Just saw your site and I really love the in depth name discussions. I have a situation so I thought I would ask your advice.
My husband and I are expecting a baby girl in January. The name we have chosen is Victoria, namely because it has always been my favorite name. We are both Anglophiles, we love the regal sound and I like the fact that it is not in the top ten. Our last name is Marks, so Victoria Marks has a good British feel about it, even though we live in California.
Now the other night my husband had a dream that the baby was born and looked up at him and said "Hi my name is Zoe." He now feels that she is more of a person to him as Zoe than as Victoria. We are thinking of naming her Victoria Zoe and he has started to refer to her as Zoe.
I still want to call her Victoria, as that is the name I love in my heart, but I am also open if Zoe is indeed the better name for her. This is my first and will be my only child. So my questions are: has anyone had a name shake up and how did you feel about it afterwards, and, is it possible for a baby to "choose" her own name, so to speak, in a situation like this?
I am looking forward to your thoughts on this.
The question is not whether I believe it's possible for a baby to choose its own name, but whether YOU believe it. Do you believe that each fetus has its own inherent name even before birth (as opposed to the name chosen according to the parents' tastes), and that the fetus can broadcast that name telepathically into its father's dream?
If you do believe this, then the child's first name should be Zoe: she has specifically chosen it (or, depending on which belief we'd be going with, has come to understand that it is hers), and has specifically and clearly told you. Ignoring those wishes and giving her a name you KNEW wasn't hers would be a serious decision.
If you instead believe that people have many dreams about their babies-to-be, and that those dreams are dreams rather than prophesies or truth-revealing communications, then you can continue to do what parents generally do, which is to choose the name themselves.
My own dream experience has not been one of truths revealed. During my pregnancies I sometimes dreamed a baby boy was a boy, and sometimes dreamed he was a girl. Sometimes I dreamed he was born way too early, or that he was something other than a baby, or that he died, or that I gave birth to him at home, or that he was blonde, or that I wasn't pregnant at all. Sometimes the dreams happened to correspond to reality, and most of the time they didn't.
So in your shoes, I would see a husband's dream as a fun story that we might want to incorporate into the naming process if we happened to agree on the name anyway. I'd go with your plan: sticking with your original agreed-upon name choice rather than dramatically switching styles, and using the dream name as a fun middle name as well as a nickname for her daddy to call her. Victoria Zoe Marks is a wonderful name, and Z. is a very fun initial, and the naming story is a highly enjoyable one.