Some people are still figuring out their baby’s name 24 hours after birth. A few people take even longer to find a name, struggling for weeks–or in the case of one UBN reader–months. Rob and I were fortunate to pick our first child’s name quickly. Our first child’s name was picked at the 18 week ultrasound once we knew the sex. We had discussed names long before we knew the sex. Like many other name-people, I was making boy and girl name lists as soon as the stick read “Pregnant” (and maybe a little earlier than that).
While the name was picked relatively early in the pregnancy, there was a very practical reason Rob and I never announced the name of our first child before birth: we didn’t want to feel committed in the event we changed our minds.
There was also the concern that certain family members would give us unsolicited advice. What we told everyone was that we knew the sex and wouldn’t be able to keep that a secret, and there had to be something left for a surprise at birth.
With our second child, we found the naming process more difficult. Coming to an agreement was trickier the second time. In the end we picked a name with family significance, that I wasn’t initially thrilled with. Since the name we picked was traditional and inoffensive, and I was looking for some outside validation to get excited about the name, I found myself verbally sharing the name with a few select people. But there were an opinionated few who didn’t hear our son’s name before birth.
This was probably not the smartest decision. One of my friend’s husband liked to refer to our unborn baby by name every time he saw me. Our daughter’s third birthday was six weeks before our son was born. This inquisitive husband was at the party along with the few oblivious family members. I had fears of this friend asking, “How’s Paul?” in front of the wrong people.
One thing I never did was announce my unborn child’s name in writing. Recently I was surprised to get a baby shower invitation printed with the unborn baby’s name. Once I was at the shower, I noticed the favors had customized M&M’s with the unborn baby’s first and last name. This was shocking to me. The baby is due shortly and the expectant parents must be very committed to the name!
While I can think of several advantages of keeping an unborn baby’s name secret, I can’t think of many advantages of broadcasting an unborn baby’s name. I can only speculate that some expectant parents might get a kick out of shower attendees giving then monogrammed stuff for gifts. But ultrasound gender predictions can be wrong. And I can’t think of any disadvantages of keeping an unborn baby’s name secret.
For those who decide to keep an unborn baby’s name secret, the real challenge might be determining how to keep the secret, especially if the name is picked early in the pregnancy. When we kept our first child’s name secret, we decided to tell family members that we were keeping the name a surprise until the birth.
We considered telling a white lie and claim we hadn’t picked a name, and maybe that would have been the best option. The path we took resulted in some family members trying to coax the name out of us. Hint: these were the same family members who were kept in the dark when we decided to share our second child’s name with a few people. Had we pretended we were undecided on the name, the worst we would have endured is unsolicited name suggestions. Ah hindsight.
This leads me to wonder: how would you keep an unborn baby’s name secret? Is sharing an unborn baby’s name good or bad? Does it matter whether the name is shared verbally or in writing?
Readers: Would you share your unborn baby’s name with others?