Baby Name Advice Column: Ask the Name Lady Baby Name Blog

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My Husband Refuses to Talk About Baby Names!

I am due with my second child and I am having a hard time getting my husband motivated to talk about baby names. He was the same way with our first child, and we ended up picking her name a few hours after her birth. When I ask him about names, he says they are all "fine." Then says "It feels weird to be picking a name for someone else, they have to live with it." I agree that it is a lot of responsibility, but they won't let you leave the hospital till the live birth registration is filled out (including name). How do I motivate him to pick names he likes? Or should I just have my own name list and hope that he likes one of them when he actually meets her? - Lonely Name Searcher

I am at once awed and flummoxed by your's husband's comment that "it feels weird to be picking a name for someone else, they have to live with it." On one hand it's a profound insight, one that's too often overlooked by parents who treat baby naming as their own personal style statement. On the other, it seems a naive denial of the essence of parenthood. The someone else of whom he speaks is, after all, his own child. Picking her name is but one in a long series of parental decisions that will shape the rest of her life.

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Is It All Over for My Favorite Name?

I love the name Harper and had planned to use it for our baby girl, but it seems to be really popular now. Should I move on and find something else or just go with it and not worry about the rising popularity?? We have such a hard time with girl names. - Ashley

Dear Ashley, 

There's no question that Harper is a name of the moment. In just a few years it has risen from obscurity to #119 on the Social Security Administration's list of most popular baby names.

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But This Name Means So Much To Me!

My best friend died in a car crash when we were teenagers, and I vowed I would name my daughter Jamie Julie after her. A few years after that I found out that I couldn't have children. Now I'm pregnant, and it's a miracle! I just found out that I'm having a son. I was thinking of naming him Jamie Julian, but my husband thinks Jamie is "just a girls name". How can I convince him how much this name means to me and that Jamie is not "just a girls name"? - Best Friend

Dear Best Friend,

It's clear to me how much your naming vow means to you. Naming a child after someone who was important to you is one of the most heartfelt ways to honor that person's memory. The fact that your pregnancy is a wonderful miracle must add to your feeling of obligation to that long-ago vow. You've made your feelings movingly clear to me...so I have to assume you've communicated them just as effectively to your husband. "Convincing him how much the name means" to you, then, is probably not the real issue.

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He Has No Good Reason to Reject My Name!

I love the name Thayer. My husband doesn't like it -- but I don't think he has a good reason. His reason is that Thayer Evans, a College Football writer, wrote articles bashing his favorite football player. That's the only reason he doesn't like the name, he said if it weren't for that he'd actually like it a lot. What do I do? - Frustrated Mom

I'm guessing you don't quite share your husband's passion for college football. From where you sit, then, your husband's position must seem utterly unreasonable. He rejects an awesome name based on a sportswriter? Not even a rival coach or player, but just a guy who happened to write something he disagreed with about a football game? For this, you're supposed to give up your favorite baby name in the whole world?

But here's the thing about your husband's "reason" for not liking Thayer: it's not about reason at all. It's about emotion.

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They Say My Name is Wrong!

Dear Name Lady, I was wondering how you feel about spelling variations on baby names? Whenever I've asked people on name forums I've been told that my name is "spelled wrong," "it's trying too hard to be different," and the most hurtful, "it's a boy's name." For a while, I was embarrassed to even share my name anywhere near a baby name forum. I didn't want people to think my parents were uneducated because they liked a different spelling. The odd thing is I have never had a big problem with insults and things about my name when I introduce myself in person. I usually get compliments on it's uniqueness and even the "funky" spelling. Are spelling variations ever okay? - Jourden

Of course spelling variations can be okay. Is there anything objectionable about Catherine or Katherine? Granted, all variations are not created equal. The Katherines have a leg up by dint of tradition. Other twists are also well accepted, like the -ine to -yn seen in names like Madelyn and Jaclyn. The more unusual the twist, though, the more opinions will be divided.

That's not to say ultra-creatively spelled names are "wrong" or "bad." They're just aggressively, deliberately unconventional.

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Everyone Will See My Name Change on Facebook!

I have like the weirdest name EVER and it SO does not go with my last name at all. People make fun of me all the time, and it really upsets me. I hate being a joke to everyone. I'm moving countries at the end of this year. Should I change my name to my middle name? I wouldn't hesitate, but everyone will see on Facebook and maybe think I'm weird for caring that much. HELP! - Embarrassed

Your jitters are understandable. Anyone debuting a change in identity, from a new hairstyle to a name change, has some nerves about what others will think. Not to worry, going by your middle name is a common and well-accepted twist. As long as you're cheerful about it rather than defensive, people aren't likely to make fun of you (though old friends may have trouble remembering at first).

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Dare I Ditch My Surname?

I'm a male recent college graduate who isn't planning on sticking around my hometown. I've been considering switching my middle (mother's last) and last (father's last) names, primarily for professional appeal and personal preference for the sound of the new name. As I haven't yet made a name for myself this seems like a straightforward, practical consideration, but I need an outsider's perspective: how might this move go over with my family, and especially with others in the future? Am I risking a lifetime of explaining that my relationship with my father is perfectly fine, or other consequences? - Switcheroo

Dear Switcheroo,

It's clear that you're looking ahead to the great possibilities before you. You can't wait to leave your hometown behind, and you're focused on the impression you'll make on all the people you'll meet in your future life. This is an exciting time, and I wish you the best as you pursue your dreams. But your naming dilemma has to be addressed in the here and now -- with the people at home who represent your past and present.

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Did I Make Up a Crazy Name?

I am expecting my first girl, and the name I want to give her came to me in the oddest way: I dreamt it! I am almost 99 percent positive I am the only one with this name in my sights: Miel. I don't remember how it was pronounced, which is silly and stupid but I made up my own pronounciation: MY-elle. My full naming plan is Taela Miel. What will other people think of a name that the baby's crazy mother made up??? - Marie-the-Dreamer

What will people think of you naming your daughter Miel? Well honey, they'll think you called her Honey.

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The Baby Name Absolutely Everyone Wants

What is a good boy's name that is strong but unique, and not too "out there"? - Bethany

Bethany, thank you for this question. I think it will help a lot of people, because those qualities you say you're looking for in a name -- those uniquely personal requirements that you arrived at on your own -- are what everyone is looking for in a name.

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He's Not The Dad. Can I Give the Baby His Name?

I'm due the end of next month with what techs lead me to believe will be a girl. When I was with her biological dad, who I lovingly refer to as "sperm donor," we had decided on Mia Sage with his last name but since he no longer talks to me and has no plans on being there in any sense, do you think it okay to give her the last name of my current boyfriend, who promised he'd be daddy to her no matter what, even if we break up? - Stuck on Surnames

Pregnancy can be an emotional time for any mom, and so much more so for the mom who's been left by her partner at such a vulnerable life juncture.  Despite your best efforts to show your strength and sense of humor, Ashley, it's obvious -- and natural -- that you feel hurt and angry.

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