What is the most difficult aspect of naming a baby?
I was so pleased with the thoughtful responses readers submitted.
I want to take a moment to thank all the readers who responded. Thank you!
Providing quality content on UBN is so much easier with active, engaged readers. I couldn’t have written this post without readers’ freely expressed opinions.
The responses were varied but there were some recurrent themes. And the common themes weren’t the controversial baby names topics such as “baby name theft” or meddling, biased, unsolicited family advice, although these themes did come up.
The common themes that trumped the controversial topics (in descending order) were:
- Agreeing with the other parent on the name.
- Finding a name that is “different but not too different”.
- Picking a name that will suit the unborn child for life.
- Avoiding names that are overused.
Reaching an agreement with the other parent came up most often.
Before launching UBN, I never imagined the conflict Rob and I experienced naming our children was unique, but I never imagined the conflict was that common either. Surely most couples would have similar name tastes, and Rob and I were in the minority–right?
Wrong. Just like most couples disagree on home decor, resulting in “man-towns” popping up in many homes’ basements (or garages or dens), most couples disagree on baby names. The problem is there is no “man-town” for baby names.
From a UBN reader who agrees:
“The most difficult part about naming a baby is finding a name both you and your partner love equally! I had to abandon so many names because my husband had negative associations with the name. Who knew that Crosby was a Football for a team he doesn’t like?!”
While agreeing with the partner was the most common baby name challenge, finding that “different, but not too different” name and finding a name that would suit the child for life came up almost as often.
Readers made some really insightful comments related to the overwhelming task of finding a name that will suit the child for life, especially in the face of so many unknowns.
“I think the hardest aspect of naming a baby is knowing that the name you chose will be something that goes with the everywhere they go, forever. What if they don’t like it?”
“The most difficult aspect of naming a baby is knowing you are deciding a major factor of another (real) person’s identity, and the weight of that can be overwhelming at times.”
“We put so much thought about what WE love and WE want that we forget that it is the CHILD who has to live with the name.”
The last big challenge to come up repeatedly among UBN readers was the age-old fear of a beloved name becoming too popular. A few readers mentioned that they didn’t want their baby to become one of X number of Emma’s or to be known as Emma X in school.
And here are some other themes that came up (in descending order):
- Getting family approval.
- Finding a name that coordinates with older sibling name(s).
- Finding a name with long-term appeal. (How will the name sound in 10, 20, 30 years?)
- Over-analyzing name options/ fatigue from overabundant name choices.
- Feeling remorse over reject names.
- Whether to choose an honoring name vs. a fashionable name/ wanting to honor a beloved family member who has an unfashionable name.
- Finding a name that coordinates with the last name.
- Finding a name with a positive meaning.
- Finding a multicultural name.
- Friends or family copying baby’s name. (Otherwise known as “baby name theft”)
- Ignoring unsolicited advice.
I addressed the biggest recurring theme, “Coming to an agreement with the other parent“, on UBN before and plan to revisit the topic since it was the challenge most often mentioned by the UBN email community.
In the coming days and weeks, I’m also going to discuss the other challenges brought up by the UBN email community.
Of course not every family’s naming dilemma can be summed up in a blog post. Just like every baby is different, every expectant family has its own unique expectations and questions.
In some cases, customized, confidential, one-on-one guidance from an independent third-party is the best solution. To that end, personalized baby name coaching is now available on UBN. Go here to find out more.
In closing, I want to share a reader comment that I found particularly poignant:
“I think the most difficult aspect of naming a baby is knowing when to quit researching! . . . Trying to stay ahead of the bell curve is taxing and highly speculative! You really have to be honest with yourself and choose names for your children because they have special meaning or simply because you like them, despite their current or potential popularity.”