Being pregnant

The challenge of choosing the right baby name

Monica Reyes reveals her process when it comes to choosing a baby name.

1BabyNamesChallenge-October2013-iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Monica Reyes resides in Vancouver with her husband and neurotic dog. She’s also a soon-to-be first-time mom who is excited and terrified about her new life. Follow along as she shares her pregnancy journey.

“Have you chosen a name yet?” is something I hear at least once a week. While we’ve told everyone the baby’s gender, we’ve been pretty secretive about telling people potential baby names.

We haven’t divulged any names because everyone has an opinion on this matter. It’s hard enough to think of a name, let alone have it crushed by someone’s criticism of it. I’ll admit that I’ve voiced my disapproval on potential names in the past. I once advised my sister against using unique spelling. By telling everyone the name after the baby is born, you dodge any negative feedback. Sometimes, if I’m feeling cheeky, if someone asks what names I’ve thought of, I’ll say something ridiculous. I like to telling people that I’m naming my daughter “Champagne Glitter” because it’s a fun and bubbly name. Most people know that I’m joking, but sometimes the occasional person thinks I’m serious and doesn’t know how to react to the news.

Read more: Baby name trends for 2013 >

Choosing a name has been a struggle. You don’t want to give your kid a bad name (one former colleague of mine had a classmate named Justin Inch — ouch!) and studies have shown that names can have an impact on a person’s life. I have a few rules when it comes to choosing a name:

I will not pick a name if I know someone else personally by that name
This gets trickier the older I get because I’m exposed to more names.

No bad associations with that name
My husband and I have this rule. If we’ve had a bad experience with someone, we won’t consider that name.

No names where the acronym is unfavourable
My husband’s last name starts with an “S” so Alexis Sandy Smith (A.S.S.) won’t be on my list any time soon.

To help organize our choices, my incredibly well-organized husband set up a Google doc spreadsheet. In it, we have a list of names and a rating column for each of us ranging from one to five. The rating system is colour-coded where low scores are red and high scores are green. A column with the combined total makes it easy to see what the top picks are.

Read more: Baby names: 100 years of popular choices >

Unlike most people, we don’t have a set name for our baby. I decided I needed to see what they look like before giving them a name. I’ve known parents who decided on a different name after they saw their baby. For me, it’s one less thing to stress over during my pregnancy.

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