The Baby Name Game
Naming a child is, without a doubt, one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever face and one of the biggest minefields you’ll have to tip-toe through.
“Sarah! You’re not calling our beautiful, innocent child Sarah! I went to school with a Sarah and she was a mole!”
School acquaintances, ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, sporting stars, royal baby names; everything and anything can turn a simple, beautiful name into a discussion that ends with the phrase, “You might as well call him ‘Adolf’!”
There is a lot of pressure to get it right – especially in a country like Australia. Crusty uncles take great pleasure in giving your pride and joy a stupid nickname that will inevitably last a lifetime. So when it comes to nicknames you’ve got to get in early, even if you’ve left the actual naming to the last minute.
At the exact moment of our son’s birth, we’d only hit upon a boy name we both loved. For one reason or another, we found girl names harder to pick. The name we liked one week didn’t feel right the next and it just so happened that when it was time for our first to arrive we were in an ‘off’ week. We got lucky and our first was a boy and we named him Miles.
Midwives seem to be of the opinion that if you haven’t agreed on a name before the birth, you should just go with your partner’s preferred name, especially after the labour she’s just been through. They’ve probably got a point.
We didn’t know what we were having before we went to the hospital and it would’ve been awkward had we had a girl. Whatever you do, you don’t want to be the ‘Baby Surname’ guy in the hospital. You’ll get no sympathy from the midwives when they ask for the baby’s name and you have to say “We haven’t agreed on one”.
Midwives seem to be of the opinion that if you haven’t agreed on a name before the birth, you should just go with your partner’s preferred name, especially after the labour she’s just been through. They’ve probably got a point. It’s not a great look, threatening to have an argument with an exhausted new mum.
One couple I knew didn’t name their baby for nearly three months after it was born. It was the same after baby number two. Even the most supportive of friends were thinking “Shit dude, give it up already. She’s just not going to name a kid after you.” Other parents pick a name only to change their minds days or weeks or months later.
When it came to choosing our kids’ names we had two criteria. It needed to be a strong, formal sounding name in case they decided to go on and do something important or worthy with their lives. And it needed to be able to be abbreviated to a less formal, uncle-proof nickname. We ended up settling on Miles (Milo) and Abigail (Abbie).
As I said, it’s not easy but one other point I’d make is never, ever, ever, ever tell people the name you’re considering before your kid is born. People will tell you exactly what they think of the name in a manner they wouldn’t dare if it were attached to your newborn pride and joy.
I did break that rule myself. When I told a guy I used to work with called Miles that we were planning to call our son Miles, he said, “I won’t take it as too much of a compliment, just a sign that I haven’t completely stuffed it up”.