To tell or not to tell?

Jan 29th 2010

As expectant parents, you have two big naming decisions. The first is the choice of name. The second is when to reveal it.

At one extreme you have parents who start referring to the fetus by name from the moment they see an ultrasound. Let's call them the "broadcasters." At the other, you have the parents who guard the name as a state secret, refusing to give their nearest and dearest so much as a clue: the "keepers."

Both of these extremes are on the rise. The broadcasters have gained momentum from early sex detection and the self-revelatory culture of the internet. As reader Jen wrote to me, "Facebook seems to be the main vehicle for this reveal: 'We had our 20 week ultrasound today, and Olivia Kate is on the way...,' 'We are on our way to the hospital to meet Matthew!'"

The keepers, meanwhile, have more and more to hide. Our modern culture of creative, distinctive names leads to a lot more wrinkled noses and outraged grandparents at name announcement time. The way keepers see it, if you know they'll complain and you know you won't change your mind, why have the argument? Just present them with an adorable newborn baby, the name a fait accompli.

As usual, extremes carry risks. For the keepers, if you suspect that your friends and family will all hate your child's name, shouldn't that set off alarm bells? Bouncing ideas off people can also help you avoid unwelcome surprises. I've heard from "keeper" parents who learned too late that, say, Amelia was the name of Grandpa's first wife whom nobody ever talks about.

Broadcasters risk locking themselves into premature decisions. Their public pre-announcements can also seem like tempting fate. The sad truth is that things can go wrong with pregnancies, and an early name broadcast to 1,000 Facebook friends can add an extra layer of complication to an already painful time. Even if all goes well, you've stolen the thunder from your birth announcement. If everybody already knows the ultrasound sex reading, the date of your scheduled c-section, and the name, what's left to announce?

Luckily, there's plenty of middle ground. For instance, you can choose a trusted circle to bounce your ideas off of. Ideally the group should include at least one parent of young kids who knows the name landscape, and one person who knows your family well enough to help you navigate around the "Grandma Amelia" problems. If you keep the circle small, you preserve some secrecy and get the extra bonus of flattering the people you've taken into your confidence.

If you're a broadcaster at heart, you can hold back a bit by sharing a list of finalists rather than a champion. (You may have already chosen the winner, but nobody has to know that.) Presenting a candidate list can also generate excitement about the name choice. After all, you can't root for a team without knowing who's playing.

Personally, I like the idea of combining both approaches. If you share a small group of names with a small group of confidantes you gather feedback, retain some air of mystery, and get the full oomph of the birth announcement.

How about you?


January 31, 2010 4:44 AM

Several of you have mentioned being "keepers" because you want to avoid other people "stealing" your name. Has this ever happened to anyone, or does this seem to be a common occurrence? I'm just wildly curious, because it never would have occurred to me. I would have assumed, as a few people have mentioned, that telling the name in advance would be putting a claim on it instead. I have no personal experience with this, though, so maybe I'm wrong?

Kerry- Your long list is lovely. It's got many of my favorites on it: Eleanor, Beatrice, Hazel, Margaret; Benjamin, Henry, Gabriel, Gregory, Theodore. They're all fantastic choices, though!

By Amy3
January 31, 2010 9:37 AM

@Kerry, what a great list! I like lots of them. Here are my absolute faves:

Beatrice (prefer Beatrix, though), Bronwyn, Freya, Harriet, Hazel, Linnea, Matilda, Maude, Paloma, Penelope, Petra, Solveig

Beckett, Calder, Edmund, Ewan, Gabriel (love the nn Gabe), Ira, Milo, Moses, Noam, Paulo, Piers, Solomon, Soren

By Stephanie P (not verified)
January 31, 2010 9:43 AM

We were "keepers" with our son. I didn't want any negative reactions, so we decided before we even had a name, that we would not be telling. However, my 17 year old sister unknowingly named him, and it made for a very special moment when my husband introduced him to the whole family, and Meg realized she had named him and burst into tears! It was worth it! Though I don't think I have ever done anything that drove my mother half as nuts as not telling her the name did!!!

January 31, 2010 11:00 AM

Julie, I just wanted to say that I really like Winston. For a while it was one of my top names (my combo was Winston Graham), but it sounds bad with our surname. I can picture a Winston on a little boy.

Leslie, in my first pregnancy we told everyone that if we had a boy his name would be Lincoln, and if we had a girl her name would be Gwendolen. My sister-in-law fell in love with the name Gwendolen, and she always says that if I don't use it she's snabbing it. I do have one friend that used it and even took the middle name I announced to go with it (Rose), but she didn't do it until after I had Lincoln. Thankfully, after over 7 years of Gwendolen being my favorite girl name, I have other favorites, and I'll only be giving a select few people a long-ish list of baby names we're looking at when we're pregnant again. That way I can be more confident I'm not sharing with someone I think might snab a name I love. :)

January 31, 2010 11:09 AM

Kerry, great list! In fact, there are very few names on your list that I don't like. Here are my very favorites: Girls - Adele, Cecily, Eleanor, and Louisa. Boys: Atticus, Bennett, Edmund, Miles, Phineas, Solomon, Thaddeus, Theodore, and Tobias. We must have very similar styles b/c my son's name is Solomon. And also, DH and I are TTC, and my favorite boy name and favorite girl name are on your list - Louisa and Edmund.

By Beth the original (not verified)
January 31, 2010 11:44 AM

Lilliputian, I love Maud. I knew one once (she is now in her early 40s too), and on her it seemed elegant and mysterious.

And I think Winston is rather charming. I just saw one in a college classroom (Asian-American, and we've discussed how AA names can often be a generation or two "off," but the effect can also be original and sweet).

As to broadcasting versus keeping, I had an unusual problem. My daughter was destined to be named after her grandmother (as I was after mine, in an alternating matriarchal name sequence that went back 10 generations; think Sarah - Jane - Sarah - Jane). So when I told, I had to tell the whole story to ward off people trying to change my mind if they didn't like the name. But not telling would have meant being harassed by my anxious mother, who would have worried about my breaking the chain. So I was kind of durned if I did and durned if I didn't. I ended up telling, and then having my mom e-mail me every couple of days "just be sure" as she personalized things, sewed labels into her handmade creations, and so on.

By PunkPrincessPhd (NLI) (not verified)
January 31, 2010 11:48 AM


I'll add a "hear, hear!" to KNP's list - most of these, while popular in Ireland, NI, and Britain, are definitely unusual in NA ( I can say that with a lot of certainty, given that most were on our long list for Sorcha!).

Of these, I'd nominate:
Nuala (5 letters and "N"!)

Neasa (a variant of Nessa found in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology - the mother of King Connor. Although its literal meaning is "Not gentle", it still has a great history)

Naoise (pronounced "Neesha". Traditionally a male name, from the above mentioned Ulster Cycle: the story of Deirdre & Naoise as an early Tristan & Isolde).

Nonin (with a fada on the "i" - pronounced "No-neen". not a traditional name, but means "daisy" in Irish)

If you love Niamh but are shy of its familiarity, what about Neamh ("Nyav" or "Nyow"), which means "heaven". Although that gives it a bit more of a connection to Nevaeh et al, it's an authentic one! The diminutive is Neamhain, which is also the name of one of the Irish goddesses of war (also Nemain in old Irish). The town Navan in County Meath comes from the same root.

For non-"N" names:
Orla (Orlaith or Orlagh are even more distinct if you can get around the spelling/pronunciation issue)

Realta (with a fada on the e: "Ray-ALL-ta", or "RAYL-ta"). Means "star".

Eavan (this is the most accepted anglicization of Aoibheann, which was my top pick for Sorcha. It means "radiant beauty", and includes poet Eavan Boland as a namesake).

How obscure do you want to get?

By knp
January 31, 2010 1:10 PM

I fell for Winston at first sight!! But, dh nixed it. Told me I could use it for a pet name :(

January 31, 2010 2:09 PM

Re Tzeitel: it's a great name but I agree that pronunciation could be an issue.

To echo what Miriam said about Yiddish vs. Hebrew names, a good real-life example would be my family, where all the boys have, as my father would say "good, solid Hebrew names" and my sisters and I have more Yiddish names. My brothers are Seth, Benjamin, Ezekiel (nn Ezi) and Dovid (nn Dov), while my sisters and I are Rebekah (though I went by Rivky as a child), Malka and Bailah. Like Miriam said, because families in the ultra orthodox community get so large people end up running out of relatives to name after. These days most will try to use another version of the same name (i.e I have a cousin Rivka and i am Rebekah) or a name with similar meaning/letters/etc.

By Rjoy (not verified)
January 31, 2010 2:34 PM

Thanks Miriam! That was so interesting.

@Liiliputian-I am sorry I can't jump in with this convo. I don't know how to pronounce most of these names! LOL! Not in my circle I guess.

Kerry- Wonderful list. What a broad list! I have noticed many people have mentioned they like Beatrice. Oddly enough, my husband JUST yesterday said he liked that name and what did I think of it.

After researching the name, I came across Beatriz, the spanish form. Has anyone met a real life Beatriz? and does it sound off?

By Rjoy (not verified)
January 31, 2010 2:48 PM

I have really enjoyed this thread! It is so up my alley! it goes. (it might be long)

I was initially a semi-broadcaster with the first child. I new I loved names but wasn't aware I was a full on NE. I shared our list with whomever would ask. MY names weren't so unusually at that time. As normal first time parents they were average names that everyone liked. Abigail, Emily, and so forth. BUT the middle names were unique. I a big on middle names having MEANING. so....I was looking at some Hebrew names that had wonderful meanings and mentioned it to my hubby and his mom who happened to be at our house. She instantly started laughing had joking about it. As if no on in there right mind would ever name there child that. Of course that turned off my hubby to it.
That was it! I was instantly a keeper from than on! (Her name ended up being Seren@ with another hebrew middle name)

So with our next child we didn't tell anyone and ended up using one of those names as a middle name. Once they are born and named they really can't say anything.

From then on..(we have five children) We pretty much kept it from family and most friends. There is one friend that somehow can get the short list from me. She hated our name for one of our girls. Even after she was born she said she refused to call her that. It has been a couple of years and she has warmed up to it. LOL!

The odd thing is I hate when people keep names from me. But I also am opinionated when they chose names I think are less than complimentary, so sometimes it is for the best. For example, first time parents fall in love with Sophia. I feel it is my right to let them know that it is uber popular. They aren't always so appreciated. Now I just hold my tongue till asked.

January 31, 2010 3:41 PM

Olive was our in utero name for our first child. It never occured to us to really name him/her that although we were mighty use to it and even slipped up and called him Olive after delivery a few times. My family's in utero name for me was the Fonz.

As far as name stealing...when I was pregnant with my first daughter, I revealed to my SIL that M@rk was our boy's name. When they were pregnant and even in the days after their baby's birth, M@rk was on their very short list. It felt a little like they were stealing it as M@rk is hardly on most people's name list. In the end though I think they didn't choose it in part b/c they did know that I had my heart absolutely set on it and there was a danger of us using it regardless of them doing so also =)

By Anna S (not verified)
January 31, 2010 4:02 PM

It's interesting how many different views there are on *when* expecting parents are supposed to share the names of their (unborn) children. Some posters think the parents are "withholding information" if they don't immediately share all names in consideration. I see it rather differently because I don't believe I'm entitled to that information before the "official naming", i.e. when the baby is born or there is a naming ceremony. (Sort of like a Christmas present; just because I bought it in November doesn't mean I'll let you know what it is).

Rjoy - about the Sophia example: Maybe it's a question of phrasing: "Mm. Sophia?" vs "Sophia! Oh, wauw, that's a good choice! And it's in the top 5, so she'll never be teased in school!!!".

January 31, 2010 4:35 PM

Just a quick question: What does NE stand for? I've seen it used often here.

January 31, 2010 4:40 PM

i've always assumed "name enthusiast," but i've never actually confirmed that. hope i'm not way off base. :]

January 31, 2010 5:03 PM

interesting names from my local listings:

January 31, 2010 5:34 PM

@Mirnada--I've never been a huge fan of Ursula, the Little Mermaid associations are too much for me--but the other day a woman named Ursula wrote a check, and I have to admit that visually it's very nice in cursive... I know it's a silly thing to notice, but I thought of you right away when I saw it written down. :)

January 31, 2010 9:09 PM

Kerry-Nice list! My favs are: Abigail, Audrey, Charlotte, Claire, Ellery, Erin, Lydia, Meredith, and Miranda for girls. I like Alexander, Elliott, Gregory, Griffin, and Nathaniel. Those are the ones I would actually consider using. Some of the others are nice but for others just not me. I very much like the Irish/Celtic but familiar spellings that are coming up on this thread they are some of my absolute favs.

Stephanie P-Beautiful story.

PPP-I love your ideas for Lilliputian. I want to second Naoise. I had almost forgotten how much I also liked Saoirse :)

Miriam-I really have missed your posts. Thank you once again for your knowledgable insights.

Rjoy-Thank you also for your pronunciation help. I clearly will have to rent "Fiddler on the roof" some night.

By EVie
January 31, 2010 9:38 PM

I think I will be a keeper, though we're probably still a few years off from having kids. I don't think I'd want to hear the negative feedback from friends or family, and I also don't want to feel trapped in case I change my mind. And I would definitely want to be able to announce the name for the first time after the baby is born and have it be a big exciting surprise. I think an in-utero nickname is perfectly sufficient for family members' bonding.

Ideally, I would like to go into the delivery room with several options still on the table - probably a frontrunner and then a handful of backup names in case the frontrunner feels wrong once we see the kid face-to-face. That way, we can also honestly tell people that we are still undecided. I'm not worried about needing feedback from people in real life - that's what this board is for!

Plus, talking about names is fun, and once you've announced the final name, what is there to talk about? I like the idea of making it into a game to get friends and family excited - the hints & guesses are one idea, or maybe doing some sort of pool where you see who can guess the most letters correctly. Anybody have any other ideas along those lines?

January 31, 2010 10:19 PM

I was a broadcaster with my first. Everyone knew her name from pretty much a few days after the ultrasound. I think the reason for that was because I had the first name picked out since I was 13. Plus, I picked a top 10 name, so there was no eye rolling at all.

For this one, I've shared my short list with pretty much everyone and will probably share the final name as well. It's like some PP said, I like that the babies have an identity and can form bonds before they get here. With my first nephew, Jake, I could ask his mom (my SIL), "How's Jake doing?" when he was still in utero. We're still close today.

My other SIL (DH's sis) didn't tell anyone the sex of the baby (they didn't know themselves), any name ideas, nor whose initials they were even using. I felt so disassociated with that pregnancy and baby, I still haven't bonded with baby Rebecca and she's almost 4 months old. I'm a much more open person and prefer others around me to be open as well. JMO.

By Alr as guest (not verified)
January 31, 2010 11:11 PM

Kerry- Lovely list of names! I would warn that Eleanor is quite popular near me (the Seattle area). I love the name, but if you want something fairly uncommon, I'm not sure that's the way to go. I know at least 3 under 7 years old. I LOVE Tobias and have not met any of those on the playgrounds.

Daisy_kay - I don't think Mabel will be climbing very fast. It might grow in popularity to some extent, but it's not currently even in the top 1000, and it would take a small miracle (in my opinion) to see it sky rocket through to the top 500 any time soon. I consider Violet a "sky rocket"er (I love the name but was shy to use it bc of how quickly it's climbed) and even it took 10 years to climb to a 200 rank (which, these days is a pretty uncommon name still)!

By Qwen (nli) (not verified)
February 1, 2010 1:58 AM

@BN obsessed - I think either Ruby or Piper would fit nicely with Adelaide or Rockwell - which are both very fun. I see what you're saying about wanting to go a little more trendy to keep the sib set from being labeled as 'old-fashioned'. But I think you have a little wiggle room if you want so you won't have to compromise your dislike of popular names either, if that makes sense. But if you're happy I say go for it. I personally like Piper best but like I said, they're both great choices!

@Bridget - I actually had a moment of panic about name stealing today. As I've already mentioned, we're broadacasters so our name is basically out there. I know a woman who is due 4 weeks before me and I know that I'm really not her favorite person so when we ran into each other today and she said something along the lines of "My husband said you have a name but he couldn't remember it when he was telling me..." I paused for a few seconds terrified of what I would do if she stole my name. But my husband had already told her husband so it's not like I could say it was a secret. In the end I told her and consoled myself with the idea that her first two children have very common names so it's unlikely our name would appeal to her.

@Kristin W - I agree with the assessment of 'if family members find the announcement less exciting because they already knwo the name/gender/et.. so what?" In the end it's mine and my husband's day and really we are the only ones who need to feel that it's exciting or magical. If someone else wants things done a different way, they can choose that for their next baby!

Ack! I don't have time to catch up on everything! I'll be back!

By Kerry (not verified)
February 1, 2010 4:11 AM

1) Rjoy- I think that Beatriz is lovely. It would probably be misheard and misspelled to some extent, but it seems like one of those names where the correction only has to be made once for the hearer to understand and remember.

2) Lilliputian- I still like Nuala best of all the names that have been floated so far for you. I also like PPP's suggestions of Naoise & Neasa for N names and Orla & Eevan for non N names. Are you more committed to keeping the 5 letter theme going (with N high on the list) or the Gaelic/Irish theme going? If you are interested, I bet we could come up with some non-Irish 5 letter N names that would go well with your boys' names.

3) Thanks for all of your comments on my long list. I am not surprised that many here find a lot of names they like as I have been reading here for quite a while and know that my current list is definitely influenced by your discussions.

Alr- Thanks for your insights from the Seattle area. I am in the Portland area and I am pretty sure that Eleanor is becoming popular here as well. . .If only I didn't find it to be such a perfect name: regal but feminine with lots of good nicknames for every stage of life.

4) I have a cultural appropriation question. I know it has been discussed some before, but I want to get a sense as to what you all would feel comfortable with for your own children. I have a lot of names on my list that are, in origin, Jewish/Hebrew (Ziva, Tovah,) Spanish/Latin (Pilar, Paloma, Rafael,) and Scandinavian (Soren, Solveig, Freya). My partner and I are both Anglo European mixes with Christian backgrounds. When I think about actually naming a child, I tend to think that it would be safest to stick to the British-Empire type names I have on my list.

I don't, in general, have a problem with names becoming more international, but for naming my own future children I worry that I might unwittingly offend someone by appropriating a name to which I have no cultural claim. (This is outside of the whole Cohen debate. I would, at least, make sure that if I used a name from a culture other than my own that it did not have any significance that would rightfully keep it from general/my use.)


By Dittalitta (not verified)
February 1, 2010 6:17 AM

I'm somewhere in between... I do announce and discuss names, but not usually settle on them 100% before baby comes. I'll say "we're thinking of A or B, but we haven't decided yet." If I REALLY like a name, I don't care what anyone says (and if I think someone will be explicitly negative about it, I don't mention it to that person.) But if I'm unsure, then I want people's imput... I usually ask people with kids whose names I like!
My DD was going to be Matilda or Alice, we waited until she was born to see what she "looked like." Elsa was on the list for a while too, but got replaced by Alice. My DS was always going to be Philip, because I liked that name far more than any other name on my boys list. We got a Matilda and a Philip. :O)

By Dittalitta (not verified)
February 1, 2010 6:30 AM

I am in desperate need of help from NEs...
We are getting a little boy in just 2 months and we're really struggling to find a name for him... We have various possibilities, but nothing we are getting too excited about. Please bounce any and all ideas off me, it might inspire me!

here's the nitty gritty:

1. His middle name MUST be George (or use Goerge as a first name, but then call him by his middle name. I don't really like George -no offence.)

2. We live in the UK, and would ideally like to avoid anything in the top 50 (although we could reconsider for the right name... But the lower in the ranks the better.)

3. I am Greek, so the name has to fit in with that. Not necessarily greek origin, but has to be easy for greeks to pronounce. To help you, greek has pretty much exactly the same sounds as spanish. (So anything that native spanish speakers would find hard to pronounce is out!)

4. The baby (we are adopting) has special needs (Down's syndrome) and I want to avoid a name that he might have trouble pronouncing... I want to be sure he can say his own name clearly! This disqualified one of our possibles, Lawrence (family name) because I think the -L -R and -S combination will be hard for him to pronounce.

5. Our last name is Good, which is a bit awkward! OUr current children are Matilda and Philip.

It is so hard to find something that covers all of these things! Grrr.... Why couldn't he have been a girl, I have at least 3 girl names that I would love to use :P

Some possibilities we're considering:

George Bernard (call him Bernie -but not sure about pronounciation ease for greeks or for him.)

Edward George (call him Teddy or Eddie.)

Andrew George

Samuel George (but I don't like how popular Samuel is.)

Please please help me! I've used Nymbler, various name books, greek names-day holiday lists... I just can't find something that really excites me! I'm geting name overload...

By Mirnada (not verified)
February 1, 2010 9:48 AM


What about Thomas? Tom would be very easy to say, it's on the Greek Saint's list, and Thomas sounds nice with Philip and Matilda, I think. It's classic without being trendy, too.

By Dittalitta (not verified)
February 1, 2010 10:48 AM

Thomas would have been nice, but it's Philip's middle name...

February 1, 2010 10:49 AM

First of all, hoes anyone know why the font on#this page seems/smaller? Maybe it's just me but I looked and couldn't fin` a place to fix it. Any thoughtw?

Kerry-I personally would not use any name that wms not completelu Americanized weth the exceptioj of some Irish/Celtic/Gaelic names just because I like them. Highly Jewish (imo) names would also be out because I am not and that would seem weird to me. I have Polish and Italian and other Slavic ethnicities in my background so those would be most appropriate but I dont normally like many of the consonant-heavy combinations.

Dittalitta-I like the Thomas George suggestion made by Mirnada. Of your posted choices I think I like Edward the best. Andrew seems like it would have pronunciation issues for your son maybe. It might come out Andwoo and be teased or it could sound cute?! Some other thoughts based on the sibset and your parameters:
Eric George (although initials are EGG)
Liam George
Ethan George (ditto)
Daniel George
Logan George
George Nicholas
Isaac George nn Iggy based on initials
I had Adam and ALexander also in combos and then realized the initials make the word GAG. Ack!!!

February 1, 2010 10:59 AM

We have shared our baby's in utero nickname, which is Snapdragon.

When anyone asks about names, I just say that its name will be Snapdragon unless we find something we like better! That usually ends the conversation.

February 1, 2010 11:18 AM

i personally don't see a problem with using names from other cultures, assuming it is not a cohen type situation. i know others have apprehensions about it, but i've never talked to anyone whose culture might be potentially "co-opted" that has minded at all. in fact, most of them said they would be flattered. we use all sorts of names from various cultures: isabella, ingrid, astrid, maria, and no one seems to think anything of it. so, to me, there's no problem with using paloma, soren, freya, etc. however, that's just me. i know others here feel differently.

by the way, i *love* many of your choice, particularly: julian, oliver, miles, milo, ivan, jude, maximillian, august, beckett, dexter, elliott, and eleanor, charlotte, ivy, helen, nora, ursula.

julian, oliver, eleanor, and charlotte are currently my top four favorite names of all time, so you have a lot i love on your list. :]

February 1, 2010 11:20 AM

i second zoerhenne's suggestion of daniel; i love the full name of daniel.

February 1, 2010 11:20 AM

@zoerhenne, I think the smaller font is part of the website re-design.

February 1, 2010 11:43 AM

I thought of you guys yesterday. We took the kiddos to the chilren's museum and I was interested in the other kids' names. My toddler befriended a little girl named Monroe and I heard a parent calling a sibset of Ivy and Finn to leave. The two other names I remember hearing are Louisa and Thomas.

By EVie
February 1, 2010 12:36 PM

Kerry - I have the same anxiety about cultural appropriation. I don't think that anyone will be offended per se, but I would be afraid of having to deal with people of that culture eagerly asking, "Oh, are you [Jewish/Swedish/Spanish]?" and then having to see the disappointment on their faces when I say no, we just liked the name.

However, I think it does depend on the specific name. I think most people will assume a girl named Ziva or Tovah is Jewish, and you might get more awkwardness there (and same with Solveig and Pilar, for their respective cultures); however, I think that Paloma, Rafael, Freya and Soren fit more naturally into the Anglo-American naming landscape and won't present as much dissonance.

Also, I too love your name choices - so much that I'm not sure I was able to narrow it down in a helpful way, but here are my picks:

Girls - Adelaide, Catherine, Cecily, Charlotte, Claire, Eleanor, Isla, Juliette, Linnea, Louisa, Lydia, Margaret, Meredith, Nora, Paloma, Phoebe, Sadie, Thalia

Boys - Alexander, Beckett, Benjamin, Bennett, Cole, Edmund, Gabriel (LOVE!), Leo, Nico (LOVE!), Oliver, Piers, Rafael, Sebastian, Soren, Thaddeus, Theodore, Tobias

By hyz
February 1, 2010 12:38 PM

Dittalitta--congrats on your upcoming addition to the family! Of your list, I like Edward George (nn Teddy) the best. I also like Andrew, but that seems more likely to have pronunciation problems for him. What about Timothy (nn Tim, Timmy?) or Peter? Both of these seem classic and underused to me right now.

February 1, 2010 12:44 PM

oooh: i second hyz's suggestion of peter for dittalitta.

February 1, 2010 2:51 PM

@RobynT: We didn't consider Lyra when my daughter was born, because we were looking mostly at stars, not constellations. (We did briefly consider Io, which is a moon.) Her middle name is Maia (one of the Pleiades). (We dodged a popular-culture bullet, too - the runner-up was Bellatrix, who became prominent as the Harry Potter villainess just a year or two later.) I think Lyra is a lovely name, though, although it does make me think of The Golden Compass.

Then, when my son was born, we preferred a star name instead of a constellation or moon to "match," but there were few masculine-sounding ones that we really liked. We considered Oberon, which is a moon, but ended up with Antares. I hope he likes it when he gets big enough to learn it. :)

February 1, 2010 2:59 PM

i have to say, as someone who is interested in such things, i love your middle name theme. antares! so fun. :]

February 1, 2010 3:33 PM

NE = Name Enthusiast

Easternbetty, an old-time poster, coined the term.

February 1, 2010 3:58 PM

If you visit some other baby name boards, accusations of "stealing names" are very common. Of course, most of the names involved are actually rather common like "Sophia" or "Audrey." Still, you can tell from the posts that feelings are hurt and friendships are strained.

After I got married, but before I had kids, I told a girlfriend of mine that I wanted to name any future son Xander. (It was ranked at about 230 at the time.) Several months later, this girlfriend eloped in Vegas on a second date. As she breathlessly told me the "good news," she said "We have so much in common. We even want to name our son Xander!!" At least she admitted she got the idea from me.

Zooming forward about 7 years, I had two girls and no boys. She finally had a kid, a boy whose second middle name is Xander. :)

February 1, 2010 4:04 PM

that story is relatively hilarious! (though i wouldn't have said so if you didn't seem to have such a good sense of humor about it.)

By Dittalitta (not verified)
February 1, 2010 4:25 PM

ElizabethN, wow, I love your "theme"... Antares is a lovely name imo!

Everyone, I have to say, you've got our style down pat... Eric is also one of the names we considered, and Peter we would also like (but it's DHs name, and we don't want a junior.)

By knp
February 1, 2010 5:19 PM

Dittalitta: I loved the Thomas, and am sad that is nixed.

Since he is a special need's child, I'd suggest, not using Goerge as a first name, but then calling him by his middle name. I think that would be too confusing/ frustrating when someone calls him George b/c that is what it says on a list, when "his name" is XXXXXX. In your place, I would not worry so much about flow and choose the name you love the most, putting George in the mn position regardless.

Brainstorming for you:
Patrick (like!!!)

By Betsy 2 (not verified)
February 1, 2010 5:50 PM

Dittalitta -- I second knp's Patrick. That fits your easy to pronounce and less popular (#127!) and I think it flows well with middle and last name! Congratulations on your family addition. Adopting a special needs child takes an amazingly special person. You are wonderful, as your name will be!

February 1, 2010 5:57 PM

Dittalitta-I have to say I have a special fondness for Eric (my ds's name). I also do like Patrick, and Aaron very much as well. Michael and Christopher might be a little too popular for me.

By Betsy 2 (not verified)
February 1, 2010 6:11 PM

To all of my favorite NEs,
I've popped in here many times over the past several months while trying to conceive. Back when we first started trying, I was excited about names and loved mulling over the possibilities. Now... we finally have a positive test(!), haven't been to the doctor or anything, as I think its still very early on, but now I feel a sudden dread at the thought that now my name ideas might have a deadline and nothing sounds good to me anymore! Has this happened to any of you before? It seems like I've thought over every name in the book and am not feeling any of them for one reason or another (girl names mainly... I feel alright about boy name choices).

I would love help and opinions on name choices over the next several months. As many have said, its wonderful to have this site to come to to spill the pregnancy beans way early and discuss names freely. Will report back with all of our possibilities and specifications for all of your wisdom!

By Betsy 2 (not verified)
February 1, 2010 6:19 PM

So here are some specifics: Last name is like Koonz. Hubby's current like is Penelope, nn Penny. Penny I like a lot, but for some reason Penelope sounds a little harsh to me... I seem to like softer sounds. We both do very much like the idea of having a cute nickname to use with a long more formal name.

My husband and I had liked Lucy and Annabel (nn Annie) for a long time, but I now fear these for sky-rocket-ability. I know its hard to predict future chart-toppers, but I'd much rather end up with one of our second choices if it may be as popular as #20 but would stay there or continue to fade into the higher numbers of the charts instead of being the #1 name in the country when the kid is 7.

Other names we've liked: Natalie (popular and I think we are in a particularly Natalieish pocket), Zoe. Others I've liked but don't have hubby's support on: Rosalie or Rosanna (nn Rosie), Johanna.

I'm so excited about the possibility of a baby, but couldn't be more frustrated at the thought that we'll never find the right name now that I've overthought it all. :/

By hyz
February 1, 2010 6:20 PM

Betsy2, I definitely had that experience. I looove so many names in the abstract, but when it comes to naming an actual child, all of a sudden none of them seemed like THE ONE. They all had their own merits and drawbacks, and indecision and self-doubt crept in. I found my husband to be very "helpful" with this--that is, he wasn't helpful in the traditional sense of being a gung-ho partner in naming (sigh), but he was very willing to vehemently nix most of the lovely names on my list. When I narrowed the list to names that we could both be happy with, it became much easier to narrow it down to a decision--still not easy, mind you, just easIER. ;)

Congrats on your test, and we're always here to talk names with you!

By hyz
February 1, 2010 6:38 PM

Oops, I posted before I saw your second post. Of the choices you and your husband both like, I think Annabel is pretty sweet. I put it in the SSA, and found that it and its variants are still way down the charts--I think it would take some kind of miracle to skyrocket any of these to #1, or even the top 20. The name itself is pretty, and Annie is a classic and charming nn. She could always choose Ann or Anna as nns if she liked that better when she grew up, too.

Annabel 801
Anabel 955
Anabella 919
Anabelle 710
Annabel 801
Annabella 589
Annabelle 188
Arabella 657

I would avoid Lucy and Zoe for popularity reasons, and if you're in a Natalie pocket, I'd avoid that, too. I am personally not a huge fan of Penelope (it's nice, I just don't love it), although I know it has a lot of supporters here--I think Penny is very cute, though. I love Johanna--what would your nn for it be? Josie comes to mind, which is quite cute. I am also with you on Rosalie, but my husband didn't like it either. I was actually pushing harder for Rosalind, but he said it sounded like I was trying to name a nursing home resident rather than a baby, so that was a no go. Husbands--hmph! lol. Good luck!

By Sharalyn (not verified)
February 1, 2010 7:37 PM

@dittalitta I personally love either Patrick George or Edward George.

@Leslie Yes, name stealing can be a problem. Of course it can go either way with being a keeper or a broadcaster. Our first was a boy, and I made the mistake of sharing with my SIL the girl's name we were going to use if he had been a girl. She used the middle name (which had taken us 7 months to agree on) for her daughter's first name. The second girl's name I had my heart set on was a family name that I put in the online family tree, but never mentioned to anyone. Yep--their second daughter's first name is the one I wanted. Again, didn't say anything with a third girl's name, it's not a family name (although it is close to one). Yep, her third girl's middle name was my choice. I don't think she did it intentionally with the second two, but it does get frustrating! 'Course I haven't had any girls (and in fact have been struggling with fertility, so our boy is our only one at the moment), so it's kind of a non-issue.

@Kerry Love most of the names on your list! Eleanor was one of my favs (can't get hubby to agree though), but it is *super* trending upward right now in the PNW. I know at least 3 of them under age 1 at the moment. *sigh*

@Catherinetoo I too have named our little ones lost by miscarriage. We chose names for their meaning and the fact that one of us loved it, but the other wasn't quite sold on it or that it goes terribly with our last name. I have had a lot of grieving and help in giving our children names that are important to us.

@Lilliputian Ok, this is a fun challenge. I pulled out my "Celtic Names for Children" book, and loving the "N" with 5 letters thing, this is what I was able to come up with:

Napla (naup-la) meaning beloved, lovable
Neala/Neila/Nelda/Nilda meaning female champion
Nerys (Ner-iss) meaning lady
Nessa/Neasa meaning gentle
Nesta (from Agnes) meaning holy
Nonie (pet form of Nora) meaning little honorable one
Norah meaning fairshouldered, exceptionally lovely

So looking through the top 1000:
Norah is #588 (bummer!)
Nessa isn't there, but Vanessa is #75 and
Janessa is #525
The rest aren't on there at all! I know a Neela (in her late 50's), but HTH!

So I was definitely a "keeper" with our first for various reasons. #1 We thought we were sure, but wanted to leave that space for if we changed our minds. #2 It was a private thing--we were fighting over the girl's middle name and only decided it about 3 weeks before he was born. It would have felt weird to share one gender and not the other simply because we also left gender to be a surprise (for us too). #3 My family and his are *highly* opinionated, and while we chose a perfectly "normal" name, he was named after *one* of my great-grandfathers and *one* of my husband's grandfathers. There would have attempts to "persuade", using heavy guilt factors. It was far easier to ignore "suggestions" than actual guilt-ridden pleas.

I made the mistake of sharing names after the fact and our girl name was "stolen". Now I just talk in generalities and "love" certain names (I can't help talking names!), so others may have ideas of what we like, but there is nothing concrete. Plus my husband and I have *such* a hard time agreeing on names. I still can't believe our son's name was so easy!