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Baby Names: Who Gets a Say?

When we told my in-laws about our pregnancy, the very first thing they wanted to do was discuss baby names.

I was hesitant about it on two fronts. First, because I was only 9 weeks pregnant at the time and completely convinced we were going to jinx things, and second, because I wasn’t sure I wanted their opinions. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I wanted anyone’s opinions.

I remember when my sister-in-law was choosing names. Every time they came up with a name they liked, someone at the table came up with a way to talk them out of it. I watched my sister-in-law’s face fall every time this happened and I told my husband I didn’t want to do that.

 

It turns out that my in-laws are not the only ones who want to talk baby names. Everyone does. I know it’s fun and I know everyone means well, but so far the only girl’s name we ever agreed upon has already been vetoed by two different arms of our family. This does not please me in the least because we’re back at the drawing board for that now.

But it’s not just about ruining our names.

On Friday night I got a text message from my grandma (yes, the one who lacks a filter). She just wanted me to know that there were two girls names we should really consider, one of which was my great-grandma’s name. The other name was, well, it was something I would not name a baby. And I wasn’t really sure how to respond. Her mother’s name really is a beautiful name that I would LOVE to use, but in combination with our last name, it sounds like a zoo animal. The other name I just plain don’t like and I know my husband won’t either.

And even though my in-laws in particular are not concerned with telling us that they don’t like names, I’m just not sure how to tell family and friends that we don’t like their suggestions without being hurtful.

My grandma, the same one who sent me the text, hated my sister’s name when she was born. She disagreed with the way my parents chose to spell my nickname from day 1. And she was characteristically unquiet about it. To this day my mom can still recount stories of the things that were said about our names, and I can remember having birthday cards addressed to Kathryn instead of Katie because she refused to write it out for many years. While I know that everyone means well (and I love my grandma dearly) and everyone just wants us to come up with the perfect name for our child, I also just don’t want to feel like everyone hates the names we choose.

I’m just not sure where to find the middle ground on this one. I would kind of love to not tell anyone our baby name until after the baby has arrived and we know it fits the tiny little infant, but I also know that this will never fly with certain sectors of our families. I know that withholding this information will only create a bigger chasm that I have neither the time nor the patience to manage right now.

In your opinion, who should get a say in naming a baby and how did you handle all the dissenters?

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