Ah, judgment. A word, and feeling, we have been forced to become acquainted with from the moment we enter parenthood. When you’re pregnant, well-meaning loved ones always have tons of questions. And concern. And advice. It’s easy for others to get caught up in the excitement and anticipation of your little one on the way. Sometimes, others can get lost in the fanfare and start to feel comfortable enough to clap for (or shoot down) any ideas you may be having about parenting styles or choices for your impending bundle of joy.
It can be hard to remember that everyone will always have an opinion about everything. But it doesn’t mean those particular opinions have to hold any weight! It may feel like you are making millions of decisions. Having a good person or group to use as a soundboard can be helpful. But, in the end, the only opinion that matters is yours!
This is especially true with what a parent chooses to name their child. I don’t need or want your opinions about my baby’s name. Their name was MY parenting decision — an identity marker for this sweet, new baby — and I’d appreciate it if everyone can respect that to respect my child.
What’s in a name?
Well, you never know! The biggest problem in society is being too quick to assume or judge. If someone in your life suggests a unique or even downright strange name for their child, the last thing they need is to hear something negative about it. You truly may not know a special story, a familial tie, or the heartbreaking reason behind why the name may be considered.
It can be shocking, of course, if a name is unknown or unfamiliar. Maybe they struggle to pronounce or spell it. Perhaps they feel you are the first one in the family to stray from the traditional names that have been given before this baby. Maybe the name reminds them of someone they know that didn’t leave a great impression. Either way, people should keep in mind that in almost every situation, the moment you meet the child with the moniker you weren’t crazy about, every negative connotation seems to melt away.
Names have a way of just fitting those they are given to. Zion ends up looking like a Zion, and he will be as heavenly as his name implies. Calista will be as beautiful as her name is. And when you hold her, you won’t even remember what it was about the name you didn’t like in the first place. Unfortunately, parents will remember any damaging thing someone may have mentioned about their disapproval of the name choice.
My children have very special names.
Each of my pregnancies seemed to be surrounded by heartbreak. The child I was carrying was a beacon of hope and light for many in my life at those different times.
About a month into my pregnancy with my first, we tragically lost my teenaged cousin to an accident. He was a superstar – a football prodigy who just turned 16. My family was devastated. The tiny baby growing inside me was the rainbow keeping all of us looking forward to brighter days. Magically, we found out that I was carrying a boy. It was without question who he would be named after. He’d be Ryder Mason, named to carry the legacy of his cousin he will never get to meet.
During my pregnancy, I’d see comment after comment in online mom groups about how the name Mason was overused. “It’s at peak popularity,” they’d say. “Everyone is using that as a middle name! What about XYZ?” It was uncomfortable and sad to hear all of these strangers’ opinions about my son. He had not even entered this world yet, and I’d never even considered another name for him. His name was important to our entire family.
Of course, you never expect people to know the intimate details of your life, so I don’t blame these women for making suggestions. And I always assume people mean no harm, so if they knew this sad reason, I have to think they’d never say those things.
The same situation arose with my second. My beautiful daughter was named after my very best friend, Montana, who passed away before she arrived. Indie Rose – a free-spirited first name to symbolize the side of me that Montana Rose brought out and a floral and classic middle name to match. My two roses, one on earth in my arms, and one in my heart who lives in the clouds. Both of their names are special, and both came with the same types of judgments from those who don’t know the sentiment behind them.
As Moms, we are strong.
We can endure all of the judgment and whispers that may come from our peers, our co-workers, and even our family. We might feel pressured to make our loved ones feel comfortable or like we are trying to fit into a certain mold based on our family or friend group. It may feel forbidding to choose a rare name for your child if they are surrounded by peers with more traditional titles. As their parent, we worry if it will have a negative or positive impact on them.
But that is our job. That’s not the job of other mothers, strangers, grandparents, or anyone else. We have enough to worry about. I don’t want to feel like I’m waiting for the approval of others when I am giving my child the first gift. The first major decision I will be making for them should be an easy and natural conclusion. I will be choosing names that define my children’s lives. I will be making a name for them, one that they will become great people with. Their name is their mark on this world. I do not need or want your opinion on my baby’s name.