advert

How To Handle Baby Name Regret

Mar08

by

Alpha Mom Lesson LearnedA few weeks after I gave birth to my second daughter, I looked at that precious little girl and thought to myself,  “I love you so much and I really don’t like your name.” There was nothing wrong with the name exactly. I just didn’t love it. And it wasn’t her.

During my pregnancy, I never paid much attention to our choice of girl’s name. Because I just knew in my heart, I was having a boy. It just felt like a boy and how could a mother be wrong? This mother was very wrong.

I didn’t tell anyone about my baby name regret. But I never called my daughter by her name. I mostly called her “the baby.” I would bristle when others called her by her name which is ridiculous because what else were they supposed to call her? My hope was that I would just get used to the name and I was too exhausted from taking care of a newborn and a toddler to figure out what to do.

But after 6 months, I burst.

I finally confided to a friend, “I really don’t like my daughter’s name and I don’t know what to do about it.”  And then I started crying.

I looked for signs that she thought I should be in a mental institution. But she was very supportive. I was relieved. Maybe I wasn’t crazy after all?! Telling my husband was more difficult.

“What do you mean it isn’t her name? Of course it’s her name! That’s what I’ve been calling her,” he responded completely confused.

But it wasn’t her name. And I should have spoken up months earlier. He finally agreed to change it. We renamed our daughter Summer and I knew it was perfect.  Was it awkward to change my kid’s name at 8 months?! Hell yes. But I never regretted my decision. Not for once second.

Not every mom makes this choice.

An online acquaintance, Melissa Banks (name has been changed), told me how she regretted her daughter’s name the minute she announced it. By six months, she was convinced they needed to change it but her husband loved it. “A part of me also believed only ‘crazy’  people change their kid’s name so I felt totally trapped. I had to remind myself there wasn’t a right or wrong choice, just a different road to be taken,” Banks says.

By the time Banks and her husband came up with a new name, she felt like her daughter had grown into her original name so they decided to stick with it.  But Banks does think moms should be given more time to hold, feed and get to know their baby before being pressured into picking a name.

“The hospital comes in with the paperwork before you even get a second to shower after labor!”

Not only should you take time to get to know your baby a bit before settling on a name but make sure you love the name. This can be difficult when moms and dads disagree on what to call a child. Now that I’m pregnant again, my husband texts me with the most ridiculous ideas for names so this could once again be a challenge.

And if you do have feelings of baby name regret, open up about it to your spouse and friends as soon as possible. You are not crazy (I promise!) and you will find the right answer for you and your family. Feel free to contact me and I will assure you that it is perfectly normal to feel this way and you will find a solution.

As for Summer (who is now 6), her old name is part of her history.  In fact, her siblings get jealous that they don’t have a former name.  She loves to tell people that she wasn’t always named Summer and I just know that as a rebellious teen, she’ll probably threaten to change it back.  But for me, she’ll always be my Summer.

About the author

Kelcey Kintner

http://www.mamabirddiaries.com/
Kelcey Kintner writes the humor blog, The Mama Bird Diaries and co-founded the cheeky advice site, The Mouthy Housewives. This Columbia Journalism School graduate also drives a gold minivan because you can't fit five kids on a Vespa. An award winning journalist, she still secretly longs to be an Olympic ice skater. You can follow her on Twitter @mamabirddiaries.


Subscribe to posts by Kelcey Kintner

34 Responses to “How To Handle Baby Name Regret”

  1. Tara Mar 08 at 6:22 am Reply Reply

    What was the original?? I’m dying to know!

    • Kelcey Kintner
      Kelcey Kintner Mar 09 at 12:08 am Reply Reply

      Sorry that I didn’t share the original name! I just know that there are girls out there with this name and it’s perfect for them so I didn’t want to be disrespectful.

      • Stefania Jul 22 at 12:03 pm Reply Reply

        I can completely relate to your story.  Only you seem stronger about it than I am.  I had a very difficult time naming my 1st daughter and when we found out we were having another girl, it was even harder.  The 1st time we chose a name right before she was born, and I was happy with our choice.  The 2nd time we names her when she was a day old.  The next day I wasn’t happy with it but my husband was.  A week later I was still unhappy but he thought it would just take me time to get used to it.  My family and friends all LOVED the name.  I get compliments all the time.  Now she’s one and I still have the same regret.  I feel guilt and sadness about it.  I worry about changing it.  It’s hard even for me to get used to calling her something else and I worry she will not like that we changed it either.  My husband is tired of hearing about it.  I don’t know what to do! 

      • Kayla May 20 at 6:43 pm Reply Reply

        This is the first time ive ever actually admitted it out loud, but I dont like my sons name either. And the sad part is that he is almost 4. Im sure that makes me a terrible mother. I guess I just always thought I would get used to it. I tried switching it around and calling him nicknames, etc. I just never found a nickname that I loved. Most of the time I just call him my “angel” or “baby.” I feel horrible about it. I think he knows what his name is. But im sure it confuses him sometimes that I never call him by his name that much. I feel terrible :/

  2. Ally Mar 08 at 9:48 am Reply Reply

    It’s funny how strongly some people feel about names. My husband and I haven’t agreed much, so what we do is we each pick a name and then leave it up to hair color. When my third was born we couldn’t agree on a boy’s name. I picked a name for a dark haired boy and he picked a name for a light haired boy. He had light hair, so my husband got him name. We obviously had to be ok with each other’s choices. I’m so glad my husband got his pick, because now I love his name. 

    • Kelcey Kintner
      Kelcey Kintner Mar 09 at 12:01 am Reply Reply

      That is a very original way to do it! Love it.

      • Ambaa Oct 09 at 2:29 pm Reply Reply

        I’ll have to try this! Cause with my genetics there is almost no chance the baby could be light haired :) 

  3. Kate F. Mar 08 at 11:02 am Reply Reply

    We used traditional family names for both kids, with less traditional nicknames. I messed up the communication of it w our son Thomas–I was embarrassed that the nickname we wanted to use, Tuck, was also the name of my husband’s grad school. So we started w Tucker on the birth announcement, and used it for about 5-6 months. I HATED it (just not right for him or us) and of course he got everything from blankets to a stool personalized as gifts. Plus I’ve spent the last 2 years trying to get everyone to switch to the nickname we always intended to use. We were much more careful w our daughter!

  4. Lisanam Mar 08 at 12:00 pm Reply Reply

    With our second, she was unnamed for four days.  My parents, the hospital, my friends were all pressuring us to chose her name, but nothing felt right.  We needed to get to know this little person a bit before choosing her name.  I’m so glad that we stood up to all the pressure to find the right name for her.  

  5. J Mar 08 at 2:07 pm Reply Reply

    I completely agree with this! It is weird beyond weird to me how people “announce” what their child will be named before they even meet this person, but maybe that is because my own parents always waited until they met us kids to name us. To be quite honest it kind of worries/bugs me when parents announce the name ahead of time.

    Of course, my parents had ideas and lists of names they liked in mind, but they said they did not know for several days after I was born what I should be named for sure. Like “Lisanam,” my parents were pressured a lot by the hospital and family to name me quickly, but I am really glad they took that time! I have always loved my name and felt it suited me in all ages/stages of my life. It’s just me! :)

    I really enjoyed the honesty in this article. I have always wondered if any parents felt regret after naming their child so soon and without meeting him/her. Thanks for the insight!

  6. Annie W Mar 08 at 2:07 pm Reply Reply

    I had a few doubts after my little girl was born, but had chosen family names that I loved for both her first and middle names.  How could I go to my family and say I had changed my mind?  Plus, in my religion the baby is given the name in a ceremony, and we had already done that too!  But here we are, she’s 8 months old, and I LOVE her names!  I’m glad I didn’t change them!

  7. A Mar 08 at 2:45 pm Reply Reply

    I’m one of those annoying women who name their babies in utero! My first daughter’s name was one my husband and I both loved and announced when we found out that she was a girl. My third child, a boy, we named after my father and grandfather (with a different nickname) and announced with the 20 week ultrasound as well.

    My middle daughter was harder. At 20 weeks we still hadn’t decided on a name, but found out that she might not live to be born. She did survive but I was never sold on the name my husband picked out. It took constant repetition for me to really feel like her name fit her. Now I think it’s a beautiful, classic name and I’m glad I stuck with it. There was so much uncertainty around her birth it felt like her name was an anchor to keep her in this world.

    I still think that every mom/dad has the right to change their mind if that baby shows up and is a Jennifer and not a Tiffani (my cousin’s birth story).

  8. zinna Mar 08 at 3:01 pm Reply Reply

    My MIL came home as Female Lastname. It took her parents two weeks to name her. They still sometimes that her name is fuh-mah-lee.

    • Kelcey Kintner
      Kelcey Kintner Mar 09 at 12:04 am Reply Reply

      Female Lastname is a beautiful name! :) I think it’s great when people take time to figure out the right name.

  9. R Mar 08 at 3:49 pm Reply Reply

    My first refused to reveal her gender before birth, so we had no opportunity of naming her before she arrived. I was so struck at the wonder of meeting her, whole and new, for the first time! Her name, chosen several hours after birth was and is exactly right for her. With my second, I refused to learn her sex ahead of time but had a list of 5-6 names for each. She came out so wholly unique and unexpected that as I tried those names one by one, none of them fit. We had to start all over in the delivery room, but again, we found the perfect fit, even though it took 24 hours or more. I’m now pregnant with girl #3 (my daughters bullied us into finding out at the US) and I’m ready to take all the time in the world to name her – hospital paperwork-lady be damned! 

  10. Karen Mar 08 at 4:22 pm Reply Reply

    A friend of mine changed her son’s name shortly after his 1st birthday. It was no big deal. Not sure how she handles the pics of “Happy Birthday Old Name” on his cake, but I don’t think anyone cares. Good for you!

    • Kelcey Kintner
      Kelcey Kintner Mar 09 at 12:05 am Reply Reply

      My daughter Summer’s baby book is filled with her old name from the birth announcement to cards. But it’s okay. Because her old name is just a part of her!

  11. tango november whisky Mar 08 at 5:24 pm Reply Reply

    I totally thought we’d go to the hospital with a narrowed-down list of names and name him when we met him. Then my husband mentioned a name for our son and it really stuck with me. So we have a name and 4 weeks left til he’s due. It was a ‘wedding dress’ moment for me. I just knew. :)

  12. Heather Mar 08 at 9:51 pm Reply Reply

    On three occasions, I went to the hospital with my short list. Each time, we took the whole 4 day stay to think about and try on a name(s). I never felt bad about taking a long time. But people had the hardest time understanding what took so long to name the baby!
    To me, it is a huge deal! It takes 9 months to make the list, and then you’ve got to see the baby & match the right name. I do have a tiny bit of regret on my daughter – we call her by her middle name. But I think her first name suits her better. She is almost 3 so the middle name is it.

  13. Autumn Mar 08 at 10:25 pm Reply Reply

    We wanted the surprise when the baby was born so we didn’t find out ahead of time, but I was convinced I was having a boy.  We had our girl name right away (like at 2 months), and a short list of boy names, but the leader I just never felt like it flowed.  I’m so glad she is a she because my Mr just didn’t understand why I didn’t like the “flow” of the boy name. 

    • Kelcey Kintner
      Kelcey Kintner Mar 09 at 12:07 am Reply Reply

      Sometimes it all works out the way it’s meant to!

  14. Kacie Mar 09 at 12:18 pm Reply Reply

    I’m wondering — if you aren’t settled on a name AFTER the birth, do people take that as an open opportunity to start making lots of suggestions/demanding to know what you’re working with? EEP!

  15. Charmi Mar 12 at 12:51 am Reply Reply

    My parents felt this way 31 years ago and decided even though I was six months old they would change my name. So they did it. And it’s never been an issue. Just in case you’re still thinking about it.

  16. Charmi Mar 12 at 1:14 am Reply Reply

    Ah! You did it! I missed that bit (it’s late and the baby’s keeping me up). Good for you guys :)

  17. Katherine Mar 12 at 6:23 am Reply Reply

    I like in the UK, and here you have six weeks to “register” the birth, where the official birth certificate and name is issued.  It does take a lot of the pressure off to get a name right away…from the hospital, at least! The families still want to know right away. 

    For my daughter, we had a short-list boys and girls names and decided to see the baby to make the decision. I  must say, though, it still wasn’t clear after looking at her little face! I still wanted to call her our nickname we used while she was in utero. In the end, we just picked one. It took a day or two to get used to not calling her the nickname, and now I can’t picture her as anything else but Felicity. 

  18. LBH Mar 12 at 9:22 pm Reply Reply

    We named our firstborn…actually before we were ever pregnant..or married. I had a dream when we were engaged that we had a baby (in the dream, I never knew if it was a boy or a girl) and the baby’s name stuck with me. We decided if it ever happened for us, we’d go with that name regardless of whether it was a boy or a girl and we did. Never regretted it once.  Now, the grandparents… they took some convincing–ha ha.  But yeah. I understand wanting to “know” the baby before you name him or her–that makes sense to me. But sometimes, the name belongs to them before they’re even here. 

  19. Mommaof4 Jun 18 at 1:19 pm Reply Reply

    I too had baby name regret. I had a hard pregnancy and truly believe I wasn’t coming home with a baby so it didn’t matter what we named him. Even after he was born and healthy despite knot in umbilical cord I truly didn’t believe he would come home with me. Nurse came in to have me sign the paperwork and I put the name we had discussed but not the name I felt was his name. He wasn’t coming home with me I thought. I too called him “the baby” and it annoyed me when people called him by his name. At 5 weeks I discussed it with my husband and at 7 weeks we changed his name. To the name he should have had from the beginning. He is definitely better suited to his “new” name. Best decision we made was changing his name and we have never looked back.

  20. kelly Aug 21 at 10:59 am Reply Reply

    for 37 weeks i debated, stewed, hemmed and hawed and could not for the life of me decide on my (now 12 week old) sons middle name. i wanted one name. my husband wanted another. and yet my mother wanted another. they brought me the birth certificate paperwork in the hospital immediately after delivery and i was just not ready to make the big decision. they came in to my room on fifteen different occasions asking me if i was ready to turn the papers in. i just couldn’t do it. so finally on the final day, and after being hounded by hospital staff for four days, and being threatened that we couldn’t go home with an unnamed baby, i made the decision to honor my mother. and i regret it everyday. i have caught myself calling him the name that i wanted to use. and every time i hear someone call him by the given name, i cringe.

  21. Katie Aug 25 at 11:40 pm Reply Reply

    I am deeply struggling with this. We named our daughter and while I was pregnant everyone that we talked to loved it which made us love it even more. But now whenever I am asked her name people give confused looks and mispronounce it, which makes my skin crawl! I read that it is one of the most hated girls names but has risen from #800 to #488 in popularity so that gives me some hope, but I don’t want her to struggle. My friends and family keep reassuring me that I should not care about what other ppl think–but I don’t want her to struggle and I am starting to really not like it. It also doesn’t roll off of my tongue. I think it’s a bit difficult to say. She is 4 months now. I am also concerned because we have announced it on Facebook, so now for us to change it may leave us susceptible to judgement. her middle name is Kate. I thought about just calling her that. My husband gets upset when I talk about it and tells me that we named her what we named her and we aren’t changing it. I would feel ridiculous but I think about it everyday. Multiple times a day.

  22. Maria Aug 28 at 9:10 am Reply Reply

    I am so glad that where I come from most people don’t name their babies until 1-3 months after their birth, I am having a baby next march and I will have plenty of time to think of the perfect name, I think there is only one person I know who was named at the hospital

  23. Anna Sep 11 at 8:07 pm Reply Reply

    Hey Katie i totally get it!!If you don’t likE your child name,I would def change now!than regret rest of your life!they is not a laws that says You have to stay with the name that you dont like!!

  24. Laura Feb 06 at 3:19 pm Reply Reply

    http://alphamom.com/pregnancy/how-to-handle-baby-name-regret/
    Hi. I came across your story of your daughters name and wanted to contact you. My daughter is 6 weeks old and like you I felt totally pressured into her name. 
    I feel unable to change it because I’m scared I live to regret the change but I constantly wish I could turn back time and picked a different name to start with and avoided these feelings. I no irrational as cannot turn back time and every other day I change my mind as to what I would change it to so am I being ridiculous?
    Thanks
    Laura x

    Sent from my iPad

  25. Moxie Feb 09 at 11:58 pm Reply Reply

    I also had tremendous name regret. It wasn’t that the name didn’t fit my daughter is that everyone kept confusing the name I picked for another name (a name that I hate!) so I got sick of it and changed her name after she turned one. It was a hassle and a bit expensive and super awkward. I actually got new announcements made with her new name. I was worried about how weird it was to change a child’s name and was worried that people would think I was crazy so I just keep her old first name as her middle name. I got a lot of odd looks and some even laughed at me when I told them, but I’m still happy with my choice. I was very unsure out what name to pick for her, but I literally thought I could not leave the hospital without a name. My parents and I didn’t know what to do so we looked through a book and picked a name under was felt like tremendous pressure. I hate the idea of naming a baby this way. I think you need at least a week to see how a name “works” with your kid.

  26. Keri Jul 30 at 9:20 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you for this. It’s comforting to know that people struggle with names and that some even change them! I struggled with our son’s name as we named him something my dad (and husband eventually ended up liking) over a name we both wanted and I had been calling the baby before giving birth. Then for 8 weeks I struggled with ppd and his name didn’t help matters any. At 6 weeks, and after a lot of discussions we changed his name to the one we originally were thinking (another great reason to not reveal names till after birth). It went over well and most everyone made the change nicely. Now our son is 3 years old, and the whole regret name thing still haunts me every now and then. He now has 3 middle names (originally he had two and then we just added his new name as his new first name and moved the original first name to his first middle). I know, confusing. This honored my husband’s wishes and my dad’s but of course now he has more names than royalty and I’m still struggling with it. Most people ask us why he has so many names! My sister in law just right now asked me and it sent me into a bit of a tailspin. I feel silly. And I wish it wouldn’t keep haunting me. Suggestions??

Follow us on Pinterest

Close