Thursday, July 18, 2013

The name game

Have you ever clicked on a link and then really wished you could unsee whatever it was you clicked on?

That’s how I felt when I clicked on a story about the most popular baby names this year, according to one website.

Yes, I know it’s just one site. Rationally I know that it’s not a representative sample and it doesn’t mean that our daughter is doomed to be surrounded by other girls with the same name.

But you see, my name is Jennifer. I was born in that window of several years where that was the most popular name. I spent my childhood being known as Jenny G because there were inevitably four or five other girls in my class with the same name. I even recall trying to change the spelling of my name at one point in the fourth to sixth grade time frame in the hopes of differentiating myself. For the record, my Mom and teachers nixed that creativity pretty quickly. And my husband didn’t have it much easier, being named Michael in that similar window of time when that name was king.

So since early on in dating names have been somewhat of a game to us. We’d hear what we would term a ridiculous one on TV and suggest that for a future child. Over the years we’ve shifted that talk into more serious bantering around of names we would actually consider. And when the time came to start trying for a family the talk got even more serious. We wanted names that would mean something, be strong and yet grow with our child. We swore we’d check the Census Bureau site before selecting names. And we did. Ours were no more common than more than a hundred or more down the list.

See as much as I hated my name through grade school, looking at it now in my 30s it was a good choice. It’s a traditional name that most everyone can pronounce. It sounds professional. It has several nicknames that have served me over the years moving from Jenny to Jen and then Jennifer when I decided to be more “professional” once starting my first job.

So that became my criteria aside from not being able to immediately think of any cruel nicknames kids on the playground could leap immediately to. If I could think of something negative within a couple minutes and without much effort
then that name was automatically out. By the time we weeded out those names we actually settled on both a boy and girl name pretty quickly. Ironically we’d just settled on a middle name for a girl when we found out we were finally pregnant.

And for several months we’ve happily said that while we have a name we aren’t sharing it until she arrives. It’s aggravated family and friends, and sorry guys, full disclosure that I’m still not telling the name in this post.

At the same time, we’ve had others who applaud that decision, like the friend who said she felt pressure to change her daughter’s name and now she still thinks the original name when she looks at her daughter. It’s because of this story that we’ll be sticking with what we formerly thought was a fabulous, but not super common name. Because to be quite honest I know I haven’t met her yet, but I can’t imagine another name working at this point. And while I’m certainly biased, her name is fantastic whether it’s more common than I’d hoped or not.

So for now I’m going to steer clear of the baby name stories and hold firm to not telling our name so as not to be swayed. What were your criteria on names? Did you wish you hadn’t shared before baby’s arrival?

Jennifer Erickson is a Sr. Communications Specialist for Texas Health Resources and is 27 weeks pregnant with her first daughter.

No comments:

Post a Comment