FOR a long time I wasn’t sure if I even wanted a child, yet I still had a secret shortlist of possible names for one in the back of my mind.
Now that I’m facing the task of giving a person the name they’ll be called for their entire life, a word I’ll say thousands of times, it all feels a little daunting.
Our columnist Kate Wills speaks on the struggle to avoid baby-name remorse[/caption]
Go too out-there, and I’m condemning them to a lifetime of “Can you spell that?” every time they go to Starbucks. Go too basic, and, well, let’s just say there were five Kates in my class.
I’m not surprised that a recent survey found that 73% of parents regretted the name they’d chosen for their child.
Apparently, the most lamentable choice was Hunter, which was on my list before I realised it was less Hunter S Thompson and more ’90s TV show Gladiators.
Canvassing opinion from friends and family might be one way to avoid baby-name remorse, yet I’ve noticed that parents-to-be get all coy about their choices, as if it’s a secret code that must never be spoken, not a list they pulled from a book.
My partner and I aren’t married and don’t share a surname, so it’s not just the first and middle names we need to decide. It drives me crazy that the man’s last name is presumed to be the default option.
One friend suggested that giving the baby the dad’s surname is a way for them to bond, like a nominal umbilical cord, but you’d kind of hope they’d do that anyway.
Once you both agree on a name, there are a series of tests. There’s the Prime Minister Test (could you imagine them leading the country with that name?), the Serial Killer Test (a quick Google is advised) and the Playground Test. Amy Schumer clearly didn’t do the latter, and had to change her baby’s name from Gene Attell (say it out loud and you’ll see why).
Often, you can’t predict what associations your name of choice might have in the future. Parents who had christened their baby Daenerys were outraged when she went on a murderous rampage in the final season of Game Of Thrones.
Kate loves these vegan brownies by Cake or Death delivered through your letterbox[/caption]
Likewise, I’m sure there were a few name changes for kids called Isis, while all the Alexas out there must be pretty confused that everyone is now asking them to put on music all the time.
The trend for kooky names is a relatively recent one – in the 18th century, roughly a quarter of babies were called either John or Mary, and it wasn’t until the ’60s that we chose names to stand out rather than fit in.
No doubt celebrities have played a part – Elon Musk and Grimes naming their bundle of joy X Æ A-Xii makes Apple or Psalm or Princess Tiaamii sound positively pedestrian.
We now see a baby’s name as a reflection of our own individuality and creativity. But should you really be expressing that through another person’s name? Surely that’s what Instagram is for?
Kate says these stylish holdalls from Tiba + Marl are great for travelling, the gym or even baby changing[/caption]
In Iceland, parents have to pick from a list of just under 2,000 state-approved names, or seek special permission from a committee. It sounds harsh, but when you discover that there are twins out there called Benson and Hedges, or that a judge in New Zealand had to block parents from calling their baby Talula Does The Hula, you can see why.
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Just spare a thought for the child in the thread I saw on Mumsnet the other day. “I’m thinking of calling my newborn girl Dildo… What do you think?”
● Follow Kate on Instagram @katewillswrites.
This week I'm…
Scoffing… Cake or Death
Vegan brownies delivered through your letterbox – far tastier than bills.
Reading… Coming Undone
Journalist Terri White’s memoir about her dream life unraveling is shocking, yet brilliant.
Loving… Tiba + Marl
These stylish holdalls are great for travelling, the gym or even baby changing.
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