thread: Namer's Remorse!

  1. #1
    Registered User

    Dec 2007
    Taking a ride on my grdonkey :D

    Namer's Remorse!

    As I was reading online news stories this morning, I came across an article about a supposed phenomena known as 'Baby Name Remorse'. Basically, it is when mum and dad name their baby, then some time later (could be weeks, sometimes months, others even years!) they decide they don't like the name anymore, and go to great lengths in order to legally change their child's name.

    Pauline and Jeffrey Eadie, of Cleveland, had gathered the family together to watch home movies of their two older children as babies. In one movie, Jack, now 5, was looking skeptically at his then-newborn sister, now 3. "In the video, I was saying, 'Jack, go to the baby, go hug her,'" says Pauline. "And then at some point I said, 'Go kiss Emma.'"

    Unaware that her name had been changed when she was a newborn, Pauline Eadie's daughter, Caroline, looked at her and asked 'Who's Emma?'"

    The Eadies are among a surprising number of parents who, following the birth of their child, suffer namer's remorse. In a recent poll of 1,219 mothers conducted by BabyCenter.com, 10 percent considered changing their baby's name. The reasons they gave ranged from being inspired by another name to having a relative disagree with the choice.

    Regret is common after any big decision, and few prenatal decisions these days are as open to debate as picking a child's name. Rare are the parents who haven't invested in a small library of baby-name books or trolled the Internet for a name unique enough to be usefully Googled, but not so weird as to cause ridicule.

    "Today, there's this perception that naming a child is almost like naming a product -- there's this huge national drive now to not be like anyone else," says Laura Wattenberg, author of "The Baby Name Wizard" and founder of the blog BabyNameWizard.com.

    That may be one reason some parents have second thoughts when they realize they've picked the present-day equivalent of Jennifer or Justin.

    In her first few years, 6-year-old Sophie Sauber's parents, Rob Sauber and Suzanne Ramljak, of Connecticut, were overwhelmed by the number of Sophies they encountered daily. Four out of 13 kids in their daughter's preschool class were named Sophie, and other parents were constantly yelling it at the mall. When Sophie was almost 4, they asked how she'd feel about being called Isadora, a name they'd considered before she was born.

    "She understood our reasoning and liked the name. We weren't going to force her," says Ramljak. One day, after a trial period of a couple of months, she introduced herself as Isadora. "It was like, 'That's her name now!'"

    Noting that by 12 months children already recognize the sound of their names, Dr. Karla Umpierre, a Miami psychologist and family counselor, encourages parents to get the child's input and approval if they decide to change the name after age 2. "It's best to change the name before then, because by 2 or 3 they have a sense of identity, and it could send mixed messages. The child might ask himself, 'Do you want to change me?'"

    "Stability is very important for children," says Dr. Umpierre. "And changing a name could create a lot of insecurity."

    For most parents, the urge comes long before the baby can say his or her own name. Wavering is not uncommon for those who figure they'll pick a name once they see the baby. "But that's a tall order to put on a newborn," says Wattenberg. "It's hard to look at this 7-pound thing and say, 'Oh! She's an Abigail!'" So they choose something quickly and then spend weeks second-guessing themselves.

    That was the case for the Eadies. When their daughter was born, the nursery was full and the nurses were rushing them to sign the birth certificate and leave the hospital. "Emma seemed pretty," Pauline Eadie says. They sent out birth announcements, "but it just felt strange coming out of my mouth." They decided they preferred a family name, Caroline.

    Adrienne and Matt Grayson, of Charleston, South Carolina, settled on the name Luke early in her pregnancy. "I also loved the name Beckett, but it felt a little weird, like Apple," says Adrienne Grayson, referring to the name actress Gwyneth Paltrow gave her daughter. When the baby was born, they named him Luke Beckett Grayson. What followed was a sea of engraved picture frames, monogrammed pillows, "Welcome Luke" signs drawn by the Grayson's older children -- and a wave of regret.

    "I couldn't shut up about how we should call him Beckett instead of Luke, and I also started mourning my maiden name, Shaw," Adrienne Grayson says. "I thought I should've made that his middle name because we weren't going to have more kids."

    The more she reflected, the more she wanted to change Luke's name to Beckett Shaw Grayson. The process involved hours on the phone with the Social Security office and the county clerk. She found that although it's legal to change a minor's name (as long as both parents consent), states don't always have a well-oiled system in place for regretful parents.

    When her son's new Social Security card arrived, it read, erroneously, "Shaw Luke Grayson."

    The Eadies, too, were bounced from one government agency to another. Eventually they filed the paperwork with a probate-court judge to change "Emma" to "Caroline."

    Since learning of the name she had for the first eight weeks of her life, Caroline has taken to renaming her dolls.

    She also has announced that she prefers the name Emma.
    Now, I assume this phenomenon is a more common occurrence in America, because here in Australia we are given a birth registration form and left alone to complete and mail it off at our leisure, whereas in America it appears a nurse must fill out the forms before mum and bub leave hospital - so, we have ample opportunity to decide whether the squawking newborn we've just been handed looks more like an Andrew than a Sebastian, and I would assume that means there are less Aussies out there desperate to rename their kids after registering their births.

    But, that being said, chances are there are plenty of parents out there who *do* or *have* suffered from Baby Name Remorse - are you one of them? I'm just curious, as obviously naming our children is such a huge event in both our lives, and that of the child being named... for most people it's a lengthy process involving lots of research and second opinions, and while I personally have never regretted choosing Emily Paige for DD1, I wonder how many of you out there *do* wish you'd chosen something different, or gone with your gut instinct before signing and sending the papers off? What were your influences in choosing a name you didn't like? Do you call your child by their middle name rather than first in order to 'fix' the problem rather than going to the lengths of changing their name legally? An ex-boyfriend I had in high school was known by all as 'Sam', and I had no idea that it was actually his middle name until one of his friends pointed it out to me. Apparently it was tradition in his family to name the firstborn son for their father, but his mother didn't like William and didn't want the confusion of having two Williams/Bills in the house, so everybody called Jnr by his middle name, Samuel. I don't know if that counts as Namer's Remorse, really, but his mum did feel pressured to conform with what the family expected and refused to call her son by anything other than Sam, instead of his first name, kwim?
    Last edited by Glamourcide; March 26th, 2009 at 02:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Add NaeNae on Facebook

    Sep 2007
    South Gippsland

    My PIL named SIL Mary Hannah after one of the much older generation women in the family.

    After a while they decided she wasn't really a Mary so reffered to her as Hannah. They never went and changed her name on her birth certificate or anything like that but she is only ever called Hannah.

  3. #3
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2007
    Ever so slowly going crazy...

    I definately dont regret calling my son Zavier, I love it, and it was his dads pick. But I do regret not calling him my choice, Zander, if that makes sense??

    As they both started with "z", I didn't use zander on my next boy, calling him Kane. I sometimes wish I had used Zander for him, even though I love "Kane"...
    I think I actually mourn not having a "zander", i just love it so much....

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Feb 2006
    South Eastern Suburbs, Vic

    So interesting! Sometimes I wish we'd called River 'Riven' because it sounds better with the Aussie accent - River sounds like Rivah, which is lovely, but I also like the name Riven because it keeps the 'e' sound in the name.

    I don't know that I have real name 'regret' as such, I just keep thinking of more names I like!

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Dec 2007
    Sunny Qld

    When DS was first born, we went with the name we had decided on for the last 10 weeks of pregnancy.

    Then once we got him home - it didn't really seem to suit him, and I had huge remorse for choosing a name before he was born, before seeing him.

    But now, at 26 months, he has "grown" into the name.. and I don't see him with any other name than what I named him.

    With Miss M - we had her name figured out - and then when she was born, I wanted an extra middle name - but thats all that we have changed. Even though she is known as "Kelti" instead of her full name - but thats kinda cute and its all DS can pronounce.. lol... when we introduce her to people its her full name

  6. #6
    Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

    Jan 2005
    Funky Town, Vic

    Isabelle should have been a Marnie. It (Isabelle )was at the top of the list and I always loved it, but I left the freakin list at home, and didn't expect her to look the way she did - ie BIG!

    I still love Isabelle, but Marnie would have suited her just as well, if not better!

    I love Mitch and it suits him to the ground but there are 18,000 Mitchells around, I just didn't realise it.

    I love Elizabeth, but I wanted her to be a Violet. Daddy said no, grumble!

    Having said that I would never ever change them. No way!

  7. #7
    Registered User

    Mar 2007

    My BIL uses his middle name as his preferred name - and has since birth. It just flowed better to use the preferred name as the middle name when his whole name is used. Hi mail comes addressed to Mr D. J*** S********. FIL's first name is the same name so it can get confusing when they are opening the mail.

  8. #8
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2007
    Ever so slowly going crazy...

    I love Elizabeth, but I wanted her to be a Violet. Daddy said no, grumble!


    I just LOVE Harmony's name, but a small peice of me will always love Violet too.....

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Feb 2007

    thanks gothmum, that was an amusing read!

    can't say i have any regrets about my kids' names, but dh often laments the fact that he gave his cat one of the most common pet names in the world: max. shortly after naming him he realised he should have called him wilson, but for some reason he never changed it.

    look forward to hearing whether anyone's actually changed their child's name - it would be a very hard thing to do, i think.

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Dec 2007
    Taking a ride on my grdonkey :D

    ^ Lol the story goes in my family that my father was named 'after the cat' - my grandmother had seen a movie called 'A Man Named Peter' and loved it so much that whenshe got a kitten, she named him Peter. A few years later, when my father was born, she was still a big fan of the name Peter and so named my dad... of course she swears up and down that she 'just liked the name', which is fair enough, but everybody thinks it's pretty funny that dad was named 'after the cat'.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Add ~clover~ on Facebook

    Sep 2007

    I regretted DD2's name. I wanted Shellay while I was pg, but got mixed reactions to it. DH decided on Brianna & I loved how it sounded with Rose.
    But after she was born for a long time I wished I'd called her Shae. It seemed to suit her more & to me it still does. But Bri does suit her too. Brianna seems too feminine, she's a bit of a tomboy, lol.

    DH & I couldn't agree on a name for Jesse too. I wanted Kobe Andrew, he wanted Harley Kenneth. Both middle names from FIL. Jesse is the name we liked while pg with the girls for a boy & the only one we could agree on. I still love Kobe, but Jesse is perfect for him

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Add helle on Facebook

    Sep 2008
    Bunbury, Western Australia

    Well, at the risk of sounding rude I had a little "Only in America" moment when I started reading that ><;;
    I dunno about giving a 4 year old a whole new name, they're their own little person by then with a personality that usually matches their name, I think. But I guess if they were still new born, perhaps...
    I personally wouldn't do it.
    In saying that though, we have a few family members that go by their middle name. And I have an aunty we never call by her real name, as when we were kids we couldn't pronounce it, so gave her our own name

  13. #13
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jun 2005
    Blue Mountains

    hmm.. I'm not entirely thrilled with the flow of DS's full name.. should have picked a better middle name. Love the name, but we didn't use it right I don't think LOL. Won't change it tho.

    My niece started off as Chloe, and a few days later became Madelene. No idea of the reasons for it, but I know my card to them welcomed Chloe, so I crossed it out and put Madelene. LOL.

  14. #14
    Registered User

    Feb 2009
    Central Coast NSW

    HEAPS of people use their middle names instead of their first names - I knew my best friend's name was that way due to adverse family reaction to her first name when she was born, but I didn't realize how common it was until I married my husband who is a tax accountant and started dealing with all these people's tax records, especially quite a few middle-aged family friends, they had these other first names I'd never heard of and were all using their middle name, though I can fully understand why you'd change some of them. Some of them were too foreign for their liking now that Aussie and one of our old church friends REAL first name is William - not funny on its own, but his last name is **** so if he'd gone with that he could have been called Willy **** BA HA HA HA!

    I think it's INSANE to legally change a childs name though, call them a nick name or their middle name but to legally change it does sound like such an American thing to do

    PS - I just looked at this and it's totally edited out our friends last name I guess in case I was using it as a swear word, but hey, people use it as an abbreviation for Richard all the time so I can't believe it's edited out.
    Last edited by sas85; March 26th, 2009 at 03:36 PM. : it blocked out my name

  15. #15
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    May 2005
    in the national capital

    I have a close friend who took a really pretty timeless name (IMO) and changed it to something quite ordinary when she was about 6 months old. She went through the whole rigramole or getting it properly changed.

    It didn't seem to bother the baby but it caused havock for her three year old. The poor boy didn't know what was going on.

    Poor thing will always have to fill in that box that says "previous names" and think about what might have been...

  16. #16
    Registered User

    Jan 2007
    where cosmopolitans and margaritas flow all night

    DD was always going to be Jacinta, since before she was even conceived. I wanted her to be Jacinta Rose but DH didn't like Rose as a middle name so she became Jacinta Danielle (after me). I really didn't like her name and my name put together at first and wanted to change her middle name, then I realised that middle names aren't as important as first names, and I love the sound of our names together now.

    I'm kind of glad she was a girl because I think I might have regreted the boys name we had picked out. (Ayrton)

  17. #17

    Dec 2005
    not with crazy people

    Nikolaus was ment to have James as his middle name as along cam his aunty and told us if she had a boy (which she did 3 weeks later) that would be his middle name. I was shattered and dont believe in 'sharing' names so jed picked Owen.

    Wilhelm's middle name is Tomas after his great uncle and we are so glad we choose it becuase he did a few years later

    We let the boys pick VYolett's name....We couldnt decided..I wanted Marni and Jed had no idea. We used BOTH grandmothers names for her middle name...last granddaughter on my side...first on jed's side

    mateauz name.......I regreat having the 'u' in it as he gets Mah - tooz alot and his middles names....Joseph after jed's dad (finally) and Memphis cause he was born on the Kings birthday.

    No I dont regret calling my children what we have. I look at the names that we would have called them if they were the opposite sex and they just dont sit with me any more

  18. #18
    Registered User

    Oct 2007

    I have always had a twinge of "I think we picked the wrong name" with DD2 (I actually started a thread here about it!)
    We were tossing up between 2 names, finally decided on one - which I love by the way, I just feel like the other one would suit her better.
    We wouldnt change it though.