Full Baby Name Disclosure?

Oct 3rd 2013

This week's letter to The Name Lady was from a woman whose husband suggested a baby name to honor a famous football coach. She liked the sound of the name, and the deal was done. A simple, happy story, with just one little catch: he didn't tell her about the football homage until after the baby was born.

That mom, fortunately, had a sense of humor about this little "oversight." She did like the name, after all. So what did it matter that he liked it for a different reason? In fact, she eventually agreed to continue the football theme with their next child's name. But her story raises the question: is full disclosure expected in the naming process?

Suppose that dad's football obsession were already a bone of contention between those two parents. Wouldn't that change the dynamics of the situation? Or suppose she had already made clear she didn't want a football name. In that case, his little sin of omission would be an out-and-out deception, and might even point to deeper issues in their relationship.

The football example may seem far from your experience, but some form of the disclosure question comes up for many parents -- especially when there's a name you love that your partner is still mulling over. It's a natural instinct to accentuate the positive....

• OK, Calvin comes from a word meaning "bald." Is it your obligation to point that out, when you don't think it matters much? Aren't Calvin Klein and Calvin & Hobbes more important?

• Yes, you loved the Disney movie Enchanted and he couldn't stand it. But is it your fault that he doesn't remember that the princess was named Giselle?

• Your sister-in-law thinks the name Alma sounds "fat." That's just one random opinion, and most of your friends love the name, so why muddy the waters?

• Umm, yeah, maybe you did date a guy named Alec in college, briefly. Very, very briefly. Nobody here even knows him, and you've dreamed of naming a son Alec since you saw The Black Stallion when you were nine, and you don't associate that college guy with the name at all. (What was his last name, even?)

Where do you draw the line? Did you ever pick and choose which info to share with your partner about a name? And did you run into any naming surprises after the baby was born?

 

Comments

1
October 3, 2013 2:43 PM

My husband and I always have different reasons for liking a name, but that's perfectly fine with me because it's the only way we'll ever reach a compromise.  He tends to like adventurous, epic names for boys, so I was shocked when he suggested Arthur, until I realized he was inspired by watching the BBC Merlin series. I tend to like antique, "little old man" names so I was happy to add it to the list. Funny that the same name represents such different qualities to us!

2
October 3, 2013 3:25 PM

my husband always says now that we named our William after William Riker on Star Trek:TNG. He never mentioned it beforehand, and he didn't even suggest the name--I gave him a short list, he picked that one. I thought it was because he just liked it, didn't give much thought to why. He sometimes says that he wants to continue the trend, but I am pretty sure he's joking. :)

3
October 3, 2013 9:18 PM

When we were naming our son, my husband mentioned that he'd like J for the baby's middle initial, and I had no objection, so we found a J name that we both liked. It was only later that he explained that the reason was so that our son could go by CJ, his first and middle initials. I really dislike initial names and if I'd known what he was planning, I would not have agreed to it. Fortunately, our son doesn't go by a nickname (at least not yet), so it hasn't been an issue. But I dread the day his friends start calling him CJ.

4
October 4, 2013 12:37 AM

I would go with the common knowledge rule; if the information is out there, it's fair game.  When it comes to an ex, a family member, or another negative association that your partner can't have knowledge of unless you tell them,  you should tell.  There is a big difference between liking a name due to a character in a film versus naming your child after the family dog.

5
October 4, 2013 1:49 PM

In discussing names, I mentionned that one name on my girls' list is perceived by some as being dated.  That has ruined the name for my dh.  Sometimes I wish I had kept my mouth shut.

6
October 8, 2013 9:59 PM

That kind of reminds me of the book "Atomic Candy" by Phyllis Burke where the dad suggests the name Marilyn for his little girl after a brief encounter with Marilyn Monroe. Of course, the mom didn't know she was naming her little girl after the blonde bombshell!

I think it's important to mention the associations with a name... we certainly don't hesitate to mention negative associations when we want a name dropped from the list (oh, that was my ex-boyfriend's sister's name and she was a total jerk!), so it only seems fair to bring light to other associations we make as well.

7
By mk
October 9, 2013 9:49 PM

The only situation that would bother me is if the name was the name of an ex and he didn't tell me. Not an ex like the "Alec" example, but a long term serious relationship ex. Other than that, if I like the name, I probably wouldn't care if it was the name of a football coach, a family pet, or what have you. Although, those seem inocent reasons, so why not share them?

 

 

8
October 10, 2013 3:26 AM

I chose a name years ago for a theoretical daughter while I was still married to my first husband.  After I divorced I had a serious relationship in which we spoke of the possibility of future children, and I still wanted to use that name.  After that relationship dissolved I married my current husband, and finally had that daughter, using the name.  I still interact with both those other men, and I wonder if it is awkward for them that I kept the name we had considered together.  (The name, Symphony, is from my aunt, Melody, and sister, Harmony, so it is sort of a family name thing.)

9
December 7, 2013 7:41 PM

My brother has the fist two initiala "CJ" and nobody ever calls him CJ (He's 8) We all call him by his first name. People aren't really aware of his middle name and even the ones that are don't call him CJ. So I think you're on the safe side! 

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