits her too. She’s like a rockstar! :) .

  7. Lynne says:

    While I don’t have kids, I do have an unusual full first name and I tell people DO NOT give your kids weird names because it will hurt them later in life. There are companies out there that will not call you for a job if they can’t pronounce your name. I shortened mine the very first day of high school when every teacher couldn’t pronounce it.

  8. Dani says:

    I find it incredibly hard to believe that when you were looking through baby names, and after Google-ing “Cullen,” you didn’t come across thousands of pictures of Twilight.

    1. EmilyBMalone says:

      Dani – like I said, I knew there was an association, but I guess I didn’t really care. Doesn’t really matter to us. And you’ve sort of proven my point – someone is always willing to make a commentary on parenting choices. I just have to stick with what works best for us!

  9. Jennifer says:

    We named my son Jackson. Very popular right now. He was named after my husbands step father who raised him. Also found out that my grandfather went by the name Jack for some time even though he is a John. Now pregnant with our second which is a girl. We have decided to go with Allie. Her first name and LAST name is a character in a pretty wide know movie with Ryan Gosling. At first i thought about changing the name but it was the only name we could agree on and that movie also happens to be the first movie my husband and i watched together. So i think it was kind of meant to be.

  10. Amy S. says:

    My name is legally Amanda, the third most popular name the year I was born. It’s not a bad name, but I got tired of being the third or fourth Amanda in class, and definitely sighed and said “Why didn’t you name me ____?” When I was 11, I asked them what other names they were thinking of naming me, one of them was Amy so I’ve been Amy ever since. It’s still popular, but not as much.

    In retrospect, there’s no way they could have known how popular the name was going to be, seeing as there was no Google in 1988, so I can’t blame them. My husband has a fairly popular name as well, and not only that but it’s the same name as my FIL and he’s always disliked that. We’ve talked about names for our future kids and we are both adamant we don’t want popular names.

  11. WOAH NELLY says:

    Why are there so many negative comments on a blog post? For heavens sakes, she is just sharing her opinion. People seem to be very judgmental about this sort of thing. Lighten up a little!

  12. Irene B says:

    We named our daughter Bella, not short for Isabella and not named after Twilight (although I admit to being a bit of a fan). It is a name I have always loved and she was named that for purely that reason. While I don’t regret the name itself, I do wish it weren’t so common right now! I didn’t know a single Bella growing up. I have a fairly unique name for my generation and had hoped to give her one, too. Oh well. It fits her <3

  13. Jude Strib says:

    It took me forever and a day to choose (months and months even my doctor was laughing at me) but I am SO happy with the name I chose.

    I looove the name Cullen btw.

  14. Amanda says:

    I find it so refreshing to hear unique names that are pronounceable and have some sort of personal link to your heritage, I love the name Cullen- I had never heard it before (also not a Twilight fan) and it is even more special since it actually means something to you and your husband.

  15. Rachael says:

    I just had our daughter on March 7, when Peyton Manning had his press conference about leaving the current team he is on. My partner and I had chosen the name Peyton Shea from the day we found out we were pregnant. The doctor delivering our baby was talking about Peyton Manning while I was pushing! I completely understand your sentiments. I don’t even like football and know nothing about Peyton Manning! LOL

  16. Aimee says:

    I love all my kids’ names, of course, but with boy #5, we feel like we messed up the spelling. No one was pronouncing it right! So we decided to change the spelling, but now I think we should have just stuck to our guns. (We gave him a German name, but Americanized the pronunciation.) People still make mistakes, but once they’re corrected, they know! I also have an Evan that everyone calls Ethan. You just have to make a choice and stick with it. That’s why we never tell people our names before the birth. Less time for people to give an opinion!

  17. Poppy says:

    William Alexander Duncan Gilroy. Quite long winded, but it’s scottish tradition to have your mother’s maiden name as a middle name. I love it, and I really hope he’s one of those kids who corrects grown ups when they mis-use it or misses out a middle name. My brother was Jake Will, and he was forever correcting school registers, NHS records(?!?!) and even his drivers license when they named him Jacob William.
    Love the name Cullen, and don’t worry Twilight will calm down by the time he’s in school!

  18. Christine Driscoll says:

    I gave birth last month to my first child. We did not know the sex and did not have any names figured out. I was having a homebirth with a midwife. Two days before I went into labor I dreamt I gave birth to a girl, in a hospital, and named her Cia with a ‘c’. I ended up giving birth in the hospital to a baby girl so it was all too fitting not to name her Cia. Most people really like the name but I have definitely received the comment, when she’s older kids will make fun of her since it rhymes with ‘cya later’. Why are people so worried about these things? My partner and I love the name Cia Louise!

  19. Adriane says:

    I was born not long after Rocky 3 debuted. My parents had never seen the films. They chose my name as the only name they could agree on! But my whole life, whenever anyone questions how to pronounce my name, it’s easy to say, “Adriane, you know, like Rocky?” And instantly their eyes like up and they say, “Ohhhhh! Yo, Aaaaaaadri-aaaaane!!!” And I just smile and nod. It has never bothered me and I laugh that I’ll truly feel old the day noone gets my association. Although, If Sly Stallone keeps makin’ them, I’m safe, haha.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve been following Daily Garnish since early 2011–I’m also a vegetarian runner and a friend suggested that I follow your blog. I became pregnant a couple of months after you announced your pregnancy, so you have been super helpful with pregnancy/motherhood advice and recipes, thank you! Anyhow, my husband and I fell in love with the name Esmé from one of JD Salinger’s short stories, and used it as our daughter’s name. It also reflects my French heritage. We’re getting the random Twilight questions as well. It’s hard not to be a little insulted that the random strangers don’t understand our literary taste, but this type of understanding is not a very rational expectation. We decided not to veto the name due to the Twilight thing, so now we need to learn to stop insulting the poor Twilight fans with our reactions to their questions. Even still, no name regret yet–it suits our gorgeous daughter well!

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