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What’s in a Name?

By Doula Jen

royal babyBy now we all know his name. About what we expected, right? Traditional, sweet, and fit for a king.

Mama Kate and Papa Wils had the benefit of knowing what the future will hold for their child. That’s gotta help. The rest of us have to wonder:  What will be for my baby? And will the fact that I’ve named him Gavin have anything to do with the path he takes?

While expecting, we convince ourselves that the name will dictate the entire life course. Perhaps a Spencer will be bullied. Perhaps a Heather will be a mean girl. 

We have associative memories that further cloud the picture:  That kid Benji used to pick his nose. Stephen was my first love. Margaret was the old cat lady down the street. Shelby was smart but socially awkward.

Not to mention the unsolicited opinions of—well—everyone! Grandmas, cousins, aunts, neighbors, colleagues, friends, perfect strangers. They’ll tell you what they think of your fetus’ possible moniker with passion, evidence, and a candor that they wouldn’t dare display after the birth, when little Herman is out in the world.

Choosing a name can be hard! Here are a few of our doula-love tips to help you through the madness…

1.  Have fun!  Get the books, become obsessed with your highlighter. Make the lists. Embrace possibility…

2.  Be OK with your partner’s initial lack of interest.  You have to BOTH like the name, right? So why make your better half make a list when they don’t want to? Make your list, present it, and allow full veto power. A disinterest in color coded flow charts, naming websites, and pop culture trends does not translate to disinterest in the baby. 

3.  Test it out! Call out your favorite names around the house. You’ll be calling for your little one at dinner time, etc. Talk to your belly now and then using your top name. This little game may surprise you. The name might feel right, it might feel wrong, it might annoy you in a way that you didn’t expect.

4.  Consider nicknames.  They exist, they are powerful, they can be inevitable. Love Robert but not Bobby? Samantha but not Sam? You may have little control over what becomes of your carefully chosen name. On the flip side, you might CHOOSE a nickname as the legal name of your child. That can be fun if you won’t mind constantly responding to: “Is Abby’s name really Abigail?” 

5.  Follow your heart, go with your gut, and all that mumbo jumbo.  As always, let your feelings be your guide. Exhaust all possibilities until the answer seems obvious. Don’t settle for like, search for a name that you love. Don’t over think it. When it’s right, you’ll know. Trust that.

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