Namer's Remorse

Sep 25th 2008


I hear from a lot of parents in the grip of naming dilemmas.  Some of them are just starting their name searches, while others are feeling the pressure as they count down to their due dates.  And yet others -- a surprisingly large number -- are already home with an infant in their arms, but still uneasy about the names they've chosen.

"Namer's remorse" is a complication you really don't need at an already complicated time of life.  It piles on top of the sleeplessness, the endless to-do lists, and the general life upheaval that comes with expanding your family.  Sometimes, in fact, it's a product of those factors.  The high emotional pitch of the first days at home tends to amplify every parenting concern.

Name anxiety can also be a safe place to channel some of the difficult feelings of new parenthood.  It's a big leap from the imaginary baby in your mind to the real baby in your arms.  Sometimes it takes a while to really feel like the mysterious little creature you're holding is your child.  (That's ok, it'll come in time.)  Similarly, the name you chose in advance may not seem like a natural part of your child, or a good "fit."  If that's worrying you, rest assured that babies grow into their names in surprising ways.  By the time she's running around, that name is likely to fit her like a glove.

But for a small percentage of parents, namer's remorse has a more straightforward cause: they simply chose the wrong name.  Heck, it happens.  If both parents are set in unshakeable namer's remorse, dreaming of the name that should have been, what should they do?

I have the answer for you: they should change their baby's name.

That sounds obvious, but there's an unspoken taboo against it.  Most parents treat birth certificates as near-sacred objects, graven and immutable.  In part, that reflects the power names hold on our psyches.  We tend to see names as a core part of a person or thing, an identity not easily overwritten.  Yet when it comes to infants, names are anything but immutable.  Stop and think about it and you'll realize that you're constantly calling your baby Baby, Sweetie, Little Gumdrop, or even (insert your own random family nickname here).  So your baby should handle a gradual shift from Elizabeth to Annabelle easily enough.

Will you handle the change as smoothly? Well, there's the practical annoyance of arranging a legal name change, and maybe a monogrammed baby blanket to finesse.  When it comes right down to it, though, I think the biggest factor holding most parents back from changing infants' names is the same factor that holds us back from a thousand other unconventional behaviors.  It's good old fashioned embarrassment. 

Yep, you already sent out 100 birth announcements.  Yep, friends and relatives may laugh at your indecisiveness.  So what?  The embarrassment will last a couple of days, but a name lasts a lifetime.  If you're trying to whomp up your courage, you can take a lot of the sting out of the embarrassing situation by acknowedging it head-on, with some cheerful self-deprecation.  I recommend a new ritual: a formal birth re-announcement.  Below is my take on one.  Readers, can you offer alternative compositions?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Birth Announcement, Take 2

On August 12th we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy.  Before he was born, we had expected that his name would be Jayden.  Once we met him, we discovered we were mistaken.  Who knew?  He's actually:

Cooper Michael MacDowell
7 lbs, 4 oz.


Stephanie & Mike

Comments

51
By The Letter K (not verified)
September 26, 2008 10:15 AM

A Misunderstanding with Mr Stork

We thought she was a Mia,
Our Mia Madeleine.
Turns out she is a Leah.
(we kept the middle same).
We thought you'd want to know,
that this is her real name.

52
By Amy3 (not verified)
September 26, 2008 10:46 AM

The Letter K -- I love the poem! Well done.

53
By DelinaRose (not verified)
September 26, 2008 11:18 AM

I grew up with a girl who was originally named Hannah and five days later she became (and remained) Elisabeth nn Buffy. As a young NE, I always thought that was the coolest thing ever--Buffy got to have 3 names!

DH and I have always said that we don't want to rush into naming, but we'll see how that actually plays out when we start having children. In a perfect world, we would go into each birth with several suitable names for a boy or a girl and choose one that fits after we meet the child. However, the flaw in the plan is that we would have to agree on 'several suitable names' and that seems like it could pose problems. :)

Regarding referring to the child by name during the pregnancy, it does seem a bit premature to me. However, I suppose if one is not an NE and one has not been naming imaginary childen for 20 years prior to a real pregnancy and one does not regularly get caught by her DH muttering names under her breath to see how they sound and ones does not feel that naming a child is the culmination of years of research and study and love affairs with various names, then perhaps that would be less problematic. I have a friend who is due in a month, and she and her hubby have chosen Ari for a boy and Ariel for a girl. The whole family has been referring to the child as baby Ari for months. Baby Ari's older siblings are Ash3r L0ren, M3lina 3lizabth, 3den Abig@il and S@muel D@vid.

54
By Joni (not verified)
September 26, 2008 11:42 AM

I am enjoying your updated birth announcements!

I never renamed any of my children, but I had that same 'unsureness' that parents have, mostly with #1 and #3. It was more profound with #3, to the point that I was still wondering when she was one if we should have named her Kira (her mn) instead of Ev@ngeline. When she started preschool a few weeks ago I went through a similar kind of thing wondering if we should have them call her Ev@ngeline or her nn Eva or her other nn B1tsy, which she introduces herself as. Now that she's not a baby I *am* glad we didn't call her Kira. And at this point I *think* I am okay with her being Ev@ngeline at school... I'll get back to you on that one. ;)

julieg, I *love* your name style! Bishop is so cool.

55
By RB (not verified)
September 26, 2008 11:44 AM

Someone please correct me, but it's my understanding that in the past (I mean pre-late-19th c. in the west) it could take a while for a child to be named--until baptism or even until the next one was born and s/he stopped being "the baby."

Now you've got to get in and get out of the hospital, and you have limited time to choose a name, and you can't leave until there is SOMETHING written on the birth certificate. So there isn't really any room to "spend some time" with your infant and decide what to name him.

I can definitely see how someone who felt rushed into naming because of this might experience remorse later on, and wish to change the name (although what we mostly seem to be talking about here is "We had planned for seven months to call her Hecuba, but when she came out, she just looked more like an Andromache," which is a different dilemma).

In any case, just having finished the agonizing process of changing my name after marriage (it somehow took a YEAR for the people handling these things--at all levels, from DMV and social security to the pharmacy and the public library--to understand how a relatively simple name change works), I don't think I would go through the frustration of changing an infant's name, except in dire straits.

56
By Joni, again (not verified)
September 26, 2008 11:55 AM

I do know a family that changed their child's name. When he was born they told everyone that his name was Josiah. But when I saw her again a few weeks later she said his name was Yoshiyahu (the Hebrew transliteration of Josiah) and they'd changed it because people were calling him Joe and they hated that. His nn is Yoshi.

57
By Lorelei, er, Leigh (not verified)
September 26, 2008 12:09 PM

"you can't leave until there is SOMETHING written on the birth certificate"

Yes you can. Maternity wards like to get all the paperwork done, and it is EASIER to let them handle the mailing and all that (you'll be a little busy, eh?), but you can do it yourself afterwards, if you want to.

But don't take too long, because.... You can't claim a kid as a dependent on tax forms, or start a savings account for them, without a social security number, and for THAT you need a name. And health insurance policies may give you only a 30-day window in which to add your new dependent's name to the policy. If your new baby needs a passport, you'll need to get cracking. So for all those reasons, yes, there's a bit of a hustle that didn't used to pressure new parents.

58
By Tirzah (not verified)
September 26, 2008 12:55 PM

I have a friend who was considering the name Natalie for her unborn child. The future big sister picked up on the name. Now the parents feel that they can't change it because it would be too confusing for big sis.

59
By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 26, 2008 1:22 PM

@Sarah - I'm right there with you about being very superstitious about telling the world an unborn baby's name before an actual Healthy Newborn arrives. I'm sure I sound like a complete Pollyanna, but it strikes me as tempting fate/taunting Mother Nature, to be so SURE, so CERTAIN that one's baby is going to be born healthy. Odds are, everyone will be fine, though I do happen to know of 3 couples where things went horribly, tragically wrong - yes, it happens, even with all of the technology available today.

For similar reasons, I'm also not a fan of prenatal baby showers and registries, where your friends help foot the bill for your lifestyle choice. IMHO, much better to have a non-relative give you a small party (sans gift registry) when the baby is around 6 mos. old, has had her shots, and is cute & sociable.

60
By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 26, 2008 1:34 PM

Two stories about my kids naming. Sorry if they're long.
#1 My ds was born 6wks early. We knew he was a boy. Before conception even my dh and I had talked about names. We had decided he was Zachary Alexander. After learning we were having a boy we began referring to this name in conversations. It seemed too long. We were debating what else there was and then he developed a condition which required my hospitalization before his birth. I was getting ultrasounds daily. After the first 2 days of the tech coming in, she asked "Does this little guy have a name because I feel like I am invading his privacy (lol) and would like to call him something"? My dh and I looked at each other and decided on 3ric M@tth3w because it was the last name (and pretty much only one) we could agree on.

#2 With my dd we had several names picked out ahead of time. Again when we had discussed names before conception we had chosen Samantha Renee. So we went to the hospital 3 wks early this time because I developed pre-eclampsia. So after the birth, my notebook came out with a list of 5 or 6 names and middle names as well. As an aside, I had had a dream about having a girl with very dark curly hair who was a Samantha-my girl was not. After thinking of and trying out every possible combo on her we decided (through tears because it still didn't FEEL right-and she didn't LOOK like a Samantha) on N@t@li3 R3n33.
I still to this day, she's almost 5, sometimes wonder if she would have a different personality if she had been Kimberley Elizabeth. My husband still wonders -what I meant by not LOOKING like a Samantha, what do Samantha's look like? Do kids grow into their names or do names grow into the kids??

61
By EssBee (not verified)
September 26, 2008 1:35 PM

At the end of the previous thread, someone was commenting about how fathers-to-be often shoot down perfectly good names by saying, "I knew someone named ___ once. He was a jerk!"

The ironic thing is, *I* do this. For many of the names we think about, I say, "Ewww, there was a girl in junior high with that name and I didn't like her." Or, "it reminds me of that actress/murder victim/soap opera character"... etc etc etc.

How do you all separate the sounds of nice names from ick associations? Obviously, it is easier with common names, since we have probably known several people by that name, rather than with somewhat rarer names, which are forever attached to the original owner in my mind.

62
By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 26, 2008 2:19 PM

@Amy3 - We approached naming our child exactly the same way you did, keeping the names we were considering just between us until our son's birth. (Like you, I might have shared with this community had it existed!) We also didn't know the sex ahead of time & had both a boy's name and a girl's name selected.

We figured what good can come from telling people IRL the name you've picked out? That said, it annoys me when people fib. A friend went around telling everyone that she was going to name her daughter Laurel - then she named her baby Amelie - saying that's what she had intended to name her all along & didn't want anyone to "steal it." Okaayyy... why lie? Why not just say "we're keeping it a secret?" I suppose this all falls into Overly Precious territory! ;)

63
By Jane (not verified)
September 26, 2008 3:36 PM

Nicole S:
Right, but even if something does go wrong, the baby still needs a name, so where is the harm?

64
By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 26, 2008 3:50 PM

@Jane, I believe the harm's not in the naming the unborn baby, but in the TELLING the world all about it a little too soon.

I was going through some old things recently, and was really upset to find a favor from a baby shower I attended for Baby P*****, when her mother was 6 months pregnant with her. Sadly, the baby was stillborn. So, the practice gives me pause, that's all I'm saying.

65
By Lorelei, er, Leigh (not verified)
September 26, 2008 4:15 PM

Superstition or not, understand, please, you CANNOT harm your fetus by giving them a name, or by saying it out loud. That kind of magical thinking can lead to SO much unnecessary guilt and pain. The real risks are hard enough to live with.

Some parents think they protect themselves from grief by delaying naming--but honestly, I've never known a parent who lost a newborn who said "Well at least he didn't have a name." You'll pretty much grieve no matter what, name or no name. In fact, a name may actually help some parents' grieving process.

66
By Jessica (not verified)
September 26, 2008 4:30 PM

Speaking of naming dead newborns... My ggaunt had only one baby. A boy. He died about 12 hours after he was born. My mom recalls her talking about the baby and everytime she would say "...we never named him. But I have always called him John." It seems to me like a clashing of 2 ideas. A. if you dont name them they dont exist. B. Every mother knows her childs name. Even if it is only in her heart.

I have a friend who lost a girl at 22 weeks about 8 years ago. They never named her. They had a burial and memorial service. They held her and cried over her. But they never named her. They had started talking about names but had not totally decided yet. When baby #2 came along they both were very aware that the name they had been most likely to choose for the first baby was forever ruined. They will never use it. Yet, nor do they refer to that baby by "her name". She has no name. It all strikes me as odd.

67
By Amy3 (not verified)
September 26, 2008 4:55 PM

Nicole S -- We didn't go so far as to lie, but what my husband used to do when asked what names we were considering was to say the name of the person asking. Of course, he didn't do this when his mom asked again and again and again. We just told her we hadn't decided and weren't sharing. I would do the same again.

Re: naming a dead newborn, I would name the baby. I guess the question I have to ask myself is whether I'd use the name I'd selected or would I use something else. I'm not sure.

68
By bcd (not verified)
September 26, 2008 5:02 PM

We changed our daughter's name from Margaret to Ingrid before we left the hospital with her. Luckily, the paperwork could be changed before it became official.

69
By KRC (not verified)
September 26, 2008 5:31 PM

Nicole S. - but telling people the name and having a baby shower doesn't cause something to go wrong. It is equally horrible regardless of whether you've told the name and whether or had a shower, I would think.

Aybee, your mention of Harlan and Hunter reminded me of an acquaintance with four kids named

Harley
Haden
Harper
Hudson

Can you guess the genders?

70
By KRC (not verified)
September 26, 2008 5:36 PM

Wow, Lorelei, er, Leigh! I was reading from an unrefreshed list of comments and hadn't seen yours when I posted mine. You said what I meant, only more eloquently. Great minds, you know. ;-)

71
By RobynT (not verified)
September 26, 2008 5:40 PM

I think it's a little weird to name the baby before it's born too. I didn't realize this until this summer when my friend and her family were calling her sister's fetus Maya. I guess it is partially superstition on my part--which is weird cuz I'm not really superstitious... just seems like counting your eggs before they hatch I guess? And also I think, yeah, if it were me, I'd like to be able to change my mind up until the end.

This reminds me of a book I read that talked about online forums for women trying to conceive, who had trouble conceiving, or had miscarriages or other reproductive problems. The women had signatures with like avatars of themselves and if they had lost children they would usually have a memorial in their signature, sometimes with the ultrasound photo, and often with the name, birthdate and/or when they died, weight, height. One of the things the author, Lisa Nakamura, said was that these women didn't really have a place to talk about this.

72
By Liz & Louka (not verified)
September 26, 2008 6:16 PM

I think it's ok to lie about the name, as long as it's obvious. For example, a colleague told people his son was going to be called Slobadan (no, he wasn't Serbian, and this was about the time Milosevic was being tried for war crimes). Funny thing is, I don't remember what the real name turned out to be.

Regarding names for not-yet-born children, I think many people like to have a name to call them, but it's not necessarily the name they intend to call the baby. We called our foetus Moonsong, but we wouldn't call a baby that.

73
By ktc (not verified)
September 26, 2008 6:36 PM

I guess I'd consider things like Slobadan more of place holder names that everyone knows the kid isn't actually getting named, but is instead something to call the baby before it's officially named and not a lied about name. Sort of like "the bump" or "peanut".

Also, Dh and I have picked a girl's name (Erin B3atrix Bail3y) and now are trying to decide on a boy's name. He loves Aaron and I like Ian, either way the mn would be Cooper Keith. Anyone think it's weird that we'd basically name the kid the same name regardless of gender?

74
By Kristi (not verified)
September 26, 2008 6:53 PM

First, on topic, I have experienced namer's remorse with my son Hayden. I still love the name and think it is a very handsome name, but it irritates me some that there are so many sound alikes, especially Aidens and Cadens, running around. I have to pronounce his name carefully when telling people, or else they assume I'm saying Aiden, since it is so much more common around here. Then, I was also concerned about so many girls taking on the name. I don't know what other name I would give him, however. And, like I said, I still love the name itself.

Carry-over from previous thread:

EssBee - Thanks for your input on our names. When dh added Rhianna to the list I asked "Isn't there a singer with that name?" I had not thought about the singer Aaliyah. Not very familiar with her, but now that I see the name, it does ring a bell. Don't want people thinking we named our child after either. I have similar issue with Selene. Although dh added the name to the list based after the main character in the sci-fi movie "The Underworld", I'm afraid people will hear it and associate it with Celine Dion. Regarding Lena, it has been one of my favorites for awhile, but dh has the same issue you have with pronunciation. Apparently, the first couple times I mentioned the name to him, he thought I was saying Layna. He also thinks, based on the spelling, that it could be mistakenly pronounced LEH-na. Until this naming process, I never realized how we can see the same names written and assume different pronunciations for them. That's why I added the 'h' at the end of Sorenah, because it looked like sor-EE-nuh to me without it. I was saying ree-AH-nuh and he was saying ree-ANN-uh. etc.

My dh is one who constantly discounts naming options b/c he knew someone by that name in grade school. The latest, Tirzah suggested Anders as an alternative for our list. He said, "No, don't like it. I knew a FN Anders in school and I couldn't stand him"

So, currently, Soren James is looking like our top pick for a boy. Still undecided on a girl name, but leaning toward Sorenah Caroline, I think. I don't think I'm going to totally decide this time until the baby is born.

Still open to suggestions, although dh will most likely shoot them down. ;)

75
By Jessica (not verified)
September 26, 2008 6:56 PM

My baby was Oscar in utero. My brother's kids are Ralph/ My other brother - should they ever have kids - will be Calvin. We put the fun in dysfunctional.

76
By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 26, 2008 6:58 PM

WHOA!!! Hold on there. I hope you didn't actually think I was suggesting that "harm" is "caused" to a baby because the parents held a prenatal baby shower or because they told everyone the child's name before she was born!! Come on, people! Really? As a secular humanist, I can assure you there is no magical thinking of any kind going on here, I promise!

The "harm" I referred to was in response to Jane's comment, and it concerned the PRUDENCE of these cultural norms. No causation to any bad outcomes here! Not even a correlation! I'm surprised anyone gleaned that from what I wrote, so I am sorry for being unclear.

77
By Keren (not verified)
September 26, 2008 7:24 PM

As someone who lost a child late in pregnancy I have thought about these issues long and hard.
I think today's culture is often one of denial about stillbirth and neo-natal death. We are encouraged to believe that nothing can go wrong, and the way that many people know the sex of their baby and name it months before it is born can bolster this belief. It doesn't cause anything to go wrong (obviously) but it can add to the shock and sense of total disbelief when things do go wrong.

When I was pregnant the third time, after I had lost Daniel, I hardly told anyone I was pregnant, and could never feel confident enough to buy baby products or talk about 'when the baby arrives' But in Holland, where we were living the custom is to order birth cards before the baby is born, and have them ready for both a girl or a boy so all you have to do is call the printers when the baby is born and tell them what you've had. Funnily enough going to the printer and seeing the proofs with the two possible names (Judah Ariel or Anna Verity, since you ask!) was something I had been dreading, but was actually a very powerful feeling of positive confidence that the baby would be OK, which thankfully he was. I remember standing in that printers and feeling excited about the baby for the first time.

As regards naming a lost baby - the night before Daniel was born we debated - do we give him the name we had chosen for our first son, or do we go for our second choice - Elijah - and save our special name, Daniel, should we have another boy. We felt that it was his name, we had wanted a son named Daniel and now we had him. To give him a 'second best' name was unworthy. It's not a decision we ever regretted, although sometimes it was hard as Daniel is such a popular name.

I know other posters here have shared similar experiences, and I hope they would agree with me that naming a lost baby is one of the most positive, comforting and normal aspects of an otherwise utterly bleak experience. And being able to tell a grieving mother what a beautiful name she has chosen for her child is also very important.

78
By Lorelei, er, Leigh (not verified)
September 26, 2008 8:24 PM

"To give him a 'second best' name was unworthy."

Oh Keren, I felt the same way in the NICU. Giving my son our best, most hope-filled name felt like an act of defiance in the face of all the bad news and discouraging information blasting at us. If anyone needed a great name, it was that tiny boy.

I suspect that's why a lot of preemies get names like Blessing and Precious and Angel--you want to give them something special, when you're barely allowed to touch them. It's an emotional place to be.

79
By yet another Jenny (not verified)
September 26, 2008 9:15 PM

Keren,

Daniel is a beautiful name. It would have been Jonah's name if DH didn't have the name Dan.

I am so sorry for you loss.

Jenny

80
By Tabby (not verified)
September 26, 2008 9:20 PM

Hi. Sorry to take this conversation of course, but I am looking for some clarification. How is the name Isobel pronounced? Is it pronounced like Isabel or more like EYE-so-bell?

Thanks!

81
By Amy3 (not verified)
September 26, 2008 9:25 PM

Keren -- Thank you for sharing your experience. You make a beautiful case not only for naming a baby you've lost, but also bestowing the name you'd planned to give. And, just as a side note, Daniel is a wonderful name.

82
By Lorelei, er, Leigh (not verified)
September 26, 2008 10:37 PM

Isobel is pretty much the same sound as Isabel--just a different spelling.

83
By Guest (not verified)
September 26, 2008 11:21 PM

I have slight namer's remorse with my daughter. One of my greatest character weaknesses is that I am extremely self conscious and care way too much for the opinions of others. This caused me to name my daughter Hannah in 2006, thinking it was a safe choice that would be approved of by most. Hannah is a beatiful name, but way too Jewish for a "cutesty bootsy" all-American blonde haired, blue eyed girl like my daughter.Especially since we have an extremely English last name. Not that it's a huge deal, I think lots of Christian girls are being given Jewish names these days. I just think a name like Katie or Libby would have fit her looks and personality a lot better. She's so spunky and fun she seems to need a name that ends in the cutesy, fun ee sound. However, I would never change her name because Hannah is a perfectly respectable name. I just wish I could shorten it. Hannie just doesn't do it for me. Besides, I think lots of Christian girls are being named Jewish names like Hannah these days, so I don't think most non NE would ever make the association.

Interestingly, I'm really surprised how many people aren't even aware that Hannah is biblical. I guess that's because she just gets a short little blurb in the Old Testament in one of the less exciting "skip over" books.

84
By Guest (not verified)
September 26, 2008 11:24 PM

I should have previewed before posting. I wasn't trying to intentionally over emphasize the point that a lot of non-Jewish people were bestowing Jewish names on their children these days.

85
By rebecca (not verified)
September 26, 2008 11:49 PM

http://politsk.blogspot.com/2008/09/sarah_13.html

sarah palin baby name generator

86
By anouk (not verified)
September 27, 2008 12:06 AM

just wanted to thank all the posters on this site - my daughter was born yesterday and thanks to Aybee on this site she has a name.

i had picked cluadia about 10 years ago for my girls name and was set to use it for my first girl when my SIL snatched it from me (not really, just felt that way) 5 weeks before due date. So i posted on this blog (on my due date) and asked for major, urgent help.

Thankyou thankyou aybee and others - we went with Audrey as it is phonetically similar and is also a very old, strong name (IMO a lot of girls names are very very pretty but a tad eager to please). Not so keen on the audrey hepburn connection but on the up side it means she won't be spelling her name out over a phone her whole life.

Anyhoo, just wanted to post and say thanks!

87
By Easternbetty (not verified)
September 27, 2008 12:06 AM

Keren, thanks for sharing your story. There is just something "special" about the name Daniel, for people of many different ethnicities and religious backgrounds. Every time I hear it spoken, I think of how beautiful the sounds are together. It is one of the only very-popular, oft-used names for which its long-term popularity makes not a whit of difference to me.

88
By Catherine (not verified)
September 27, 2008 12:28 AM

I have a friend who couldn't agree with her husband on a last name. So they left the hospital without naming their son. They tentatively decided to use the husband's last name but she wanted to let it settle but the used it on the announcements. The hospital called for months after he was born and around 9 months they agreed to use both last names smashed together. So informally they told everyone that the last name changed and I'm sure some folks still don't know. I would think this would have been settled well earlier but to each his own.

89
By Catherine (not verified)
September 27, 2008 12:28 AM

I have a friend who couldn't agree with her husband on a last name. So they left the hospital without naming their son. They tentatively decided to use the husband's last name but she wanted to let it settle but the used it on the announcements. The hospital called for months after he was born and around 9 months they agreed to use both last names smashed together. So informally they told everyone that the last name changed and I'm sure some folks still don't know. I would think this would have been settled well earlier but to each his own.

90
By Guest (not verified)
September 27, 2008 4:37 AM

I had a friend years ago who had a younger sister named Jessica. One day, after we hadn't seen her for several years she and her sister came to a party. She kept referring to her sister as Claire and it wasn't for an hour or so until one of us voiced that we were sure her name didn't used to be Claire. Turns out that when Jessica starter prep (at about 5 years old) there were three other Jessica's in her class, so her family changed her name to the out of nowhere Claire.

Claire would be about 15 now and apparently hasn't suffered too much from the change of identity.

91
By Aybee (not verified)
September 27, 2008 10:02 AM

Anouk-

I am so happy I could help!

Audrey is a beautiful, timeless name. Congratulations on your daughter, I wish you the best.

92
By Lorelei, er, Leigh (not verified)
September 27, 2008 10:07 AM

Audrey's a *great* alternative if you already love Claudia but get "scooped"--the same "Aud" in there, eh? I know nice little girls with both names, so they seem like very sweet, current names to me.

93
By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 27, 2008 10:34 AM

Anouk-Congrats on Audrey! Wonderful name!

Keren-Beautiful story!
LL-The NICU can be a horrible place, but also one of hope as in our case. I am glad we named our son prior to his birth and I wouldn't have changed his name either because it was his. It means defender/strong and gift from God.

Kristi-Soren James was my vote. Sorenah Caroline is pretty too. I agree by addint the "h" you have a better chance of people using a "short e sound" like in get. Other ideas for pronounceable, non-confusing spelling, would maybe be:
Celeste, Sienna, or Sylvia

Re:in utero names-we called my ds Neon and my dd Tinkerbell(both similar to little light). I have a friend who used Little Roo.

94
By Eo (not verified)
September 27, 2008 11:04 AM

Keren-- Ditto all the plaudits for "Daniel". One of my favorite traditional names. Totally apart from the actor's persona, I love the lilting sound of "Daniel Day-Lewis". Perfect for a marquee or anywhere.

I wonder if Daniels these days have trouble with people unwarrantedly shortening their names to Dan or Danny? Imagine it is easier now to keep the formal name going, if preferred.

By the way, came across the Cornish nickname for "George"-- "Jory". Wish I had known that during our discussion of the name George. Jory makes a delightful addition to other George nicknames "Ged" and "Geo"...

Cornish names are often a great source of interesting variants-- they seem to have that magical Arthurian or Tolkien-esque flavor.

anouk-- "Audrey" is splendid. I also like the strong, non-frilliana aspect of the name, yet it is very feminine as well. Much like "Claudia"!

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By Eo (not verified)
September 27, 2008 11:09 AM

Re George nicknames above: And of course, the much-loved Scottish "Geordie", as in Louisa May Alcott's "Eight Cousins". Let's see, Archie, Charlie, Mac, Stephen, Geordie, Will and Jamie.
Gems all.

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By Nina (not verified)
September 27, 2008 12:30 PM

Nicole, I understood what you meant by having a bad feeling about the name being announced and used before the baby is born. It doesn't sit right with me either. But I have no rational reason for it.

The thing I really do not understand is baby shower before the baby is born and registries. Maybe that's because I'm not from the US. I just feels wrong to celebrate before the baby is born, anything can go wrong. Registries seem very rude to me, I wouldn't want to tell people what to buy.

Naming a child is so difficult, I'm sure most people doubt the choice for a while. I know I will!

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By Amy3 (not verified)
September 27, 2008 1:16 PM

anouk -- Congratulations on Audrey! A beautiful alternative to Claudia. Enjoy your little girl.

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By Kai (not verified)
September 27, 2008 1:25 PM

I too have similar concerns not about referring to a baby by name in utero, it just makes me uncomfortable as if I was tempting fate and I am not normally a superstitious person at all. DH and I are going to buck the trend totally and not even find out the sex of the baby either.

Up until the day I was born I was going to be a Jennifer. I am so glad that my parents chose Fiona instead!

I also think that it is interesting that in American names like Hannah are regarded as Jewish names. I have a few friends called Hannah (blondes and brunettes) and none of them are Jewish and I am pretty sure it didn't figure into their parents thoughts at the time. Probably because New Zealand's Jewish population is very small I guess.

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By RobynT (not verified)
September 27, 2008 1:42 PM

Oh, I think that is another reason I think it's weird to definitively name the baby before birth: you hear so many stories where predictions of baby's sex are wrong. Or are predictions more accurate today?

I don't think there is anything wrong with registries. I love shopping for babies but if I don't have time, the registry makes it easy. I think you are always allowed to go off the registry too.

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By Lorelei, er, Leigh (not verified)
September 27, 2008 2:27 PM

"I just feels wrong to celebrate before the baby is born, anything can go wrong."

My feeling is that a shower is a welcoming--and a baby who has serious and unexpected complications (like my son) still deserves to be welcomed and celebrated by friends and family. It doesn't even have to involve gifts; but remember, a baby with unexpected medical or other needs will still require clothing, diapers, etc. Maybe more than others, even--a family spending the first few weeks at the hospital isn't going to be in any position to be shopping.

Sex as predicted by amnio or CVS is darn close to 100% accurate--they're looking at the baby's chromosomes, and it's not hard to tell XX from XY. It's pretty safe to say "it's a girl" after an amnio. Sex as predicted by ultrasound is far less accurate--in that case, it's probably best to hedge your bets, and have a just-in-case name for each gender. (Although, my daughter's 34-week ultrasound was very, ah, explicit--she wasn't shy, it was all pretty obvious to everyone in the room.)