Mar 1, 2010  •  In Baby, Personal

Keeping the Name a Secret

J has a complex about baby names: if he knows anyone in real life with a certain name (even if he hasn’t talked to that person since the 2nd grade), it’s out.

Not surprisingly, this makes naming our children quite difficult as he is one of the most natural connectors I’ve ever known.

Luckily we were able to settle on two names (one boy, one girl) quite early in the baby-planning process. So when people asked if we have any potential names, I happily obliged…

…and experienced the wrath of my husband.

I know that many couples choose to keep the names of their unborn children a secret for various reasons. Some may want to leave it a surprise so that when the baby is born, a proper introduction can be made to the world. Others decide not to reveal the name lest someone will make a snide comment about the name (apparently, negative comments about the name are more likely to stay silent once a live, squirming baby is attached to it).

J wants to keep it a secret because he’s scared that someone will steal it.

I personally think his reasoning is ridiculous — we would only reveal the name to friends and family, and what friend/family will steal a baby name? In addition, if we keep the names a secret, isn’t it more likely that someone we know will use that name?

But he stands firm on this decision. He says that he’s seen it happen before, and he does not want to go through the entire name-choosing process again.

Do you, or did you, have named picked out for your unborn children? What is your stance on the keeping-the-name-a-secret issue?

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26 Responses to “Keeping the Name a Secret”

  1. T says:

    You should know by now that your husband lives his life thinking Seinfeld is a documentary. I am just surprised he didn’t try and convince you to name the child Seven.


    Oh and Congrats!!! See how much he tells his friends, I didn’t even know you were pregnant! 🙂

  2. Amanda says:

    Remember that episode of Sex in the City where someone steals Charlotte’s secret baby name, Shayla? LOL. I clearly do, so I must have some unconscious paranoia about this.

  3. M says:

    My husband and I had a list of 3 names that we liked and were pretty much set on one of them. We didn’t announce it though until after his birth because I remember hearing from a couple that they had their hearts set on a name, "Eli", but when baby was born, he didn’t LOOK like an "Eli". So they went with another name.
    Love reading your blog, btw! =)

  4. Kit says:

    @Amanda, I read this post and immediately thought of the Sex and the City Episode that you are referring to!

    That is so cute your husband thinks someone steal your baby name! I have to agree with him though, we are keeping the gender and the name a secret from everyone (but for a different reason). It”s kind of nice to have our own little ‘couple’ secret and ‘couple’ knowledge. ;o) So many things in life is ‘out there’ in the vast known, and I just want to focus on a healthy baby, healthy relationship, making a safe and secure environment to welcome our child into that sharing the name/gender just seems to deflect from that- so that is our reasoning.

    Your husband sounds like a hoot! Cracked me up. I side with him, keep it a secret! It’ll be fun!

  5. Joyce says:

    I think there is some truth to your husband’s reasoning…I remember when I told my cousin what I wanted to name my future daughter. He liked it and then told me he was going to give his daughter "my name." I wasn’t very happy about it. Granted in the end, neither one of us used that name.

    Also, another reason to keep it to yourselves is because it’s a very personal decision and should be kept between you both. I think there is a tendency for people to voice their opinion, find out why…tell stories about someone they know with that name. This might affect your decision.

    From personal experience, we did end up changing my daughter’s Korean name after she was born. She looked more like we ended up giving her.

  6. Geek in Heels says:

    @T — Don’t give him any ideas!

    @Amanda & @Kit — My husband cited that SATC episode as an example! I don’t know if it’s a good thing that he’s watched almost every SATC episode…he even got the idea for his proposal from Aidan proposing to Carrie!

  7. Charmi says:

    My husband feels the same way about keeping names a secret. We aren’t even pregnant lol. I guess there’s no harm in keeping it a secret. It’ll be a sweet surprise to all your friends and family 🙂

  8. Hehehe! I think it’s pretty sweet that J is so protective over the name.
    My husband and I are not pregnant but for a long time, we had top five names and now we have one favourite boy and girl name. Our families and friends know what they are and I don’t think anyone we know would steal them.
    Excited to hear what your final name pick is (and whether or not it’s a boy or a girl)!

  9. Pink Heli says:

    I’d let the gender out of the bag, but I’d keep the name a secret. I think my reasoning is along the ‘proper intro to the world’ lines. However, I’m also perhaps scared that a parent or friend will hate on or otherwise criticize the same and talk me out of using it, even if it’s something I really love.

  10. petitemandoo/ladybug says:

    yooooooooooooooooo! you’re prego?! shut the eff up! congrats!!!! how are you feeling?!

  11. Liz says:

    This actually happened to a good friend of mine. Her husband revealed their possible name choices for their future boy/girl to her friend’s husband. A few weeks? months? later, she found out her friend had "coincidently" chosen the same boy name. Now said friend is having a boy and is naming it with her choice of boy name. Now, I know no one actually "owns" a name and people can choose to name their kids whatever they want, but I think in this case the "friend" purposely stole my friend’s future baby’s name. (She’s just that type of person….) It sounds silly writing it out like that, but I guess I would be hurt too if I found out a close friend chose a name for their child that I was in *love* with.
    Totally off topic (kind of), but I am so excited for you and your little family! You are in my thoughts and prayers!!! 🙂

  12. Hubby says:

    I WIN 😀

  13. Geek in Heels says:

    @petitemandoo — Thanks! I’m actually feeling not too bad…just tired ALL THE TIME and a bit cranky. Hopefully the baby and Zoe can have playdates in a couple of years!

    @michelle — J is OBSESSED with CoD. What’s your husband’s Xbox Live handle? I’ll tell him to add him!

  14. T says:

    @Hubby- Just lost a lot of respect for you that you quoted Charlotte from SATC rather than George from Seinfeld. I thought I knew you, very disappointed

  15. Stacy Marie says:

    We do have names picked out, but we’ve shared them…kind of like calling dibs on them, I guess! I do see why he would want to keep it a secret though.

  16. First of I love that J just posed "I WIN." I think he could be friends with my husband. They can play Call of Duty together.

    I always hear that people wait to say the name so that they don’t get unwanted opinions of others weighing in on the subject. Once the baby has been named and birth then that’s that and everyone is happy. I could see being worried about someone stealing the name, although that is just kind of weird of whoever does that.

  17. Kate says:

    I’m a name-aholic (probably obviously) and my husband and I have talked about names we like since before we were even married. I think that when the time comes, we’ll probably make the gender known but keep names to ourselves – with probable exception of our moms and sisters, because, y’know, yeah. We’ve also enjoyed the idea of trying to horrify our respective mothers with terrible name ideas – try to see if we can convince them that we’re serious. We agree that we could almost certainly fool his mom, but not mine…

    I think the worst isn’t a friend stealing a name, but a friend saying how much they dislike the name you love. That’s what makes me think that offering up a list of possible names is a bad idea… that being said, once the time actually comes, I don’t know that I’ll really be able to keep it to myself! I just love names too much, and I’ll want to share my brilliant picks. 🙂

  18. Jisoo says:

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I think your baby blog note is a cool idea. A friend of mine kept an online letter like that for her daughter for about a year or so too.

  19. Shelly says:

    My husband and I have no problem telling people our baby names. I figure if someone likes the name we pick, than that’s okay. It’s not like our baby will be the only baby with that name.

  20. Matt G says:

    Hah, I hope Pearl reads this article. I’m always vetoing future names based on arbitrary reasoning – "No, we can’t use Murdock. That was the villain on MacGyver".

    I’ve got a cousin in Ohio with the same first and last name. Makes me wonder if my parents bothered to send out birth announcements. Now I have to deal with the impostor’s facebook page showing up when I google my name…

  21. Cyndi says:

    We shared names b/c i don’t have friends or immediate family that would "steal" names from us (esp after all we have been through) Plus, i don’t believe anyone has "dibs/rights " to names..We will still use our boy’s name if we ever have a boy b/c we have had our heart set on the name (first and middle name) since we got married and b/f we started TTC..i wouldn’t name a baby a name that one of my cousins/friends already used (no matter how much i loved it) if we hadn’t already picked our names b/c i think it is tacky and unoriginal..our daughter’s name is pretty rare/unique so i can’t see someone else using it (esp b/f she is born since my DD is quickly approaching) ….Plus people could still use the name if they choose even after Ainsley is born…i have no control over it…we just recently shared our mn (Saturday at my shower) only b/c it took that long for us to agree on some thing

    Also, wanted to add that just b/c this works for us doesn’t mean it is right for everyone else…you should do what you both are comfortable

  22. Ali says:

    Hubs found out last week that his boss is naming their daughter ‘our’ daughter name :-/ His boss didn’t know we ‘claimed’ the name so it’s not like he ‘stole’ it. I still totally want to use it when we have our daughter b/c it’s not like we hang out with them or anything, but Hubs already wants to move onto our other daughter name.
    Anywhooo, I think we will tell our friends and family b/c I believe they are less likely to take the name if they know we’ve called ‘dibs’!
    P.S. Is that your tummy? ADORABLE!

  23. My hubs and I have been talking about baby names since we got engaged. He had one boys name he really loved that I really didn’t like at first: Atticus. Every time we talked to friends and family about kids, he would say, "I have the perfect boy name. Atticus. Atticus Lords. Doesn’t that sound awesome??? That kid would be very cool AND smart!"

    I thought he was ridiculous until a lot of our friends and family told us they loved it. It slowly grew on me, and now whenever I think about our future son (if we end up having a future son) I automatically think of him as "Atticus." And thus we have dibs, because everyone in our family knows that’s "Bryan’s name."

  24. Amber says:

    I totally called a name because a cousin of mine was having FOUR KIDS AT ONCE (two sets of twins via surrogate), and I was like, "NO WAY, this is OUR NAME". I also had to watch who to tell the name to, because the old school Mexicans in my family were all, "What kind of hispanic name is Piper?" It’s NOT, it’s a NAME WE LOVE.

    I can see both sides of it, some people will steal a name! Then again, it’s so fun to share it and refer to babies with their name, right?

  25. s says:


    I have to side with your husband on this one (sorry!)…but here’s why:

    I recently had 3 close friends pregnant and due within 3 months of each other and all ended up having girls (it was a busy fall!). The first 2 babies were a few weeks apart and the first one due had not settled on a name yet. The second one due had narrowed it down to 2 names and was telling a group of us about how the husband/wife were split over which one to choose. Well, the first baby couple asked to know what the choices were. The second couple wouldn’t tell because they were worried about name stealing. They were quite justified, later on I was speaking with the first baby couple and she told me flat out that if she had heard the names and liked one she would have used it. Nice, right? We’re talking about close friends here. I said, really, do you think that’s right? And she honestly did not understand the problem with it.

    I also had some former colleagues who were due a couple months apart, both having girls. The one who was due second was telling everyone she was naming her baby Audrey. The one who had hers first named her daughter Audrey. The second one was so mad that they are not speaking anymore and she changed the name.

    So really, I would just keep it to yourselves. For the reasons you mentioned and because honestly, you never know what other people are going to do or say.

  26. krangsquared says:

    I was always secretive about what names we wanted to give our child, and you just made me realise that SATC may have influenced me subconsciously. I *love* SATC, and Charlotte was my favourite – maybe my strong apprehension about telling the name to other people was caused by the episode you guys mention.

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