Once you've decided, do you share the name IRL?

With my daughter, we thought we'd decided and we shared the name. DH's parents didn't like it, and convinced him to change it, so we decided on something else. After the 1st experience, I said we weren't sharing again until she was born. Good thing, too, because neither set of grandparents liked the name we eventually chose and FIL even went so far as to give us a list of "better" names. This was after she was born and the name was on the birth cert! (The man has no tact, I swear.) They've since gotten over it and don't mind her name so much.

This time, I know that no matter which of our top names we pick, our parents aren't going to like them again. I can already see the look on my mother's face. It's the same look she gives if you tell her you had squid for dinner. Wrinkled nose and tongue out like the Poison Control Mr. Yuck guy. So, again, we won't be sharing the name until he's born and it's on the birth cert.

Just wondering if others share and how the names are received before baby is born. If you don't share, how do you answer when people ask? Do you lie and say you haven't decided or tell them flat out you aren't sharing (which tends to make people irrationally angry for some reason)?


June 29, 2013 6:37 AM

Wow, your relatives sound quite rude!  I think it's pretty poor form to whinge once a baby is named. I can definitely see why you wouldn't be keen on sharing the name this time around.

We don't actually decide on a name until after the baby is born so if anyone asks we just tell them we haven't decided (which is true). They usually then go on to ask what we are considering, which I also don't share. Even if you are only considering a name people feel they are able to give their opinion on it, and I don't usually want to hear it. I am happy to discuss potential names with people on here and the odd friends whose taste I trust, but not with most friends and family.  Our naming style is very different to most of our friends and family so I know most of the reaction will be negative or at least not positive so I don't go there. Once the baby is born and named people are generally better behaved about it!

We didn't even tell people what other names we were considering after DD was named. Partly because we knew we might have another child down the track and the names might be back in the running and partly because I wasn't interested in hearing 'oh I like X more than Y or I'm glad you didn't pick Z etc'.

This pregnancy we have found out the sex but not shared it with anyone IRL.  Last time around we told everyone we were expecting a girl. I was considering telling people we didn't know the sex this time, but I don't overly like lying so I fess up that we know, but aren't sharing.  People do seem to get very upset about that. Some people just say 'fair enough, I'll wait for the surprise' but others do get a bit angry that we know but won't tell them!  You can't win though because I've had friends who have told the sex and/or name before the birth and have been critiscised for not leaving anything as a surprise!


June 29, 2013 10:50 AM

It's not like we picked bizarre names, either! My daughter's name is Sylvia. I'd understand if we'd named her Blue or Moxie Crimefighter, but Sylvia is a perfectly respectable name. The name they initially nixed and we changed was Vivian.

The boy names we're considering are a little more unusual (Linus and Felix), but again, real, reaspectable names. I know they'll get over it, but it's that initial reaction that I dread.

June 30, 2013 7:22 AM

Yes Sylvia, Vivian, Linus and Felix are hardly bizarre! They are all perfectly lovely and very normal names.  There is no pleasing some people though and it does put a dampner on the excitement of a new baby when you feel like your name choices are being critiqued!

June 29, 2013 10:53 AM

We have not shared the name either time with our kiddos. When people asked, I just told them we were keeping it a surprise.

Yes, there was a bit of cajoling from some, but most accepted that and moved on. Some were very upset by it, but those are the same people who said one thing about their kiddo's names that changed completely after the kiddo was born (one cousin was naming her daughter Evelyn--decided after we had decided we were naming ours Evangeline. I was concerned about potential nickname conflicts since we are a fairly close family and the girls were due 2 weeks apart. Now she's mad at me since they announced their name and we didn't so she feels like she had "laid claim", and relatives are shaking their heads because they both have the nn Evie, but pronounced different ways.).

People seem to get more upset if you don't know the sex of the baby. "How can I buy the baby a present?!" 

We have in the past shared the names we had picked out for the opposite sex because we don't reuse those for various reasons. 

June 29, 2013 12:00 PM

With our first, we had 99% decided on a boys name and had girl names narrowed down to just a couple.  Since we had decided to leave our options open, it was pretty easy to tell people we weren't sure yet.  If someone was really obnoxious about wanting to know, I'd throw out a couple of names that were "under consideration."  They were names that I liked and could see myself potentially using, but they were not names in our top 2-3.  I wasn't exactly lying.  HIs first name was a family name on every side, so of course everyone was happy.  Middle name was in honor of my grandfather, he was thrilled to death.

With our 2nd, husband & I decided not to dicuss names with each other (long story).  I had my list & he had his-and we only compared after our son was born.  When people asked, I told them about our agreement not to pick a name until after baby was born.  Nobody liked that idea at all, but I didn't really care.  In the end we picked a name we knew people would not like (George).  I told my family flat out I knew they wouldn't like but I didn't care and I didn't want to hear about it.  I could tell by their reactions that I was mostly right, but nobody was rude enough to actually say it.  My mother in law threw a complete fit.  Didn't like the name, refused to use it for the 1st 6 months, kept asking us to change it, or asking if he could please be called by his middle name.  Basically, we ignored her and she eventually got over it.  

Personally, I think it is a shame you gave up Vivian.  It's a lovely name and I think if you ever have another girl you should seriously consider it again.  Linus & Felix are both respectable names.  Don't let the negative opinions of some very rude family members stop you.


June 29, 2013 12:04 PM

My reply will be, "We're keeping our ideas private right now because we don't want anyone to get too attached to a name. We're reserving the right to change our minds at any time (or ten times) before the baby is born." 

June 29, 2013 7:42 PM

We had a less-than-stellar naming experience. I knew that my family would be super critical of every choice I made during pregnancy so I chose to limit how much I shared. This made people crazy angry! I got an ear full of "this is not about you" which drove me crazy!!! My husband was one of the last to have children in his family; his cousins did not share names or sex until their babies were born. I got a lot of flak like "Even if we don't like your name, it is still your right to name your baby what you want!" The words didn't match the actions at all!!

My husband got excited when we got used to using our daughter's potential name and finally settled on it. This was around the seventh month and he shared the name. His family didn't say yay or nay, just accepted it (even though they can't pronounce it!). My family did not like it. My aunt, who was all about me sharing, said "Well, it's not the name I'd have chosen. What nicknames do we get?" Do people really think we want to hear that?

I got exactly what I didn't want when I was pushed into sharing. Some of my family even call Aurelia by her middle name, Rose. I won't deal with this a second time around. I am debating using tactics to distract or just flat-out telling people it is not their business. I really, really like the idea of saying you don't want to share because you may change your name at any time. And I, too, thre out names I liked but were not in the top 5 until my hubby spilled the beans!

If I were you, and it sounds like we've been some similar places, I wouldn't say jack. If your family can't be accepting of your choices and will not be supportive, say nothing! You'll have to hear their opinions less because when your little one is legally named, that's it!

By Coll
June 30, 2013 2:08 PM

We never share the name, but since we also don't learn the sex it's not so hard to put off giving people name information. Everyone on my husband's side gets so worked up over not knowing what the sex is that they don't ask about the name as much (my mother-in-law threatened last time to come to the anatomy scan with me and force the tech to tell her the sex).

Some people have asked what names we're choosing between. We will only share the names that one of us liked but the other unilaterally rejected. Any name that's actually on the table we keep private. We're also pretty much decided on the name but will suggest that we're not to keep questions at bay.

By ozy
July 1, 2013 12:14 AM

I guess I'm in the minority, but my husband and I knew our baby's name once we found out he was a boy and told anyone who asked with absolutely no problems. The response was between mildly confused/neutral and very positive, though I had tried to prepare myself for the worst after reading other posters on this site. My son is Felix, but it is a pretty unusual name where we live - one acquaintance exclaimed that even though she had been a teacher to young kids it was one name she had never come across yet. I was told by my dad of a negative response from one of his relatives but it didnt bother me much, and I don't think it would have been any different if they knew his name after birth vs before. I was very confident Felix was the right name for him so maybe it would have been different if I was unsure. If we have another boy in the future I am planning on a name that I anticipate more people not liking, but I still plan to share with anyone who is interested. I feel like it would make a much bigger deal of it to hide it as a secret or to lie. 

By hyz
July 1, 2013 11:16 AM

First, I adore your daughter's name.  Second, we do not share names IRL with ANYONE until after the baby is born.  I have had negative experiences in the past with family being critical about my pets' names, and I certainly didn't want to go through anything like that with the kids.  And it gets political if you start telling some people and not others, so we just keep it quiet.  Plus, I do think it's nice to save something for a surprise. 

I also don't share any names we're considering, because I really don't want anyone to render an opinion either before or after the baby is born ("Oh, X, really?  That's not actually a contender, is it?" or "Oh, I wish you had gone with Y, that was my favorite").  My standard reply to any name questions was to say, "We're still working on it, we're not 100% sure yet, but it's going to be a surprise when the baby is born.  You already know the baby's sex, so we have to save something for a surprise!"  That usually put a stop to most questions.  If some family members really pushed for a list of choices or hints, and wouldn't let it go, I would say something like, "look, it's hard enough for DH and I to narrow down the choices and find one we both love--it would be even harder if we had to add other people's opinions into the mix at this point, so we are just deciding it amongst ourselves.  Plus, we can't tell you the names and not tell so-and-so, so we're just keeping it to ourselves."              

July 1, 2013 12:31 PM

"You already know the baby's sex, so we have to save something for a surprise!"

I like this response!

July 1, 2013 1:19 PM

Letting people know the sex but not the name seems to be the standard procedure around here -- I can think of over half a dozen examples of families that did it this way. People are inquisitive, so they'll take everything you're willing to share and still ask for more, but the idea of keeping *something* as a surprise is pretty well accepted.

By EVie
July 2, 2013 1:34 AM

We didn't reveal the name until after the birth, and we used that exact same line about keeping *something* a surprise. It worked really well for us—no one seemed offended that we weren't telling, and the handful of people that bugged us about it did it in a playful way that was pretty easy to deflect. And I also used the "still working on a compromise" line, usually followed by "DH is super picky, he vetos everything I suggest!"—which was true, and I was happy to list all his parameters (not too weird, but not too boring! No letter R! Nothing that belongs to any person I dislike, or any person I'm close to, or any person I've heard of at some point in my life, including cartoon characters!). I usually found it better not to reveal that we had made a decision at all, because if people know you have a name but just aren't telling they get more persistent about getting you to tell—e.g. throwing out random names to see if they get a reaction from you. Better for them to think you haven't come to an agreement yet—they can't force you to tell what doesn't exist, and if they make suggestions you can just say "Oh, that's an interesting idea, I'll have to think about it/run it by DH" or something similarly noncomittal.

July 1, 2013 4:38 PM

My husband and I have a whole list of fake-out baby names to tell pushy people - names we think are dreadful, but sound just plausible enough to shut people up.  (Boy: Chadford.  Girl: Dixie.)  That way, whatever we do choose will come as a pleasant surprise. :)

July 2, 2013 3:31 PM

Seems like I, too, am in the minority here!

With my first pregnancy, we'd had names picked out before we knew we were pregnant. We shared the name options with our families as soon as we found out about the pregnancy, but waited to tell friends and extended family until we found out the sex. No one really said anything negative about neither name option.

This time around, we've told our boy and girl name option (we don't find out the sex until the end of this month) to our families and to a few friends. My best friend, who is my son's godmother and will be this baby's godmother as well, has flat-out told me that she LOVES our girls name, but isn't sold on the boys - but she also ends that statement with "I don't hate it; I'm sure it'll grow on me." My husband's parents have not-so-subtly suggested other names to me. My response is always "I'll keep that in mind for our next baby." My parents, though, either love both names or have just bit their tongue (as they should). 

I've considered NOT sharing, but the truth of the matter is that I am so in love with both of these names that I can't wait to actually USE one of them. In addition, I'm terrible at keeping secrets. LOL. We tried to keep our first pregnancy quiet until we knew the sex...yeah...we managed to keep it quiet until I was about 9 weeks along (it's also hard to keep it quiet when you're suddenly puking all day long for 12 weeks!).