That is the question. Whether it is nobler in the heart to suffer the harsh words and unwanted critiques of family members and friends, or to take the risk and share the joy you have for naming the little bundle of a person growing inside you. Which would you choose?
We have done both. With baby No. 1 we decided to keep her name a secret and there is something fun, albeit difficult, about keeping the baby’s name secret for nine months. But when the time came to share Nora’s name with the world, a name Nick and I had been calling her for almost six months between the two of us, that moment was incredibly sad and heartbreaking for me because we, as parents, never got to use it with a living, breathing baby.
This time around, we decided to share baby No. 2’s name with our family and friends. This decision was actually made before baby No. 2 was conceived. In the weeks after Nora’s death, Nick and I talked about how and if we would have done anything differently with our time with her. The one regret we had was that not everyone else got to know her by name before she died, like we did. They didn’t know Nora as a live person. So in that moment we decided that if we were to get pregnant again we would share the baby’s name with our loved ones.
Well, this was easier said than done. Once we were actually pregnant again I felt superstitious about naming a baby before it was born. I have learned that in some cultures they don’t even consider naming the baby until it is born for the very fact of superstitious beliefs that drawing attention to the baby also draws bad luck to the baby. A part of me thought this to be true. That by giving her a name I would be jinxing her and that she, too, might not come home. I also worried that if I named baby No. 2 I might become too attached. My feelings for her would grow if I had a name to give her, she would become REAL and so would my attachment to her. This was all scary stuff.
And in addition to all of my baby-loss-mom-burdensome-thoughts, there were the everyday pregnant woman worries about sharing the name too. I mean I have heard other pregnant friends and family members share stories about how one woman told her mother-in-law a possible name for the baby she was currently pregnant with and the mother-in-law replied, “You’re not going to name the baby THAT are you?” Or another woman told me how she shared the name she and her partner had picked out joyfully with a friend and all she got in response was an ugly grimace, eye-roll, and a fake, “How nice.” Then there are stories of people flat out saying, “I don’t like that name,” or “I know a (insert name here) with that name. That name is SO overdone right now.”
To say the least, sharing such a personal and proud decision you have made about your child with others can be scary for many reasons. You don’t want to have to worry about rude comments and unpleasant looks from the mother-in-law because you didn’t name little peanut after aunt so-and-so three times removed. If you experienced a loss like I have, you worry that naming the baby might be wishful thinking. You also want others to like the name as much as you do and you want to be unique and have your child be the only one with such a beautiful identity.
Even with all of those things to consider, Nick and I decided to defy superstition and rude comments that might come, and once again make steps to bond with baby No. 2 by sharing her name with our family this past weekend. It is scary to take a leap of faith in actually having a name to call her, but we couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.
We revealed the baby’s name with a picture word game in effort to have a little fun with it. (It’s a cute idea if you want to try it.) What I did was take pictures of individual letters on a scrabble board with cute sayings in the middle of the board. Then I sent all the pictures to family through e-mail so they could put the letters together to spell out and guess her name. Once they sent us their guess we sent the final picture back to them with her name. So fun! Pictures of the game are below. Oh, and if you look closely, you can see clues as to the baby’s name in the scrabble letters in the back of the frame (it actually tells you the answer).