Send help! I’m suddenly in a panic about the name we have chosen for our son, due December 1. The name we have chosen (and told our families) is George, but I woke up this morning and suddenly I don’t feel like this is our baby’s name. I still really like the name, I just know if it is MY baby’s name. Our last name is Schm@lz and George feels like a tongue twister when said aloud with our German surname. George was my husband’s suggestion early in our pregnancy and when I approached him today with my second thoughts, he told me he suggested George as a joke! And then convinced me to like it because it is a family name. (WHAT?! Clearly another letter to another column.) George is a family name from my husband’s side and his parents are very pleased we’ve chosen George.
Our daughter’s name is June, chosen years before we ever started our family. I don’t feel like I could ever love a name as much as I love June. She is our beautiful, much anticipated & prayed for daughter who surprised us all by arriving on my birthday, which is June 1. Her name is too serendipitous and meant to be that I don’t know how / if I will ever find that again. This baby boy is a complete surprise and the super planner in me hasn’t had years to obsess over names this time around like I did with June. If June were a boy, her name would have been Teague. I now think maybe THIS baby’s name is Teague, instead of George. I like the name Teague because it is a town in Texas that holds fond memories for us. (We live in Texas.) When we were pregnant with our daughter, we moved into a house on Teague Road, which seemed like a sign that this was our house. I don’t know anyone else named Teague or George which makes both names appealing.
We may have 1 more child after our son and I feel like siblings named June and George have sealed our fate as a family of J/G names which I am not into. Our runner up for my daughter’s name was Ruby. But also, last time I was pregnant I suggested the name Plum at the 11th hour which in hindsight, was clearly pregnancy hormones talking. I’m grateful now that my husband talked me out of that one. Other boy names we’ve considered are Tate (too easily confused when said aloud with Kade… Tade? Kate?), Levi (another no go) and Holt (I still love it but can’t get my husband on board.) My husband is unsure of Teague, he said its easier for him to decide when he hears the name said aloud by other members of our family. I don’t want to announce another name for our baby to our family only to hear them say it aloud and let my husband decide he’s not into it.
My husband’s name is Kade and my name is Leah. Should I chalk up these second thoughts on a not yet arrived baby’s name to pregnancy hormones or trust my gut that tells me the son I’m carrying isn’t George? I can’t wait & go to the hospital with 2 names. I feel very unsettled carrying a person inside me without a name.
Please help! I will send a photo & update the moment he is earthside & named, I promise!
Is there any advice less helpful than advice it is too late to follow? Nevertheless, because this blog is read by many other people who are or will be in the same shoes, I’m going to lead with that: There are many good reasons not to announce a baby’s name before the baby is born, and this letter illustrates one of them. ESPECIALLY with a family name, where people can feel pleased and honored about the use of a name, and then feel hurt and disappointed when the name is changed.
Now to the advice that is, I hope, usable. I think you are giving yourself wayyyyyyyyyyy too hard a task here. First, you are looking for a name you love as much as your daughter’s name, but of course that is not possible at this stage of the game: her name now represents to you everything that she is, the whole beloved person. One day your son’s name will do the same, but at this point you haven’t yet met him, and a name on its own can’t live up to that goal.
Secondly, the fate/meant-to-be element. I can be no more sure than anyone else about the actual underlying workings of our universe. But I am about as sure as I am of anything in life that the universe does not pre-select one perfect meant-to-be name for each human being and then sadistically leave the parents to frantically scramble through every possible name looking for it OR ELSE. You had a remarkable and unusual string of coincidences surrounding your daughter’s name; you say you don’t know how/if you can ever find that again. What if it’s not your job to make cool things like that happen, and you didn’t do anything to make it happen the first time, either? What if it’s the universe’s job to do cool things like that, and your job to appreciate them when they happen? What if your one and only job here is to choose a name your child will find useful for introductions and homework papers, and let fate figure out if there’s going to be cool stuff involved too?
Names are sounds/letters we use to identify a particular human being. There are people who believe in mystical underpinnings and significances of names, but as I understand such things, if they exist you couldn’t avoid them if you tried. If it were true that there was One Destined Name for your son, and you scoffed and said “Fie on you, universe! We shall choose the name we like and not the one you have destined!,” we all know that story would end with you having inadvertently chosen the name the universe wanted you to choose. If fate exists, then there is no getting around it.
Your responsibility as parents is to choose him a good and useful name. Probably nothing is going to give you the same thrill as your daughter’s name, and that’s absolutely normal and okay at this point; later, when the name has welded to your son’s whole being, it may give you that same thrill—or it may never do so, and that’s also normal and okay. Probably nothing is going to measure up to the string of coincidences surrounding your daughter’s name, and that too is absolutely normal and okay. Did you MAKE all those cool things to happen with June’s name? Did you prevent her from being born until June, and then force her birth on your birthday? You don’t need to force/engineer events this time, either. Maybe you will get lucky and similar things will happen this time, or maybe the universe gave you a little fun treat last time and it’s one per customer.
Okay, it’s time to address the name itself. George is a great name, and a family name too. It’s a little hard to say with the surname, but not at deal-breaking levels. I recommend finding a bunch of names already given to actual people (a yearbook, or credits of a movie or TV show, or acknowledgements in the back of a book, etc.), and seeing how many of them don’t quite go with the surnames; it can be soothing to see how very unnoticeable it is and how very little it matters.
I don’t think siblings named June and George commits you to all J/G names. It helps that they start with different letters.
Teague is also a great name. Either name will give this child a good usable name to live with.
If you don’t want to use George, you don’t have to. You still have about four months to go, so there is plenty of time to think this through. I think part of your panic may be because you already announced it and you feel as if you have to tell people right away that things have changed. I do recommend telling everyone that the name is not in fact yet fully decided, and then don’t make any more absolute/final name-related announcements until the birth: the worst here would be to yank people back and forth about the name. Discussions, sure: go ahead and say you’re considering Teague, if your husband needs to hear other people say it (though be aware it opens the name up for feedback, which can make things more difficult). But even if you absolutely settle on a name and want to let everyone know, leave it loose: “We’re PRETTY settled on ______, but we’re going to wait until we see him to be sure!” That will take some pressure off of you, and I hope make you feel less trapped.
I understand the desire to get this baby named and feel settled about it, but there is no real hurry at this point, and the feeling that it is Important that he be named as soon as possible is going to put you under unnecessary pressure and stress—not great conditions for facilitating big decisions. It’s not weird for him not to have a name yet; many, maybe MOST babies aren’t named yet at this stage of pregnancy. Take your time; sit with both names (and others, too, if you like), and see which one rises to the top.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response to my panicked email about naming our son. I appreciate your sound advice & the input of your thoughtful readers. After much consideration, we decided George wasn’t the name for this baby and Teague D@vid Schm@lz joined our family this week. All of us, especially big sister June, are smitten.