I was listening to a popular radio show on my morning commute and an interesting topic was posed: stealing baby names.
It’s one of those things that I’ve always steered clear of — I don’t particularly advertise “my” baby names, I don’t encourage the confession of other people’s baby names — and if our babies end up having the same name, great.
I didn’t realize what a sore subject it was until the calls began to flood in. A woman called and ranted about how her best friend from 8th grade, who knew that her favorite baby name was Lily Elizabeth, named her daughter Lily Elizabeth — just three weeks before her best friend’s daughter was born.
Another called and said that she and her cousins (who all tend to get pregnant at the same time) all claim their name in the first few weeks of pregnancy to avoid any stealage.
Another woman said she went to the courthouse when her daughter was 6th months old to change her name — because she had stolen her sister’s favorite name and felt bad.
And sure, some of these stories are fairly insensitive. But at the same time, there’s a point where you have to let it go.
Women tend to have babies around the same time as their friends — and if all your friends claim all their names as off-limits, that puts some pretty strict parameters around a mama-to-be who hasn’t dreamed of her baby’s name since 8th grade.
Plus – I don’t know about you, moms – but I rarely know if my baby’s name fits until I “wear” it awhile. And with my second born, I wasn’t sure until the day she was born. Names are very personal — and often times, multiple girls in the same circle share meaningful family names or have a fondness for a popular trendy name.
And when it comes to cultural names, names are even more ubiquitous. [Remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- when almost everyone in the family is named Nick or Nikki?]
So after listening to all the callers, I finally concluded my own thoughts:
I might be taken aback by “name stealing” in certain circumstances — like if I were already pregnant and had already named the child kickin’ in my belly and announced it to the world. But it also would depend on the closeness of the relationship, the uniqueness of the names, etc. For the most part, you have to run your own race — and not worry so much about what other people do.
What’re your thoughts on baby naming etiquette?