posted in Pregnancy
If you’re currently expecting a baby, can I give you some advice?
I know. I know how we love getting advice from every nosy person on the planet. I know the minute we sport a baby bump, we become magnets for all sorts of unasked for opinions on everything. I promise this one is good…mostly because it’s going to stop you from getting tons more unwanted advice for the rest of your pregnancy.
Don’t discuss baby names with anyone who doesn’t get to decide what to name them.
When I was pregnant with my first, we were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of name possibilities. How do you choose one name out of the thousands available? Who am I to pick a name for a baby I haven’t even met yet? A name that’s likely going to stick with that child for their entire life?
So we threw out names all day long – with each other, with our parents, with our friends. Anyone who would listen – we tossed names out to them. We tried to narrow things down. And then, in the middle of my baby shower, I mentioned a name that meant a lot to me – my grandfather’s name, actually. One of my friends wrinkled her nose and said, “Howard?? Howard?? Who names their kid Howard?” and laughed.
She didn’t know. She didn’t know I had a personal connection. She didn’t know the memories I have associated with the name. She didn’t know that, like the smell of a pine tree can take you back to summer camp, Howard reminds me of summers spent chasing cows and swimming in Lake Ontario near my grandparents’ farm. She couldn’t possibly know these things, and yet I was hurt and enraged and embarrassed.
Right then I decided I was never sharing ideas for baby names with anyone. My husband and I batted names about between each other, but we never again told anyone what we were considering until the baby was born.
We figured once our son was there and the name was on the birth certificate, people were at least less likely to tell us to our faces if they hated the name we chose. Usually, visitors try to be nice when they visit a newborn, and we hoped they’d hold their tongues. They did. Once it was presented as a done deal, and not as an idea for people to offer opinions on, they stopped giving those opinions (I know not everyone does this – I’m sorry if you have met these people!).
I think the naming decision is our initiation into the judgmental world of being a parent. It’s the first time people feel free to give you advice on something you’re doing and let you know, in no uncertain terms, if you’re screwing it up.
I say – don’t let them. Keep this one thing between yourselves, and as a fun reveal to everyone when your baby arrives.
And if you make fun of “Howard” as a name…I will hunt you down.
Will you share your baby’s name with people before the birth?
Images by Laura Falin