When a stranger tries to make conversation with me, I know exactly how it will go.
“Oh, when are you due?”
“Do you know what you’re having?”
“Yes, it’s a girl.”
“How wonderful!” (If Elliot is with me, Stranger will usually add – rudely, in my opinion – “You’ll have one of each,” like I deserve some sort of award for that.) “Do you have a name?”
“We’re not telling anyone what the name is.”
Confused, Stranger furrows her brow. “Oh, OK. Well, good luck to you.”
To be honest, similar versions of this conversation happen with family members, friends, coworkers and other acquaintances too.
While some are aware of this fairly new trend in the pregnancy and childbirth world to keep the baby’s name a secret, some are surprised by it. Even offended.
When I was pregnant with Elliot, we announced we were having a boy. After deciding his name, we told everyone that too. Despite the naysayers who thought it was too “different” or the people who teased us by pronouncing it like E.T. did in the movie, there were advantages to making the name known. It can be nice to hear others call your baby by name while he is still in utero. It also allows gift-givers to bestow monogrammed goodies upon you and your future bundle.
We knew even before I got pregnant with Baby Girl, however, that her name would remain a secret until her birthday. I mentioned above that when we revealed Elliot’s name, there were naysayers, and this is the most important reason why we’ve chosen not to announce this baby’s name.
Allow me to explain further.
- Maybe the name we’ve chosen is not the name you would choose. Well, that’s why we’re her parents. We get to choose; you don’t.
- Sorry, but I really don’t want to hear your story about your crazy, third cousin who has the same moniker. Also, I apologize that the girl who picked on you in elementary school shares the name too.
- I really believe that most people are less likely to criticize the baby’s name after there’s an actual baby to hold and cuddle and squeeze.
- There is excitement and anticipation in keeping the name a secret. Because everyone already knows the baby is a girl, I love that there will still be an element of surprise when she is born.
Besides, isn’t it interesting how children’s names seem to always fit them once they’re here? On the “What to Expect” website, Heidi Murkoff writes, “Once everyone holds your beautiful baby, they will all agree that his name — whether or not you shared it beforehand — suits him perfectly. That’s the thing about names: Children make them what they are, not the other way around.”
And, you know, I couldn’t agree more. My Elliot is Elliot; I could never imagine him with another name. I know the same will be true of our daughter.