42 answers

Competition for the "Perfect" Baby Name.

I'm sure many of you have had this or similar situations happen to you and I am looking for some ideas on how to handle an awkward situation. I am expecting my third child in February and have had a name for my child for several months now. My sister-in-law let it slip that they're having a girl (due in March). I joked, "Watch, we'll have picked the same name." Neither of us were going to share the name until the babies were born. We quickly discovered that we chose the same name and are both attached to the name. My brother wanted to rock-paper-scissors for the name, but I'm too attached to let it go so easily. I really wanted the name to be special. Any thoughts?

Just to add to this... Since posting the original request to you all, things have gotten messier. I agree with the advice that we can both use the name and go by different names if neither of us wants to go with another name. That not only was shot down, but I received a very emotionally-manipulative e-mail listing why they should get the name. Now there's bad feelings and my husband is even more determined to keep the name. At this point, I don't know what to do and am very upset and confused that it's come to this. I think I'll let things settle down and then deal with the more reasonable of the couple.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I had a sitiation similar to this. My MIL-Mary Dean-passed away 2 months after my husband and I were married. About 6 months later we found out we were pregnant. We decided if it was a girl, we would name her Mary..... Well my SIL is Mary Cassandra(called Casey) and said she gets first dibs on the name Mary since it was hers and her Mothers. We had a boy and named him Michael(hubbys name) Dean(MIL middle name). Then she was pregnant with a boy, then us with a girl. We still couldnt use the name, it was hers. 12 years later she has 2 boys and 2 girls(neither with first or middle named Mary), and we have 2 boys and 1 girl and we win :) because we used her middle name. She was always called Dean growing up anyways(I guess its a southern thing).
If you really like the name and it fits, use it. Im the only J. in my large extended family(both parents are 1 of 9 kids) but there were about 12 in my graduating class, and easily 30 in my school. Someone somewhere is bound to have the same first name eventually.

Use this to see how many there are.
http://www.howmanyofme.com/

Relax and use whatever name you want! I have a brother and a step-brother both named John and a cousin named Jonathon. My mom and FIVE of her cousins all have different names but ALL of them married Davids. It's really not that big of a deal unless you all MAKE it a big deal.....

OMG!!! That's awful!! How much time do you have until the babies are born?? Maybe you both can look at baby name books and see if anything else grabs either one of you. If niether of you back down like by, say, 1 month or 2 weeks before the baby is born (you guys decide) then you'll have to flip for it, and the other one could still use it as a middle name, right??

I'm sorry - that sucks!!

More Answers

Hi M. -- Do you know that your baby will also be a girl? If not, all your problems may solve themselves! Assuming you are expecting a daughter too, it seems obvious that you'll have the first opportunity to name your baby, so go for it! Suppose you nobly gave up the name you have your heart set on, and then at the last minute your sister-in-law decided she didn't like the name after all! Would it be so terrible if both little girls had the same name? I assume their last names will be different. What if one child were named "Mary Susan" and the other were named "Susan Mary"? Kids get nicknamed all the time, and you and your SIL may find yourselves the mothers of "Sugar Pie" and "Pinkie."

Whatever happens, think which is really more important to you: Getting the name for your daughter or being a loving, gracious family member.

Let us know how it all turns out! Best wishes -- L.

I'm sorry that the name you picked out to be special turns out is more popular than you thought! I just want to advise you to please be careful. This could easily become a lifetime issue of resentment for you and your sister in law. You need to try to lovingly come to an agreement with her. You don't want your childs name to overshadow how great she's going to be! :) Just tell your sister in law how you honestly feel and have several solutions available and be willing to compramize a little.... :) The realtionships you have with your family are worth more than the name- even if it is a really great one! The situation still sucks though- I'm sorry!

There shouldn't be a competition, it sets the scene for all their growing up. Which one talks first, which gets the better grades in school, which gets married first. If you have a name you like, use it. Your sister in law can then use the name also or they can change it to something else, the choice is theirs. I had my daughter's name picked out since I was 16 years old and no one would have gotten me to name her anything else. My mother in law didn't like the name but after she got use to it she doesn't think it could be anything else. Your daughters having the same name will be fine. Chances are they would be called "Amy R" and "Amy B" or whatever their last initial is. Besides, as parents of two boys with J's for first name and a half dozen J nieces and nephews, we never get their names straigh anyway.. we just start out with Jarrod, Justin, Jordan, Justice... whoever you are! Don't sweat the small stuff, and this is small stuff.

My great neice Emilee calls my granddaughter whose name is Emmalyne "baby Emma" even though they are only 13 months apart.

Relax and use whatever name you want! I have a brother and a step-brother both named John and a cousin named Jonathon. My mom and FIVE of her cousins all have different names but ALL of them married Davids. It's really not that big of a deal unless you all MAKE it a big deal.....

Hello! I know this seems SO big right now and I don't mean to minimize your frustration; but from the outside looking in, it is a non-issue. It makes absolutely no difference if they have the same name. Even if you name them the same first AND middle name, they share a last name, you spell them the same, and they live next door to each other and go to the same school, it STILL doesn't matter. As long as you have two healthy, happy, loved little girls, they won't care what name you gave them.

Sometimes you just have to look at the big picture and be the low-key, easy-going person who is "okay" with things. If you relax about it and choose to stop the tension, you may just throw your SIL off so much that she'll either relax about it too or change the name! Either way, what matters is that you aren't stressed out during your pregnancy and you will get the name you love without feeling guilty about it.

Good luck and I hope you're able to just write this off your list of things to worry about during pregnancy!

I had a sitiation similar to this. My MIL-Mary Dean-passed away 2 months after my husband and I were married. About 6 months later we found out we were pregnant. We decided if it was a girl, we would name her Mary..... Well my SIL is Mary Cassandra(called Casey) and said she gets first dibs on the name Mary since it was hers and her Mothers. We had a boy and named him Michael(hubbys name) Dean(MIL middle name). Then she was pregnant with a boy, then us with a girl. We still couldnt use the name, it was hers. 12 years later she has 2 boys and 2 girls(neither with first or middle named Mary), and we have 2 boys and 1 girl and we win :) because we used her middle name. She was always called Dean growing up anyways(I guess its a southern thing).
If you really like the name and it fits, use it. Im the only J. in my large extended family(both parents are 1 of 9 kids) but there were about 12 in my graduating class, and easily 30 in my school. Someone somewhere is bound to have the same first name eventually.

Use this to see how many there are.
http://www.howmanyofme.com/

Hi M.,

My daughter has the same first name as her cousin. My SIL and I were pregnant at the same time and we told her as soon as we found out that we were having a girl, our choice of name. Needless to say, when her baby was born three weeks before our daughter, and she named her our chosen name, I was pretty upset. I told my husband that we were going to have to change our choice and he didn't budge. We both now have Andrea's but their second names are different. It has made NO DIFFERENCE that they have the same name. In fact, the girls somewhat enjoy it and have never been bothered by it. On a funny note, our daughter was given her second name after my mother and when my MIL found out about this, she insisted that my SIL take the steps to change HER daughters name to my MIL's first name!

It is very common in many countries (even our own) and cultures that many people in the same family have the same name. In my husband's family, there are many people with the same name.

My humble opinion is this...if you love this name, then name your angelbaby that and don't worry about having the same name in the family. In the short and the long run, it won't matter.

C.

The girls will be cousins right? I don't think it's too weird for cousins to have the same name, particularly if they have different middle names. Besides, you both will come up with original nicknames for your babies and won't call them by their given first name most of the time anyway.

Be glad you have a name picked out that you love! It took us 3 days after our son was born to name him, and it wasn't either of our first choices in names that we settled on. My son was also born premature, so that was a surprise and a scare- giving him the perfect name seemed less important at the time than helping him stay healthy and strong so he could go home with us.

PS. It's the baby that is special, not the name :)

Yikes! I think one of you will need to budge starting with when each of you decided when you picked the name first or you have it since you're having the baby first or let them have it if it's their first child and I think first children have the most meaning put on the name in my opinion.

I had a name picked for our youngest and the person who had an issue with it said she liked the nickname I picked for the longer version of the name. A month before I was due she told me it's my decision but she would like it if I didn't use the name or nickname. Um, what! Yea, I was so mad but after the confrontation the name wasn't such a happy name to use for our unborn child and had ill attachments and memories to it so I picked another name. It's difficult but with searching and searching the new name came to me.

It's hard for either of you to give up the name but I think it would be best if one of you picked a new name or if you can shorten it into a nick name then one of you call the child by the nick name instead of the full version of the name.

I'm sorry you ran into this. The chances of that happening are rare but it happened to you. Good luck in what you and your brother decide.

I don't really see a problem with having the same first name as long as the middle name isn't the same. If you like the name that you picked then go with it. Don't let someone else dictate what you name your child.

Picking of a childs name is no big deal. I have a cousin who shares the same first name as myself. Our middle names are different. I remember getting into fights with her while growing up but that only lasted for a very short time. You see, the only time that we were called by our given names was at school but when we were at home I was called by my nick-name. Choose a nick-name for your child after she is born and please don't stress about it either. You'll find that there will be a few with the same first name when she gets into school.

Hi,
My friend Colleen always wanted the name Christina shortened to Chrissy for a daughter someday, well when her sister-in-law was pregnant, first and asked Colleen's Mom for name advice- she said- "Isn't Chrissy a pretty name?" Of course my friend was so mad at her mom for putting that idea in her head-she said to her mom-"You know I've always wanted that name how could you do this to me?" And at the time felt she would never use it. They both went on to have daughters named Chrissy. But everything is fine now between the sister-in-laws.
I would say- you're due first in this case- go for it- letting your sister-in-law know what you've decided and it's OK if she names hers the same name. Don't do any games to decide though- that'll will only lead to hurt feelings and resentment.
Good Luck!
L.

Was the name chosen because of the way it sounds together with the last name (assuming they are both the same).

If there are both a first and second name, one of you can reverse the order or add a third name, and each still have the name you want, just the other way around.

When the children get older, you or one of them, may choose to use the reverse order or use a nick name that sounds like the intended name you have both chosen.

Other suggestions you get will be interesting, it is a touchy situation.

OMG!!! That's awful!! How much time do you have until the babies are born?? Maybe you both can look at baby name books and see if anything else grabs either one of you. If niether of you back down like by, say, 1 month or 2 weeks before the baby is born (you guys decide) then you'll have to flip for it, and the other one could still use it as a middle name, right??

I'm sorry - that sucks!!

First off, congrats on being pregnant!!

I would have a variety of names to pick from. I had all different names picked out for my daughter before she was born, a few weeks before she came, my husband saw a name that he liked and I added the ending, (ella, ana, add a y. or just an "a" at the end something to make it unique!We did a wonderful compromise on our daughters name.
If you would like to know the name just message me, I think it is unique.

You can spell it differently, add a 3rd name or just keep it the same.

When my daughter was born she didn;t look like many of the names that we picked out and wasn't named for over a day!
YOu can message me with the name if you woudl like and I can help you think of alternatives!

Also something to think about, why did you choose the name, why did your SIL choose it, is this a family name? If it is a family name then think of the person in your family and maybe use their middle name or a variation of it. IE my daughters middle name is Kate, my moms name is Kathleen, she doesn't go by that though, she goes by Kathy. Kathy didn't fit as well as Kate so that is how we chose that! I had my daughters name picked out for years and years it was going to be Cathie Jo, my husbands sisters name is Kathy and he also has close relatives named Kathy Jo, so that would be confusing, and then on top of that one has the same last name too! So we changed it!

You are having your baby first, so I think you are intitled to it, but if your SIL was to have her baby early... well you just might want to weigh out all of your options! I have a good friend with the same name as me, it is quite fun!

Please let us know what you decide to do, either before or after she is born and after you or your SIL baby is born, let us know the name!

Sorry that was so long just thought that you might want to hear what happened and give you a different insight!

Blessings+
A. E

I actually had this with my sister in law who was going to adopt. She ended up not doing it, but I was willing to switch to my number 2 pick because I really liked it too. But in your situation the only fair thing is to say whoever is born first gets the name. Seems the most fair and impartial. Also, my mother and aunt both really liked the name Jennifer when my mom was pregnant with my twin sister and I. She ended up not using it at all because my aunt wanted it. She didn't have a baby til 2 1/2 years later, a boy. Then she had a girl a year or so later and named her something totally different. I was mad at first when my sister named her girl Tiana, planning on calling her Tia because my daughter who was already 1 is Mia. I was so mad that I considered it stealing my name. The girls took like 6 years to even realize their names rhymed! Now we think it's cute. I think the same name would be a little much though. Like I said, first to it should get it.

I don't see any issue with both of you naming your girls the same. Unless they live in the same house, what does it really matter? When they're together, you can come up with cute or clever nicknames to call them (so people know to whom you're talking). But really, I think it might be kind of cute to have "the Madelines" or "the Jessicas" or whatever the name is. They are cousins that will be close in age, and since they don't live together 24/7 (where individuality would be an issue), they might enjoy sharing that aspect of their lives. I know several sets of best friends with the same name, and they have little jokes and names for each other.

Would one of you be willing to switch the first and middle names, so one is 'Lisa Marie' and one is 'Marie Lisa'?

Do you live in the same city? Is it possible to keep the given names and have separate 'nicknames' to keep them straight at a family reunion?

What would be really bad would be for you to choose a different name and then when SIL has her baby she changes her mind and doesn't use the name either. Yikes!

It sounds like your child will arrive first. Name your baby whatever you want in Febuary, and let them decide what they want to name theirs in March. By then they might have changed their minds five times anyway. Just don't make a deal of it in the meantime or this will become bigger than it needs to be.

I would just pick a different spelling for the first name and find a very uncommon middle name that works well with the first. In our family, we had a boy's & girl's name picked out for our first (we had a girl) and then the following year, a cousin had a boy and "took" our boy's name. For our 2nd, my next choice for a boy's name was taken by another cousin (we had another girl). Then, on our 3rd we were finally having a boy and ended up with a totally different name than the first two that were "ours." If we would have still liked the name when we had our boy, we probably would have used it anyways. Also, my husband and a friend he grew up with had the same first names, but different middles names. They solved that by calling my husband by his first name, but the friend by his first & middle initials (AJ).
I would just have a "backup" name in case your name doesn't "fit" your baby after she's born, but I'd stick with the one you've already chosen!

I suppose it really depends on who gives birth first as to who gets the name. If neither of you are willing to find something different then you might want to try a different spelling or use it as a middle name instead of a first. I think either way someone's feelings are going to get hurt, so you're going ot have to be prepared to either be the bigger person and give the name up or deal with a pissed off sister in law if you won't. It's a toughie, good luck :)

My husband and I were really attached to the name Valorie for most of my pregnancy and when it got closer to my due date we completely changed and named our daughter after a close relative that passed away. We told everyone what her name would be and I was worried that I had jinxed it, what if she didn't look like that name? Well let me tell you, your baby doesn't look like any name when they come out! You'll be so dissolusioned by the fact that you just pushed something out of you that you won't even be able to think of "what name" they look like :) I would think hard about what the name means to you and make sure that you don't want it more just because someone else wants it too. Think about if you could really give it up and if you can't, well, then use it. It's really what matters to you and if your SIL still wants the name then she can use it to. It could be fun having daughters with the same name! Imagine having a best friend with your name, little girls love that kind of stuff!

When I was born, I was christened "Christi". 3 weeks later my cousin was born, and her name was "Christine". 20 years later one of my other cousins had a boy and he was named "Christopher." Guess some names are just meant to run in families!! We've always kinda joked about it thru the years :) It happens with well liked names. It's never bothered me or my cousin or all the parents involved :)

Hi M.
I have a large family. I have 25 cousins with myself being the oldest at 31 and the youngest being 8. We have some duplacte names. There are 6 Katie's and 3 Sarah's. We are together all the time and it doesn't seem to bother any of them. I would say just name them the same 90% of the time she will be with just you and your family so she will be the only one with that name. This is her name for life and you are the one who has to give it to her. So if you feel like this is who she is than that is the name give her.

This is a tough situation. I have a different view than most moms that sent replies. I am big on having a unique name. I would not be content to have the same name as a lot of people - especially not someone I would be in regular contact with. My daughter's name is Bijou - we specifically looked for names that were different but beautiful.

In your situation, I would tell your SIL that you were still planning to use the name and if she says that she is too, then I would just find another name and wait until the baby is born to announce it. I know you might be attached to this name, but I promise that you can find another name that you love just as much.

If you really love the name and you already consider it your child's name then I guess it is your child's name. You'll be giving birth first so if you choose the name then SIL will have the difficult decision and she will be the one who looks a bit silly naming her daughter the same name as your's.

I completely understand the desire to have a "special" name for your kid. I don't know what the name is that you're thinking of or what kind of name you tend to like, but we had a hard time with names because I like names that are old-fashioned but a little unusual--and that everyone knows how to spell. So we have a Zachary, Ezra, and Matilda. If, for example, my brother had announced that they were going to name their baby Matilda as well, I would have been frustrated at least. But I know that we would have been able to solve it with nicknames. Or in the family, I could see us referring to "my Matilda" and "his Matilda."

So I would say stick to your guns. You picked a name that you love, and that's not easy! And this name will stay with her for the rest of her life. If your brother and SIL don't like that you're not willing to change, that's too bad; you're not telling them to do it either. Just be honest and explain that giving your child the right name is more important to you than "taking turns" when it comes to naming your children. Good luck!

M.,
My great grandmother was a wise woman I have discovered now that I am older, The one thing she used to say was look at your baby when he or she is born and see then if the name fits. She had my name picked out to be Fred and she looked at me and said no she is not a Fred. My parents liked Fred but big suprise I am a girl.
I believe if the name is ment to be yours then use it. And if the name is ment to be your sister-in-laws then she could use it and let the kids know the name is so special we couldnt stop and just one person using the name. My family has 3 James and 2 Christophers so... It can get confusing but it works over time.
Best of luck,
B.

I would just suggest being open about the situation. I have read the other requests and I agree- Your little one is going to be born first...and named first. I didn't know what my little one was going to be called until she was born, I had a few names picked out but I needed to see her first. If the name truely FEELS right and your choosing it because of that then that is awesome, if you just really like the name...then maybe give it some more thought. Good Luck!!

Your babies are not going to be together all the time forever. Give yours the name you want and don't worry about it. In 20 years, it's not going to matter. One of my friends is an Erin married to an Aaron, with relatives on both sides bearing one or both of those names. It sounds like family reunions get a little crazy, but it works.

if this is the name you want i say go for it. even if you both use the same name, there is ways to tell them apart. in my family my grandfather is robert (bob) my uncle is also robert (bobby) and my cousin is bobbie (bobbie lynn). both my cousin and i were pregnant at the same time ( a little differnt than SIL) but we both wanted the name alexis if we had a girl. turned out i had a boy first and she decieded that she liked alexa better by the time she had her. on my other side of the family we have my brother and uncle both david. one is david and the other is david paul. and we have two cousins named samantha ( one is a step child). but they go as sam and sammy. then you get the names that sound alike.. lawson and dawson. if your family is anything like mine when we get together they usually call you by the wrong name anyways before saying the right one! lol. i know its a little different since its your brother and not cousin, but it will still work out. good luck with this, i hope it works out and blows over with out turning into a big deal. the big deal is the joy of having two little one to love brought into this world!

My thinking is that you are in the clear for getting to use the name. Your baby comes in February, hers in March = you win. Although you can't control what name your sis-in-law chooses for her baby, you can make sure you claim that name for your child and if she chooses it for her child also then she can just accept that everyone will assume she copied you.

Hi there,
you have had tons of responses, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in too. Personally, I feel that you shouldn't have one certain name picked out for your baby. When I went in to have my son, I had my heart set on Caleb John or John Caleb (his dad's name is John) and one look at him and he was not a Caleb, he is a Jason Anthony. I would just keep your options open and search for one or two other names, and who knows, maybe when your baby comes, you won't even like the name that you have or it just won't fit your baby. But since you are the one who will be having their baby first, I say that you have dibs on it and you should get the first option at the name. So good luck to you!

use the name you like. they can use the name they like. if it's the same- so be it. names are important and if you have chosen one that you feel is THE ONE then stick to it.

Do you KNOW that you're having a girl too? YOu didn't mention the sex of your child. We had this very same thing happen only it wasn't as nice. My brother in law had just got married. After they found out we were pregnant with our 2nd child my new sister in law kept bugging us about names. We finally gave in and told them what names we had picked out. My sister in law wanted my girl name for her daughter someday. She wasn't even pregnant. My brother in law called my husband and told him that we can't use that name because it's the name his wife had picked out ever since she was a child. They also told us that it was her "dead Grandmothers" name. We found out later was a lie! We eventually found out we were having a boy and it solved the problem momentarily. When our 3rd baby came along they were pregnant with their 2nd child and they were finally getting a girl. We were having a girl too. I just flat out told her she could have the name and then she suddenly didn't like that name anymore. It was so really immature!

Maybe both of you should consider other names as well and maybe a better name with come to you or her. Or, you could just give them both the same name. No harm done really!!! It's not that big of a deal.

My thoughts are with you on this one!

I say keep the name you picked. Maybe be unique with the spelling and change the middle name. Having a cousin with the same name is not going to be a big deal. She will eventually run into someone, somewhere with her name.

I think the baby that is born first should get the name. However don't be so quick to pick a name for your little one you haven't met yet. What if the name just doesn't fit your baby? I think it's good to have several names in mind.

I was supposed to be Nicole, but my parent's friends had a daughter just before they did and changed their minds to name me Jennifer instead. Ironically, they didn't even really stay in close touch with those friends as they grew older, so they really wouldn't have needed to change. But as it turned out, there were already 4 Nicoles in my class in school growing up and until high school I was the only Jennifer, so it worked out better for me. And yes, the name Jennifer in our age group is otherwise very common. I did end up finding a distant cousin with the same first name as me. I thought it was more of a novelty than an issue, especially since I grew up with an uncommon last name and never thought I'd find someone with the same name. Our middle names were different.

I now have a more common last name, so I run into people with my same name all the time (and even down to the middle name). In college, my husband had the same name as another guy in his dorm and they were always getting each other's mail, but because of different middle initials, they could usually straighten it out.

So no, I don't have the exact scenario you are going through, but my vote is that you can certainly have the same first name since there are ways to determine who you are talking to/about. Really, how different is it than generations having the same name and being Sr., Jr., III, etc. You'll find some way to distinguish the difference between the two names.

I say go with it. You are due first. I grew up with a cousin with the same name. It wasn't to bad.

Good luck!!

A.

Well, since you and your brother probably have different names now, I'd say NO BIG DEAL. Both of you can use the name.

At family gatherings you can just use their name with their last initial to seperate the two. (That's what they do in school when they have multiples of the same name.... Sarah B, Sarah W, Sarah M--those were just the 3 Sarah's I graduated with!)

Or maybe one of you could come up with a slightly different spelling if you really want them to be a little different???

Either way, if you both really like the name, then both of you can use it!!!!!

:D so common. i had chosen olivia for my girl's name (we had a boy) and im glad i didnt cuz its so common now.
you could talk to SIL and see if one of you could use it as a middle name, or even both of you use it as a middle name.
OR you both could use the name, and change the spelling, or even a slight pronounciation change?

you could message me and let me know what the name is and i could help come up with creative ideas...

I think personally I 'may' consider being the bigger person and find a different name. But that may depend on how the other person is handling the situation. It depends, it's hard to say. But definitely talk about it with her or there is sure to be hard feelings on someone's end.

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