It’s hard to choose a baby’s name. There’s so much pressure! After all, this is the name your child will have for the rest of their life!
I’ve heard some people say, “Oh, it was easy for me!”
But today I want to focus on why it’s so hard for some of us. I’m sure many of you will be able to relate. Plus these nine reasons might help you deal with some of the name “issues” you’re having and find a solution!
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1. Names bring back bad memories.
Whether good or bad, a name can bring back memories. I have some names from my childhood that I would rather just avoid altogether because of the memories associated with those people. Some people may want to avoid the name of an older relative who did not treat them well. Being teachers, my husband and I had many names that we associated with former students – students we did NOT want our child named after!
2. Names can also bring good memories.
While I just talked about negative emotions with names, there can also be a positive connection. You may have heard a name that you always envisioned would be your child’s. (Spouses may not agree…) Or maybe there was a name you wish you had as a child, and now you could give that name to your own child. You may also have great memories of different people and want to name your child after one of them. (That’s our our son got his name. There was one student who had a particularly positive impact on me, and my husband and I both happened to like the name.)
3. Names may have family significance.
Many times name’s are passed down for generations. It may be a first name, middle name, or the whole thing. While it’s hard to choose a baby’s name, it might be a bit easier if there’s a family tradition that you want to continue. (On the flip side, it can be even harder if there’s a tradition you don’t want to keep!)
As crazy as it sounds, all three of my first boyfriends were Jr’s. All three wanted their firstborn son to be given their name, the third. It was a bit weird, but it worked out because I liked the name Trey. When Andrew and I met I’d had it in my head for so long that my first son’s name would be Trey, that it took me awhile to come around to other names (but I did!).
I have female friends who have used their maiden name as their child’s middle name. I love this idea! I just wish Whetham (wed-um) worked more as a middle name…
4. Names should be unique.
How do you pick out the name of your child when you have no idea what their personality is yet like? It’s hard to envision your future child and choose a name that is unique to them and will help them stand out from the crowd. Plus, how unique do you want to get? Is Apple ok, or is that too far out there? Do you want your child to be the only one in their class with that name, or do you care if there are five John’s? And just because you think a name is unique does not mean everyone else will – or they may think it’s too unique and criticize you for such a ridiculous name.
5. Names can be hard to spell.
Choosing how to spell your child’s name could be another blog post in and of itself, but I’ll try to keep this short. As a former Kindergarten teacher, I watched many students learning their names struggle to form 3-4 letters, let alone eight or nine. As a parent, do you want that for your child? It’s a short time period in their life, so they’ll get past it – but it’s another decision to make. Do you want a name that is easy to spell and pronounce, or do you want to stand out? Abcde is a cute name every time I hear it, but I can’t imagine spelling it that way. (Ab-si-dee) But – to each their own. Spelling it just one more challenge of picking out your child’s name. You think you’re done when you decide on the name, but – no! You still have to spell it. And even after you’ve spelled it, you want others to be able to pronounce it.
6. Making sure the name can be pronounced correctly.
Going right along with the spelling, you may want to make sure others can easily pronounce your little one’s name. Just because it’s obvious to you, does not mean it will be obvious to everyone. This may be a time where you want to share the name you’re thinking about with others. I’ve had to announce plenty of names before basketball games and awards nights at the school’s I’ve worked at, and I always feel bad when I mispronounce a child’s name because it’s something I haven’t seen before.
7. Family may not like the name.
We knew when naming our son that he had a great-great-uncle by that name. However, it was one of very few names that both Andrew and I could agree upon! We were afraid of what our extended family would think of someone else in the family having that name, plus it’s a bit “old school”. Yet if you sit and worry about what everyone else thinks, you’ll never be able to figure out a name. So we finally had to give and just go with what we both liked. Not everyone liked the name at first, but they love our little guy – so the name grew on them. 😉
8. Choosing a unisex name.
Andrew and I knew from the get-go that we did not want a name that could be confused with the opposite sex. While I think there is nothing wrong with names like Payton, Kaden, or Sammy – it can be confusing to people. We’ve both taught student’s by these names or had a boy and girl in our class with the same name. Avoiding unisex names was something we both firmly agreed upon, but everyone will be different.
9. Consider nicknames.
No matter how much you try to predict the nicknames or teasing your child may endure because of his or her name, there’s really no way you can be successful in your guesses. Yes, I’ve heard “How’s the weather, Heather-feather” more times in my life than I can count. But the real nicknames I’ve had in my life? Sky, Tower, HoJo, and HoHo are the main ones. Each had nothing to do with my given name of Heather. Some had good associations, others not-so-much – but they’ve all been nicknames over the years. You can’t predict the future, so stick with a name you like. (Although I might avoid names like Dick and Harry just because…)
Yes, for many of us it is hard to choose a baby’s name. However, you have to figure out what will work for you. Obviously people have been doing this for centuries. If everyone else can get it figured out, so can you! Take a few of your favorites with to the hospital. We had narrowed down our name choices to two boys and two girls when we went in to deliver. Our logic was that we would just know the right name when we met our little one. Thankfully that theory worked out for us!
Still struggling to come up with names? Here’s a great baby names book on Amazon to help you out.