You probably don't get emails like this often (about re-naming a 4 month old baby) but I am struggling with baby name regret right now - probably because I didn't discover your site until after my daughter was born. My daughter is named Evelyn Suzanne Quinn. Suzanne is after my mother. Evelyn is a name that my husband and I agreed upon - but I always felt kind of on the fence about it. It was always at the top of my husband's list. I have trouble making decisions and went with my husband's (2nd) fave because I couldn't decide. His favorite was Virginia, his mother's name - which I like but not sure I want my daughter to have the same name as my MIL (although she goes by Ginger/Ging) or deal with potential teasing surrounding the name - I'm also not crazy about Ginny.
I have not felt good about her name since she was born and am seriously contemplating changing it. At first my husband was adamant that we would not change the name - but has reconsidered if it would truly make me happy. We also may add a name instead of changing it altogeter. The other names on our list before she was born were Sadie, Sarah and Molly. At this point, I don't really like any of those and realize that I did not put enough thought into naming the baby during my pregnancy. After she was born I came up with a new list of names, Anna being on the top of the list. I later found out my sister-in-law is using this name in January for her daughter and then that it was my great-grandmothers name. I had always meant to look at my family tree for a name but never got around to it. Needless to say, I am kicking myself for this mistake now. I did suggest Anna to my husband when i was pregnant, but he shot it down, as it reminded him of our prior landlord and he didn't like the way Anna Quinn sounded. However, I would have fought for it harder if I knew it was a family name. Catherine is another family name that we both like but can't use because my husband's brother has a daughter named Katherine/Katie. Whereas I don't think duplicating a name is such a big deal, my husband disagrees. My husband and I were looking for a name with a good nickname, we call our daughter Evy (rhymes with Chevy). While I think Evy is cute, I'm not sure it feels like a name to me. I also worry about childhood teasing and Heavy Evy - a connection I did not make before. I am finding Evelyn to be too old - but not in a fresh way. My husband does not want a top 10 name. I thought the same before the baby was born, but have reconsidered now that she's here. I would much prefer a name I really liked over a name I liked less but was less popular. Here are some names I'm considering changing it to:
- Elizabeth (great-grandmother's name and grandmother's sisters name) nn libby? izzy?
- Emma (too popular?)
- Isabel nn Izzy (too popular?)
- Amelia nn Milllie, Mia
- Rose (great aunt)
Names I would pick if I had the courage (or my husband would let me)
- Louise (great-grandmother)
- Beatrice (great-great aunt)
As you can see, I'm a bit all over the place. With my two favorites - Anna and Catherine - out of the running, I'm not sure where to go. I'd appreciate any advice you have to give.
I remember writing about this twice, once for a baby boy and once for a baby girl---but I can't find the post about the baby girl. Oh wait---I wonder if it was before I had the baby name blog? YES! here it is, on my regular blog. I also sort of wrote about it again on my regular blog.
I can sum those up for people who don't want to click through:
1. I'm not opposed to changing a baby's name, and I think there are many good reasons for doing so.
2. If you're going to do it, the earlier the better.
3. There will be SOME kerfuffle no matter what, but probably everyone will get over it, and the paperwork stuff will be a bit of a hassle but then it will be done with, and one day it will be an interesting story.
4. One exception: if the name is a family name. In that case, the repercussions of changing it are too hurtful to the family member to be outweighed by a dissatisfied feeling with the name, and better to find a nickname you like and use that instead.
So in your case, according to me, you may not change your daughter's middle name. And Anna Suzanne doesn't really work anyway (because of the repeating "ann" segment), even if there wasn't the issue of your cousin planning to use the name, or of your husband not liking the name.
However, you MAY move your daughter's middle name into the first name slot. Not only is it a family name, but Anna or Annie would be a fine nickname for it. And unlike the name Anna, where you didn't even know it was your great-grandmother's name and perhaps didn't know your great-grandmother either, the name Suzanne has an actual family association for you.
And you also may choose a new first name. If the repeating "ann" segment DOESN'T bother you (it bothers me a little, but not enough to be a total dealbreaker if I loved the first name and had to use the middle name), maybe you would like other Ann-based first names such as Annika, Annabel, Anya, Anneliese. Annabel in particular is a nice alternative to Isabella (the most popular girl name in the United States), and Annabel Suzanne puts some distance between the two "ann" sounds.
But reading your email, it sounds like it might be better to keep the name as it is. If you had another name you LOVED and felt it fit your daughter exactly, it would be different. I'm worried in part about your husband here: it sounds like he's only willing to change the name to keep you from being miserable about it, but I don't feel confident that changing the name will help with that, if even now that she's here in front of you there isn't a name that feels right. And there's no net benefit to changing the name to one that makes you happy and him miserable.
Would it help at all to know that the name Evelyn, as we've discussed, has a good chance of joining the top ten soon? It's a name people are thinking of very positively. (This sort of thing doesn't help everyone but it does help me: when I was considering Henry for my fifthborn, I was very swayed by the number of people who DIDN'T say, as I'd feared they might, that it was an old-man name.)
And if you're not as fond of the nickname Evy as you'd hoped, would you like Linny (or Linnie or Lynnie) better? I love the light and feminine sound of that name. I can just picture holding a little baby girl and calling her Linnie.