Being pregnant

Baby names: Should you ask for input?

I knew that coming up with a baby name would be difficult but I had no idea it would be this hard.

Photo: mari, iStockphoto

We’ve had a boy’s name picked out for years, but as luck would have it, a boy isn’t what we’re having. We were thrilled to find out that we’re having a little girl, but figuring out the perfect baby name hasn’t been so simple.

Fortunately, we agreed from the get-go that the naming process would be done under total lockdown. That meant no input from friends or colleagues and zero feedback from our families. We didn’t want other peoples’ preferences to dictate the name of our daughter.

I could just imagine my mother-in-law groaning at the sound of my favourite name, or my mother saying something like, “Well, that wouldn’t be my first choice.” That would totally ruin it for me. And, honestly, even if what we choose isn’t what either of them — or anybody else in our lives — would pick, they’ll end up loving it because it’s our baby’s name. (Or at the very least, we won’t hear about it!)

Keeping the family out of the process serves another purpose: It makes it easier to avoid the pressure to use family names, which we decided we didn’t want to do. As we quickly realized though, even if you’re not planning on sharing your short list, there’s still a virtual naming minefield to negotiate.

I’ve heard other moms-to-be lamenting the lack of agreement with their partners: She likes one name and he likes something else. Or, she likes one name, he knows some slutty, foul-mouthed girl from high school with that name, so it’s out. Then there’s “the steal,” when a good friend, family member or colleague scoops your name before your baby is born. Worst yet, is when the name is scooped by a pet. A dear friend just confessed to me that I’ve single-handedly wiped two names off her list: Ella, our dog, and Sophie, our cat, were her some of her faves. (I swear I had no idea!)

It took us several months of scouring baby name books and online naming tools, but we finally narrowed down the list to two unique possibilities — and they’ve stuck with us. For a while I was lobbying for one name while Barry was vying for another, but in the past few weeks we’ve pretty much decided on one. The true test was two weekends ago when we were visiting Barry’s parents’ cottage. He was in the workshop with his dad, making some shelves for the nursery when he blurted out her name in conversation. Luckily, there were power tools running and his dad didn’t seem to hear him. Barry came to find me afterwards and said, “Karen, it just slipped out, but it felt so natural — and good — to say her name out loud.” That totally sealed the deal for me.

In case you’re wondering what name we’ve chosen, here’s a hint: Since both of our top picks started with the same letter, we’ve been calling her “baby M” — just between us — for months. “M” will definitely be one of her nicknames. Now we just have to decide on a middle name!

Did you keep your baby name a secret?

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