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Monday, May 21, 2012

Baby Naming Issue: Duplication Used to be Fine With a Friend, But Now Isn't

M. writes:
So this is my story…its long and full of drama!

I have a 20 month old little girl. When I was pregnant with her, my sister in law and close friend were both pregnant as well. Of course, we all had our list of names. When we started coming out with our names, we noticed we had a few of the same we liked. My top choices were: Gianna, Lola, and Isabella. Well, now all the babies are born. My daughter is Gianna, my sister in law named her daughter Marybella, and my friend named hers Lola. My friend has since moved to Miami, we see them about once a year.

I have a long history with loving the name Isabella and anything Bella. My sister in law knew that and from the beginning, she told me they were going with Cecilia. Then, all of a sudden, it changed to Marybella. I was a little upset because the whole time she told me something else, and if I had another girl, she would be Isabella or Bella.

Here we are, and I am pregnant with twin girls and my sister in law is pregnant with a little girl as well, we are 2 days apart in our due dates. I was stoked as I thought I would get to use all my favorite names when I pregnant the first time! I was going with Lola and Isobel (nn Bella). I am 27 weeks pregnant BTW. I was set on those names. My sister in law didn’t care, because she knew when she named Marybella, that if I had another girl, Bella would be in the name. BUT my friend who lives in Miami, cares, I live in Texas. I decided to go ahead and talk to her about us choosing the name Lola for one of the twins and she wasn’t happy. She said she didn’t own the name, but that she wanted something unique and put a lot of thought into that name. When I was pregnant with Gianna and we were thinking about using Lola and they were too, they didn’t care. Now it’s an issue. I don’t know what to do because I was set on that name to go with Isobel. From the first kick I felt, I called her Lola. Am I wrong to use that name? I’ve tried to think of variations where we could use the nn Lola, but I’m so torn! HELP!!

Hm. It is hard to know what to advise here, because it seems to me that it should be fine for you to use Lola (your friend knew it was one of your top choices even before she named her daughter; your friend now lives far away; the name Lola was #221 in 2009 and #211 in 2010, so not an ideal choice for uniqueness; you guys had agreed you didn't mind if you both used the name), but it is not clear in this way to your friend, and that's the important person for it to be clear to here. And she's said she doesn't want you to use it and, depending on how you brought the topic up with her (did it sound at all like asking if it were okay to use it?), may now feel even more upset if you go ahead and use it despite her feelings. Tricky situation.

It's possible and understandable that she may have changed her feelings about sharing names in the last year or two, and/or since having a child with the actual name (as opposed to just considering candidates). And there could be other things we don't know: maybe your daughter was born first, and although she knew the name Lola was on both your lists and she wasn't going to fight you for it, she had decided not to use Lola after all if you ended up using it. Or maybe her daughter was born first, and she'd thought she was okay with name duplication until she found herself holding her breath hoping you didn't use the name as well. Or maybe she would have thought it was kind of fun if you'd both had daughters named Lola the first time around, but is less keen on it with a 2-year spacing.

These things can get kind of complicated, is where I guess I'm going with this. And it's easy for an outsider to say "Psh, you should use it! It's fine! She shouldn't be upset!"---but of course much harder when you're on the inside and it's your actual friend and actual relationship and "should" doesn't seem to be applying as expected.

So in the meantime, I'd be looking at other similar names to see if there were any I liked as much; there are so many good ones with similar sounds/styles:


If you don't like any other name as much as you like the name Lola, you may need to make the decision to go ahead with the name despite your friend's feelings about it. In which case I think I would be understanding of her feelings, but would gently persist in saying that the name had been on my list since the first pregnancy, and that I was so pleased to get a chance to use all three of my favorites, and that I hoped it would be fun for us to each have our own little Lola.


StephLove said...

What were the names you considered that would yield Lola as a nickname? That sounds like a promising avenue. I'm not sure what the traditional full name for Lola is-- Delores perhaps-- but I like Louisa and I think it would sound great with Isobel and Gianna.

Veronica M. D. said...

If Lola is THE name, I would try gently talking to your friend about it again. And honestly, this is going to sound really mean, but even if she is your best friend in the world, there is a chance she might not always play a large role in your life, but your daughter CERTAINLY will, and naming your own child is a pretty dang important decision. If it is the one you have always loved and wanted, another Lola running around in the world can't stop that (especially since your friend's daughter is not the only Lola there ever was!).

Good luck! I love the name Lola. :)

Anonymous said...

What about Lorelie? The nickname Lola works with it and it sounds good with Isobel.

Anonymous said...

How about Lula? I used to know a little girl (now grown!) with that name and it really grew on me. Similar on the tongue, but a different name.

Anonymous said...

It really Is hard to know why she changed her mind. Sounds like you were clear though that these names were your favorites. And what were the odds of you having three girls all in a row. But you did. I think your friend will be upset if you use the name. But I think you have every right to use it. For what it's worth I know some twin girls named Isabel and Imogene.

Anonymous said...

If your friend lived near you, I'd probably advise against using Lola. But she's not near you anymore and your kids won't be growing up together so I don't think it would be the end of the world if you use it, but you'll have to prepared for any fall out from your friend. But I can't believe Lola is the only other name you like. Try to imagine if Lola was totally off the table-like your husband hated it, it had been used for a cousin, something that would truly make it off limits. Now, look at some other names with an open mind. Some of them might speak to just as much and you might be surprised to find one you actually like better than Lola. Swistle's suggestions of Nola and Paloma were inspired, I especially like Paloma and Isobel together. You need to decide if you love Lola enough to risk causing problems in the friendship.

Anonymous said...

Using the name of someone's already named child will change the relationship. Even if they appear to not care. It can drive a needless wedge between two families. There are so many beautiful names out there, there is no need to reuse a name (even if it was your idea first.)

liz said...

When I think of names that are like Lola, I always think of Layla and Leyna because of the Kinks song, the Cream song, and the Billy Joel song.

What about Sonya or Rosa?

Anonymous said...

If you're a literature buff (or even if you're not) what about the name Lorna...from R.D. Blackmore's Lorna Doone? It's more unique than Lola but has the same feel on the tongue. Just an idea, otherwise I would go with who the baby IS to you. If she can be no one but Lola in your heart then a good friend would understand and come through eventually.
But think about it: Lorna! Bella! Dinner! :) So cute...

lfhcreative said...

Use Lola. My sister and I had baby girls 8 weeks apart and named them Elise and Anneliese. While my sister was hacked at first, she got over it pretty quickly. And that's for cousins. For a friend you see once a year, your kids having the same name is not a big deal. I guess it would be one thing if your friend named her daughter something something truly-never heard of unique and you used it. But Lola is quite common.

Caroline said...

I also know a Lula (like loo-la) who is a young girl and I think it is a cute name. Lila is also similar and cute, but not as spunky (if thats what you would like) as Lola in my opinion.

I'm not really sure what I would do in the situation, either. Lola is a great name, but there are, as many others have pointed out, numerous other possible names that would work well.

Gianna, Isobel and Lila
Gianna, Isobel and Lula
Gianna, Isobel, and Leila
Gianna, Isobel, and Lillia (Lilly)

maybe also Eloise, Chloe, or any name with "lo" in it. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Ok. Tricky . But I have been in a similar situation where a friend used a name I gave my daughter first. I was not pleased. She didnt care because she liked the name so much. She moved away and we barely see them now . It still irks me when I hear other friends mention her daughter, but I cant change it. For you, Lila(L-eye-la) or Leila (Layla or Leela) seem good options, but if you decide to do Lola, then just accept that your friend may be upset and you may see her less often .

Anonymous said...

I'm going to vote on using Lyla/Lila or Isla (eye-luh) as both of those are just as beautiful names. I suppose your situation is why some women choose not to share the name until the baby is born so no one can "steal" their name!

Anonymous said...

What about Isobel (LOVE the name!!!) and Charlotte? Bella and Lola? I know a little girl named Charlotte Olivia Leigh, who goes by Lola. Its sooo cute!:)

HaydenAnne said...

ooh, along with charlotte nn lola, what about charlotte nn lottie?

Anonymous said...

I think Lydia is a beautiful name. It has the same charm as Lola.

Anonymous said...

I say use the name Lola. Except of course . . . if the situation were reversed, would you mind if she used the name Lola (or Gianna?)

Noelle said...

Seems like you've already named her Lola. I think you should use the name you love. I know your friend put a lot of thought into naming her daughter but so have you. For a variation of Lola I suggest Iola. (I like eye and ola same as Lola). My friends's daughter has this name and I love it.

Anonymous said...

What about Lina? I know a Lina (pronounced Leena), and think it's a lovely name :). I also know a mom named Gianna with a daughters named Giada and Juliana. If Lola really is the name for you, I don't know that a different given name using Lola as a nn would change your friend's feelings. I'm guessing that callin her Lola every day will be what she doesn't like. That puts you right back in the hot seat. Talk to her more but may come down to a tough call on your part. Sorry!

Natalia said...

In Spanish Lola is a nickname for Dolores and Lorena, maybe you like any of those names.

Lula is a great alternative. I have a niece named Lucia and we call her Luly or Lula, and I love how those nn sound. You may also want to consider Loula.

One nn I ADORE and I'd love to use for a daughter is Coca. It's unbelievably original, has the same feeling as Lola (at least for me) and it's so unique. My nephew's best friend is called Coca (her name is actually Joaquina) and she's such a beautiful happy girl, I think she made me fall for the name. In my country there was a very famous actress who was known as Coca, although her real name is Isabel, coincidentally with your other name choice! Coco is also great!

I really like Isobel and Charlotte, Bella and Lottie, I think it's a beautiful pair!

I really can't decide whether you should use the name Lola or not. On one hand I do think that if you really love it and you always wanted to use it, you should go for it. And having your friend so far away, it shouldn't be a problem that you both have girls with the same name, it could even be a bond between you too (maybe you could put it that way the next time you talk about the subject?) like a connection. On the other hand I personally wouldn't name my daughter the same as my friend's, and if I were her I wouldn't be happy if my friend named her daughter after mine, but that's me. I already resigned using the name Isabel because my sister in law named her daughter Isabella, and that's all time favorite! I just prefer having a unique name, in the close circle of friends and family, of course.

So, good luck! I hope you find a way of using the name Lola and not upset your friend... or find a name that you can use instead! there are so many wonderful names!

Angie said...

Oh the drama!

This is tricky. Try the 10 year rule: ask yourself what will matter in 10 years. If you go with another name to appease your friend, will you regret it 10 years later, especially if you see your friend even less often? Will you mourn the loss of Lola?

If you use Lola and your friend holds a grudge, will you regret choosing Lola and blame it for the demise of your friendship?

Sometimes we hold on to names so long it can be hard to imagine loving anther name, but I like what the other commenter said about imagining Lola was off the table because your baby's Dad hated it. You would have no choice but to look for another name. Surely you can find another name. There are so many.

I kind of like your sister-in-law's reject name Cecilia. Personally I would have picked that over what she picked, Marybella.

I also love the idea of Rose and Louisa. For Louisa, you can use Lulu or Lula as nicknames which sounds similar to Lola. My friend has a daughter named Gianna, and named her other daughter Amelia. All of these names go with Gianna and Isabel (better than Lola, IMO):

Gianna, Isabel, and Cecilia
Gianna, Isabel, and Rose
Gianna, Isabel, and Louisa
Gianna, Isabel, and Amelia

And shockingly Louisa isn't even in the top 1000. Can you believe that? I think that will change. But since Gianna, Isabel and Lola are fairly popular, I don't think you would mind if Louisa went up in popularity.

Angie @ Upswing Baby Names said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angie said...

I'm so sorry, I noticed I used the wrong spelling for Isobel. Either way, I think Cecilia, Rose, Louisa and Amelia would go well.

And I actually like the Isobel spelling best of all.

I hope you still consider my suggestions even though I botched the name!

Jessica said...

Swistle, you are always so much nicer and more thoughtful about these questions than I am. My knee-jerk response was SHE CAN'T DO THAT - use the name! Your response is way better.

Anonymous said...

As others have mentioned - this is a tough one! There's not right or wrong and I guess you'll have to follow your own heart and instinct on this, not that that makes it easier!

Looking at your other girls' names - Gianna & Isobel - they seem like full, formal names with great nickname potentials (Gia, Gigi, Bella) and Lola seems the most like a nickname on its own. For this reason, I would be tempted to give your girl a longer name with the potential for Lola as a nn. The name that seems perfect to me is Louisa. It goes so well with Gianna and Isobel and seems to be in the same style or family of names. I've heard Louisa shortened to Lo, Lola, & Lulu before. (The way I am pronouncing it in my mind is "Low-eeza")

I would either name her Lola or give her a formal name with Lola as a nn rather than find a name similar to Lola. Lola is such a sweet, spunky yet soft name, it's hard to come up with an equivalent. The closest in my mind is Chloe or Cleo, but neither of those names goes as well with Gianna and Isobel.

The Mrs. said...

Just a thought: if you really didn't care what your friend thought about you using the same name, you wouldn't have written in... so it must matter a little to you that your friend probably won't get over this.

I agree with others that the name Lola seems more of a nickname than Gianna and Isobel. Celia would be a nice match... possibly Carmen? I know a woman named Leila (Lee-EYE-lah); does that catch your fancy? Gianna, Isobel, and Leila? That way all three girls have three syllables.

You've got great taste! I'm sure there's some fabulously unique name out there that would be a stunning fit for your third daughter. Best wishes to you and your growing family!

Anonymous said...

I like Marisol.

Sig said...

Perhaps find another name with even more wow factor... so that when your friend hears it, she'll go... "Damn, why didn't I think of that?"

You've had some truly beautiful name suggestions from the other posters on this site, there is no way you won't be able to come up with something you cannot love as absolutely as Lola.

Also, Lola seems to have become so popular, it's become just another name. The trouble with that is your daughter will meet anyone and anything with that name-- just last week I ran into 2 canines at the dog park named Lola (... might make you grateful your friend took this name before your child did, I don't know). It's a beautiful name but maybe, NOW is just not the time to choose it.

Have you considered the name Luella? Or Louella? I think it's near enough to Lola but even better-- great meaning and less popular. (btw, did you know Lola means 'Sorrows'? I didn't until JUST) Great nn potentials for Luella/Louella: Lou, Ella/Ellie, Lula... even Lola if you must. I do like the unexpectedness of Bella and Lou as twin nicknames.

I hope this is helpful... :)

Anonymous said...

When I think of Lola I think of the movie confessions of a teenage drama queen. I love that she wanted to be a unique character in life and she wanted a name that fit her and she didn't like her given name Mary. I get the name but I think I would want to move on an try to leave the name and take a fresh look. Maybe at both names. I would start over. I think you like pretty names that are a bit whimsical. Aaralynn, Noelia, Matilda, Pippi. I also like Willa. I think if you shake it up a bit you will be just has happy as your friends. I love Gianna and I think your daughters should have the same uniqueness as your oldest. I think their are some great names in this blog to help you out. But if in the end you can't find something else at least you know.

j.thrift said...

I appreciate how sensitive and positive everyone has been in this discussion. It's refreshing to hear that in the "name nerd community." I just wanted to toss Eulalie in the ring -- it sounds like a good candidate with her sisters' names. Congrats on all those girls!