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What’s in a name?

Did anyone else find choosing your baby’s name the hardest thing? We found it a huge responsibility to choose names that our children will (hopefully) proudly carry with them for the rest of their life. And to add to the difficulty we chose to keep the sex of our baby’s a secret by not finding out the gender until they were born, so we made it harder by having to pick names we liked for both sexes.

We began our search for baby names by making a short list of names I liked  and ones my husband liked, then came together to compare. At first none of our shortlisted names matched, and most of the other persons names on the list we hated with a passion. Disaster! But even though we both thought we’d never get there we kept on throwing names into air and deciding together whether to shortlist it or toss it.

For inspiration we looked everywhere for names we liked, and kept our minds (and eyes) open for names we hadn’t considered before. We found names in baby name books, that of people we knew, lists for popular baby names, names we’d heard and liked before, even those listed at the end of movie credits (getting desperate) and I had the advantage of being able to see what my clients were naming their baby’s at the hospital too. In the end we compiled a list of about 6-7 first names for boys and the same for girls that we both liked, then it was just a matter of culling that list to 2-3 for each sex and waiting until we saw our little cherubs to decide what names suited. With both our baby’s we actually ended up with names we both loved (and we hope they grow up loving their names just as much!) But it was a close call both times. With our first baby we only decided on our final list about a week before our baby was born (it didn’t help that my husband only arrived back from his overseas internship just over one week before I was induced), and the name we decided on was the last we added to our list! With our second Bub, we already had the name on our radar as it was one of the ones on the list for baby number 1, but we still hasn’t decided on it until baby was laying on my chest after he was born. Once the moment came and we were staring lovely into those big blue eyes the decision was easy for us. Both times we just knew what they were meant to be called and the baby was named before leaving the birth suite. 

I often see however the decision may not that easy for other couples. Whether you disagree on names, or just can’t decide on what to settle on there is actually plenty of time to decide. It’s not uncommon for baby’s to still be unnamed when they are discharged from hospital. There is no pressure in the hospital to commit to a name, however in Victoria you have 60 days to register your baby’s birth with Births, Deaths and Marriages and to apply for a Birth Certificate. 

With middle names, we looked to our family tree for inspiration. We looked at family members who’s names we wanted to continue on and to pay respect to. We wanted to use our baby’s middle names to link existing family to our new little family. We finally narrowed down some names we liked and worked out what middle names went well with the baby’s first names we shortlisted.

Both times we chose to keep our shortlisted names secret from family and friends for two reasons. The first was we didn’t want influence from other people. If they don’t know they can’t tell you they hate it, because once the baby is born and named who would dare tell you they hate the name even if they really do (or would they?)? And the second was we didn’t want to give the idea of the name to anyone else to ‘steal’. Sounds petty I know, but I hear this a lot from people who have told other expectant parents about their choice of name only to find they use it first before your baby is born! Anyway, we didn’t want to take any chances. And I’m glad, it was a nice surprise for our family and friends to find out the sex and the name at the announcement of baby’s birth. 

How did you /are you deciding on a name for your baby? Was/is there pressure to use family names? Did anyone else ‘steal’ the name before your baby was born?

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