Why I Won’t Tell You What I’m Naming My Baby

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“What are you going to name your baby?” This is a question I’ve asked many of my pregnant clients as they sit in my chair. A common answer is something like, “Oh, we aren’t telling anyone until the baby is born.” Before I was pregnant with my first, I would wonder to myself, “Why?! I’m not pregnant. It’s not like I’m going to steal your name!” That response drove me CRAZY.image

Choosing a name for your child can be quite challenging. There are so many things to consider:

Will kids make fun of this name?

Does this name rhyme with anything that kids could make fun of?

Do his initials spell anything weird?

“How will this name sound as an adult?

And the list goes on. Finally settling on the right name can be both relieving and exciting, so once I became pregnant and we chose the name we knew was right for our son, I was so excited to tell anyone who asked! I loved the name and to me it was perfect – different yet not crazy and slightly uncommon. (Keeping in mind my name is Ashleigh and my husband is Chris, we wanted something less common.)

So, it was my turn to to answer the question:

“What are you going to name him?”

We were always excited to respond, “We’re going to name him Cash!”

While some feedback we received was positive, a lot of responses left me discouraged. I received comments such as:

“Ohhhhh…” Saying this while they nod there head yes with a slight smile and eyebrows lifted, I could tell they didn’t like it.

“I’m not a huge fan, but maybe when I see him I’ll like it.” Umm, ok. Thanks!

“Oh, you mean like money?” Uh, I guess so?

“That’s so funny! Are you going to name your next one check??” You know what? That’s exactly what I was thinking! How clever!

“You must be huge Jonny Cash fans, right?” Not really….

“Oh my gosh, that’s my dogs name!” Oh that’s awesome! I hope he’s as cute as your dog!

“Are you sure? You know he’ll have that name forever!” Really? I wasn’t aware of that!

Or my favorite, “How about ___ (fill in the blank with a different name)?” So you’re suggesting a whole new name for my child? Thanks. Haha.

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The list goes on and on. I grew tired of hearing this unwanted feedback. It was my child and it was a name I loved, but I started to second guess my choice. I eventually stopped telling people and when he was born he received the name Cash Conrad Ferguson. I couldn’t be more happy with it and it fits him perfectly.

Now nearly full term with my second son, my response is different when anyone asks “What are you going to name him?” I now answer with what used to drive me crazy- “We aren’t telling anyone until the baby is born,” or something like, “We don’t know yet. I’ve been so distracted with taking care of my two-year-old that I haven’t had much time to think about it!”

Just to confirm, we still do not know the name for sure, but we don’t want to share the few choices we have – I’m not interested in hearing the feedback and I now understand why some people keep their child’s name a secret. So, for the friends and family wondering, approximately 2 more weeks and this little guy’s name will be revealed! And it will be awesome.
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Ashleigh was born in Houston, TX and raised in Plainfield, IN, where she now resides with a family of her own. Ashleigh and her husband met at their best friends' wedding and soon after welcomed their son, Cash, who is now two. This summer they will add another little boy to their family. Following high school, Ashleigh attended IUPUI for Interior Design before deciding to pursue her dream career as a hairstylist. After working for eight years in downtown Indy at MDG Salon Studios she decided to move her business part-time locally in Plainfield at Honeycomb Studios so she can spend more time with her children. Ashleigh specializes in wedding and special events hair styling and creative color and cuts. Her passion for crafting and obsession with toddler fashion lead her to open Dearest and Dashing a children's fashion accessories shop on Etsy where she is the owner and designer.

15 COMMENTS

  1. I still do not understand the goal of keeping the secret until birth. You will just wait to get their opinions until then! I have found people give unsolicited parenting advice pregnant or not. When you answer questions about choosing schools, vaccines, dietary choices, piercings, etc., you will hear their opinions. Waiting until they are born will not solve this problem that people seem to have! I had a lady ask my 8 year old niece’s name. I told her it was Bailey and she said “So she is named after alcohol?” I have just been super intentional about how I respond to others now when they make any parenting decision. I hope that my supportive response will go a long way in helping others see a different way to behave. This is of course just my own preference about how to handle people with poor social skills- take it or toss it. πŸ™‚

    • Cheryl I see your point. Working as a hairstylist before 7 days a week and seeing 50 clients per week I guess I had an overwhelming amount of advice whether I shared the name or not. It’s not a resolution for the problem and I never claimed it to be one. Believe me I still have people asks about Cashs name. It was just something I chose to do this time around and I found it to be fun to surprise family and friends with the name. Now, they still may not like it and I may still get unwanted comments about it but guess what?? I don’t care.

    • We named our 3rd child Cash 8 1/2 years ago after a man my husband met in the 80’s and although we didn’t disclose until the birth we received a lot of un solicited opinions good and bad and down right annoying.
      Oh you must be a huge Johnny Cash fan.
      Are you going to name is middle name register?
      Are you going to call him Cash money?
      His name is Cash? Like in Money?
      What kind of name is that?
      Are you going to call your next child check or dollar etc etc
      Then we had the nicer comments that’s so cool I love it
      So I completely understand. Our daughters name is Leslie and oldest son Luke and then we named our 4th son Cael (yes as in the vegetable but not spelled the same) oh it’s fun hearing people try to pronounce this one lol
      And our last sons name is Lachlan. None of our children were announced until birth. I figured I got enough comments /opinions throughout my PG. I figured I’d save myself 10 months of grief haha

    • I promise you that the number of people who will share a negative opinion after the child is born and the birth certificiate is issued is smaller than the number that will share a negative opinion when you’re still pregnant. Some people mistake the sharing of information as an automatic request for an opinion or advice. You’re a lot more likely to receive unwanted “advice” when the name is something that you could technically still change.

      I have kept my kids’ names secret, because I know if my mother dislikes it, she’ll spend 20 weeks dropping hints and texting me different ideas. No thanks! I’m not a jerk about why we keep it a secret though. I’ve just said that we are still undecided between a couple and want to surprise the family with it after the baby is born.

  2. I am a lawyer. I do custody cases among other areas of practice. Locally we have a judge who, when all else is equal, and the child has a “different” name, asks who gave the child that unique name. Which Parent came up with it? Then he gives custody to the other parent. The idea being that parents who give children unique names are not thinking about the child, but trying to get attention for themselves at the child’s expense, and it says something about the parent’s maturity level. Others in our culture may or may not share that point of view. Sometimes we do not want to hear what we need to hear. If the child was receiving a culturally acceptable name, there would be no need to keep it a secret. Naming the child after another word for money seems to say something about you, whatever your motives or ideas may have been. Of course you have a right to do it, it does not mean it was the right thing to do.

    • Susan,

      That a woman of the law would even consider ruling in favor of a parent based on a name, with no legal backing or even proof of who choose the name (as though there’s a law there?) is shameful. Parents name their children the best they can, and being judgmental of that is shallow and certainly not a legal interest. If it were, there would be legal issues with the name in the first place. Your job as a lawyer is to uphold THE LAW, not your person opinions. Are you admitting to not doing your job within the confines of the law itself?

    • That judge is a jerk. There are so many cultural influences that go into choosing a name- that he or she (and you) find it offensive or immature is ignorant on your part.

      The names aren’t the issue: the bias and assumptions against the names are the issue. This is far more an issue if prejudice than it is a parent’s maturity or judgment.

  3. Interesting, I never really liked when people wouldn’t tell you what they were going to name their baby, made me think they thought they were more important than they really are, I mean it’s just kids name, I’m just making conversation. Then I realized it’s because they didn’t want anyone’s opinion.

    When I was pregnant I would tell everyone what we were going to name our baby when they asked and many people would make comments they were surprised my husband and I were so open about it. We’d tell them the name and say we didn’t mind sharing because we didn’t care what anyone’s opinion was about the name we picked. I really didn’t care what people thought about the name, we loved it, we were 100% confident in the name. I guess we are just unique in that we don’t care what other people think, we’re both just comfortable in who we are that we don’t look to others for approval, but the older I get the more I realize that is not the norm, but rather the exception.

    On the other hand seems like no one really pays attention to what you name your second kid, not even the parents because they used their favorite name the first time around, so seems like an honest answer with #2 is I don’t know.

    I also never understand when people would wait a couple days after the baby was born to name their baby, I would think after 40 weeks of preparation you’d have it narrowed down to decide a few minutes, but that’s just my opinion.

    I love my unique name, I love the story behind why I have a unique name. My sister has the most common name ever & she says I got the cool name. We gave my son a unique but not weird name (Merit) because we have such a common last name, hopefully it’ll save him headache later in life. My husband has the most common first and last name and we were to sell our house and had to verify all these title defects were for a different Kevin, airport raises flags because of criminals with his name, job background checks, etc. To take custody away from a parent because they decided not to name their child Joe, just seems very, very wrong.

  4. I think waiting prevents other people’s opinions from making you second guess yourself. Of course you get the opinions later, also . By then their advice is too late to matter!

  5. We do not tell people until close to birth for a few reasons.
    First of all, I informed my wife of our 3-5 boys names on our first date. In the even we had a girl the name was up for discussion, but the boys names were not.
    People asked us the names long before we got pregnant, and we never told. Then we got pregnant, we decided to come up with a girls name just for good measure.
    The girls name was to be Greyson Rayne. We told a few people. A week or so later my wifes cousin had a baby, we hadnt spoken to these cousins in months and they had apparently decided their sons name long ago, but didnt tell anyone.
    His name is Graceson Reign.
    Luckily we found out we were having a boy a short while later.
    So our first boys name is Castian Rex. Castian was a name i created when I was ten years old and although it could be found on xbox live and other game sites, no one associated with an actual name. I would constantly search to make sure no one had stolen my name. At the time of his birth his name was still unique and there might not be anyone else in the world with that name.
    With our second boy the name was always Caymen Ray, we went back and forth on the spelling of his first name but thats about it. As i started telling people his name as the due date approached I found several other people with older children with that name. I knew it wasn’t that unique but I was a little suprised it was more common than I thought.
    We are now pregnant again with another boy. The third boy name has changed since our first date, it was going to be Camden or Collin but Camden is way to common now and Collin always has been.
    After watching a sci-fi series we found a new name. It is not spelled anything like the name on the show and it is a very uncommin first name (but a rather common last name).
    We will not be sharing this name until closer to birth but rest assure it follows our normal parameters “Ca_______ R_____”.
    The opinions of others have never bothered me, We mainly like that fact that are names are unique and don’t want people to steal them by putting it out in the world.

  6. I wish I had read this like 5 months ago. We had a family trip to Puerto Rico where we announced a pregnancy (yay!), the gender (yay!), and our chosen name (whomp whomp, crickets and shakes of the head were the nicest responses). It ruined it for us. I know we shouldn’t care, but we can’t help be affected…. shoulda kept my mouth shut:( Now we have found a new great name, but part of me (the irrational part, I admit), feels like her personality will be different. The new name is awesome, but has a totally different vibe . . . . Thank goodness for middle names at least wink emoticon I can have my cake and eat it too.

  7. Tim Cassil, I’m surprised your wife was ok with you picking all the names, but again it is awesome and flattering to be on a first date and y’all know ‘this is it’ and you start talking about kids. That’s a great story to pass down to your boys πŸ™‚

    Ashleigh, you got some interesting comments on this topic. Do what you want! And yes, Cash is a cute name!

  8. I love the name Cash! That is the only thing people EVER should have said, because it is a cool name. I really did not enjoy the constant nagging for the answers to all types of questions. I just kinda wanted for people to sit next to me and marvel at the whole miracle of pregnancy with me. STOP KILLING MY BUZZ MY ASKING 900 QUESTIONS, PEOPLE!!!

  9. I love your boys name! I have a seven year old little girl that I thought was a boy for so long and I was going to name her Cash! And because out she came as a sweet little girl she became a Gray instead. But 7 years later we had another baby, a BOY, and his name is Madden Cash…..we absolutely LOVE his name!!!!

    And on a total side note, can you please share where his little hat and shirt are from? I am in love with them!

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