Becoming a Parent, Life Lessons, Polish Culture

The ups and downs of keeping your baby names a secret

About seven seconds after we shared the news that we were pregnant, people have been asking all sorts of questions. When is Nightingale due?  Are we going to learn the sex of the children? Do they have a favorite cognac and preferred smokes? You know, the standard FAQs.

Like an episode of Lost, every question led to another question, and eventually people would ask if we picked out names yet. Most were just making conversation. Others, closer relatives and friends, were lobbying for their choice and/or to be the babies’ namesake. A small minority were just trying to be in the know. We were advised by friends who went through this to keep our choices to ourselves because everyone will have an judgement opinion on your name choices.

We definitely want our kids names to be slightly unusual and not mainstream, but not wacko out there either. We are trying to avoid names that have multiple common spellings (such as Steven and Stephen) or have an icky nickname. I looked though a list of Polish names and found that most of them are simply derivatives of other names so there really isn’t much point naming our daughter Kasia if she’s gonna end up being Katie anyway.

These were used in the Infant Care Basics for Multiples class given by Sharp Mamas.


So we agreed not to share any names or ideas and would answer the question: Do you have names picked out with “We have a shortlist.” My Sister-in-Law was pissed that I wouldn’t share with her. She accused me of already having them picked out (we did) and was more and more frustrated whenever I would say “Moose and Squirrel” or “Boris and Natasha.”

Another couple, who is also having twins, shared in our dilemma. Katniss and her husband were really being pressured to name their kids after family members. Their only saving grace was that they had a large enough family that 1) many had already had kids and knocked off many of the available names and 2) they could argue that they didn’t want to pick sides of the family.

We found solidarity in our twin pregnancy and our name secrecy.

Last Saturday we got a text message with pictures of two gorgeous babies introducing them into the world. And wouldn’t you know it, one of them has the name we picked out for our son.

Momentarily forgetting that Katniss had obviously gone into labor or was induced 4 weeks early, Nightingale’s first thought was: do we need to find a new boy name? Her second thought was: wow Katniss is so lucky to be done with being pregnant and has her babies! Eventually, she realized that coming a few weeks early for a higher risk pregnancy than ours might be the thing to focus on.

I know some people would get wigged out that this name sharing occurred.  But the truth is ultimately it’s no big deal, especially since we didn’t have any way of knowing that the other couple was considering the same name.  And I like to think our friends are pretty level headed. We’ll get teased over the years that we copied them but only in a light-hearted good-natured way.  It’s not like our kids will be roommates at Hogwarts or anything.

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