Friday, July 9, 2010

Name Thieves

Women, myself included, get kind of weird when it comes to naming our babies.  More than a few of us can remember a time when we were about 6 years old, playing House with our friends and rocking our baby dolls to sleep.  It was then and there that we decided that someday when we were all grown up, we would name our baby Memphis, Caroline, or maybe even something as simple as Matthew.  We fall in love with that image, delight in it, fantasize about that moment when we gaze into the face of our child and know their name.  We take ownership of that moment to such an extent that we also begin to feel a sense of ownership for the name.

How many of you have either been involved in or have known someone who has had their name "stolen?"  You know how it goes.  The girl at work just had her baby the month before you and, lo and behold, named the little tike the very moniker you have been keeping sealed in your bosom since you were six.  Never mind the fact that you never told her what you planned on naming your baby, you feel cheated.  Many a woman has felt this sense of loss even if they are not pregnant!  Knowing this phenomenon was possible, I actually asked permission of my sister-in-law a couple years ago because I knew that Micah was a name she had hoped to someday name a son of hers.  Thankfully, she was cool with us using it.

I personally know how it feels to have your name taken from you.  My dear friend Sarah Jo was due to have her third son only 6 weeks before I was due with my second.  From 20 weeks of pregnancy, I knew my baby was going to be Micah John.  Because we're big meanies, we kept the names of our kids a secret until they were born, so Sarah had absolutely no clue that I had "claimed" that name.  Suddenly she contacts me just a couple weeks before her due date to announce triumphantly that they had finally decided on a name for her bundle of joy - Micah Quinn!  Come on!!  So, I broke our secrecy pact and told her that we too were planning on having a Micah.  I was actually slightly scared she would insist that I change mine since her baby would be born first.  Of course, I wouldn't be friends with someone who would do such a thing, so I was pleasantly reminded of how awesome Sarah Jo is when we spoke and she thought it was wonderful that we would both have a Micah so close in age!  She wasn't mad, neither was I, all was right and good in the world.

So, when push comes to shove, where do you stand on the whole name theft issue?  We will never consider using a name that has already been taken within our family, but I would be extremely hesitant to use even a friend or co-worker's baby name because I know how we women can get about our baby names.

Have you ever had this happen to you or someone you know?  How did you deal with it?  Or is it all a bunch of nonsense?  Why do baby names become so personal for us? 

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