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Not Ashamed to Share the Baby Name

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Parents are pretty private about their baby names.

Three babies sitting

Jeanne Sager: Hit up a mom bulletin board when you're pregnant, start mentioning a moniker, and people clam up tighter than Spartacus' shiny suit. The fear, of course, is that their name will be "stolen," and their little Nevaeh will be forced to attend school, gymnastics and music class with five other "backwards Heavens."

Maybe it's because my we weren't quite sure "who" we were going to be having, but if anyone asked our names, I shared them. I even joked with people that I'd better not end up with twins -- because our "boy name" and "girl name" did not go well together. (Or rather, the nicknames -- Jack and Jill -- went together a little TOO well.)

And then she came along: Jillian. By then, we were shouting it from the rooftops. "Would you like to meet my daughter, Jillian? Yes, Jillian is here!" Since I am a columnist for the local newspaper, my moment earned a special birth announcement -- and soon the entire county knew my baby's name.

As a result, I walk through town and people stop me to tell me about the Jillians in their lives. A secretary at the county offices I called regularly as a reporter would ask for updates because her granddaughter's middle name is Jillian. A rotating postal clerk gives me regular warnings on what it's like to raise a tween-aged Jillian. And when an old high-school friend became a dad, I heard about it first via a mutual friend who was excited to report that there was another Jillian in the world.

It's the sort of thing that makes other parents cringe. My mother holds fast to the belief that she chose the name "Alex" ahead of the trend in the '80s, but she's still not happy that it became an "it" name in the '90s. There's even a trend these days to legally change baby names because they don't fit -- or (yes) are just not unique enough.

But even though we're happy to report there aren't 50 Jillians on the playground (we tried to make her name unusual but not weird, and we've succeeded), I can't help grinning every time I hear there's another little Jillian out there running around. It's like a special club: "Parenting Jillians" -- and I'm the president and secretary.

I'd like to think that I'd feel this way even if we had Jillians coming out our ears.

18 comments so far | Post a comment now
Angela March 9, 2010, 5:24 AM

We weren’t afraid of anyone stealing our name, but kept it under wraps for a different reason. During pregnancy we had plenty of people who didn’t critisizing the names we were considering and suggesting what we should choose instead. Once the baby’s here though and the birth certificate’s filled out they realize there’s not much they can do about it and keep their opinions to themselves. Also we wanted to discourage excited grandparents from ordering personalized little baby items and referring to our son by name before he was born just in case we had a change of heart after meeting him.

Barb March 9, 2010, 6:38 AM

Just like Angela’s comment above, I got sick of hearing people come up with nasty nicknames, a la The Garbage Pail Kids, so I stopped sharing our thoughts on names until she, and then he, was born.

Aprilcot26 March 9, 2010, 9:10 AM

I agree with the above posters. My husband and I are keeping our future daughter’s name a secret until she arrives. I have a very opinionated family and wanted to do without the criticisms and unwanted advice. Once they meet her, they’ll fall in love with her name, just like we did. And if they don’t…it’s too late to say anything. :)

Stephanie March 9, 2010, 9:13 AM

People get crazy about names. If any of my friends want to give their child the same name I gave my child that’s o.k. with me. I don’t own the name! We kept our name choices a secret partly because we didn’t want opinions and partly because I’ve heard so many stories about parents announcing the name only to change it later. Everyone gives them outfits with the name on it, they paint it on the nursery wall, etc. but after they take one look at the kid they realize the name doesn’t suit him at all but they feel obligated to keep it because grandma spent months making a cross stitch of the name. I’m glad we did that because the name we thought we were going to use didn’t fit him at all.

Shannon March 9, 2010, 9:26 AM

My husband & I kept our sons baby name a secret until he was born from most family & friends. Only 5 people knew what our son was going to be named before we had him because they kept they’re opinions to themselves. We plan on doing the same thing again when we have our next baby. Who wants to hear crap about the name they chose for they’re baby from they’re family/friends?! Not us!!!

CV March 9, 2010, 11:45 AM

Same reasoning as the above mentioned “don’t want to listen to “well meaning” family give their completely unsolicited opinions about the names we’ve picked when they don’t get a say”.

That, and we decided on our sons’s name en route to the hospital at 5 a.m.

Eerie though? We did not share the names we were considering with anyone. Yet my sister had a nightmare that I gave birth prematurely…to a little girl, with the first AND middle name that we were considering had our child been a girl. Spooky!

tennmom March 9, 2010, 12:28 PM

I did tell people the names we had picked out for our daughters. Funny thing is, I changed my mind about both of them once they were born.

caroline March 9, 2010, 1:41 PM

What I find funny is how many parents go so crazy finding (or creating) a very unique name for their baby so their child can be the only one- only to send their kid to school w/ a bunch of kids who’s names all rhyme.

In my son’s preschool class, there’s a Braeden, Aidan, Aydyn, 2 Cadens, and Jaden (boy), Jaedyn (girl). And girls name Hayley, Caylee, and Bailey.

Somehow- naming my son Scott made him stand out, and we were called unoriginal for naming our son a ‘junior’ after his father.

Pamala March 9, 2010, 3:50 PM

I had a friend actually call me up and ask me if it was okay to name her daughter the same name as mine. I was blown away. I was like sure go ahead. I really couldn’t care less. I mean in a way it’s sort of cool that we inspired her to find a name that fit for them. I tell everyone what I’m naming my current baby. I don’t care about their opinions, and yes I get them. But it’s the name we have come to believe is the right one for her. It won’t change, just as my daughter’s didn’t either.

Anonymous March 9, 2010, 3:52 PM

Today’s parents are idiots!

Kayla March 10, 2010, 10:39 PM

My baby sister’s name is Jillian =)

jillysmama May 28, 2010, 6:10 PM

We have a little Jillian too! She just turned one! I love it when I hear her name or hear about other little Jillian’s too!!! :)

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