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Baby NameNapping

By Amalah

Oh Amy I need help!

There is a bit of a backstory to this, but I will try to keep it short. My husband and I moved to a new city a few months ago. The only family either of us has over here is my husband’s Aunt and Uncle. They have been a great support, and after trying for a baby for ages they finally got pregnant.


I am so happy for them, but I am pregnant too! We kept it a secret for as long as possible, and only told the family a month ago. She is due in Nov and I am due early next year. Apart from stealing her “allthingsbaby” limelight by being the 4th generation and therefore giving the gift of GREAT grandchildren (instead of hers which would be just grandchildren) I am also 10 years younger. This doesn’t affect me in any way, but her having no family of her own I think this affects her somewhat.

I am trying to be as nice as possible, and keeping her in the spotlight as this is clearly what she wants. We had dinner with them over the weekend and we have just found out their choice of baby names. They are not finding out what they are having, so they have a boy’s name and a girl’s name all picked out.

My husband and I have also been picking out names. I am having a girl, and I have a girl’s name that I have loved since I was old enough to want kids. Hubby loves the name too, and it is the one thing that we can actually agree on.

Our problem is that the Aunt has also chosen that name as her girl’s name. I have never said anything to her about the name, as I didn’t want anyone to steal it. But it seems that she has come up with the name all on her own. I actually thought they were talking about my baby names, and that my husband must of told her our choices.

I was shocked to hear her speak it, and really sad when she told us it was her girl’s name. Now I know they only have a 50% chance of having a girl, but they are going to keep the name for their next baby. I don’t know what to do.

As she is going to keep the name, and didn’t know I wanted it it seems really spiteful to name my baby that name. But at the same time I can’t just throw it out the window. It’s a name I love and a name my husband loves! But I don’t want to cause a rift in my husband’s family. He told me that the decision is up to me as I am doing all the work with carrying the baby.

But I don’t know! Please please help. Your ideas and suggestions are VERY welcome!


Well. So. (And other assorted filler words that I compulsively type while I’m trying to organize my many sundry opinions.)

Let’s see…

1) You did not discuss baby names with her. You did not disclose your choice of name, you did not “call” the name in any way.

2) It’s a name you’ve “always loved,” but not one you have any kind of real “claim” to — like it being your mother’s or grandmother’s name, something with real family meaning and importance.

3) She is having her baby first.

Unfortunately, I think you have to cede the name over, at this point. This isn’t a case of someone “stealing” your name, as I’m sure you know — more like an unfortunate coincidence. The thing is, hundreds or thousands or even hundreds of thousands of other expectant couples have ALSO probably come up with “your” name this year. We may try our best to pick something in that sweet spot of “not too popular but not too weird” sweet spot, but so does everybody else. Usually by the time you realize you’ve chosen a more common name than you thought (preeeeeeschoooooool), it rarely ends up being as important as you thought it was when you were pregnant. It sucks that the overlap is already happening, before your daughter is even here, and especially when it’s happening within your immediate family, where there are sort-of imaginary rules about no doubling-up on names. (Although my OB-GYN used to tell me that he and his two brothers all have sons named David, because they all just really liked the name David, and nobody apparently gives a crap, not even David, Dave and Davey.)

(Also, if you want to laugh, go do some baby-names message-board Googling and read the postings from ENRAGED pregnant women ranting about their names being “stolen.” Oh, honey, when you’re talking about super-ultra-duper popular names like “Jayden” and “Emma,” nobody’s really stealing anything.)

You can absolutely, certainly talk to her. Tell her that her girl’s name was indeed the one you already picked out. Laugh about it, bond over your mutual good taste. Ask if she has a boy, if she would be really, really offended if you used the name. Are there possibilities for different nicknames, perhaps, if you both have girls? What about as a middle name, just since you’re so very attached to it? It can’t hurt to at least have the conversation — maybe they’ve thought of another possibility and are waffling between two names after all. Maybe she’s not as “protective” of her potential baby names as some women. But if she says that no, it is “her” name, she’s sorry, even if she has a boy…I do think you’re out of luck, and at that point ABSOLUTELY need to back away from the name.

Remove all the stuff about her being older and the infertility and the thunder-stealing: you guys could be twin sisters expecting babies a few months apart and my answer would still be the same. IT SUCKS. I KNOW. I told very, very few people our name choices ahead of time, and it never occurred to me that the secrecy could have completely backfired like it has for you. If, say, you did tell her your name choice and she used it when her baby was born before yours…well, that’s flat-out stealing and you would have every right to be completely livid about it. But…she’ll probably think the same about you, if she has a boy and you go ahead and use the name she announced without talking to her. As this situation stands now…unless a conversation with her leads to some other agreed-upon compromise, I think you and your husband need to head back to the name drawing board and come up with something else.

My husband, Jason, and I had names picked out before I got pregnant too — names I loved (and still love!) and was just oh-so-sure that they were The Names for our hypothetical son and/or daughter. And then I got pregnant and both names were just…wrong, somehow. Because we came up with those names for that hypothetical baby, and now we were having a real baby and he needed his own real name, chosen for him. We kept The Name We Always Adored as our backup for both of the boys, all the way to the delivery room, and neither one of them ended up with it.

So think about it this way, if it helps with the letting go: That name you’ve always loved was a name from another time, from before your daughter existed, from before your plans for having your daughter even existed. Now she’s real and she’s on her way and you have the chance to pick out a name just. For. Her. You can do it, and her name will be lovely and perfect, and probably waaaay better than her cousin’s.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • bethany actually

    September 14, 2009 at 2:37 am

    Personally, I’ve never understood the whole “You STOLE my name!” drama, or why cousins in the same family can’t have the same names. I have a Great-Uncle Bill, two Uncle Bills, and two cousins named Bill. It’s never bothered anyone in the least, as far as I know. If someone loved my daughter’s name and wanted to use it, it really wouldn’t bother me a bit. Maybe your husband’s aunt will feel the same way, you never know till you ask her!

  • Lauri

    September 14, 2009 at 7:43 am

    I had this same situation, but I was the older Aunt in the story. My daughter was coming home in Nov, adopted from Russia, My niece was due with her second daughter in April.
    Anyone who knows me, knows I have always wanted to name my future daughter Olivia…we had a slim shot of getting a girl in the first place. We did not choose a gender.
    My niece ended up naming her daughter the same thing. It has caused unspoken friction in the family. I don’t feel I should have conceded…after-all my daughter was coming home first and was older. If her daughter were being born first, I probably would have changed my daughters name out of respect. I am pissed that she did not have the same respect for me… after-all she can have as many children as she wants, we struggled with infertility for years and most likely this is going to be our only child.
    I remember saying how we planned on calling our daughter ” Livi” for short…. so we could call one girl Liv and they could claim “Olivia”… now they are using Livi too at family functions.
    The drama never ends

  • Bitts

    September 14, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Excellent advice, Amy. Probably not what Confused wanted to hear, but right on, all the same.
    I would say pass on the name regardless of how the conversation with Aunt goes. She will be shocked and hurt (rightly or wrongly) but if she’s polite, she will probably try to let you use the name in some way. Please don’t. Let her have the name 100% and just chalk it up, even if she has a boy this time around.
    The thing about kids’ names is, even though you AGONIZE about them before they are born, regardless of what you pick, it doesn’t take long for the name to just become ‘them.’ There are other names I adore that my husband vetoed, but when I look at my children, they simply could not be named anything other than what they are. That’s not because we nailed it with picking their names, it’s that their names have become THEM.
    Yours will, too, Confused.
    FWIW, if you need more ideas, try

  • Brenda

    September 14, 2009 at 9:25 am

    My grandfather was Matthew the IV and named none of his four sons Matthew. However, in the next generation it was a free-for-all on Matthews. My cousin in Matthew. My brother is Matthew. Then my sister had the gall to marry a Matthew. By the way, all of them go by “Matt”. Amazingly, no one seems to hate each other due to the convergence of Matthews.
    I would talk it out with your aunt and uncle. And then hit the baby books again — there are a million and one fantastic baby names. Surely you can find two you like. What would you have named twin girls?
    Here’s a gift: If I’d had a girl my last time around, her name would have been Eleanor Beatrice.

  • Jess

    September 14, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Yes the whole situation sucks. But I really don’t get what the big deal is. Its YOUR baby. Name him/her what ever you like. Yeah they might have the same name but they’re still going to grow up and become unique people.

  • Jessica

    September 14, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I completely agree with Amy on this one. I think since she didn’t “steal” your name on purpose, you can’t “steal” it back if they end up having a boy.
    I would ask her, if they end up having a boy, if she minds if you use it. Maybe it would help to ask while you guys are staring at her new beautiful son (mama hormones and all that…). It is entirely possible that even if they save the name for a future child, they won’t use it. They may have another boy or they may have found a new name they liked better (just like Amy, we had our baby names picked out before we got pregnant. And then we got pregnant and well, we aren’t naming our son the name I always thought we would). And if she says no, she wants to keep it, I think you have to respect that and find a new, awesome name.
    Good luck!

  • Joceline

    September 14, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Great advice. I agree that you run waaaaay too strong of a risk of creating dissension in the family, and very few things are worth that.
    If you really feel like you can have a light-hearted conversation with your aunt about the name, go for it. If you feel iffy about it, I wouldn’t even bring it up, not until after both babies are born and named, and then you truly can joke.
    If it helps at all, we named our son a name that my husband LOVED, but I initially said “no way!” to. Over time, it grew on me, but I was still never quite sold on it (to be fair, I never really had a boy name I loved during that pregnancy). Now, I can’t imagine our son named anything else, and I’m so glad I went with my husband’s choice. I know that isn’t exactly your problem, but really, once your daughter is here and named, the former possibilities are so easy to forget.

  • Kristin

    September 14, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I agree with Amy. Especially if you didn’t speak up the minute she said it was the name she picked out. Maybe if you said something right away, you could have “laid claim” a bit more to the name. Now it will only look like you are the “name stealer” whether or not you actually came up with the name first. Good Luck!

  • Anonymous

    September 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I know the name thing seems like the BIGGEST DEAL IN THE WORLD while you’re pregnant, but somehow once the baby is here it becomes totally unimportant. Follow Amy’s advice. Whatever name you end up picking for your daughter will soon make the name you were going to pick completely wrong.
    Good luck, and congratulations!

  • Vicki

    September 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    On one side of my family, all the men are named George, Mike or Jim. ALL OF THEM. Including the men that my female cousins married. It’s bizarre and mostly unplanned and sort of in relation to the plethora of Italian juniors and fate but really, it’s not a big deal. And has become a family joke and sort of a badge of honor.
    I totally agree with Amy. I understand NOT wanting to have that conversation because if you have it and she says no, absolutely not, you cannot have my girl name, then well … you cannot have her girl name. But it’s a conversation that needs to be had and, well, there’s a lot of names out there. You’ll find another one you like. Maybe even love more.

  • KateP

    September 14, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    There is a good chance that if her baby is a boy, she will abondon the shared name, even for subsequent children. EVERYONE was convinced that my son was a girl. Not in an “Oh my God, we painted the nursery pink” kind of way, but to the point that when he was delivered via csection and my husband came around the drape to tell me it was a boy, I asked him to check again. That said, we were set on the name Emily. Needless to say, we didn’t name our son Emily, and I can’t imagine naming our next child, if a girl, Emily. That was supposed to be our son’s name, and it wouldn’t work for another child. So…perhaps she will acquiese if the baby is a boy?

  • Erin

    September 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Oh, I disagree on this one. I think you have the right to name your baby whatever you want! I have both a brother and a cousin named Matt, and it has never caused any drama between my mom and aunt that I know of. When we’re together for family functions, the younger Matt often gets called ‘Little Matt’ (they are about 8 years apart in age), but it’s used as a family endearment.

  • Wallydraigle

    September 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    For once, I disagree. Well, kind of.
    I think the letter writer can name her baby any name she wants to without breaking any kind of rules, etiquette or otherwise. However, sometimes, for the sake of family harmony, we don’t do everything that we have a right to do even when we really, really want it. While I don’t think the Aunt has the exclusive right to any name, and I don’t think anyone can legitimately call dibs on a name, I think it would be understandable if this hurt her a little.
    So, no, I don’t think it would be WRONG of the letter writer to name her baby that anyway, but it’s probably in the family’s best interest if she treads lightly here.
    And, who knows, she may talk to the Aunt about it, and the Aunt might say, “Steal a name? Are you joking? We don’t OWN the name. Name your baby whatever you want!”

  • Lori

    September 14, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I have a sh*tload of “Hazels” and “Myrtles” as aunts. On both sides of the family. No one cared. I think people were a lot less territorial back then, walking uphill both ways in the snow to school as they did and wrestling over the lone bean in the pot of soup.
    My daughter is Elizabeth Rose, called “Rosie” because it FIT her better (but I needed those brownie points by giving her my mother’s first name. SCORE!) ALL her female cousins, on BOTH sides, have Elizabeth as a middle name. No one minds at all. I was astonished to be asked by others if I cared if they used “Elizabeth Rose” for their daughters. Hell, no. I was honored.
    I think it’s kind of silly to get huffy about someone using “your” name. (That was the impersonal YOU pronoun–“Confused” is a woman of great charm and breeding! )And yes, you can mutually congratulate each other’s good taste! Will the children be spending a lot of time together?
    I say have the chat with Auntie and name your daughter what you had had your heart set on. She may produce nothing but boys, or the name might bore her to tears by the time her baby arrives.
    Good luck. I wish we could find out how this turns out!

  • kaelak

    September 14, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    For once in the 5 years I’ve been reading Amalah, I disagree. There are probably more people in this world than you two who have chosen this name, and I just don’t see any issue with two or more kids having the same name.

  • Mel

    September 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Funny story – while my cousin was pregnant we bought a male puppy and named him Daly – which we picked out of a song. When I told my cousin what the name was (about 2 months later) her jaw seriously dropped to the floor and said that was their girls name pick and it was a family name (spelling and all) and would she mind if she used the same name. I didn’t mind at all of course, although I’m sure she must’ve struggled with it. How random was that! Thankfully they had a boy – crisis averted.
    Good luck confused! I could see that could be touchy.

  • Suzy Q

    September 14, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Am I the only one who is dying to know what this super-special name is that you’ve picked out? Don’t worry, though. I can’t steal it; I don’t have a uterus anymore. Or any plans to adopt.
    In any event, once she’s 14, your daughter will absolutely HATE whatever you name her, so there is always that to look forward to.
    I say name her Ezra and be done with it!

  • Jaymee

    September 14, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I am curious where one goes to purchase a name. There are a few names that I really like, and I want to make sure that when it comes time for my husband and I to have a second child that NOBODY in the entire world uses one of those names. I mean how could I possibly name my child something knowing that someone else may have the same name? OK, so I’m being sarcastic here.
    You cannot own a persons name just as you should not try to claim a name and tell others they can’t use it. I mean seriously, think about it. How did you come up with that name? Did you find it in a baby name book? Is it the name of some character in a book you really like(or tv show/movie for those of you that don’t read)? Does your friend have a friend that has a neice with a doll named whatever you have chosen? The point is, no matter how ‘unique’ you may think the name is there will ALWAYS be someone else with the same name. It’s going to happen, so you might as well just get over it now!
    If you like a name and want to use it, then use it. If you don’t like the name and you don’t want to use it, then don’t use it. However, DO NOT let someone else having the same name keep you from a name that you love.
    This all reminds me of when I was in grade school and the new girl. I had just been given a pair of really cool hot pink shoes for my birthday. I wore them one time before I was told by another girl that she had the same shoes and she had them first so I was not allowed wear mine anymore. It was just as ridiculous that I was told not to wear my shoes anymore as it is to not be able to name your child something just because your Aunt wants to name her child that same name. If your Aunt has a problem with you using the name that she also wants to use, tell her to grow up!

  • Lauren

    September 14, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    I have to disagree with Amy on this one. It is ultimately up to you to decide what to name your baby. I don’t believe anyone has the right to claim a name. Look, your daughter will have this name for the rest of her life! Please choose whatever name you want for your child.

  • Kimmers

    September 14, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Oh, my god, I am also DYING to know what the name was!

  • Sarah Ashley

    September 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Well I think the advice given is valid if that’s how you want to see it, however is irrelevant since it’s just your decision what name you want your child to have. I see no reason why the two children can’t have the same name. They would probably just go by first-and-middle-names when they are at family get togethers. As the first responder mentioned there are a ton of Bills in her family – same thing here! There are at least 6 I can think of. And they are all Bill, not Billy, Will, William etc. All just plain ‘ole Bill and it’s not a problem for anyone. I would think it’s sad that you miss your opportunity to use the name just because somone else likes it too.
    My daughter’s name is Victoria. Super common. But so flippin’ what? We even call her Tori, Toria, and Tor (plus more varriations) and we have found other Victorias that have gone by each of those too! We even had a next-door neighbor with a child only 1 week younger than our child with the same name, going by the same nick names.
    I have an incredibly common name of Sarah, and even more confusing to others is my last name is Ashley. I run into so many Sarahs and Ashleys it’s just not even funny, but it doesn’t make me like my name any less – nor do I think my parents thought – Oh No! Not another Sarah!?! – whenever we encountered another girl with my name.

  • Annie

    September 14, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I “lost” one of my favorite baby names when my sister-in-law gave the name to her daughter. Neither of us had spoken about our plans for names, and she had the baby first. I was really upset initially, but my husband and I went back to the baby books and found new names. Now, years later, our kids names are perfect for them. I adore my neice, and (even though it was hard at first) I like the fact that she happens to have one of my favorite names.

  • Cristin

    September 14, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    When my Mom was 7 months pregant with me, one of her close friends from church had a baby girl, and what do you think happened? She named her daughter Megan, which my parents had carefully picked out for me. So I was named Cristin (yes, weird gaelic spelling and all) and I don’t think I could ever be a “Megan.” I am so NOT “Megan.” My Mom got over it but guess what she named my little sister 2 years later? Yup, “Megan.” I guess enough time had elapsed??
    Anyway, I guess I agree with Amy that any name you have picked out now might not “fit.” I think you have to absolutely see the baby before he is named! Good luck!
    And yes, I would love to know what this name is.

  • Greta

    September 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I agree with Amy. Give it up and find something better and cooler. Like Greta for example. Ha.

  • AJ

    September 14, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Amy, I’m a long-time follower and huge fan. HUGE. But I disagree big time on this one.
    Previous commenter, Wallydraigle, summed up my thoughts perfectly. While I think the niece has EVERY right to use the name, I could see where keeping peace in the family might need to come first (especially if this is a close family where the cousins would grow up together).
    My advice to Confused:
    First, I’d suggest starting over on the baby name hunt and see if there is anything that you and your husband might actually love more at this point in time. If you keep coming back to your original name, I think talking to the aunt/uncle about this is a necessity. They need to know your history with this name so they can understand where you are coming from. You might even be surprised to find out that they have other names they like just as much and would be more than happy to let you use this name for your daughter.
    However, I personally think “What is the big deal if they have the same name???” It happens all the time and I seriously doubt it’s going to give either of the girls an identity crisis.
    I do NOT think you should have to give up your dream of using this name for your daugther. Her name is something that will identify her for a lifetime. It is an extremely important decision and you have every right to use whatever name you and your husband choose. Best of luck!!!!

  • AJ

    September 14, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Okay, I’m going to shut up after this one. Promise. 🙂
    I guess the thing I just can’t get over is the opinion that you should have to give up a name you’ve adored for years and want to use for your daughter simply because your husband’s aunt mentioned it before you at dinner one night. I just can’t see giving up a dream because she said it aloud first.

  • Trout Towers

    September 14, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    A friend of my husband’s asked if we’d mind if he and his wife named their daughter the same name as our two year old. I had never even met his wife, and didn’t think it was a big deal. Since then, I’ve become best friends with his wife and the two girls are also very good friends. They LOVE having the same name, and we use the first and middle names when we’re all together. Which is a treat since they both have family middle names.

  • tadpoledrain

    September 15, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I haven’t read all the comments, but here’s my 2 cents:
    1. Regardless of what you decide about naming your baby, talk to your aunt, and let her know you were planning on using the name. If she has a girl too, well, that’s tricky (see #2 below). If she has a boy? I say you get the girl’s name, absolutely. (But you must must must have the discussion with her in advance.) She may never have another baby. She may have 17 more babies, all of them boys. She may have another baby, a girl, and, like Amy said, decide that The Name is not The Right Name after all, and then you’ve missed out on it for nothing. If she does eventually have a girl, she’ll then get to make the same decision you’re making now, whether or not to have a duplicate. Which brings me to:
    2. Eh. I don’t have a huge problem with duplicates. I have a big, close family, and we have a lot of duplicate and really similar names (Eileen, Ellen, Eleanor, Christopher, Christian, Christine), although, with one exception, none of the duplicates are part of the same generation. The exception is my cousin and I. We’re about 5 years apart, so slightly different from your situation, but I still don’t think it’s hugely important. She goes by a nickname, I don’t. You could call your daughters by different nicknames, or when they’re around each other, you could call them by their first names and/or middle names/initials. You’ll find a way to work it out, if you really both want to use the same name.

  • Maggie

    September 15, 2009 at 8:33 am

    It’s easy to say “it’s no big deal if the kids have the same name” and it should NOT be a big deal. I have cousins with the same name, my husband has a cousin with his exact name, nobody is offended. BUT it depends a lot on the personality of the people involved. What shouldn’t be a big deal may start WW3 if the aunt is that type, you know? Especially when it’s taken her this long to get pregnant, she may be super sensitive about all-things-baby and feel she has a bigger “right” to her own way having waited so long for her moment. So I would say, if auntie has a girl, find another name. If auntie has a boy, then you could carefully inquire as to her feelings about you using the name for your daughter. Especially right after childbirth, when she’s still thinking “I’ll never do this again as long as I live”. 🙂 No matter how much you love the name, it’s just not worth starting a family fued.

  • olivia

    September 15, 2009 at 8:38 am

    @Bitts, I totally agree that after a while the name fits the baby. We named our daughter after both our mothers, and for the first couple of weeks I wondered if we made the right decision. Was she really an X? But it wasn’t long before she was X and no other name would have worked.
    And to throw out my opinion, I don’t know where on the scale of popularity Confused’s name is, but Olivia has been in the top 10 for how many years? If the name is in the top 10 or 20 then you shouldn’t be surprised when someone else, someone you know even, picks the same name. It’s popular for a reason. Name your baby what you want and if your family reunions end up sounding like the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding (this is my uncle Alex, and his kids Niki and Alex; this is my aunt Niki and her kids Alex and Nicki…) big deal.

  • olivia

    September 15, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Okay, I just finished reading the comments. @Sarah Ashley, I should have just said my daughter’s name is Victoria 😉 So far we are still calling her that, but I am drawn to the nickname Vicki.

  • Lisa

    September 15, 2009 at 11:09 am

    My grandfather’s sister is named JoAlice. She married a man named JoeBob. They named their first son JoeBob, Jr. (whom we call Joe Jr. — how Kennedy of us!). They eventually had a daughter, my cousin Beth, who named her second son, yeah you guessed it, Joe.
    Add to that mix all the Michaels, Johns, and Davids you get in a large Irish Catholic family, and you can see why a couple of little girl cousins with the same name won’t matter a hill of beans.

  • Diane

    September 15, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Sorry Amy, but I disagree.
    That is your baby and you have the right to name her whatever you want. They will grow up and be individuals. Its a name, not a possession.
    Sure, tell the Aunt that you are naming your daughter that so she is not blindsided, but just explain that you had chosen it long before. And laugh about your mutual great taste in names.

  • Sarah in LA

    September 15, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve got to disagree with you on this one, Amy. I don’t think she should automatically have to give up the name she’s chosen for her baby. I also think it’s so silly that people “lay claim” to names but I know it happens A LOT.
    Confused, whatever you decide to do, you should discuss it with your aunt. Just tell her the situation and let her know how you are feeling. She may surprise you….or maybe not, but at least you’re not holding those feelings in and letting them fester. That’s never good.
    I’m facing another dilemma: what should you do when your partner wants you to pick a name his mother can easily pronounce because she’s not a native English speaker? His other two kids have the MOST. BORING. NAMES. EVER. I think it’s silly to be constrained by something like that, but I have been accused of being insensitive in the past. Has anyone else gone through this? It’s not an issue now but it certainly could be in the future.

  • Kim

    September 15, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    I hate duplicate names. In the big wide world, fine, but within a family? Hate it. Plenty of people feel differently, obv. But if the kids are going to be around each other all the time, I think they should have their own names. (Don’t like juniors, either, same reason.)
    But – as an older mom who dealt with infertility for years, I think the niece should talk to the aunt. I hoped and hoped I would be able to have the two kids I always wanted, but I always knew that might not be the case. At the very least, both people will know how strong each other’s feelings are. It may not be a big deal, but it just might be. It sounds like it is already, or we wouldn’t all be commenting on it. Talking about it is the first step to avoiding resentment.

  • Ann E. Mouse

    September 15, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I disagree. The first baby to arrive gets the name. If Auntie has a boy, she doesn’t get to call the girl’s name for next time (unless it is a deceased relative’s name which has special meaning). There might not be a next time. Or she could have 12 boys. It’s not like Niece-in-law heard the name and went “I love that, I must have it.” She should have said, omigosh, that’s our girl name, too, but with a different middle. My sisters-in-law were pregnant at the same time and both came up with a girl name that honored both their parents. Both wanted it but they agreed that the first to have a girl got the name. When the other sister finally had a girl 5 years later, she had to choose something different.

  • olivia

    September 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    @Sarah in LA, would your husband be amenable to allowing Grandma to call your children by an easy to pronounce nickname?
    My mom “jokes” that we need to name our kids something easy, not something from my husband’s Nigerian language. It wasn’t an issue for our daughter, but if we have a son we will just give her an easy nickname to use.

  • Christine

    September 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Tough call, but since Confused didn’t even mention to Aunt that she was planning on using the name, all’s fair in the naming game. That’s why I have always mentioned names we’re seriously considering, and my sister has made her claim to one name too, and they’re not evening planning to have kids for 4 or 5 years. But if you truely love a name and plan to use it, claim it. Or else risk loosing it.

  • Adelas (Della)

    September 15, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    In case you aren’t overloaded yet, I wanted to link you to even more comments over at the similar post on DesignHerMomma’s site (no longer valid) commented over there, with my point essentially being, can you perhaps do the same official name but come up with a different nickname for everyday use?
    Jonathan becomes Joe or Nate instead of Jon.
    Emmanuel becomes Em, or even Noah (ok it’s a stretch but nuel KINDA sounds like noah, right?) instead of Manny.
    In my family we have a plethora of Pauls and Linda’s, by birth and marriage. We have two Jonathans, two Roberts, and practically everyone’s middle name is either Paul, Elizabeth or Jean/Jane.
    And (direct cut and paste from my other comment) My stepdaughter’s best friend when she lived here in TX had the same first name AND the same last initial as each other, ended up in an elementary school classroom with a THIRD girl with the same first name (different last initial) and it didn’t cause any problems! Our kiddo decided that everyone would call her Laser at school, (I am NOT making this up) and so they did!
    It works out, usually.

  • Ariella

    September 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Wow, I guess I must be from a different planet. There’s no “claim” to a name. If the OP wants to use the name, then she should use it. It may be a little confusing at family gatherings, but who cares?

  • HHF

    September 16, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I too had a name I carried with me over several decades as THE NAME. It was sweet, elegant, fun, everything I wanted for a daughter-Lucy. And then I fell in love and married a man with the last name Furr. Lucy Furr-not going to tempt fate naming a child that! So we needed to find a new name. My middle name was an old family name, but never used as a first name-it’s beautiful, old-fashioned, sounded very original and unique. After several years, we had our first child and named her Isabella. And now what is the fastest rising name in to the top 10 lists over the last several years? You guessed it, Isabella. But so what. Like many posters said-you name your child and it becomes their name and you can’t imagine them with any other name. She is so not a Lucy. And she loves meeting other Isabellas! So take a deep breath, talk to the aunt gently, and know that whatever you name your child, it will be the right name and you will laugh later at what you went through.
    Maybe it would be a wonderful bonding moment with the aunt-you could both name your children new names, but each use the first choice as a middle. Good luck!

  • Jackie

    September 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    If you love the name, use it. Talk it over with her first and tell her you have had your heart set on that name and plan to use it. No one can claim rights to any name, it is absurd. As a mother a soon to be four, if I loved, 100% loved a name ans knew someone in my family or a friend was going to use it also, I would tell her my love for that name and how I had planned on that name as well, and thats it. You shouldn’t settle for second best because she made it public first, we aren’t in jr. high anymore. Good luck!

  • Becki

    September 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    You are SO wrong in this case. One should be able to name one’s own baby the cherished name one picked out regardless of how many little Beauregards there are in a family! They will be two different little people.
    How in the HECK can you claim a NAME??????????????
    My childhood BFF stole my baby name – ON PURPOSE! AAnd YES I was miffed. But I do not own the copyright on it!!! I still named my daughter the cherished name and am so glad I did.
    and then . two years later. . our good friends used the same name . . and ..again WHO CARES??
    It her little family and if the name brightens HER life – go for it. And if the Aunt cant handle it . .whatever.
    Just be kind enough to give her a heads up.

  • Lauri

    September 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I don’t think the issue is with claiming a name… but more so respect. It is obvious you can’t own or claim a name… but I think one should really consider if this name is that important and it can cause a riff in families… but life goes on

  • girlrobot

    September 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    wow, I just stumbled upon your blog through my “recommended feeds” in google reader. I LOVE your advice. Every post I’ve read has been so insightful! I have sort of a similar situation going on. I have a girl name picked out and I recently found out my older sister has the same girl name picked out for her future daughter! Neither of us are pregnant though so we’ll deal with it when the time comes I guess. This post has made me feel better about having to “concede” the name if I end up having to though. 🙂