The Big Secret

Last week in a doctor’s waiting room:

Woman: Oh, look at you! Not much longer, is it?

Me: Only a few more weeks.

Woman: Boy or girl?

Me: Girl

Woman: So, what will her name be?

Me: We don’t have a name yet.

Woman: Oh, honey, you can tell me.

Me: No, seriously, we don’t have a name picked out yet.

Woman: (laughing and giving me a knowing smile) Oh, I get it. The name is a secret, eh?

Me: (sighing) Yes. Yes, the name is so secret, even my husband and I don’t know it.


Seriously, people take it as a personal insult if you won’t tell them your unborn child’s name. I had no idea people listed this among their rights when encountering a pregnant woman. (You know, right up there with touching the belly and asking if it was planned.)

But the truth is we still have no name. Nothing sounds right for this girl. I think we were close to a name a few weeks ago, but then as soon as we told relatives, they started suggesting nicknames that made me cringe, and completely drove me away from the name:

“Miranda? So we’ll have a Randy in the family?”
“Ack! No!”
“What about Randa then? That’s a nice name.”
“No way. Never mind, I’ve changed my mind – we’re not using that name.”

The fastest way to drive me away from a name is to suggest bad nicknames.

So now my nose is buried in baby name books again, looking for anything else that might be a suitable name. I’ve spent so much time staring at lists of names that I think I’m starting to go a little insane. After reading through so many names, my eyes begin to cross, my brain melts a little, and I start to think most names sound pretty good.

Proof? Today I was reading through a list of names that have never been on the SSA’s top 1000 most popular lists and thought to myself, “Lysistrata – now that’s a pretty name you don’t hear very often.” WTF?

Any minute now, the name police will show up and tell me to slowly step away from the baby name book and have a rest before this baby is scarred for life with an unfortunate name.

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  1. I HATED that question! So annoying.

    Also hate how good names get ruined by dumb nicknames. I had that problem with Gabriella (Gabby) and Antonia (Toni). Next!

  2. I’m thinking you need a name break. Yeah… a week of NOT thinking of names. deep breathing…

  3. LOL – omigod that is hilarious. Hey, you never know, the world might need a good disbander of armies in her lifetime. Tee hee!

    Good luck. Maybe you should just close the books and not thing about it for a couple weeks. I bet something would come up out of the blue if you did that.

    Then again… we had such a hard time deciding on a name for The Bug, and never did agree on one. I named her myself and was actually unsure I had chose correctly for a while, but of course once everyone starts calling her the name you’ve told them, you can’t really go back! Now I love it, though – it seems right because she now responds to her name. :o) So, whatever you decide, it will work out.

    Or, you could go the way of certain hippie parents of famous people and let her choose her own name… like Picabo Street, or Joaquin Phoenix and his siblings. Did you know that the name he originally chose for himself as a child was Leaf? It’s true.

  4. Good grief, I really should read what I’ve written before hitting the “publish comment” button. What I meant, of course was THINK, not “thing,” about it, and that I was unsure that I had CHOSEN correctly, not “chose.” Yeesh.

  5. Oooh! Don’t give up on Miranda! It’s such a lovely name and it would really bring out the Shakespearean connection with Cordelia. Annoying people will always come up with annoying nicknames somehow. I have a friend whose stepmother nicknamed her daughter “JarJar Binks” – not because of her name but because of the way she stuck out her tongue.

  6. I learned my lesson when I was pregnant with Dawson: Never tell anyone what you’re naming the baby.

    I only say this because the names we chose before Dawson were picked apart by my family and it always made me cry.

    Then my crazy mom would suggest biblical names the I could barely remember how to spell let alone pronounce.

    And strangers? Yeah, they’d get bent out of shape if we didn’t say what we had chosen. I found it odd. Everyone wants a stake in the naming business.

    I think the right name will come to you. And if it happens to be when the little one is born, so be it.

    My aunt never named her children until they were born. She wanted to see what/who they looked like before committing to anything.

    Me? I needed to be prepared.

    Good luck, Christina! 🙂

  7. Grant is named after my Grandpa. We also just really both liked it.

    I got “Stella” out of People Magazine. Stella McCartney had some big fashion show and I put that name in my head and later asked Joe what he thought. Later that week we were at a restaurant and saw a “Stella Artois” beer sign.
    So my kid was named from a Beatle’s kid and a beer sign… oh well.
    It was fate. But– it wasn’t till I met her that I KNEW she was a Stella and boy is she!

    It will come to you and be just as perfect as Cordelia.

  8. 3carnations says:

    We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl until our son was born. We didn’t tell anyone the names we had chosen. Hubby’s family likes to reuse names. We intentionally chose names that no one in the family had. His Mom’s reaction to the name: “Is that a family name?” His response: “It is now.”

  9. That’s so rude when people bug you about personal stuff like that. We had the hardest time naming our first that we couldn’t fill out the birth certificate until the moment we were leaving the hospital. But I have to admit, I find girl names harder than boy names!

  10. P.S. – sorry I missed the girl’s night out. Believe me, I wanted to go. I posted about it.

  11. I know this sounds a little hippy and out there, but when I was pregnant with my second daughter I had a name picked out. No one really liked it too well, so I asked her (out loud)what her name was. “Willow” popped into my head, so that is what we named her.

    It fits her really well. Maybe you could ask her? (I swear I’m not a total weird-O!!)

  12. Just tell them that you’re naming her Griselda, and walk away.

  13. As you know, I sooooo feel you. We’ve been mercifully spared of too many annoying comments from strangers this time out – maybe I’m projecting some wall that I didn’t the first time around?

    If you need name ideas, I invite you to peruse the 600 billion suggestions on my “revenge of the jennifers” post from last week. If none of those suit, I’ll forward you the 100 emails i got with more ideas.


  14. The Flip Flop Mamma! says:

    Thankfully I haven’t encountered that yet! LOL. I think that Randy is a cute name for a girl, but that’s just my humble opinion 🙂 What about Marissa? That’s close to Miranda, and I don’t think you can get many nicknames out of it. Rissa? Nah, I don’t think any Marissa’s are called that.

  15. aimee / greeblemonkey says:

    I loved talking names, with people who shared my opinion of course.

    Although it really was fun to talk to my sister-in-law too, who hated our names.

    Good luck, sister.

  16. Karianna says:

    We knew what we were going to name our first son, but kept it a secret because we didn’t want any family members or friends to make negative comments. Instead, we figured that they could comment away once the baby was actually born!

    The for the second son, we had a tough time coming up with a name, so didn’t have any secrets to keep until the very end.

    I love figuring out new names and such. Best of luck!

  17. Jennifer says:

    I wish I hadn’t told my parents the name we’ve picked for our daughter…their reaction was “well, that’s a mouthful.” Gee, thanks. And the name is NOT a mouthful.

    Strangers really do get offended when you won’t tell the name. I quit telling because I got tired of all the negative reactions.

  18. PeanutButtersMum says:

    It’s kind of funny that your family came up with the offending nicknames. My hubby did that whenever I would suggest a name for our son who was yet to be birthed. Everything I came up with, he refuted with an insulting nickname…

  19. This post made me laugh because it reminded me of my old friend, Pam. She decided to name her daughter after her mother and mother-in law. Ahhh..the name? Barbara Jean. The nickname? BJ. Enough said.*LOL*

  20. we had names picked out but didn’t tell. i didn’t want any commentary from outsiders. once i named them, i named them, and people would have to live with them.

  21. I found you via the mom blogs!
    I have all sorts of weird names for my kiddos. With my last dd we were going to name her River Faith, but our family freaked out so badly that we dropped it. But I kept telling them she was going to be named River Sky Rainbow until she was born, and then we went with Trinity Renee, which means born again by the triune God!
    Good luck!

  22. After #1 we didn’t tell names – I hated the commentary. With #3 we didn’t find out gender, and that got the same response, “you don’t know?! sure you do, you can tell me…” right – because I’ll tell a stranger before my family.

    Between the most popular names (which we wanted to avoid) and names with nicknames we disliked, it’s a miracle we ended up with any names. Girls are *so* hard to name!

  23. Julie Pippert says:

    Persistence has a perfectly nice name that we nearly never use.


    We’re horrid with nicknames—and they have nothing to do with the actual given name.

    Like…Boo Boo.

    Yes, my kids hate me; they tell me so.

    I know what you mean about the asking. I’m just surprised nobody has tried to console you for having another girl. Sheesh that one tanked me worse than any of the rest of the out of line questions.

  24. This is exactly why Helene doesn’t have a middle name. We couldn’t labor any longer than we already had for a useless second name. I think she was 4 hours old when we named her. She was almost a Joesephine so I could call her “Joey”. I hope you don’t drive yourself nuts with this! Are there, perhaps, any lists of names around of names used a hundred or so ago? Those may be interesting…

  25. I thought it was going to be Goneril or Reagan, you know, stick with the whole King Lear thing? C’mon … you can tell me what it really is, I won’t tell anyone. 🙂

    Whatever name you give her, she’ll still hate it when she’s 13. Unless you can somehow magically see into the future and determine who the most popular pop star will be at that time. There’d be a lot of happy kids running around if parents had had the foresight to name their daughters Beyonce.

  26. Some days I want to wear an FAQ sign around my neck.

    1. First week of July.
    2. A Girl.
    3. We’re not telling.

    I have not gotten 1% of the “was it planned?” that I got with my first pregnancy, but I found that to be a totally hilarious and shocking question.

    Answer: It was planned with military precision, using charts, blood tests, and chemicals, and much of the hot action took place in a doctor’s office. How’s that for planned?

  27. Hey, what about Lilith? JK.

    My kid is Miranda – if anyone EVER calls her Randy, I will bite their head off.

  28. dakotablueeyes says:

    See now after the second time saying we don’t know I would have told her to mind her own dam business lol I was a tad bitchy while preggers

  29. very similar problem when I refused to tell strangers my due date. I started replying that HIPPA prevented me from revealing the baby’s personal medical information. I was tired of being asking “are you sure there’s just one in there?” and saying “oh my you still have so far to go” which was really a not subtle way of saying I was much bigger than they thought I should be…

  30. Naming the second daughter was nearly impossible for us. God forbid we get pregnant with another girl. She may end up being dubbed “Three.” Sounds a bit too BSG for me.

    Sorry I missed the Girls Night the other night too. Who is planning the next one?

  31. Crazy Baby Lady says:

    We went crazy this time because we were covinced there were no good names for boys that every other kid in his class wouldn’t have. We finally settled on Finnegan (we call him Finn) and we are happy with it.

    If you want you can take the girl names we chose since I made the doc clip my tubes as soon as they took Finn out. We had it down to Lily, Yvonne, and Ella though I was never in love with any of them.