To Reveal the Name, or Not to Reveal the Name, That is the Question

While there’s been no movement in our baby name stalemate, one thing the husband and I can agree on is we won’t be naming our daughter Hashtag, like one couple recently did. After this horrific (for lack of a better word) name hit the news, even more tales of name debacles surfaced. I think there are plenty of tall tales when it comes to baby names. I’m skeptical when I hear a friend of a friend’s, brother’s sister’s aunt knows a couple who named their baby “YOLO” because of the lack of a primary source. It feels a little like the rendition of walking to school uphill, both ways, naked in the snow, that all grandparents tell. Even here in Arizona.

But a labor and delivery nurse, a valid primary source I’d say, shared accounts of babies named Sparkle, Lehmetaya (pronounced let me tell ya), Main Attraction, the sibling set Your Highness and Her Majesty, and Captain America. The mind boggles. Are these urban legends or is little Facebook (real name) cheerfully calling out “here” alongside her classmates?

I don’t think there should be laws against what individuals can or cannot name their children but hopefully, hopefully, they’ll legally change their name when they’re old enough. More importantly, it does make me wonder, did the couple reveal their name before the baby was born? Were their friends and family on board? Was Hashtag hand-stitched by granny’s arthritic hands onto a keepsake baby quilt?

With our first, we didn’t tell anyone the name before she was born or even what names we were thinking about. I wanted to see her sweet little face first to ensure the name fit, but the main reason? When it comes to names, I can dish it out, but I can’t take it. Everyone has an opinion and I didn’t want to play defense. Naming a child is a big deal in my book and I didn’t want to always remember that Auntie Sally Sue said our daughter’s name reminded her of a lady of the night. It’s hard to forget those things.

I figured the easiest way to avoid unsolicited opinions was just to keep it private. For the most part, it worked. I know everyone wasn’t over the moon about our daughter’s name, Harper, but I didn’t hear too much about it because she was here, named, and oh so snuggleable before the name could totally repel them.

On the downside, family, even strangers were offended at times that we wouldn’t say the name. I was also paranoid people would “steal” her name before she was born. I sidled up to the only other pregnant lady at church due before me, introduced myself, skipped the small talk, and then pumped her for information about her baby name. It wasn’t my finest hour.

We don’t have a name so there’s nothing to share yet, but we still haven’t decided if we will share it prior to her grand entrance.

What say ye? Did you shout their name from the rooftops as soon as you found out you were pregnant? Did telling others the name bring on the opinions? Do you think it’s better to wait?

Do you think these crazy unique name givers could save angelic little “iPhone” or “Pinterest” from a life of embarrassment if someone were to talk them out of the name beforehand?

Image: Name tag via Keith Bell/

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  1. by Ashley F

    On November 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    We shared all of our kids’ names beforehand… but we were also sure of our first two kids’ names. The only we weren’t sure of was Emmett’s. I did have that fear that people might steal it, but I was also afraid if I didn’t claim it they might steal it on accident. For me, I had a hard time connecting emotionally to my last pregnancy and I know part of it had to do with not calling him by a name rather than “it.” My first two were called by their names by everyone long before delivery.

    On a side note, my mother-in-law mentioned she had a student once named K-A, pronounced Kedasha.

  2. by Jen

    On November 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I’ve heard the K-A name story before.. Right along with Orangejello and Lemonjello! (My mom swears that when she worked in L&D as a nurse, a woman named her baby Placenta. I’m skeptical due to her exaggeration prone nature.) My guess is a lot of them are urban myths!

    We told people, but only because my husband can’t keep a secret for nuthin’. With my soon to arrive third, I have no idea what we’re naming him so it makes it very easy to keep it on the DL.

  3. by Ashley E

    On November 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    We are always very open with our names. That being said, no one ever had a problem with the name we picked for our first, then with number two I have gotten an assortment of reactions that have made me think twice about sharing with the next one. Not that the unsolicited advice changed my mind but I could have done without it;P

  4. by Kim

    On November 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    We always revealed the names, but the worst feedback my family will give is `you need to write that down for me.` probably beacause my brother was named after an old comic book. Turned out to be a great Irony, he was named Arion, as in lord of atlantis. He can`t even walk due to MD, let alone swim.

  5. by littleduckies

    On November 29, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Sometimes, if the name is too vulgar, the parents will be forced by court to change it. Meaning, they will not be allowed to write such a vulgar name on the birth certificate. But, if it’s not awful, they usually leave it alone.

  6. by Lindita

    On November 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I learned from my first child that when you tell people your baby’s name, you’re opening yourself up to public opinion and sometimes it can be harsh. I changed her name in the last trimester becuase of the aweful reviews I got on my first couple of picks and kept it to myself until after she was born. I did the same with my second child and didn’t tell anyone until he was born. After they’re born, you might get a raised eyebrow, but they can’t say much because the baby is already here and named. Although, I did have a friend of mine tell me that she never liked my 6-year-old’s name. Oh, well…too bad!:)

  7. by Jaci

    On November 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    My hubby met a woman who’s daughter’s name was L-a (Ladasha). Personally I think it’s mean, but not my kid.

    We did tell with both our kids, more with the first. His name is unique-ish – it’s McLean, and we often call him Mac. All but two people loved it. One said it wasn’t her thing, the other, my closest friend, went on and on about not liking it, what people may turn it into when they made fun of him, and the fact that it was spelled wrong (despite the fact that it’s my grandmother’s maiden name and she is very much alive to confirm the spelling). When she finally had her first she received lots of criticism over what they picked and called to apologize to me.

    If you reveal before the birth, be prepared for everyone’s opinion. If you tell them after the birth, they’ll pretend they like it and talk about it behind your back if they don’t like it. I’m a teacher and most kids I’ve taught has “normal” names, but some were a bit odd. One of my friends taught a Harley Davidson. I taught a girl who’s name sounded like “do me on a” which lent itself to a ton of unfortunate teasing.

  8. by Mandi

    On December 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

    We shared with our first, received no negative feed back (his name is jake) but, when I started mentioning possibilities for number two it amazed me how critical and opinionated people can be! I stopped even telling them “could be’s” and when asked said “we’re not sure yet.” I did get a baby name app with forums so that I could bounce ideas off of people, it’s a lot easier taking criticism from a faceless stranger than it is from your aunt! Now if they don’t like Lincoln Michaels name so much they’re less likely to say so since he’s already here :)

  9. by tesajake

    On December 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

    We kept both of our boys’ names a secret. since we found out and announced the gender of our kids we wanted to keep something for a surprise announcement when they were born. We are TTC what would be our 3rd baby, if we have a girl we already have the name picked out and are keeping to ourselves, if we have a boy it might take us a while to come up with that one since we have already used the only boy names we could agree on!

  10. by Kristi Bennett

    On December 1, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I revealed my names before hand with all six of mine with an exception to an addition to my first child’s, a son, middle name. I had chosen Matthew Brighton but a dear friend of mine followed me around for months asking me to name him Joel. Joel was a dear friend and was there for me through the pregnancy because being single, my family wasn’t there as they should’ve been. So when the day came for my induction, I told those who were there but I told my best friend/birthing coach not to tell Joel. After my son’s arrival and work was called, they posted a sign above the time clock that read, Matthew Joel Brighton Bennett with all his birth statistics; that was almost sixteen years ago and I have lost track of Joel but it meant the world to him at the time.

  11. by Angela Lusk

    On December 1, 2012 at 10:08 am

    We kept it a secret with our first one, Xavier, until he was born and then revealed with the second one, daughter Austen. I think it’s everyone’s personal choice of what they want to do and it’s not quite a big deal to everyone else as one may think. It seems like it’s a much bigger surprise to you than them, if that makes sense. The reason we decided to reveal on the 2nd one was we were soooo over everyone trying to guess Xavier’s name we honestly got tired of it and decided we were not going through with that again. haha

  12. by Lisa

    On December 1, 2012 at 10:40 am

    With our first we didn’t know the gender and kept the names a secret. We live far away from all of our family members, so when the baby was born my husband got to call everyone and tell them ALL the exciting details, while I was in a blur. So next time around we are finding out what it is and revealing our name. This was I will be able be able to share the details myself. Plus I think it will easier on our first to be able to call his brother or sister by their name.

  13. by jennifer

    On December 1, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I had to pick a girl and a boy name for my first since I had no idea what we were having:)
    For my second as soon as we knew it was a girl we announced her name. Now that number 3 is a boy we are using that boy’s name we picked for number 1 even though it is a very popular name now. All my names were well accepted. The girls middle names are after family members no longer with us but I didn’t want to do that with my boy none on the names fit.

  14. by Bekka Besich

    On December 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm


    I agree, it probably is a bigger deal to me or more of a surprise for us than it is for everyone else. Also, I really like the name Austen for a little girl. I’d never thought of that before.