Don’t name your baby that! And 5 other things never to say to a pregnant mom.
When your friends proudly clue you in to the name they’re planning for their baby, here’s a list of 5 things never to say.
Get your foot out of your mouth
How many times have you asked a pregnant couple what they plan to name their baby, then after they proudly let you in on their decision, without realizing it, you find your foot squarely in your mouth. Yikes.
Tip toe through the emotional minefield
Be careful wading into this particular pool of conversation. If you don’t have a credible “poker face” then you might want to practice your reaction of a quick, big smile, coupled with an appropriate enthusiastic response, such as, “I love it.” Or “Wow, that’s a wonderful name.
Stop Cringing, Start smiling
Whatever you do, please don’t cringe, make a face or give unsolicited advice on your idea of much better and appropriate names. First, your reaction can ruin a relationship. Trust me, the new parents will remember what you said and throw it back in your face forever!
Also, any negative off-hand comments, that you may never give a 2nd thought to, often have long -lasting and devastating consequences to new parents. I know this, because I hear about these interactions all the time during the prenatal visits. I’ve known moms who were so traumatized by comments from family members that they are reluctant to share any possible names for fear of being dissuaded.
What Not to Say:
- I had a dog with that name
- You’re joking, right?
- WTF are you thinking? Jeez!
- That’s my cousin’s name and he’s in jail
- Oh my God, you really shouldn’t do that to the kid, they’ll get bullied
- How about this instead? Then fill in the blank with your favorite name
For Expectant Parents
This is the advice I give my patients, have a list of names that you’d never in million years consider for your precious new baby. Names like Bathsheba, Osgood, Thurston, etc. When someone asks, you can throw that name out and watch their reactions.
During my own pregnancy, my patients and friends couldn’t help themselves; there was so much unsolicited advice, comments and suggestions. “You should really consider the name Matthew, Jordan, Dustin, Alfonso…” the list went on and on. Finally I devised my own counter plan, announcing that, “We are naming the baby, Sparky.”
Really, I told everyone that his name was going to be Sparky. They thought I was naming him after a dog, or after Sparky Anderson, the famous baseball manager.
And yes, there are a few people who still call my son, Sparky, which always makes both of us smile. Giving him the pretend name of Sparky during the pregnancy was plausible enough to stop all comments in their tracks, it left people confused and guessing, and it provided me much needed relief from the unsolicited and well-meaning advice, at least on that topic.
Since the name Sparky wasn’t my real pick, I had no emotional reaction to the few people who couldn’t help themselves and reacted with shock, and negative comments. It was my little inside joke. (pun intentended).
It worked for me. I hope it works for you. I’d love to hear your pretend names and strategies for keeping other people’s comments from pushing your “name your baby” buttons.
Sparky grew up to be an amazing guy named Giancarlo.