What's In a Name? (and Why We're Keeping it a Secret!)Emily Malone
Is it just me, or is thinking about baby names one of the most fun parts of being pregnant or even THINKING about becoming pregnant? For most parents-to-be, I imagine it’s also one of the first conversations you have upon finding out that you’re expecting.
Before getting pregnant, I always had names that I liked, but I wasn’t one of those girls who had a name picked out since age twelve. I think I always knew that the name would depend on the pregnancy. And it turns out I was right once I actually found myself pregnant, the old names I once loved so much didn’t feel so perfect anymore.
After finding out that our baby was a boy, Casey and I made a lot of lists and had a lot of ideas about what we liked, but we couldn’t seem to agree on any one name that felt like the right fit. We shared our top picks with family and friends, and suddenly we were inundated with advice, strong opinions, and new suggestions.
It was then that I realized that choosing a name was something that needed to be entirely our decision – outside of the influence of family and friends.
I know that the people who love us will love our little guy no matter what his name is, and it was really important to me that our son’s name be something that we both felt was the perfect fit. So we decided to close the public discussion on names and keep is as a fun secret for just to the two of us until October.
When thinking about names that we liked, we tried to keep a few factors in mind (just our personal preferences)…
1. Popularity. We both agreed we didn’t want to use a name that was overly popular (in any top baby name lists), but we also didn’t want something so obscure that it didn’t even seem like a name.
2. Associations. I think one of the hardest parts of picking (and sharing) names is the constant name association. “Oh I knew someone with that name and hated it.” There are a LOT of people in the world, and if we tried to pick a name with zero associations, it would be almost impossible. So we tried to keep all name associations (and subsequent rejections) reasonable and relevant.
3. Mutual Agreement. For us, it was really important that we BOTH were truly in love with whatever name we chose. For many months we halted our name discussion because we had reached a stalemate where we both had number one name picks that the other didn’t love.
I was absolutely in LOVE with the name Graham, and was convinced it was the perfect name for our little guy, but Casey wasn’t a huge fan. (Perhaps this is because I like food names so much?) The funny thing is, now that we have a different name, he doesn’t feel like a Graham to me anymore. And while I still absolutely love the name, now it just doesn’t feel right. Which makes me believe that the name we DID choose was meant to be.
When my sister was pregnant, she decided to keep the name a secret too, but a few weeks before his arrival she decided to share his initials with us. Just like that the “unnamed baby” became JHC, and with just a few little letters he suddenly felt like a person instead of a belly. Baby J, who I eventually learned would become Baby Jonah (!) felt so much more real and connected to me once I knew a bit more about him. And at the same time, Rebecca and Sam still got to keep the name to themselves until his official arrival a win-win!
So just last week, Casey and I decided to share the same thing with our families one letter. It’s just one little letter, but for some reason I think it makes him feel that much closer to being here. I’ve used a lot of nicknames for him over the past 26 weeks Baby Malone, Baby Garnish, Baby G, etc. But this little guy is actually…
Guesses and speculation will not be entertained. We call him by name all the time now, so much that I’m worried I’ll let it slip on our upcoming family vacation. Having a name chosen and settled just brings us one step closer to his arrival in a few short months.
Now if we could only agree on a middle name…
My unborn son has the same name as … your dog? 10 reasons to keep your baby’s name a secret