Picking out names for your children isn't easy. You might go for something classic, something less common, or maybe you want to honor your ancestry. You can also name them after a favorite TV show character, if you feel so inclined. Whatever the case, it’s your choice as a parent, and yours alone. Unfortunately, there are people who feel the need to chime in and share their feelings on the matter. I spoke to a few moms brave enough to share the awful things they were told when they announced their baby's name and, well, all I can say is: the audacity of some people is astounding. Seriously.
I chose to keep my son’s name on the hush-hush, mostly because I’d had bad experiences whenever I kicked around potential names. For a daughter, I thought maybe Lorelai would be pretty, or Vada (yes, one is a TV show character and the other is a movie character), but whenever I brought those names up I got everything from confused looks to, "Why would you do that to your kid?" If I workshopped "boy names" out loud, I’d get everything from, "Oh, I dated a guy with that name and, trust me, you don’t want that name," to, "Have you even thought of all the things that rhymes with?" Not helpful, people.
Eventually my partner and I settled on a pretty standard name, and (I think) because I’d experienced a previous loss, most folks in my inner circle knew better than to make any rude comments. Still, I know how frustrating it is to have your heart set on some names, only to have them dashed. With that in mind, here are what more than a few moms heard after they announced their baby's name. Let's try to be a little kinder to one another, OK?
"My father-in-law laughed and said, 'No really, what's his name?' I had been open throughout the whole pregnancy that the middle name would be Blue, after my dad. So I don't know why he was shocked when that's what it was. The nurse also said her dog had the same [name]. I feel like that's maternity nursing 104? Don't compare your animal's name to a baby's name?"
"I was told Connor would be 'Cono' or 'Coño' in Spanish (which is a curse word)."
"When I first told people what we were naming Aella and getting advice on names, I constantly got told her name was 'low-income,' 'Ghetto,' 'Trashy.' That it was just plain weird. That no one would employ her or even look at her resume when she was older and I was literally ruining her life. I was actually told to read Freakonomics by one person because I obviously didn't understand how I was harming my child."
"For Marcus, someone told me he'd be called Marcus the carcass. Funny enough, a few days later, I saw a Halloween skeleton named 'Marcus the Carcass.' For his middle name, I had a family member ask what the hell was I thinking. Mind you, it's Demetrios. The Spanish version of Demetrius. For (my daughter) Nivea, who was named after my mother, people would say that I didn't think it right because of the men's cream, Nivea for Men. Yeah, people are stupid."
"When I told my coworkers I was naming my daughter Katelyn, one of them said, 'No one will ever spell that correctly. Why don't you name her Katherine like a normal person.' I didn't say anything. When it came time to name my second born, we told Katelyn that his name was going to be John (it wasn't), but we didn't want crap for it until after the birth certificate was signed."
"My mom told me that his name sounds like the yiddish word for barf. That's the best one I got."
"Someone said that my son's name rhymes with penis. Kind of. My aunt. Oy. There was also a lot of, 'Oh you're not really going to do that, are you? What are you really going to call him?'"
"When I found out I was having a girl, we decided on a name pretty quickly. I was excited to announce it, especially since she was our rainbow baby. I made a nice Facebook post that we had decided to name her Scarlett Rose, and promptly received a comment from a (now ex) friend talking about how she, 'thought I said I was going to pick something original and unique,' and basically chastising me for selecting such a common and unoriginal name. She wasn't on my friend list for much longer after that."
"'That's an old lady name,' and, 'Why not just call her purple?'"
"We didn't name our oldest until he was born because we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl. His name is Kieran and a lot of people didn't love it or thought it was a girl name (Karen), even though Irish names are fairly common around here. My 96-year-old grandmother still doesn't understand why we named our second Declan. 'It sounds so old, why didn't you give him a normal name?'"
"My grandmother asked if I was joking when I announced the name at the shower, then said that she hates Lucille Ball and that it's an awful name. So, yeah."
"'People are gonna call her anesthesia.' What the hell?! And that was coming from my mom. Her (my daughter’s) name is Anastasia and her nickname is Annie. I don't see that happening. And for my second, Ashley, I heard, 'It's plain and not creative like Anastasia.' That was also from my mom. Just can't catch a break."
"It's not awful, but when we shared the name Lilith if we had a girl, people brought up Seinfeld. It still happens when we say her full name."
"When my daughter Lucy, now 4, was born, my mother said it was a dog's name. She still repeats that all the time. 'When I first heard Lucy, I thought it was a dog's name, but now I like it. Ha ha ha!' Never mind that it was well into the Top 100 for girls by 2012 and rising."
Emily F, 38
"You think I would have known by our third baby, but [my daughter's name] was the only one that really got any bad feedback. A coworker told me it sounded like a mean old lady's name, and several people told me they didn't like it. I told them it was fine that they felt that way because they didn't get a vote."
"Everyone in my family hated the name Averie. I even struggled for most of my pregnancy to get my husband on board with it. Everyone said her name was for a boy, or associated it with Avery office supplies, or some football player I know nothing about. I didn't let that deter me. I knew Averie was Averie before she was even a reality."
"My first kid is James Tiberius, and we call him Captain. (Yes, it's a Star Trek joke.) People either think it's great, or just kind of slowly blink at me. Or they say, 'So, is Tiberius a family name?' There are also people who have no idea that his legal name is James, because he really does only go by Captain."
"So probably half the people we meet who ask us Huck's name say some variation of, 'For real? Huckleberry? Like on his birth certificate and everything?' Yes, for real, on his birth certificate. He has a very normal, conservative middle name that he can choose to go by if he wants."
"Most of the responses to [my kids'] names have been positive. Really the only negative encounter I had was with Oliver's name. An old coworker asked how he was doing, then asked his name. When I said his name was Oliver, he said, 'Oliver? Why would you do that to the poor boy?' If you knew this person. Ugh. The only repeated question I've encountered over [my daughter] Amelia's name is if we'll call her Amelia Bedelia. The answer is no, by the way."
Emily C, 38
"I decided on Teddy (Theodore). My mom threw a fit because that's her dog’s name. Eh, too bad. It's also Teddy Roosevelt and Kennedy's names."
"My first born's name is Aurelia. If she had been a boy, we would have had chosen Arthur. We did not find out the sex of the baby until she was born. We made the mistake of telling some close friends and family our name choices before she was born. Being a parent teaches you quite quickly to have a thick skin. People say the meanest things whether intentionally or unintentionally. My friend, at the time and when she heard the name Aurelia, thought I was talking about a tea. When she found out it was the name of the baby, she flat out to my face told me she didn't like the name. Another person asked, ‘Well, what will you call her?’ Relatives made comments like, 'These names!?!?' Aurelia is a family name. It is Latin and means 'golden.'"