Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Dad's Favorite Name Doesn't Thrill Mom

My husband and I are expecting our 3rd child, and he wants to use his great-grandmother's name, Cora. When he first suggested it, I liked it, but now I'm having doubts. We've discussed other names, but I don't feel strongly about any of them, and he really wants to use this name. Should we use a name I don't love, in hopes that I will get used to it? Or keep trying to find something else?

- So-so on Cora

It's terrific when two parents fall for one perfect name. Give each other a high five, and you're done! Usually, though, it's not that simple. Most of us inch our way toward a name choice, compromising along the way.

That's OK. Name-love at first sight isn't the only path to a good name (any more than regular love at first sight is the only path to a happy marriage). Babies grow into their names, and the common refrain a year after a naming compromise is "and now I can't imagine calling her anything else." So chances are you'll learn to love the name Cora over time...if the choice is made in the right spirit, by both parents.

From the tone of your letter, I get the impression that your husband is sympathetic toward your mixed feelings. That's a good sign. Trouble crops up when one parent forces a name choice on the other. You'll see people press, lay guilt trips, or most common of all, stonewall: refuse to consider any other option until their partners give up in exhaustion. That is a dangerous beginning to parenthood. You'll both be saying your baby's name over and over, day after day, year after year. If every repetition comes with a tiny prickle of resentment, you've laid a foundation for bigger problems.

In your case, though, it sounds like your partner's being peachy and you'd really like to love his great-grandma's name. If that's true, think of it this way. By choosing Cora, you're honoring a guy who's caring and respectful enough to want to honor the women who helped make him who he is. That's a pretty nice start in life for your little girl.