I'm due next week with our first baby, and it's a boy!
For at least 5 years, my top favorite boy name has been Arlo. Early in this pregnancy instead of thinking "I hope it's a boy" I found myself thinking "I hope it's an Arlo". My husband wasn't a big fan of the name at first, but over the years I've mentioned it several times as my favorite, and he's grown to really like it too.
So. This all sounds relatively decided, right? Unfortunately, I haven't been feeling so certain in the last few weeks. I'm worried that my husband had to be talked in to liking this name. I'm worried that my husband's initial reaction to this name will be the same reaction that everyone else in our life has. I'm worried about the name sounding really "early 2010s" in 15 or 20 years. I guess I'm also slightly concerned about confusion with the girl's name Harlow, but that's not my main issue.
I think mostly, I'm worried that the baby/kid Arlo is a kid in my imagination, and that it isn't *this* kid's name, and that I'll continue to feel unsure about this baby's name after he's born and there is a name on the birth certificate.
But yes. This baby is due next week. That's soon. I was really interested to see your recent post on when people actually picked their baby's name, but I didn't see any comments that were along the lines of "I was very unsure about what the baby's name should be until he/she was born, and then I knew what it should be and I've never doubted it since", which is what I was hoping to find there.
I've talked about this with my husband. He (very nicely) suggested that I'm just nervous and hormonal. It's totally possible that he's right, but identifying that hasn't really solved my problem. He also knows that I generally stress out over big decisions, so I'm sure he's not surprised that I'm having such troubles committing. I think he feels much more certain than I do about naming this baby Arlo.
I think the other main contender for this baby's name is Asher. This is another boy name I really love. I wonder if some of my uncertainty about naming this baby is our reluctance to give siblings names that start with the same initial. Since we've made this arbitrary rule, we'll only have an Arlo or an Asher, and I guess it needs to be decided with this first kid.
We hope to have another kid or two in the future, and other names we've agreed on during this pregnancy are Milo, Elias, Rhys, and Jonah for boys, and Elsa, Greta and Adelaide for girls (my favorite girl name is Willa, but my husband somehow isn't really a fan). So for now, those are the potential future sibling names.
The middle name is decided. It's a family name that works nicely with either Arlo or Asher. There's nothing weird going on with either first name and the last name, so that's not our concern.
I hate that I'm so unsure about what to name this baby, and I'm not sure if this feeling is normal at all. I've heard lots of people say "when you see your baby, you'll just know what the name should be" but...what if we don't just know??
It is very difficult to name a stranger, isn't it? And for me it didn't get better when the baby arrived: a baby can still be a stranger for such a long time.
Besides, when we name a baby, we're trying to choose a name that will work for the child's entire adult life: it's a little difficult to tell, looking at a newborn, if the name is going to fit all the way through. At that age, a name like Little Mister Corn-Niblet Toesies might seem like a far better fit---but that doesn't mean we shouldn't go ahead and fill out the birth certificate with Robert Joseph. He'll grow into it.
Even if the name is going to be a perfect fit, it can feel a little awkward at first. I remember the kids' names feeling funny to say, and strange to hear, and someone would ask me how to spell it and I'd stumble and stammer---because it was new. That disappeared with time.
Because of the small percentage of parents who never DO feel comfortable with the baby's name, I can't do what I'd like to do, which is to reassure you that everything will be fine and the name WILL fit the baby.
But I CAN reassure you that it is totally normal to have last-minute doubts about the name: choosing a name is an important responsibility, and any name you choose means eliminating all the rest---that's BIG. It's hard to say "THIS NAME ABOVE ALL OTHERS!" and it's especially hard to do that for someone who will be significantly more hairless and helpless and small when you meet him than he will be later on in life. But for most people, once they've chosen The Name, they find the fit is better and better as they get used to both the name and the little stranger.
And if the baby arrives and his name DOESN'T fit him, it can be changed. It's not likely you'll need that option, but it can be comforting to know it's there.
But you've seen The Arlo Song, right? Who can resist it? And it's a very good sign, how your husband's initial reaction changed to his current feelings about it: it likely means that although the name is uncommon, it GROWS on people.