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What's in a Name?


"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.*"

It's a fabulous quote and one which springs to my mind whenever the subject of baby names comes up in conversation.

But the truth is, naming your child is perhaps one of the biggest decisions we have to make as parents. How do you feel about your name? Do you like it?

Perhaps you wish that your parents had been a little more bold, chosen something more unusual for you. Are there entirely too many people on the planet with the same name as you? Or perhaps you wish that your parents had been a little less inventive. Having an unusual name might be great as an adult - but did you hate it as a child?

When it comes to naming a baby - everyone has an opinion. Oh, and they are all too keen to share it. Sadly it seems, whether or not you were actively seeking it.

I have a couple of friends who are expecting a baby and have picked out the name. But they've decided not to share it with anyone else. Now I can see their point of view.

They say that they don't want to share it because whenever the conversation about baby names starts everyone feels qualified to offer an opinion. They don't want other people's judgement to cloud their own. They don't want to collaborate. They don't want to be talked out of their choice.

When making a big decision like choosing a name I really think that the less people you're trying to please the better. Ask ten people's point of view on a name, and you're likely to get ten differing opinions. People rarely say - oh that's a pretty name and leave it there.

Names have deep seated associations for all of us. For example, there was a girl at my school who was mean to me as a child. Now, if someone suggested naming his or her baby the same name as said mean girl I would struggle not to shudder. I can't divorce the name from the individual. It's a mean girl's name. It always will be for me. It's not a name I could ever like. Therefore the more people you ask, or perhaps the more people you feel you need to please, the harder it will be to come up with a name that everyone's happy with.

Compromise is tricky at the best of times, and trying to compromise on a name is nigh on impossible.

For my money, it's best just to stick with making the decision between the two of you. Even that may be tough enough!

*Quote from Romeo & Juliet (II, ii, 1-2), Shakespeare

Image credit Natalie Maynor

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