Naming your first baby is easy. You’ve had 15+ years of post-pubescent daydreaming to brainstorm, plus (in my case) many nights of wine and girlfriend-filled gab sessions to refine your choices.
Naming baby number two? Near-excruciating. We were certain it would be a boy…of course because we had the name picked out before the pregnancy test came back positive: Sebastian, after my husband’s little brother who passed away when he was a baby. But when the doctor told us we were having another girl, well, we were stumped.
“But…we don’t have another girl name.”
I needn’t have fretted, because once that test came back pink, the flood of good ideas from well-intentioned family and friends poured in. Names of great great great aunts from far-off lands, names gleaned from recent film characters, top 10 lists and so on. But it wasn’t the random suggestions that toyed with us…it was the unsolicited feedback on names we had selected and were seriously considering.
“Huh?” and “what does that mean?” …or “boy that sounds hard to spell”, uttered with annoyed, confused vocal intonations were some of the more enjoyable responses we received.
And mind you…we never asked for feedback. These same well-meaning folks who offered up their suggestions began quizzing us on our potential name choices the moment we knew the sex of our baby…and wouldn’t stop. “Come on…just tell us a few of the names you’re considering, we won’t say anything…give us the short-list”. You’d think that when potential names are offered under the duress of intense arm-twisting, the quizzing parties would understand that the only appropriate response is “that’s beautiful”.
No such luck.
But with baby number two just a week out, we’ve become quite comfortable saying: “Yes, we have a short list, but we’re not announcing anything until after she’s born.” Period, no question mark. Our tone implying: go ahead and ask if you want to, but don’t beat your head against the wall for too long, cause we’re not budging.
I feel for the Duchess of Cambridge. Amidst a debilitating case of morning sickness, she’s had to endure news media and marketing opportunists’ attempts to publicly guess the name of her unborn child before she’s even reached her 2nd trimester.
When did the naming of one’s child become such a public affair? I should have listened to the advice of friends who had their first child two years ahead of us, when they said, “do yourself a favor and don’t tell anyone the names you’re considering, it will rarely end well.” They were right. At the end of the day, no one in the world has the same style, taste, and unique set of life circumstances that we do, so there’s really no way for anyone else to provide feedback that’s remotely appropriate, let alone helpful.
My advice to the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, and all soon-to-be parents? Spare yourselves at the get-go, perfect your polite “we’re not sharing” response and don’t let anyone twist your arm into doing otherwise, if you don’t want to. There will be plenty of chances for your peers to give you advice once the baby arrives, don’t feel bad reserving this most special decision for yourselves.
Autumn Moss Penaloza is Totsy’s West Coast Mom and the blogger behind Mommy Rock Out. She and hubby Sergio are expecting their 2nd babygirl in late December 2012.