Baby names: How to choose to avoid regrets

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Having a baby can be one of the most wonderful, mysterious, miraculous and exciting experiences of a lifetime. Then again, it can also be highly stressful as well. This is especially true the first time around when you suddenly realize you’re morally and legally responsible for another human being’s life! Amid the joy of preparing for childbirth, choosing baby names causes a lot of stress for many parents. After all, it’s a decision that is typically permanent, although not always. There are instances where a parent legally changes a child’s name due to regret of his or her initial choice.

If you get stressed out over baby names, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you  might avoid some serious regrets. Naming your child is an intensely personal decision. You may find others quite eager to provide suggestions. To avoid regrets, be cautious in accepting someone else’s idea of a perfect name for your baby.

Issues that often cause parents to regret baby names

You’ve likely met someone who has a pet with a human name. You might even have one yourself. Human names seem to fit some dogs’ or cats’ features or personalities. When it comes to baby names, however, you’ll likely want to avoid giving a child a pet name. It might seem whimsical or appropriate to name your baby after your pet, especially, if you’ve had your fur baby for years. Just remember that your baby must go through life with the name you choose. Would you really want to apply for a job, introduce yourself or get married with a name like “Spotty,” “Fluffy,” or “Diesel”?

When considering baby names that may cause later regret, other issues are cause for concern as well. It’s probably best to avoid names that are so unique no one can pronounce them or spell them, including your own kid. I once heard of a mother who named her son “Orangjallo,” (pronounced: or-awnge-uh-low) because she craved orange jello during pregnancy. When I had my first child, I shared a room with another young mother. She called her daughter “Joonette” because she conceived in the month of June. Of course, I also witnessed this same woman feeding her day-old infant hardtack candy in the hospital.

You may choose any baby names you want

I acknowledge the fact that it is none of my or anyone’s business (except your spouse’s) what you name your baby. All I’m saying is to choose carefully. Think of the consequences that may unfold in your son’s or daughter’s life if you choose a name that is “too unique.” Baby names often derive from names of extended family members, ancestors or friends. Regarding the latter, you’ll want to be especially cautious. I get it. You love your friend. You’re besties and plan to be for life.

The thing is, what we plan for in life and what actually happens are often two entirely different things. Life has a way of throwing sudden, unexpected curve balls, which might include the ending of a friendship you thought would last forever. Think of the emotional issues that would be involved if you named your baby after a friend you wind up unfriending. If you insist on naming your child after a friend, you might want to make it his or her middle name. That way, if your relationship goes south, you don’t have to hear the name all the time.

Giving into pressure when choosing baby names

When I gave birth to my 10th child, the nurse asked my husband and I what we planned to named him. I said, “Benjamin,” and a look of horror spread across her face. I should mention that this sweet nurse also happened to be pregnant at the time. She actually came close to tears and begged us to pray that she would have a girl because she had agreed to let her husband name his first son Benjamin. She kept saying, “I think I will die if I have to do that!”

My husband and I exchanged glances because we didn’t quite know how to provide support to this young mother who was obviously distraught. My husband said to her, “Gee, you must really hate the name Benjamin. Sorry if we’ve upset you.” With tearful eyes, she looked at him and cried, “Oh, no! It’s not your fault! You don’t understand, Mr. Dudich. It’s not that I hate the name Benjamin, but my last name is “Franklin!” I think I remember hearing my husband say, “Yikes! That explains it.” We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry right along with her. Let this little anecdote serve as a reminder that, when choosing baby names, you’ll want to keep your surname in mind. Believe it or not, I knew a girl in high school whose name was Candy Kane.

It is possible to change a name

People legally change their names all the time. There are typically forms to fill out and fees to pay, but it’s not that complex of a process if there are no extenuating issues. Wouldn’t it be better, however, to choose carefully so you don’t have to regret your decisions and think of new names later? The first gift you give your child is life. Think of his or her name as the second gift. It’s best to avoid making a name the object of a joke or allowing someone to convince you to choose a name you don’t like or that makes you uncomfortable.

Finally, many parents like to name their children for virtues or attributes they hope they will exemplify. We all know people with lovely names, such as “Faith,” “Hope,” and “Charity.” The motive is inherently good here, but it all depends on what a particular parent believes is a virtue. Names, such as “Dominator,” “Bruiser,” or “Player,” might have a high risk of causing later regret. What are some of the most unusual baby names you’ve come across? Do you have advice for others about how to avoid regrets? Tell us about it in the comments!

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