I wrote recently about taking the superstition out of pregnancy and how I forced myself to do it because I think that performing non-scientific rituals can drive you crazy at a time when there are so many other outside factors that can already set your mind racing.
But there is a small loophole to my belief, and that is telling people the name of your unborn child. I think it’s weird, and I guess I think that in a superstitious and, frankly, creepy kind of way.
I’m all for announcing the sex of the baby while pregnant (if you choose to find out what it is, of course). While I know some people find out the sex and don’t tell people (although I don’t know why they tell people they know the sex and then don’t say what it is if you want to keep it a secret, just say you don’t know) and other people (like me) sing the sex to the world minutes after the ultrasound reveals the penis, or lack thereof, what I don’t get is telling people your unborn baby’s name.
It’s not that I think people should worry that people will steal their baby’s name (although that’s one of many, many reasons why I won’t reveal my unborn baby’s name), I just think to myself when I hear someone talk about their unborn baby’s name: what if something happens to the baby before it’s born?
I don’t think something will happen to the baby because you reveal the it’s name. But I cringe when I think about losing a baby in utero who has a name, and how much more awful the trauma would be as a result because it’s that much more personal and real (and then do you retire that name in the event you get pregnant again, or do you name your next child by the same name?).
(Let me stop here and say that I am aware that people who sadly lose a baby after 20 weeks are often encouraged to name their baby as part of the healing/closure process, and I respect and understand that. I’m talking about people who announce their baby’s name before they’re pregnant or at the moment they have a positive pee stick).
This is also coming from a Jewish woman who has grown up in a faith that doesn’t really believe in baby showers, at least until after the baby is born (who wants to look at all the baby stuff in the event that something happens before the baby is born?). But I also just think it’s a little weird for people to refer to someone else’s baby by name before it’s born. It seems very personal in the same kind of way that lots of people don’t like others rubbing their pregnant belly or commenting on their size while carrying a child
My husband and I chose during my first pregnancy to find out the sex and keep our daughter’s name a secret, and we’re doing it this time, too. Instead of telling people we’re specifically not telling them, however, we let them know we’re still narrowing down our list (and if pressed further, we reveal the reject names from our list to let them know what’s under consideration) and we let them know we’ve given our daughter an in utero name in the interim (Peony for daughter No. 2, Petunia for daughter No. 1). And we get to keep our little secret, and our piece of mind.
Do you think it’s normal, or maybe just a bit weird when people announce the name of their baby before it’s born?
Image: Wikimedia Commons