You were excited to share the news of your pregnancy, and you’re equally excited to share your baby name choice. Having a name makes everything seem more real — and adds another dimension to the baby you’re carrying. Because it isn’t just “Baby” or “Peanut” or “Little One” any more. Your baby seems a little more like an actual person, with an actual identity, and that’s thrilling.
But when you joyfully share the name with friends and family, there it is: the realization, whether spoken or unspoken, that the name you’ve chosen isn’t such a hit with anybody else. There’s the fading smile. The widened eyes. The overly-chirpy “Oh, what a … unique name.” Or maybe, if you’re dealing with someone particularly blunt, the outright proclamation of how much that name sucks.
When everyone hates the baby name you love, it can feel like a slap in the face. It can feel like a deeply personal insult, since choosing a baby name is such a personal decision. It may cause you to second-guess your first pick.
And that’s a damn shame. If you love a baby name, you shouldn’t have to question it.
After all, you could be ahead of the curve. What seems “weird” to others right now may sound so out-there because they’re not aware of baby naming trends on the whole. Take the name Genesis, for example: it first appeared in the top 1,000 names on the U.S. baby name popularity charts in 1988, and its current ranking is #57 for girls (and it just appeared on the boys’ popularity charts in 2018, when it was the fastest-rising boy’s name). It’s an undeniably popular name, yet it would have been considered totally strange, say, fifty years ago.
But if you’re facing scrutiny for your baby name choice, here are a few things you can do.
1. Remind yourself why you chose the name.
You love the name you’ve chosen for your baby-to-be. Why? Whatever positive feelings or memories or associations it evokes, hold tight to those, and remember them every time someone poo-poohs your choice.
2. Wait until the baby is born to share the name.
The best way to avoid people hating on your baby name is simply not to tell them. Say it’s going to be a surprise, and then stay tight-lipped until it’s officially on the documents. People can’t side-eye what they don’t know, am I right?
3. Give people a “warning.”
When someone asks your baby’s name and you tell them immediately, their response will be a knee-jerk reaction. But if you preface it by saying something like, “It’s a bit of a unique name, but we think it’s great,” it will give them a heads-up to mentally brace themselves — and temper their reaction accordingly.
4. Be prepared with a clapback.
Okay, maybe “clapback” is too strong a word, but sometimes it helps to have a firm response at the ready for the nay-sayers that lets them know you’re settled, and their hating ways won’t change your decision. “I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but it’ll be perfect for our little girl” or something similar should do the trick.
5. Don’t engage.
No matter how personal their dig at your baby name seems, no matter how much you want to grab the nearest fork and stab them in the eyeball, don’t engage them by arguing or jumping to defend your choices because guess what? You don’t have to defend your choices, nor do you owe anyone an explanation. If someone is throwing shade at your chosen baby name, shut them down with a smile (and re-read #4).
Or walk away with your middle finger in the air, which would be a perfectly justified response. You do you.
6. Try to be patient.
You might feel like you’ve taken all the flak you can possibly take, but hang in there, because things will settle down once your baby is born and people actually start using the name — and associating it with the little person they love. Everybody has had the experience of being unsure about something at first, and then having it grow on you … and a baby name is no different. Once it’s actually in use, it won’t seem so unusual to anyone, and who knows? They may come to love it just as much as you do.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, haters gonna hate. But as much as that sucks, think of it this way: none of it compares to the nagging regret of letting other people’s opinions talk you out of a baby name choice you really, truly loved.
You’ve put in the physical and emotional work of getting ready for baby. You’ve prepared the nursery. You’ve restructured your life to accommodate a brand new human.
What’s the common denominator in all those things? That’s right: YOU.
Other people can contribute all the input they want. But at the end of the day (and more importantly, during those middle of the night feedings when those haters are nowhere to be found) this is your baby. When someone else does the work, and spends the money, and pours the emotional energy into growing and parenting this child, then maybe their opinion about the baby name choice will be valid.
For answers to baby-naming dilemmas, fun and inspirational lists, and a comprehensive baby name database, check out Scary Mommy’s baby naming section!
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