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When the Baby Name Game Gets Messy

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I love to watch the old Seinfeld reruns before I go to bed every night. Last night was one of my favorites, the one where George has his heart set on naming his baby, who has not even been conceived, Seven. His fiancée Susan wants nothing of it and mentions it to a pregnant friend, who loves it. She and her husband decide that their baby will be named Seven, and George goes on a rampage, causing her to go in to labor. George goes with them to the hospital, all the while suggesting different names to no avail. The episode ends, and in my opinion climaxes with George pressed against the glass of the delivery room door screaming in despair, “SEVEN!! SEVEN!!!”

I laughed hysterically last night, as I watched this episode for what was probably the 20th time, never thinking that I would be in a similar situation today. But here it is, Tuesday morning, and friends of ours who did not know the sex of their baby and would not discuss names, emailed to tell of the birth of their new daughter. (You can see where this is going, right?) The subject of the email is “Hannah Emily”.

As soon as I saw it pop, my breath caught in my throat. This probably isn’t justified, but I burst in to tears right at my desk. Hannah is OUR name!! We didn’t have the same middle name, mind you, but it was ours just the same!! I called Hub to tell him and he insisted that this doesn’t change anything. We’ve been talking about her name amongst ourselves since November now, and it doesn’t change anything. “THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!!!”, I wailed, stifling sniffles. Hub was on a job and couldn’t talk any longer, but it would stand to reason that he thinks I’m a loon.

Am I a loon?

I like to think that I am a pretty rational person. I am well aware that Hannah is on the rise as one of the top baby names out there and I was prepared for our baby girl to have a common name as she enters school. My name is Sara for God’s sake…I was never one in a million and it wasn’t a problem for my parents—they love my name. But never in my life did it occur to me that our friends were considering this name. I think that maybe, MAYBE, I would be ok if they were casual acquaintances, but they are not. In addition to being my SIL’s brother and wife, they are our friends. We see them at family and non-family functions. My brother and SIL would have 2 nieces named Hannah.

We only found out that she was a girl last Thursday and did not tell anyone our name until then. They definitely didn’t know. Justifiably, they had their baby first and it is a free country. I know no malice was involved. She is a beautiful baby girl, with teeny tiny toes, and a full head of blonde hair, and I am thrilled for our friends.

But here I am, my face pressed against the delivery room door screaming “Hannah!! HANNAH!!!!”

19 responses »

  1. Oh no! That is a really tough decision. I don’t totally know what to tell you. If they were just friends, even best friends, I would say go for it. My mother’s best friend had a son when I was ten and named him Jesse, and it was and is totally fine. The fact that your brother and SIL would have two nieces with the same name gives me pause. But ultimately if that is the name that you love, the name that feels right to you, I think you should go for it anyway. Your brother and SIL will deal with it.

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  2. ohhohoho that sucks. Picking a name is hard enough! At least you have a little time to think about what you want to do. In the end if you love the name and you just KNOW it’s your name then I say use it. Of course, the name I was sold on for years is now out of the running so you may find something you’d like better. you never know. Either way I think I’d shed a few tears and eat a few gallons of ice cream

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  3. Way ahead of you on the ice cream, Fana. 😉

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  4. You are NOT crazy! THIS SUCKS!Also, this is EXACTLY why I am firmly in the “tell before birth” camp when it comes to baby names. What if you decide on a name, and meanwhile while you are being all shady about it, SOMEONE STEALS IT! GAH!Well, I still love Hannah. And it is still YOUR name, since you had already decided on it.Still: THIS SUCKS!

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  5. Jess/Tessie- I know, it really does SUCK! I feel like someone DIED, which is severely irrational.GAH!

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  6. Oh no! You are not nuts. Names are so hard to begin with. This situation would put me in tears.For me, it would be a deal-breaker and I would have to find a different name. Soon after Lisa was born my sister’s SIL had a baby and luckily it was a boy, because if it was a girl she would have been “Lisa” too – that would have upset me greatly.In the end, though, if you’re already thinking of this baby as Hannah, you should go with it. The last thing you want is namers remorse.

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  7. Oh no, oh no, oh no! That makes ME want to cry! I would be upset too. At least they didn’t know and didn’t steal the name, that would be even worse.I say as long as you don’t mind having another one, go ahead with the name. You both chose it independantly, so it shouldn’t matter. There have been many times through the generations where there wer people close with kids named the same. Me personally, the name would be ruined for me. I would just nix it and go with something completely different. But that’s how I am about naming. I think if you don’t mind (forget about the inconvenience for brother and SIL- not their choice) GO FOR IT!

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  8. Oh no! That sucks. If you still really love the name and don’t have any backups, then I say go with it. It shouldn’t matter whether there’s 100 other Hannahs out there or one, it’s the name you chose specifically for her.

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  9. 😦 I would be exactly the same way as you. . . so upset! But, you can always still use the name. Two Hannahs in the family isn’t the worst thing ever. Do whatever makes you and your husband happy!

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  10. This is one of the ONLY reasons I see for sharing name choices ahead of time. When I was pregnant with Henry, my cousin’s wife was pregnant with a boy and I was SO WORRIED they’d choose the same name. I would have been HORRIFIED. (They didn’t choose it, though.)I would do FAST damage control. I would write my congratulations and add, “How funny! Hannah is the name we’ve chosen for our baby, too!” I would say the same thing to other people. I would make sure I used a light, “isn’t this neat?” tone, rather than a panicked, red-faced, shaky-voiced tone.Hannah was the 8th most popular girl name in the U.S. in 2007, so NO ONE has dibs. USE IT. It is yours. I don’t think it’s a big deal to have two same-name kids in the same circle, I really don’t. I have a cousin with my same first name, and it was never a problem: we were just Swistle Thistle and Swistle Thorn, and it was fine and even fun for us.So although I would be VERY UPSET in your situation, I would still use the name. And when I’M the first one to use a name, I don’t mind at all: my sister-in-law loves Henry’s real name, and I told her it was perfectly fine with me if they use it, too–and I really mean it.

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  11. Oh hell no! That is so totally unfair. & we can vouch that you had dibs on the name first. I’m sorry. I think you should go ahead with Hannah for your sweet girl.

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  12. What the hell would I do without all of you, and my work friends M, K and D who have been talking me down all day? I am totally taking Swistle’s advice and am putting that in the card. Though my bro did already complain to Hub, because his wife has the same name as me, and now, 2 nieces with the same name. Oh well. C’est la vie, right?I’m not letting this be a deal breaker. No Sir.

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  13. Good for you! If Hannah is the name you want, then use it. Like you said, a common name doesn’t bother you. It is still beautiful; it is still perfect. Even if 100 other mothers use it.

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  14. WE know that it’s your name! Yes, take Swistle’s advice.Also, YAY! A girl! (Says Miss Late to the Party.)

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  15. My husband would make us change the name! He’s PARANOID about that kind of thing. I say, go with Swistle. You LOVE that name. BUT if another name should just happen to strike your fancy sometime in the next few months….

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  16. BTW: This post is STILL making me giggle.”Hannah! HANNAH!”*chuckle, guffaw*

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  17. I’m the same way. If a friend uses the name, I would have trouble using it myself. In fact, a friend and I were pregnant at the exact same time and we both were going to use the same name for a boy with a different spelling. Thankfully she had a girl and I had a boy so it wasn’t an issue. If it’s “the” name, you should just use it.

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  18. Oh no! I totally agree with Swistle and think her approach has just the right tone. (And she even has statistics to back it up!) Seriously, if you love the name who cares. Although, I totally understand where you’re coming from. I didn’t worry about my friends using our names (because R.ita isn’t even on the top 1000 list anymore and A.lice is barely there…) BUT, the whole time I was pregnant and for the first x months after they were born all I could think was please, please, please don’t let the next ditzy teenage starlet be named A.lice or R.ita. Because no matter how much I loved the names, if Paris Hilton was named A.lice Hilton or if Brittany Spears was R.ita Spears then those names would have been gone immediately.

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  19. Pingback: In which I preliminarily discuss baby names « Incubation Nation

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