Today's discussion question is: When was the baby named? Before you had children? Second trimester? Two days after the birth? Three months after seeing the photo of the available child? Etc.
This is a trickier question than it first seems. Let's say that in fourth grade I was reading the Anastasia Krupnik books and thought "I LOVE THAT NAME. I want to name a future daughter that name!" And then I grew up, had a baby, and named her Anastasia.
So did I name her in fourth grade? No: what I did in fourth grade was put the name on my finalist list. Without the consent of the other parent, and without knowing what my child's surname would be, and taking into account that in sixth grade I said "Megan! I love that name!" and that ten years later I said "Emerson! I love that name!," I couldn't say that the baby had been named at that point, no matter how committed I felt at that moment. In retrospect it may FEEL as if I named the baby At That Moment, but if I'd grown up and had a baby with a guy who said "Ug, I hate that name" it would have been a no-go: the baby would have turned out NOT to have been named back then.
HOWEVER, if I still loved the name Anastasia in college, and my serious boyfriend and I were discussing baby names and I mentioned that name and he said "I love it. Let's definitely use it for our first daughter" and from then on we referred to our future hypothetical children Anastasia and Sam, and then we got married and had our first baby and it was a girl and we named her Anastasia, was that baby named back when we were dating?
Harder to say, isn't it? Because probably when I was pregnant we would have had the discussion again, more seriously now that it was real, and considered other candidates---and if so, the baby wasn't really named until we said, "Nope, we still like Anastasia best." But you could also make a case in this situation for the idea that even after a name is REALLY REALLY CHOSEN, there can be little flashes of doubt: a person might be watching Four Weddings and a Funeral in the third trimester and think "FIONA! Wait! Maybe FIONA is my favorite name!!" Or, lying in bed at night too uncomfortable to sleep: "Is Anastasia REALLY the name we want to use? Maybe it's Too Much. Maybe it's too uncommon. Maybe I DON'T EVEN LIKE IT AT ALL." Flashes like that aren't really a re-considering of the name but more like little panicky flairs (or sensible making-sures) that don't even come close to dethroning the champion, and it would be possible to put "Wait, now that it's real instead of a little Dating Fantasy, are we ACTUALLY going to use Anastasia?" into that category, if that is the way it felt.
So! You can see how this is a very very subjective sort of question to answer. It's tempting to exaggerate, I think, because it makes a better story: "I chose this name in fourth grade" is more appealing than "We dithered all through the pregnancy and first had one favorite and then another, and then by the time she was born we'd basically decided we liked Anastasia best." Each of us will need to carefully examine our naming stories for truth: Is it only in retrospect, with the child named and it unthinkable to imagine her named any of the now OBVIOUSLY wrong alternative candidates, that it seems as if this was always the definite choice? Are we mistaking "the day I added the name to my list" for "the day we said THIS IS THE NAME"?
And of course, sometimes we won't remember without looking it up. I don't quite remember when we chose Rob's name. His was one of the "not very interesting" baby naming stories that would be tempting to embellish. We thought he was a girl until we found out at 20 weeks that he wasn't. We considered a bunch of different boy names, but the only real candidate was the name we chose. And at some point we must have said, "Okay, that's it, that's the name"---but it failed to leave an impression and I'd have to check my journal to see for sure.
William was named in the first trimester, before we even knew he was a boy. We didn't have a girl name, but I wrote the boy name choice (complete with middle name) in bold capitals in my journal at around 12 weeks. Again, I'd have to look it up to be more exact, but I remember thinking it was disappointing to have the boy name chosen already when it wasn't even the end of the first trimester yet.
Elizabeth was named in the third trimester, but I was still uncertain even in the hospital: I loved the name, but I worried it was too unusual or that it wouldn't fit her. I'd say that the baby WAS named in the third trimester and that my flashes of doubt were just stronger---but it's hard to tell if this is true six years later.
Edward was also named in the third trimester, but we were down to two candidates already at the beginning of the second trimester: they were the two names we would have used if the twins had both been boys, and it was hard to give one of them up. Paul had a slight preference for one name, and I had a slight preference for the other, so we were waiting to see what the girl name choice would be---but then the girl name choice went well with both. One day in the third trimester I told Paul that the boy name I preferred felt more like My Baby and that my slight preference was now a strong preference, and he said that was fine with him.
Henry was named in the third trimester, after spending the first two trimesters going back and forth between two OTHER names. I suddenly thought of a third name and made a strong case for it, and we used it. I remember it was a relief to be able to stop going back and forth between the other two!
Now it's your turn, and feel free to take up as much space as you want in the comments section! When was the baby named?
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