Thursday, July 14, 2011

Name Poaching - It's a Jungle Out There

Maybe you've thought about baby names your entire life or maybe it took actually being pregnant to consider the options.  In either case, it's a big deal when you finally settle on THE name.  It also immediately instigates a new decision - to tell or not to tell.  Should you reveal the name or keep it under lock and key?

Reasons to TELL
  • It's way too hard a secret to keep and you'll make yourself miserable trying
  • You want/need to start monogramming and personalizing adorable baby products
  • Feedback on nicknames, pronunciation and random name-related complications are never a bad thing.  And if you do discover some sort of unanticipated angle (i.e. People could call him Chuck instead of Charlie), you have plenty of time to develop a game plan

Reasons to NOT Tell
  • Surprises make good things better, and surprising... 
  • Avoid awkward reactions from people who don't like the choice and do a bad job of faking it
  • Avoid rude reactions from people who don't like the choice and don't care to fake it

Now that I've given you some food for thought, I want you to put said food aside and snack later.  Let's talk name poaching.  I left this major issue off both lists because I think it should be a separate consideration.  When you finally settle on your name of choice, whether it's decades in the making or a fabulous find from a baby name book that you bought an hour ago, the threat of someone stealing it becomes real, and real scary.

Revealing the chosen name could be a useful tool for staking your claim - it takes a mean biatch to snatch a baby name, especially from an expecting mother.  On the other hand, maybe your friends and family members are a bunch of mean biatches, so by revealing the name you're effectively waving the carrot.  And let's not forget about co-workers and acquaintances who could steal the name without falling into the brazen-jackhole category because they don't know you all that well. 

I think we all remember George Costanza's perfect baby name - Seven.  And I think we all remember when that name was stolen from him.  Makes you wonder whether he should have kept it under wraps until baby Costanza existed. 

It would suck if a good friend or favorite cousin stole your name, but I think the likelihood of that happening is about .04% (read: totally and completely unlikely).  Everyone else wants their baby name to be just as one-of-a-kind (within their circle) as you do - there's a mutual desire to avoid duplication.  And, more importantly, you don't keep mean biatches in your circle.  So, it's a wash.  You can keep it a secret and risk the rarest of chances that someone will randomly choose the name OR you can tell everyone and risk the rarest of chances that a meanie will poach the name.

Go back to that food (the original two lists) and make your decision based on those factors, because poaching is an unpredictable, rarity that cannot be accounted for.

Victoria Beckham 9+ months pregnant with
Harper SEVEN
(image HERE)


Jessica said...

Great post! I think about naming/revealing names for our future children all the time. I went to a shower yesterday where the mom-to-be revealed her names; everyone smiled politely and then the comments started... "everyone might pronounce that wrong", "how on earth did you think of those?" "what about THIS name". Ideally I'd keep my names a secret, although I'd probably explode with the effort.

Leah (it's me) said...

Jessica - Great comment. This is exactly what I've encountered when being a part of a conversation where a pregnant woman bravely reveals her chosen name. It certainly has me leaning toward secrecy (someday).

Sisters 'N Cloth said...

We have four children and have always revealed the names. But we never discuss the naming process with others, ie, "What are you going to name him?" "Oh, we are thinking about ____ and ____." Occasionally we will let someone really close in on the naming process, like my sister. Otherwise we announce it firmly as the name, and no matter what people's reactions, that's the name. Both my son's have Old Testament Biblical names. My youngest is more unusual than my older son's (not quite "Hezekiah" but not "Noah" either). Some people love it, and others do the polite "Ohhh" and change the subject ;)

I think it helps that we don't just pick a name because it sounds good. We pick a name based on meaning of the name, our prayers and hopes for our children, and where we are in our lives at that time. So its harder to be swayed just because a few people don't love it,