I am due March 11th with a baby girl. I have a 2-year-old son named Jack and our last name starts with an H and ends with an N and is two syllables. My husband and I had no problem agreeing on Jack as a name for our son. We have also had no issue picking a name for our baby girl. Before we knew that our first child was a boy we agreed on the name Clare and still love the name. Perfect right? No! The problem is that this name has caused some family drama.
I have a very large and close family and when I was pregnant with my son Jack everyone knew that Jack and Clare were the names that my husband and I had agreed upon. When my cousin got pregnant last year she announced that her girl’s name was also Clare. I was shocked and upset but she had a baby boy in the end. Now that I am having a girl she has made comments that she still loves the name Clare and that we can just have two in our family. But I do not know if I am O.K. with that. We are open to other suggestions but just can’t seem to give Clare completely up. We tend to like Irish names that are classic and are not fans of trendy names. So should I pick another name or just hope that she will not go through with naming a future daughter Clare as well?
Other names that we have considered are:
Bridget (my husband and I both like this name too)
Mary Clare (which would differentiate the two kids if she ever did use the name)
Agnes (I like this name but my husband does not)
Mabel (we both liked this name but have had some negative reactions from family members and friends which has moved us away from the name)
We plan to use Marie or Margaret as a middle name after one of my grandmothers (although these are not set in stone either).
We would love some advice and/or other name suggestions.
I see this as a balance scale. One one side: How you would feel if you gave up the name Clare and then your cousin didn't use it after all. On the other side: How you would feel if you used the name Clare and your cousin used it too.
You describe yourself as "shocked and upset" that your cousin also loves the name and wants to use it. The word "shocked," along with the point you make about everyone knowing you liked the name during your first pregnancy, makes me wonder if you may be thinking that by mentioning it back then, you had claimed dibs on the name. So I first want to say that mentioning a name (especially in a pregnancy where you didn't end up using the name) is not staking a permanent and exclusive claim to it. Think of it more as a heads-up than a claim: you're letting people know that it's your intention to use it, and maybe you're going on record as being the one who mentioned it first, but you're not saying that the name is YOURS and no one else can use it.
This is, in fact, the same thing your cousin is doing: she's been giving heads up, but without saying no one else can use it. And since you both want to use the name, it's good she mentioned that she doesn't mind two Clares: this gives you important information for making your own decision. Even if your cousin plans to use the name later, nothing at all is being taken away from you: not only do you still have every right to use the name, but also you get to use it FIRST. And of course it is possible your cousin will have only boys, or discover another name she likes better---which is why you need to consider how you'd feel in that situation, if you had given up the name based on a future possibility.
I would really like to urge you not to abandon your favorite name just because the child's second cousin might have the same name. In a family where second cousins see each other all the time, there are plenty of ways to tell two Clares apart that are not only easy but also fun: nicknames, first-and-middles, initials, family-significant names that evolve over time. It may also forge a special bond between the two girls, who, as long as their mothers aren't telling them otherwise, may think of it as a wonderful and special thing to share a name.
If you decide the negative feelings you'd have about both children having the name outweigh the negative feelings you'd have about giving the name up, I think both Bridget Marie and Mary Clare are wonderful, beautiful names.