I had chosen the name for my daughter a long time before I had even conceived her because I had seen it in a special book, and I loved it instantly. I talked it over with my mom and sister, and we decided it would be totally acceptable to email Jessica sharing some of my feelings.
It was important to me to convey my message in a kind and loving way, so I took my time to compose what I felt to be a well-written email. I told Jessica I was feeling badly that she chose the same name as me, and that I wished she had talked to me about it first.
My intention was to share my feelings and get them out in the open, so I wouldn't have to endure a lifetime of resentment every time I saw Jessica and her daughter. She understood not a single sentiment of my feelings or opinion on the matter.
She took my attempt at “lets communicate about this and move on” and crumpled it up and threw it away. But I made the decision to send the email because so many of our gripes with people or situations are left unsaid, inspiring resentment.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Choosing a baby name can be a long and emotional process involving hours spent poring over lists, debating with family members and fantasizing about the kind of person you may raise.
So, it should come as no surprise that people can get quite territorial about their choices of baby names, real and hypothetical. In these pop culture examples, the “robbed” characters’ reactions to baby name theft range from total outrage to warm support.
Similarly, in real life, people have mixed opinions about the idea of someone choosing a baby name they already used or plan to use. Moms and dads shared their experiences with this phenomenon in response to a callout on the HuffPost Parents Facebook page, which was inundated with “theft” anecdotes involving friends, family members and coworkers.
Another commenter, Kat Deeds, wrote that she and her sister were pregnant with baby boys around the same time and openly planned to name their sons Ethan and Austin, respectively. After their mother declared that she hated the name Austin, however, Deeds’ sister instead used Ethan for her son, who was born first.
There were also several stories about ex-partners picking specific baby names they had discussed during their relationship when they went on to have children with new partners. And one person had a friend who used her baby name idea as stage name while working as a stripper.
Of course, as multiple parents noted, the notion of baby name theft is a “first world problem,” and it’s not really possible to “steal” a name. “Imagine being so entitled that you think you own a name, ” wrote Haley Potter in the most-liked comment on the thread.
“We have an emotional attachment to the names we select,” etiquette expert Diane Ottoman told HuffPost. “Parents are very attached to names for reasons that range from wanting to honor a family member, like a grandmother or favorite uncle, to idolizing someone like a mentor or important movie star.” Ottoman also pointed to a friend who was named Paris because her parents loved the city and got married there.
“When someone else comes in and uses that name, it feels like a theft,” said Ottoman, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life and founder of The Protocol School of Texas. Instant name !” she wrote, adding that her sister then declared she wanted to use it if she had another daughter and demanded that Bearer choose something else.
Ottoman advised those who wish to use a specific family name to let their relatives know in advance and be prepared for some duplicates. If another family member has already picked that person’s name, be sensitive in informing them of your intentions.
“In Greek tradition, you name your first boy and girl after the husband’s mother and father,” Eliza Harris D’INRI explained. So when we were all young and grandma was still alive, there were four Eliza Hal arises at every family gathering lol.
This tradition is apparent in a scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding” in which the protagonist’s father introduces the whole family to their new in-laws. While many people don’t mind if a loved one copies their baby name choice, it’s clear others have stronger feelings.
You certainly don’t want to do it with any intent to upset the person, but honesty is the best policy,” international etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore said. Ottoman noted that there isn’t much you can do after the baby is born, but if you know the name in advance, you can certainly talk to the parents about your feelings.
Ultimately, it’s important to consider if this was done intentionally and maliciously, and if it’s worth ruining your relationship with the other person. Ottoman and Whitmore both advised people who have strong feelings about baby name theft to keep their name ideas to themselves until after they give birth.
“If you have a name that’s really special to you, hedge your bets and don’t share it because someone is going to hear it and even subconsciously save it,” Ottoman explained. “We oftentimes don’t even remember where we heard something or got an idea, and then it becomes part of our everyday thinking.
There are diplomatic ways to face someone who sees you as a baby name thief,” especially if you want to preserve your relationship. Multiple parents who responded to HuffPost’s Facebook callout expressed their appreciation for friends who asked if it would be OK to copy their baby name choices for their children.
“You don’t own a name ... I thought it was nice that she asked,” wrote Stephanie Alp. If a friend or relative is unhappy with your similar baby name choice, it’s best to address the conflict.
That said, unless your friend’s baby name also happens to be incredibly special to you, it may be better to simply think about alternative options. Plus, when you look at the big picture, it’s not the end of the world to have two Jacks in a family or friend group.
Many parents told HuffPost they would love to hear of friends giving their child’s name to a new baby because they enjoy it so much. “It’s an honor that someone thinks the name you gave your child is so beautiful they want it too,” Liz Masts Royal wrote.
“ My aunt and uncle named my older cousin the namely parents had said they liked for a girl, and I’m REALLY glad they did because I like my name so much better,” said Chloé Danielle Reno. While baby name theft can be an emotional topic, it’s important to keep things in perspective.
After all, parenthood brings forth a number of issues and challenges that make baby name concerns feel trivial in the long run. In the early days of our relationship, my husband and I sometimes talked about what we’d name our future kids.
Serena for a girl (I really liked the idea of Ring as a nickname) and Sasha for a boy (we both liked fictional characters with the name). When my mom died a year and a half before I got pregnant, however, the names we’d chosen no longer seemed relevant.
We knew if I eventually got pregnant, we’d name our child after my mom. We both come from a long line of Ashkenazi Jews, and Ashkenazi Jews have a tradition of naming their children after deceased relatives.
After an annoyingly extensive search for R boy names, we gave up, settling on Lee (for the latter part of Rosalie) as a middle name for our son. We quickly fell in love with the name Asher, which means happy in Hebrew.
A year later, we revisited the Rose conundrum in earnest when I found out I was pregnant with a girl. With even more of a gap between my mom and her next grandchild, it seemed even more urgent to ensure a connection between the two.
I didn’t want my mom’s identity to consume my relationship with my daughter, and I knew if I let grief and worry dictate this decision, it might. Like my mom, Ruby has blonde hair and light eyes.
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