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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: Baby Name Regret 3

K. writes:
Where do I begin?

When I was pregnant, I wanted nothing to do with baby names. See my first pregnancy was a second trimester miscarriage. Call me superstitious, call me crazy but I didn't want to come up with names because I was afraid to jinx this pregnancy. You know, the first time we started with names and got some baby things right off the bat and that didn't work out so well.

Skip to eight months pregnant at my small baby shower where I was asked what the baby name would be. I said, "The only name I don't like is David. We also have Lincoln and Franklin on the list."

When my husband would bring up David, I would tell him that it was the only name I didn't want. Skip to the birth and after a beautiful natural birth at a midwife center (where you only stay for a few hours after the birth) my husband kept campioning for David and refused to let me bring home the baby unnamed. I caved. Actually, I don't remember signing the birth certificate, I only remember him saying, "If you don't like it we can change it". At that point I really just wanted all the comotion to stop so I could enjoy my baby boy.

Well, I still didn't like David after the birth. When my son was 2 weeks old, we were changing it. Then my husband said we couldn't. When my son was 4 weeks old we were changing it and then my husband said we couldn't.

My husband says that the name doesn't matter to him, that it doesn't mean that much and he would change it but doesn't.

The catch, it's his father's name. My husband named my son after his father because he felt kind of obligated to.

Now his father has gotten word that I hate the name.

I don't even know what to do at this point. How to make peace. I am sure his father feels hurt. My husand is stuck between telling me he doesn't care about the name and would change it for me but not wanting to hurt his dad. I am hurt because I assocciate the name with kids I went to high school with and the name isn't transceding the assoccation.

By the way, I hate Dave, Davey, etc. And my husband refuses to allow me to call him by his middle name.

I have an 8 month old with no name. I cry about it a lot. Like why didn't I speak up for myself more and name him Lincoln which I really wanted. Why did I let him persuad me. It's a big mess and I don't know what to do.

Your 8-month-old is not nameless. He has a name, and his name is David.

In most cases, I would not say that. We've addressed the topic of namer's remorse before, and my usual advice is that a name CAN be changed. There is an exception: when the name is a family name, it can't be changed. It's too hurtful and damaging.

In your situation, I say it not only because it is a family name, but also because your husband is not willing to change it. He says he is, but his actions are speaking louder than his words. He's not willing to compromise on the name at all, not even to allow you to call your son by his other legal name.

Whether you should or shouldn't have given in on this, and whether your husband should or shouldn't have pressured you into using a name he knew you didn't like, is irrelevant at this point and will only drive you crazy to think of it. Just as with similar obsessions (wishing we had/hadn't said something, wishing an accident hadn't happened), the wishes are counter to reality, and the inability to change reality can lead to mental cycling. At this point, the answer to your question is that what's done is done, and it is time to accept the name even if you always hate the name. Brush the hands briskly together and learn for next time. Remind yourself that loving or not loving a name is not the same as loving or not loving a person.

It may help to know you are not alone: many families have naming traditions that one or both parents hate but feel obligated to accept anyway, and many parents give in to the other parent and later wish they hadn't. Will your husband allow you to call your son endearments such as Sweetie or Honey?

The situation with your father-in-law is unfortunate. If you were publicly announcing during the pregnancy that his name was the only one you didn't want to use, it isn't something you can correct as a misunderstanding. At this point, the solution is to stop talking about how much you hate it, and hope that with time the issue blows over. Ideally, the pleasure of having his name used will trump the unpleasant but universal knowledge that there are some people who don't like it. Your husband could perhaps spin it as "Whether we liked the name or not, it was important to us to honor you in this way."


Steph said...

Can you call him by a nickname? Like DJ for David Junior?

1hottiredmama said...

This is a very unfortunate situation, but I agree with Swistle. The baby is David and you just have to deal with it. Concentrate on the love you have for your child and change your response to the name. That said, like Steph above said, choose a nickname. We have 4 children and 2 of them have very purposefully chosen nicknames. Our daughter is named Elizabeth after her grandmother and great grandmother. We knew she would end up with a nickname anyway. (And 3 Elizabeths in one family can get a little confusing.) So, we CHOSE the nickname for her (think "Sound of Music" and you can figure it out -- German nickname equivalent - I didn't want her to be Lizzy or Beth). One of our sons was named after both of our fathers. The names are both what I would call "grown up" names and just didn't seem to fit for a baby/little kid so we CHOSE a nickname for him (we ended up combining both of his names to make a nickname -- it's not a weird name either - just happened to work out.) I used to know a guy who's last name was a "boy" name (Fletcher) and his family called him by their own last name (I think it started out by calling him "little Fletcher" because he looked like his dad). At bit weird, but it worked for him. Everyone just called him by his last name even after he was grown. Anyway, I say take a deep breath and work it out. (Also, at 8 months, if you are crying a lot over a name, you might need to see a professional. NOT judging -- we have all certainly had our postpartum issues -- just a suggestion.)

Sonia said...

I really feel for you. What jumps out at me from your question is not so much the fact that you dislike your son's name, but that you feel strong-armed by your husband and his father into using the one name that you said you didn't like.

I agree with Swistle that the name isn't going to change, and you just have to make your peace with it. Find a nickname for him -- bugger what your husband "allows" and call your boy by his middle name or his initials, if that's what you need to do.

And I think some therapy on your own and/or as a couple might be in order. You are still so upset nearly a year later, and the language in your letter about your husband's behavior and comments really jump out at me. He is also stuck between a rock and a hard place, but he sure is doing a number on your mental health, however unintentionally.

Patricia said...

I would suggest that you learn to love the name. First off, it's your son's name and you love him. Second, it's a name that was important for your husband to use, to honor his father, and therefore a name that has meaning to him and his family, which is your son's family too and yours through marriage. Ask that your son be called only the full name David, not Dave, which I'm guessing is what most of those you've known with the name are called. (My son's first son is named David, also a family name for us, and my son and his wife call him only "David" and have asked that others do too.) And discover all the great things about the name David:

David is a biblical name, borne by the greatest of all kings of Israel. As a boy he killed the giant Philistine Goliath, with his slingshot. As king of Judah, and later of all Israel, he expanded the power of the Israelites and established the security of their kingdom. He was also noted as a poet, many of the Psalms being attributed to him. The Hebrew derivation of the name is uncertain; it is said by some to represent a nursery word meaning 'darling'... It is particularly common in Wales and Scotland, having been borne by the patron saint of Wales and by two medieval kings of Scotland. (Oxford Dictionary of First Names, UK)

David - Hebrew, "beloved." Serious yet simpatico, with deep biblical roots... David is an enduring classic, still firmly in the Top 15. A royal name well used in many cultures, it is a safe and timeless choice. (Baby Name Bible, US, by baby name authors and style experts Rosenkrantz and Satran)

An online search for everything you can find about the name David might help you move beyond your negative feelings about the name. Maybe you would could put what you discover and like about the name -- all the positive associations and other tidbits -- into a little book or frame-able one page name keepsake for David.

I think you may be rather determined NOT to like the name David because it has been sort of forced on you, and I can understand that. But if you open your mind to the name, for your little boy's sake, I think you'll see what a great name David is -- its history, meaning, sound, stature. I hope by the time your son can proudly say, "My name is David," you will love his name too.

Kat said...

When my mom was pregnant with my brother, she and my dad couldn't decide on a name and when he was born they decided on the name William Gordon, after my grandfather and my dad. My mom really wasn't liking the name William though, mostly because the only nickname she liked for it was Will, but he kept getting called Willy, Bill or Billy and she couldn't stand those. So my grandmother started calling my brother "the little judge" (my grandfather had been a judge) and when my brother started to talk, he started calling himself "Judd", because he couldn't say judge. It totally stuck and he is still Judd to this day.

My point is, you don't like David just like my mom didn't like William. Just like my mom's situation, you may come up with a nickname and while your son's name will always be David, he may come to be known by something else that you prefer or that might fit him better. Like my brother's nickname, it doesn't even have to be connected to David in any way.

I hope you can make peace with your choice and that you might find a nickname you are happy with!

StephLove said...

This is starting to seem more like a relationship question than a baby-naming question, but I agree the language about what he will and will not "allow" makes me worried about you. The therapy suggestion might be a good one.

As for the name, I think you might try out calling the baby by his initials or his middle name, at first just when you are alone with him, to see how you like it. And if you decide you do like it, then tell your husband that's what you're going to call him. That's not something he should get to decide.

And I think you should have complete say over the next baby's name, if there is one.

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry you're in this situation. I can understand your husband dislike of you using your son's middle name thus jumping over the honorific David. I vote for using the initials if you can get something from them: DJ DT? Otherwise I would give him a nickname like "my little lion" etc. A friend of mine almost exclusively calls her son "bear"


Ps goodluck and take care of yourself

Homa said...

I agree with the suggestion of finding a name/nickname that works for you. My younger daughter was called "Bug" by our family for most of her childhood and sometimes we still use it and she is 28. I called my son "Sonshine" quite a bit when he was younger and then sometime when they were teenagers, my daughters started calling him "Bubbie" and now he is Uncle Bubbie to his niece. My family is big on nicknames so all of these work for us.

Marjorie said...

I agree with a lot of the commenters above that you can't change the name now. However, I think you should go to couple counseling because it sounds like there are some serious communication issues. I also think that expressing your past feelings about the name may help with healing/acceptance. In the meantime, you need to compromise and come up with a nickname, maybe his middle name (again another thing to discuss in therapy). Good luck!

rachel said...

"As for the name, I think you might try out calling the baby by his initials or his middle name, at first just when you are alone with him, to see how you like it. And if you decide you do like it, then tell your husband that's what you're going to call him. That's not something he should get to decide."

This times 1,000,000. Your husband needs to compromise. Yes, your son was given the name HE wanted, but you still don't like it. Now it's time for you and your husband to collaborate to come up with something to call your son that YOU also like (although I definitely agree that you cannot change the name on the birth certificate at this point). And if your husband is unwilling to try to make you happy...then you get to call your son what YOU want.

I agree with the other commenters that the language in the email about what the husband will and will not "allow" is worrisome.

Trudee said...

I wonder if you could call him another diminutive other than Dave or Davey. That is, something that's tied to David but sounds different, such as the name in a different language (if you have another language in your background). I just looked up David online and saw that, in Wales, a diminutive is Dewi. To me, it's a different name, but you can always say that it's a Welsh version and that might give it some legitimacy.

Lauren said...

Is it possible that you have symptoms of post-partum depression that are making this tough situation even more difficult? If you are crying a lot it is worth seeking help either with your husband or on your own.

And congratulations! It sounds like you went through a lot to become a mom and now you have a healthy, beautiful 8 month old.

liz said...

1. Couples therapy. Needed. Now. If your husband won't go, please go yourself because what you are describing here sounds like he is being (at minimum) emotionally manipulative and (maybe?) abusive.

2. Since this IS your son's name now, I offer up suggestions.

My step-father, David, has three friends named David. As a group, they are David, Dave, [Last Name], and Dove. I like Dove (like the bird). Day, Diver, and Dab are also names I've heard used for David.

There is also Pete, short for Repeat, since he's named after someone still alive.

Rayne of Terror said...

You could call him Dee. My cousin is named after his father, Marvin, but called Buster as a baby and Bus as an adult. My brother was given the same name as my dad and grandpa, but my mom would only so it if he wasn't called anything having to do with Lawrence, so he goes by the first syllable of his middle name, Ry. I have a friend who's brother's first name is James and yet goes by Boomer, even as an adult.

Elisabeth said...

My husband's aunt had a name that she wanted for their youngest son. Uncle had no desire to put that name on a birth certificate and put something else entirely. They tried calling the little boy by the name on the birth certificate for a few months, but his aunt knew it wasn't his name and decided to start calling him what she wanted to call him in the first place.

4 years later, almost everyone calls the little boy what the mom wanted to name him. It's not changed on the birth certificate, but it's still what they call him. The only people who call him his original name are occasionally his father and almost always his grandparents.

Moral of the story? I would just call him Lincoln, or whatever his middle name is. What you call him is your decision. Your husband and his parents can still call him David.

Jennifer said...

Lara Spencer on GMA has a David who she calls Duff. You could use that or another nickname and call him that. It's not that unusual for a parent to have a special nickname for a child, and if that grows into what he is generally called or what he prefers to be called later, it's not a bad thing. I agree with some of the other posters about post-partum and counseling. This should be a happy time for you -- if it isn't, you owe it to yourself and the baby to get some help. Best wishes.

Karen L said...

I'm going to join the chorus of those concerned about the relationship, not the name. People are rightly concerned about the language of not being "allowed" to use a nickname/middle name, despite the "plausible" justification of not short-cutting the honor name. I'm also wondering about the opportunism, priorities, ego, and lack of empathy of someone who is so pushy with a woman right after she has given birth, a very vulnerable time indeed.

Anonymous said...

My mother had an emergency C-section with me and wound up rather loopy from the anesthesia. My father (a very good man, but this was undoubtedly an uncool move) used the opportunity to put my name down as something not even CLOSE to what he had sworn to her through the entire pregnancy she could name me-- first and middle were totally changed. She had never heard the name, didn't like it, and was understandably furious with my dad for doing what he did once she came down from the surgery. Over time, though, she came to love my name and she says she can't imagine me by any other. Hopefully you will feel the same! I would definitely consider counseling if this is an issue with your husband that you can't seem to get past, though.

Mrs S said...

I agree that u can't change it now. Be happy that you have a healthy baby boy ! I'd start figuring out a nn. Especially as ur baby gets older you'll see more of his personality. I have a friend who goes by Vinny and his name is David. I knew him for years before I knew he was a David. I think Vinny is a cute name for a baby and an adult. What is David's mn?

Mrs S said...

I also like and know a David that goes by Duff. I like it a lot. Or maybe Dusty could be used as a nn?
Maybe you might adore one of these NNs?

Manda said...

Swistle, this advice is SOLID. Well done.
(and I am glad, for the record, that the name isn't something crazy like Herbert. At least David is a common name.)

HereWeGoAJen said...

We named my daughter Elizabeth, but almost exclusively call her "Dibits" which is how she pronounced Elizabeth when she started talking. We also called her Cheekies for a very long time and still sometimes do (she was a rather plump baby). Her best friend calls her Wibef and another friend called her Weebip. It took a while for all these nicknames to develop (Cheekies was first), but we rarely call her by her given name now. I hope you find a nickname that you love soon.

And a side note, my dad is named David and I have always loved the name.

The Mrs. said...

You have options even if his name is never legally changed... and, for the record, I don't think it should be. Swistle's right; it's already painful enough that your father-in-law knows you hate his name.

As for nicknames, there are lots of good ideas listed above! I'm going to throw two more onto the pile:

Dash and Doc

If you want something TOTALLY different than David, what about Shephard/Shep (King David spent his youth as a shephard. If you phrase things respectfully, your husband may appreciate that you are trying to see the good in his father's and son's name).

Shephard and Lincoln make a nice sibling set... hopefully, you'll get veto rights next time around!

All the best to you, your marriage, and your family!

vanessa steck said...

I am...a little freaked out by this idea of the husband not "allowing" the baby to be called something different.'s your child, and yoiu are an adult. If you want to call the baby by a nickname or something, that is your business, not something your husband gets to disallow.

That said, yes, you should keep his name David.

Abbe said...

I'm chiming in to agree that this is primarily a relationship issue. To take advantage of your weakened physical and emotional state right after childbirth like that is bad behavior. To not "allow" you to call your son one of his actual, legal names is downright scary. You've already gotten good advice from the other commenters on how to deal with the name problem itself (I'd go with either a nickname or the middle name), but the larger problem of your husband's behavior and what it means for your marriage is going to be more difficult and more important to deal with. I would suggest you talk to him about it in those terms. If you've been coming back over and over to your dislike of the name, he may be focused on defending himself or holding his ground while never thinking about the larger problem. So set the name aside and talk about what's really wrong here: his lack of consideration and respect for you.

I wish you the best of luck in solving this problem.

Anonymous said...

I just did a little research for you on nameberry and this is what is listed for David (its actually got a pretty good review of the name. (I had an idea after reading this review, what about using Dawson as a replacement of David)

Gender: M

Origin of David: Hebrew, "beloved"

David's Popularity in 2010: #15

David is a classsic with a lot going for it. Serious yet simpatico, it has deep biblical roots as the Hebrew name of the Old Testament second king of Israel who, as a boy, slew the giant Philistine Goliath with his slingshot, then grew up to become a wise and highly cultivated leader who enjoyed music and was a poet, later providing inspiration to such great sculptors as Michelangelo and Donatello.

David has a special resonance for Jews, the Star of David being the symbol of Judaism, while a sixth century David became the patron saint of Wales, where it has always been a popular choice. David's a royal name well used in many cultures, and is a safe and timeless choice. The fact that it's still firmly in the Top 15 proves David's an enduring classic.

There have been countless Davids of note in history, entertainment, sport and fiction, including Copperfield, Crockett, Letterman and Beckham. Celebrities who have chosen it for their baby boys include Jennifer Hudson, Mo'Nique, and that incomparable name creator, J. K. Rowlings. The increasingly popular Dawson means 'son of David.'

Nicknames & Variations for David

Daffy, Dave, Davey, Davidde, Davie, Davies, Davin, Davis, Davon, Davy, Davyd, Davydd

David's International Variations

Daoud (Arabic) Dabid (Basque) Devi (Breton) Taavi (Finnish) Davide (French) Dáivi (Irish) Davi (Israeli) Dawid (Polish) Daved, Daven (Scandinavian) Dàibhidh (Scottish) Dai, Daffydd, Dewi (Welsh) Tevel (Yiddish)

Mairzy said...

I think Swistle is right: the baby's name is David. It's a good name, and filled in the blank when you couldn't settle on one yourself.

It sounds as though you're still grappling with your earlier miscarriage, and now with postpartum blues and (possibly) relationship problems... well, you're living in a very gray world right now. You and your husband should find a counselor to help guide you both through all this fog. Maybe when the world looks better, you'll find that David is actually a good choice.

Anonymous said...

I agree that finding a new perspective on the name David for yourself is something to seriously explore, however I disagree that you should stop considering a name change. It seems like people are saying to stop considering a change because it's the easiest thing to do. It seems to me like you will have difficulty no matter what you choose, since your husband has put you in a difficult situation. I believe he was out of line, and that he continues to be out of line with not accepting or encouraging you to find a nickname that you are OK with. This is not OK. Please seek counseling for yourself, and then for you as a couple.

Swistle said...

Thanks, Christine---I did delete your comment, just so no one else would read references to what was happening now that I've deleted Anonymous's comments. I've got comment moderation on for now.

Anonymous said...

Your the one who looks Krazy right now! HA

Anonymous said...

Your lying, you know my comments werent dangerous! I dare you to post exactly what you thought was dangerous and take a vote!

Anonymous said...

I actually do know you, I know more about you then you think!

Anonymous said...

Why dont you post your own picture? Because your face is busted up and ugly as all get out! No one would take baby name advice from you if they knew what you looked like! HA

Swistle said...

Anonymous- I'm asking you to stop this. I think it's enough now, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Im asking you to show both sides of this arguement and post the original reply that started this whole thing, the one where I disagreed and you then threw major stones. What right do you have to say Im crazy when you know nothing about me except that I experienced name remorse? Who do you think you are? And you equated me to someone working on a suicide hotline!!! You clearly know you were wrong and know that others will agree with me, otherwise you would post the original posts that started this whole thing! Post this, and let others see that their is a lot more to this then me hurling insults at you.

Swistle said...

Anonymous- I have been fortunate in my blogging experience: except for the usual spam, I've had to delete only maybe one out of every thousand comments. I am always worried about the fall-out, because there almost always IS fall-out. I've tried various ways of handling it, but nothing really WORKS, as you know from your own experience on the other side of the issue.

Your behavior since I deleted your comments has certainly confirmed my feeling that I was right to delete them. I told you earlier in our exchange that I've found that it doesn't help to continue to explain a position, it merely continues an argument and makes things much, much worse. I did explain my point of view to you initially, and not only do you claim to be unable to understand the concept of analogy, you're using my explanation to get increasingly fired up. This is what I mean about it not helping and making things worse---and yet you are asking for still more explanations.

The explanation for my decision at this point is that I believe it to be the right decision. I understand that you disagree with me, but I hope you will understand that I nevertheless will continue to do what I believe to be right in this case.

You will not be allowed to say on my blog what you wish to say. I will not change my mind on this.

Anonymous said...

(a different anonymous)

- just want to offer you hugs and support. I'm sorry you're going through this. I hope you have someone to talk to!

AmyRenee said...

I second (or third or twenty-seventh) the suggestion for counseling for you and your husband but for a slightly different reason: What is it about the name David that upsets you so much? Is it the fact that your husband "forced" it on you, or are your "negative associations" with it due to something truly tramatic? I mean, there is a huge difference between "there was a guy in highschool named David that I didn't llike" and "there was a guy named David who raped/assulted/dumped a bucket of pig's blood on me/my best friend/my sister". To your husband, David is his father's name and he probably doesn't understand why you are so upset about a name that you simply "don't like" - you need to explain your feelings to him and/or a trusted friend or counselor.

In the meantime, you need to come up with a "pet name" to use with the baby - for example, we often call my son Bud, Buddy, Monkey or Wiggle Worm. Even as an adult, my grandma still calls me by the pet name of Roo, which has nothing to do with my real name.