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Childbirth / Children / Motherhood / Pregnancy

Are You Feeling Baby Name Regret?

Would you regret giving your baby a common name? So much so that you would change it? Regret for common names and names that don’t suit are, reportedly, on the rise. Too common a name can be just, well, common. On the other hand will an unusual, unique name create some big shoes to fill? Sure anyone can be named Jennifer or Michael or Mary or Robert and so many babies have received those names that they rank at the top of the baby names list for the last 100 years, according to the Social Security Administration’s list of top baby names.

For those parents who later find their child is one among a sea of children with the same name in the same class at school, would you regret the name enough to change it to something more unique?

On a morning TV show, I overheard just a snippet saying baby name regret is on the rise. My first thought was that there are certainly some names out in the world that get a raised eye brow from me and I wondered if it was the non-traditional names that were making parents think twice about their choice.

To my surprise, it isn’t those names that seem off the wall names that are being changed, so says my Google search, it’s the names that make the top ten list of baby names that are getting the boot and some parents are feeling the name they chose for the babe at birth doesn’t fit their child with age.

I used to work with a woman who changed her name to Taylor because she felt, as an adult, that Jennifer didn’t suit her. How did she choose her name? She was inspired by the brand name of the pens that were ordered for the office. She simply liked the sound the her new name.

Naming a baby can be agonizing and there’s no shortage of people who want to chime in on your intensely personal choice. My kids are named Jason and Kaitlyn. I like the names and I like the people in my life with those names, they were fun people to be around and had great personalities. Kaitlyn, thought, would have been named Samantha if my friend hadn’t taken the name for her daughter.

Is name regret all that common? Maybe. My mother, my brother and I all went through a phase at some point in our lives when we didn’t like our names. My mom tells me she loved the name Samantha and wished her mother would have thought to use it however my mom never thought to change her name. She said she did introduce herself as Samantha a few times at parties as a teen just for the fun of it.

My brother one day said he wanted to go by the name Indian, instead of his first name Neil. That was a short-lived phase. For about a week, I thought my name was so boring and wanted to go by my middle name.

When I named my kids, I was confident that I loved those names and I was confident the names would suit them although, honestly, I’m not entirely sure what a person named Jason or Kaitlyn is supposed to be like. Do you become your name or does your name become you?

Those names that raise my eye brows, mostly celebrity baby names in the news, I wonder what picture their names paint for themselves and their parents. Bob Geldof and Paula Yates named their three daughters Fifi-Trixibelle, Little Pixie, and Peaches Honeyblossom. They sound more like nicknames to me or names that the girls would use playing dress up. Perhaps the inspiration was to create playful names?

Moxie Crimefighter is the son of Penn Gillette. That’s high aspirations for anyone to live up to. Along that same line (of work, maybe), Christy Brinkley named her daughter Sailor and Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf named their son Pilot Inspektor.

Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix named their son Indiana. I can’t help but think of the line from an Indiana Jones movie, “we named the dog Indiana!”

State and city names are popular these days both in celebrity and non-celebrity circles. Are they favorite places for the parents? Alabama, Georgia, Dakota are popular girl’s names. I met a woman whose name was Cheyenne and whose two sisters were both also named after cities in Wyoming. Cheyenne did say her mom really, really liked the state. Phoenix has become a popular name and it’s become unisex too along with Brooklyn and Madison.

According to TheBump website, social media influenced names are popping up around the world. European soccer star Gabriel Zakuani named his son Trendy after Twitter’s “trending topics”. A couple in Egypt named their daughter Facebook after the social media site and it’s prominent role in the protests that led to a dramatic shift in the country’s government. Israeli couple named their daughter Like, as in the button on Facebook. Does that mean these kids will be getting a smartphone before they graduate from kindergarten?

What’s in a name? A whole lot in some cases. Have you felt regret about your baby’s name? How about your name? Have you ever thought of changing your name or your baby’s name?

Heather Ruch
Author: Heather Ruch

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  1. Interesting. I’m really happy with my kids’ names but would definitely have had regret if my daughter had been a boy. At the time, I had a unique name picked out but now, that name is EVERYWHERE and is one of the most common names. So glad I dodged that bullet. 🙂

  2. My children have unique names, but everyone who hears their names comments on how pretty they are, and they like them even more when they hear the meaning. So, I am very happy with my kids’ names, but we chose their names the old fashioned way… by their meaning. Years ago, that was EVERYTHING. What your name meant was a determining factor in who you would be, what your personality would be like…it was your mantle so to speak. If someone faced a tragedy, they would change their name (one example is in the book of Ruth in the Bible, Naomi, who was grieving, changed her name to Mara, meaning bitter).
    Not to mention, I worked in child care for a number of years, and did NOT want to name my kids any of the names of the children I’d worked with. 🙂 In my son’s school, there are so many kids who go by their first name and the initial of their last name because there are multiple kids with the same name. I knew I didn’t want that for my own kids. I loved being the only “Traci” in my schools growing up. Of course, I have met a few in my adult life, but I am glad that my kids aren’t sharing names with multiple kids in their school. Their names are uniquely their own. 🙂

  3. I don’t regret my son’s name choice but I am bummed that it has become very popular. It’s not like we hang out with groups of children very often so when we found our name we genuinely thought it was unique. But now it is EVERYWHERE! The only distinction comes with the way it is spelled. But the name suits our little man and there is no one like him, even if they share the same name. 😉

    It is making me more conscious of naming our little P-nut due in January, though. I’m trying to be more original without being over-the-top. I feel like we played it safe with our first and I’m more comfortable with branching out a bit more with #2.

  4. I wouldn’t change them, I might just spell then differently. People always mispronounce them.

  5. Not in a million years! Our little’s name was completely serendipitous. She was meant to be!

  6. Nope, love my kids names. We only have issues with one child’s name because I chose to spell it with one n instead of the traditional two n’s. It’s really not a big deal to us though. The only thing I cared about was that SHE knew how to spell her name correctly when she started school and the teachers would misspell it. 🙂

  7. My parents could not decide on a name for me. My mother wanted unique, my father wanted common. They settled on Lauren. By the time I was in 4th grade I was one of 7 Lauren’s in my class. My mother wound up changing the spelling of my name, and by 5th grade a I was Loryn.
    I think she still wishes she had named me Griffen.

  8. I love my daughter’s name. I named her Olivia. Even though it is a popular name, I don’t regret choosing it. I am considering a more unique name for my next child.

  9. I have just had my third baby, we had 2 names picked out for a boy Vannen and Cameron, he surprisingly came 4 weeks early and my husband said for me to pick I went with Vannen because he has such a unique entrance to the world I wanted to give him a unique name, I can’t shake the feeling I’ve made a mistake and his name should be Cameron, I’m contemplating changing it before I register it with the government but I have announced him to the world as Vannen already and wonder if I will feel guilty about changing his identity once I do. I’m really struggling with this decision any feed back would be appreciated as to what name sounds better

    • Tough call, but I think I prefer Cameron. But he will probably be the only Vannen in his class if you are going for uniqueness. Vannen grows on me though if I let it sink in a little. I have never known someone to change their child’s name, but it has only been a week so I don’t think it is too late if you decide to. People may only vaguely remember a year from now that it was something different at first. I can’t even remember most of my friends’ babies’ names that have been born in the past year-it usually takes a year until their name sinks in with me. Anyway, I think overall Vannen is a little too unusual for me, but it is up to you. I hope you end up happy with whatever you decide.

  10. I did it. I changed my daughter’s name. It’s not hard to do if it’s been less than 1 year. Everyone kept misprouning and mispelling it and I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t want her to deal with that all her life. So I gave her a common top ten name. She’s one of three in her class with that name now,but I think it beats having a name that is always screwed up because it’s too different. Tbough to be perfectly honest, I would have been better of picking a number 50 name not a top ten, still recognizable, but not so common.

  11. I changed my sons name at 3 weeks,we wanted a unique name. And quickly regretted it. I have never heard a 3 week old baby called so many different names it was just horrible. I kept questioning myself if I should change it or not. I realized I couldn’t live with our mistake and only thought what will my son think of me when he’s older. I didn’t care what others would think, well after I changed it. I didn’t realize how much support I actually had and people really spoke up and said how screwed up his name was, for me not to worry he’ll be happy with our decision when he’s older. I’m glad we did it! I say go with your heart, if you think you made a mistake with the name. I would change now so you no longer have to question yourself. Mommys always know what’s best!

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