I didn’t tell anyone my daughters’ names while I was pregnant with them. The truth is, I didn’t quite know what they’d be ahead of time. I wanted to wait and meet the babies first. Naming a human is a huge responsibility — one that I did not take lightly.
There’s no “correct” way to go about naming children. For some, choosing a name early on in a pregnancy and sharing it with friends and family is a way to make the upcoming arrival feel more real. It gives them a connection to the baby. For others, the idea of sharing the name is an absolute no-no as they don’t want outside opinions to influence their decision.
I interviewed six moms about why they decided to keep their children’s names a secret or share it while pregnant, and it’s more clear than ever that when it comes to sharing a baby’s name there’s no one right way to do it. Whatever feels most comfortable for the parents is what they should do.
That being said, there are some pros and cons for sharing a baby’s name before they are born. I asked Suzanne Brown, author of the Mompowerment books, to share her thoughts on the matter.
Brown says, “The pros of sharing the name is that people feel like they're part of the naming process, such as family and close friends. They can monogram items — we got around this by sharing initials when asked — and I've heard from other moms that it helped with having an older sibling get used to the new baby's name and the idea of having another child in the house.
The cons are that you will get loads of input from people, whether or not you want it, and anyone having a child before you might use the name you love — which you might or might not care about.”
Not sure which approach is right for you? Here the stories of real-life moms on why they did or didn’t share their baby’s name before they were born.
Sharing the chosen name while pregnant
There are many moms who knew what they wanted to name their children and were happy to share that name with the people in their lives.
Erin Balsa, mom of two says, “There was nothing anyone could have said that would have made me change my mind so I had no problem sharing. My son's name is Sebastian so of course I heard ‘Oh, like Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid!’ And with my daughter, someone said, ‘Like Penelope the pig!’ Didn't bother me one bit.”
“I don’t like keeping secrets, so I didn’t keep it a secret,” says Darlene Ballard, also a mom of two. “People had comments about the names of both of my kids — positive and negative — and I made mental notes about who was supportive and who wasn’t. The supportive people are still in our lives.”
Not sharing the baby’s name
Some parents will decide on the name before the baby is born, but still choose not to tell anyone else until he or she arrives, and for many reasons.
Cristin Downs, mom of one, says, “We did not share our baby name before our son was born. I have lovely friends and family members who totally trashed people's baby name choices behind their backs. And I have had friends who had names they loved that they decided against because of all the crap people told them in advance. The way I see it, no one is going to tell Baby Earl his name is for old people when they are looking at his adorable face.”
Kaitlyn Pierce, mom of two girls and Binka Bear inventor, says, “I don’t think there is any right way to share, but for me I personally wanted to avoid unwanted opinions, which everyone will have, and to have a nice surprise to share when my girls finally arrived!”
Whatever you decide, remain flexible
If you choose to name your baby while pregnant, make sure you’re okay with potentially changing that name once you’ve met the baby. Two moms I spoke with for this article admitted to deciding on a different name once the baby was born.
Robin Walker, mom to three teens, says, “We had a name picked out for our oldest and changed it once we met her. I was glad we hadn't told anyone.”
Krista Richards, a mom of two, experienced a similar situation. She says, “I had the name chosen for my son before he was born. When I saw him, I changed my mind to a name that wasn't even on our list. He was supposed to be Elliot and ended up Conrad. It just seemed right. No one really minded the switch.”
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