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Life After Birth: Name Regret

Life After Birth: Name Regret

Naming a baby is no easy task! It’s a lot of pressure to pick out a name for somebody else that will be stuck with it for the duration of his or her life. Not to mention, you don’t exactly know this person you’re naming, so how are you to guess if the name will fit them 5, 15, or 50 years down the road? So it’s no wonder that name regret is a thing that a lot of parents feel at one point or another!

Some name regret stories myself and some friends have experienced:
  • Decided they didn’t like the name and changed it completely (including middle name).
  • Tried to decide between two names, finally picked one, but later wished they had chosen the other.
  • Liked two names and used both (one for first name, one for second name). Even though they didn’t love the first name the best, they decided that it sounded better in that order.
  • Went off of other people’s opinions or votes.
  • Regretted the spelling of a name, not necessarily the name itself.
  • Couldn’t decide on a name so she was officially known as Baby Girl until she was a few years old. She moved out of my neighborhood when she was two, still known as Baby. Don’t worry, she has since been named.
  • Realized later there was a negative or degrading association with the name.
  • Let their daughter rename herself when she declared she didn’t like her name at a young age.
  • Gender-neutral name later made them wish they would’ve gone more feminine (or masculine in some instances, I’m sure).
  • Wife didn’t like husband’s first choice, husband didn’t life wife’s first choice, so they went with a name neither of them loved, and neither loves it still.

These are a few examples of stories I’ve heard, and I’m sure there are many other types of name regret that could be added to that list! One way to fix name regret is to completely change the name--it’s rare, but it happens! Going by a middle name, nickname, or shortened name are also good ways to help. I wonder just how many people have name regret after naming a child and never ever tell anybody about it? I’ve found with my name regret issues, that talking about it has been the most helpful thing to help me feel better about it.

My daughter is named after a city in Australia. This city has significant meaning to my husband and I was immediately onboard with naming her this beautiful and unique name. However, the spelling of the name was quite the debate for several months leading up to her birth. It is not a phonetically correct spelling, and I hated the idea of her name being mispronounced her entire life. However, my husband had a firm stance, “If we’re naming her after the city, we’re naming her after the city.” Eventually, he won. Her name is Brisbane, spelled just like the city.

Brisbane is pronounced BRIZ-BIN. But, just as I assumed, not many people know this and therefore, her name is said wrong ALL the time. Luckily, her shortened name has stuck and 90% of friends and family simply call her Brizzy. I figure that as she gets older, I’ll let her decide what she’d prefer to go by when it comes to school, doctor appointments, etc. But for now, she’s Brizzy and the name fits that sassy child perfectly.

I’m sure name regret is a much more common thing than people let on. But I think it’s important to remember that a name doesn’t make a person. My Bronson was legitimately named after LeBron James (that’s a whole different story…), but in no way do I expect him to become the GOAT NBA player down the road because of it! He’ll have his own legacy to build and his name will just go along with him.

Okay, now I’m so incredibly curious, have any of you felt any sort of name regret after naming one or more of your children? And if so, how did you overcome it?

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Comments

Alison - April 13, 2021

Yes, I have name regret for my child and he is 2 now. I feel like I was pressured into the name we chose as if we had to choose on the spot. I wake up thinking about it. Now that he’s 2 I really don’t feel the name fits him :( I feel like now is too late to do anything about it.

Jackie Hall - November 26, 2020

We are so glad this worked out for you so well! And happy to hear everything is better!

Tessa - November 26, 2020

Yes. I did. And I renamed my daughter a few months in! Will try to sum the story up quickly. I had a rough pregnancy. I lost my job. I suffered from lots of anxiety and depression. Couldn’t think straight about anything including names. It got so bad I just completely gave up and named her at the hospital after randomly picking a name from a book while I was there :(

I eventually got another job. Got back on my feet. Saw a doctor and therapist. Best thing I ever did, getting help. I found the old name just reminded me of the darkest time in my life and it wasn’t something I particularly cared for either, so I renamed her something that meant more to me once I could think with a clear mind. She didn’t care; she was 2 months old and didn’t even know she had a name!

So, so happy. Nobody judged or cared. Had to put in a court order. Sounds complicated but it really wasn’t. I encourage anyone to do this if you know you’ve made a mistake and your spouse is on board, and your child is young enough to be totally unaffected. Life is too short, go follow your heart.

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