February 23, 2011

What's in a Name? [32 weeks]

Matt and I had a long overdue chat about baby names last night on the way to antenatal class, and it appears that we have reached a stalemate – he’s stuck on one particular name, and I’m stuck on another. It isn’t a matter of simply using one of the choices as a first name and one for a middle name, as we’ve been long decided on middle names (yes, two names – one honouring each side of the families; he will be… on second thoughts, perhaps I’ll just wait another 7-9 weeks on that one!)

So what does one do when you’re (politely) clashing over such a thing as naming your firstborn? One of us will have to compromise, and we each think the other’s chosen name sounds “pretentious and private school-like”. Mine is apparently effeminate (it’s a unisex name) and his sounds like a Nordic viking. Definitely doesn’t pass the yell-it-out-in-a-crowded-playground-with-a-straight-face test. On the upside, neither name is popular, and I haven’t taught a child with those names (although a past student’s little brother was called the name I’m stuck on, reading a novel earlier this year reminded me of how much I still liked it).

We both admitted to each other that we’re worried about making the wrong choice for this little one, saddling him with a name that’s a lot to live up to, or be the subject of ridicule (does every parent-to-be go through this?). We know that he’ll grow into whatever we decide on, and that within a short time it’ll be difficult to imagine him as anyone except who he is.


I’m torn – do I compromise on something as special as naming rights because this is my husband’s firstborn son?

Do I pull the selfish I-went-through-infertility-and-IVF-and-carried-this-baby-for-nine-months card and refuse to waver?

Is it a matter of putting both names we love to the side and try to concentrate on finding middle ground with a new name? (for the record, this is the fourth name I’ve been stuck on in the past couple of years, and all have been crucified okay, too strong a word – shot down – for various reasons; no more selfish than my own reasoning).

This name debate is beginning to cause me quite a bit of stress, and I have assured Matt that if it isn’t resolved by the time I go into labour, then I will be naming him my choice. He admits that he “doesn’t hate the name as much” as he used to (gee… that’s positive!), but he likes his choice more. Fair and understandable.

Maybe we’ll have to do an ad-hoc Hollywood celebrity job and combine the two names in a hideous mismatch a-la “TomKat”. At least it’ll sound sci-fi then. ;)

On the plus side, he does have a near-finished baby nook now. :)

32 week tummy.


  1. I see three options

    1) Put both names in a hat and agree to each other than whichever one is picked that is the name. NO ARGUMENTS

    2) Don't use either name so as not to cause resentment and look for a possible third option (there is still time)

    3) Keep them both as options and agree that when you see his face one of the two names will look best...granted there is a chance you will still disagree but I have a feeling one will just suit him better and you'll both find it's the same name.

    oooh actually there is also the poll option on a site like yahoo answers or thebump.com where you can agree that whoever gets the most votes is the winning name...

    It's so hard in our field of work isn't it? I really believe that we think about it more than anyone. We both agree on her name now...we're going with what is normally a nickname but using it as her full name. The trouble is the usual long version of her name is actually quite popular (though I've only had one and she was a good kid so no negative association)....but it's ok...I have the most popular name there is (one year in secondary school, I had a class where 5 of the 20 students were Jennifers!) and yet I still love it and can't picture something else...

  2. p.s. loving the classic Mario Bros. decal on the wall behind you lol