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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Someone Else Has the Same Name

Anna writes:
I'm writing to you because I need a sounding board and hopefully some advice from any readers who have been in similar situations. Here goes: My husband and I are expecting our first, a girl, in early February. There was lots of my suggesting names only to have him veto them, then one day he came home from work with a twinkle in his eye and said "how about Amelia?" I immediately liked, and grew to love, the name. Even as I was "deciding," he obviously had his mind made up. So our girl had been Amelia for a couple months now, and I love the fact that he named her. We have been keeping mum on the name as far as family and friends go, waiting until after she was born.

We know a couple who just had their first baby today. The husband is a friend of my husband's, but to me they are just acquaintances. Nice people, I went to her baby shower, and we have a lot of mutual friends, again mostly through my husband. But, they are people we see regularly. There's also been a lot of fanfare around this baby, while we are more low-key people. They didn't find out the sex of their baby and for the past few weeks I had been having this nightmare that they had a baby girl and named her Amelia. Well, my nightmare came true today. They sent out a mass text message announcing the birth, name, etc. I cried. A lot.

Now folks, I am well aware that in the grand scheme of things, this is a blip on the radar. We're all healthy and employed. But I feel like my heart is breaking. And now, when I hear the name Amelia, instead of thinking of my husband murmuring our baby's name as we all fell asleep together, I think of these people's strange baby and feel confused.

What would you do? I'm open to anything.

What would I do? I would name my daughter Amelia. Or, more specifically, I would not change the name of the daughter I'd already named Amelia.

According to the Social Security Administration, 4,627 baby girls were named Amelia in 2009 alone. It's too bad some acquaintances of yours were one of the many thousands to name a baby girl Amelia in 2010, but there's no reason their choice affects yours. You have already named your baby Amelia, and I don't see anything in what you've told me about the relationship between your two families that would mean each of you having an Amelia would be a problem in any way.

You should respond to their text message: "OMG!!! This is so exciting!! Amelia is what we're naming OUR daughter!! Don't tell, okay? It's a secret! And congratulations on your Amelia! We LOVE her name!! *smiley emoticon*" If you don't want to do this, you can go to plan B, which is this: when you announce your daughter's name, you will say to them with delight, "OMG, we were SO SURPRISED when you used the name too!! But we were keeping the name a secret, so we couldn't tell you until now!"

Name update! Anna writes:
You and your readers' responses were so encouraging and we kept the name we loved, and added an unusual middle name. Amelia Morning was born February 10 at home. I did some soul searching and followed my heart with the name and the birth, and couldn't be happier. Also, the "other" Amelia's parents have been extremely gracious. If anything, we have become closer to them. The daddies call each other "Amelia's dad" and have Team Amelia playdates. All's well that ends well!


Karen L said...

Swistle nailed it.

Suzanne said...

Perfect Swistle, as usual. Someone I only internet-know just announced IF she ever has a second baby AND it happens to be a girl she is going to use *our current 1st choice for the baby I'm expecting in the next month*. So I suddenly feel like when I announce this baby's name she's going to have the reaction you're having. Which is ridiculous, especially since she isn't even CONSIDERING trying to get pregnant anytime soon. But still. I understand why you were upset.

Sarah said...

I'm with Swistle. I would phrase it a little differently, perhaps, but the content of my message would be the same.

She can choose how she feels about it, but personally, I'd take it as a great compliment that someone used the same name!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I understand how you feel, that would be heartbreaking, especially combined with pregnancy horomones.

Swistle has exactly the right response though. Love the whole, "We wanted to tell you so badly when we heard YOUR daughter's name, but we've been keeping our name choice a secret FOR MONTHS!" Such a fun way to go about it.

Or, "How funny!! Great minds think alike, we chose Amelia for our daughter's name too!"

Totally works.

Anonymous said...

I agree-- your daughter is Amelia! Just be sure they have different middle names :)

The Schwant Family said...

Agreed, swistle nailed it!

Go out and monogram some things (if you haven't already) it will make the name feel more like yours (hers) again! So sweet that her daddy named her.

d e v a n said...

Swistle's answer was perfect of course! Don't DARE change that beautiful name. ;)

StephLove said...

Do you need someone else to tell you to go ahead and name her Amelia? Probably not, but here goes: Go ahead and name her Amelia.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

To add to all the great comments, as soon as your daughter is in your arms, you won't even associate that name with anyone but her! :)

Adey said...

First off - I'm so sorry!!! I completely understand how that feels.

That being said - I love Swistle's suggestion!

I think you definitely should use it if that's the name you both love.

Frazzled Mom said...

Swistle's right, but I totally sympathize.

Based on your description of the relationship, it doesn't sound like your daughters will spend much time together. I'm willing to bet these people won't be in your life forever.

My Great Grandparents - may they rest in piece - changed their minds on my Grandfather's name because there was another baby boy born in the same hospital on or around the same day with the same name (first and middle) they had chosen. This caused my Great Grandparents to change their name choice at the last minute - all they did was switch the first and middle name. But imagine that?!?!?!

Now some nearly 80 years later, it seems kind of silly that my Grandfather's name was inspired by the choice of strangers who happened to be in the same hospital!

The point of sharing that - besides the fact that I find the story amusing - is that in a few decades your daughter will more appreciate that you picked the name you love rather than base your choice on the choice of others who probably won't be in your life forever.

Giselle said...

I join the throng...keep the name!

And not everyone will be thrilled. And that's okay. I hemmed and hawed about naming my daughter Lillian because my cousin had a daughter with the same name (although she exclusively goes by Ellie...not the nickname we use). My husband finally convinced me that we should just go ahead and use the name that we have loved since college and not worry, since we had only met Ellie once, she would be 4 years older than our Lily, different last names, etc etc.

3 days after our Lillian was born, I received a scathing e-mail from my cousin's wife telling me we'd made a horrible mistake and should have consulted them before naming our daughter and how confusing I was making it for our grandmother. And I'm pretty sure she's still angry about it...even though our daughters have no problem with it.

And you know what? I'm so so so glad that I named my daughter what I wanted. Because I love the name. I know it had nothing to do with them. And no other name would have had the same meaning and history to us. And I love the name. The end.

Saly said...

This happened to me. In fact, I wrote about it here. Long story short, when pregnant with my 3rd, and having just found out she was a girl, we named her Hannah--I'd fallen in love with the name and hoped she was a girl so we could use it. My brother's BIL and SIL were having a baby too, not telling names or sex. The email came with her name as the subject and I was hysterical about it. Swistle helped to talk me down too. And I sent them a nice note and gift to say "How funny, we are naming OUR daughter Hannah too!!"

It has been over 2 years and there have been no problems. We've seen them socially a few times and no biggie. The biggest impact is probably to my brother and SIL who have to label Christmas and Easter gifts to Hannah B and Hannah D to make sure they go to the right house.

I say go for it. Keep her name. Afterall, for all intents and purposes, you've already named her.

Good luck and congrats on your first baby!

Patricia said...

I totally agree with Swistle. Your baby's name IS Amelia. How can she be called by any other name? I'd not worry about your acquaintances choosing that name too and just mention casually -- now or later -- that your baby is called Amelia too. Maybe it's best to do so right away (Swistle Response A) so there will be no doubt that you're not copying them but have already chosen that name for your daughter. I love the wording: "This is so exciting!! Amelia is what we're naming [or calling -- making it clear that you're already calling her Amelia] our daughter [too]!"

Mrs S said...

You found a name you love. And you chose that name for your daughter. It sucks that friends of friends picked the same name. I would be SO disappointed too. Swistle is right just give them a friendly heads up that you've named your daughter that too.And don't feel bad about it! :)

Colleen said...

The exact same thing happened to us, except it was the same first AND middle name! After getting over that heart sinking feeling, we went ahead and named our daughter just as we had planned. I am so glad we did! We adore her name and it's been so fun for the girls to share a name. The other family is incredibly gracious, which is an added bonus.

Katie said...

Spot on, Swistle.

Best of luck to you Anna.

Joanne said...

Of course, you should just name your baby Amelia. I just don't think you should worry about it. When I was growing up, I had cousins that had the exact same name and we never thought of it.

Anna said...

Dear Swistle and Commenters,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your swift posting and kind words of encouragement! I feel so much better now...validated and reassured about our decision! My husband's response was "I love you and I love Amelia" so thanks to all of you, my sad tears turned into happy ones.

Now we just have to decide on a middle name. How about Amelia Swistle? ;)

With gratitude,

Jess said...

I've never posted here before, but just had to chime in. Good friends of mine experienced exactly the same thing - they'd chosen Maggie as the name for their daughter to be born in February, and in November, other acquaintance type friends name their child Maggie. They stuck with the name they loved, and all are happy. The girls are only 2 now, so they don't really get it, but I'm sure on the few times a year they see each other, they'll learn to enjoy having "the other maggie" around.

So glad to read you decided to stick with the name you loved!

Anonymous said...

We had the same thing happen to us. A former co-worker of my husbands named their daughter Avery, three days before our Avery was born. This was made worse by the fact that they did not know the sex of the baby until birth - AND knew that we were having a girl and would be most likely naming her Avery, since it had been our favorite girls name in previous pregnancies (when we had boys). Even though we hadn't officially announced her name yet, we 'knew' her as Avery and couldn't imagine calling her anything else. We just figured they knew us well enough to know it was 'our' name and if they wanted to use it too, they would just have to deal.

Don't let someone else's decision affect the name of your baby!

The Mrs. said...

What a miserable experience for you, Anna! I am so sorry!

How wonderful that you have given your daughter a classic, appealing name. She will benefit from it her whole life.

When our first child was born, a friend asked what her middle name was. After telling her, she said, "What a great middle name! I'm going to suggest it to my neice!" Her neice DID use our daughter's middle name for her daughter, and -honestly- it kind of chapped my hyde. But it was flattering, too. *sigh*

The most popular combos I have heard lately for the Amelias being born around here are 'Amelia Jane' and 'Amelia June'.

But 'Amelia Evelyn' or 'Amelia Mae' sound sweet.

And 'Amelia Anna' is extra nice. :)

Congratulations on your first fantastic baby! May your delivery be quick and your daughter healthy. Best wishes!

Amy said...

Something very similar happened to us, except we were the ones to name our daughter Amelia first. Friends of ours who weren't even pregnant yet freaked out when we announced the name and were upset that we were "stealing" their name even though they had never mentioned the name to us before. They got pregnant a few months later, didn't find out the sex of the baby and had a girl 9 months later and named her Amelia. I have no problem with them naming her the same name as my daughter; it was how rudely they handled the announcement of my daughter's name that upset me. I would definitely do Swistle's option A. That way hopefully there won't be any hurt feelings. And there haven't been any issues with both girls having the name...especially since we call our daughter Mia and they call their's Amelia. :) Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

I am a fellow blogspot user as well. I stumbled upon your post while querying "baby names." First, let me say my two year old daughter's name is Emelia (pronounced the same as Amelia). We call her Emmy for short. Anyway, I think that if you like the name, you should use it. It means something to you - especially since your husband was a part of the process as well. There are tactful ways to handle it (which it looks like you are well aware), and if they are understanding people, they will not care.

My husband and I are in a similar situation. We found out that we are going to have a baby boy in April and after many battles, we decided on the name Connor. Well, it turns out I have a second cousin who just named his baby Connor. I couldn't tell you the last time we saw him or even if their paths would ever cross, but I still can't help but feel like we are stealing their name. I felt very disappointed, even though I was happy for him.

More and more people are telling us to go for it though and I offer the same to you.

I see that I am a couple of months behind in my comments, but I hope that whatever decision you made, you are content. Amelia is a great name :)

Best wishes


Patricia said...

Aww...Amelia is darling. I'm glad you didn't change her name because your friends' baby Amelia was born first. It's wonderful that your friends are delighting in your baby being called Amelia too. Thanks for letting us know and for sending a photo too.

monsterina said...

Aww, gorgeous photo. Congratulations on the birth of Amelia. I'm glad you went with your special favourite name.

We almost had the exact same thing happen to us - I even had the same nightmare that our friends had a girl and named her *name that we'd picked out* - and then they did! Luckily it worked out that our gender surprise baby was a boy instead. Otherwise we'd have had daughters with the same name, born one week apart.

So glad the name wasn't 'ruined' for you!

lili said...

Amelia Morning is unexpected and absolutely lovely. What a daring choice! Congrats on your beautiful baby girl and for going with the name you really loved.