Reasons To Keep the Name of Your Baby a Secret Until It Is Born

by Alicia at BalancingMotherhood.com on February 27, 2009

My husband and I have made a pact during each of my pregnancies to keep the name of the child a secret until he/she is born. It drives everyone crazy.

We get tired of answering the question? “Do you have a name yet?”

“Yes, we have a name, but we’re keeping it a secret.”

or

“Yes, but we’re waiting to meet her.”

Both true statements.

It’s awkward to not be able to tell people. I don’t think they understand, but I’m glad we’ve done it. It give us time on our own to feel 100 percent certain that we know the name is right. It’s OUR decision. Without any outside pressure.

If I let friends and family weight in I guarantee my kids would have different names than they do. Not because they have bad names, but because it would be hard to find a name that pleases everyone. By keeping it between the two of us it gives us quiet reflection on the certainty of the name.

And, who says anything about a baby’s name to a new parent once they’ve met the child?

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Krys February 27, 2009 at 9:03 am

My husband and I are doing exactly the same thing! We’re due in about a week, and we haven’t told anyone what we’re planning to name our daughter. We’ve narrowed it down to two options, and we’re keeping those secret for precisely the same reasons you’ve kept your names secret.

We’ve encountered similar reactions from friends and family, but we’ve decided that it’s really our decision, and it’s something that we want to determine just between us. After explaining that to folks, they seem to understand, and some friends have even helped explain to others who seem surprised that we’re not sharing.

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Daisy March 3, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Just one plea: please, I beg of you, avoid creative spelling of names. Please. Peyton, Payton, Paetyn, Paytn, Paitin, and Paetin will all thank you.

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Am I Doing Okay? March 5, 2009 at 1:45 am

I’d rather you just say you don’t know or you haven’t decided and indulge my opinionated curiosity. But that’s just me. And I’m a self described name snob. How long do we have to wait?

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Alicia March 5, 2009 at 9:47 am

Sometimes we did say we weren’t sure yet, or we didn’t know, but I felt that was dishonest at times so I just stated everything up front. Now that she’s here I’m glad we kept it a secret. I am confident that her name suits her and our family and that I wasn’t swayed by any opinion I heard.

As for creative spellings … I agree. We chose a traditional spelling.

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Charlotte March 19, 2009 at 1:24 am

Oh! I am so doing that next time around. We were playing around with middle names for our baby boy and I mentioned that I liked Cameron. My parents one day asked if we’d thought about names, and it was mentioned. My dad went off the bat yelling: Cameroon? How on EARTH can you name your child after a country? I mean, CAMEROOOON? I calmly tried to explain that the name was Cameron, not Cameroon, but I don’t think he heard me.

For a long time afterward I felt horrible about the name we had chosen, because of this, but as I get closer to my delivery date, I am more and more certain that this will be his middle name. But next time around, no one gets to know the name of our baby until he or she sees the day of light.

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mirlme March 29, 2009 at 9:02 am

wow! thanks for the info.. i really love the info that you gave to me!

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Ray April 2, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Every time i come here I am not dissapointed, nice post

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Terrence B June 10, 2009 at 7:23 am

Great stuff thanks :)

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jan September 7, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I just want to say that my daughter just told me she ande her husband have picked out a name for both a boy and a girl and when she told me she would not tell me I almost had a heart attack. This is my oldest daughter, first grandchild and I feel completely left out by this decision. It may not be right to feel this way but I feel that it is realy important to be a part of this wonderful event and my feelings are hurt to not be included in even knowing the names.

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Alicia at BalancingMotherhood.com September 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Jan: I felt bad when I didn’t tell my mother or mother-in-law (especially my mother). If I had seen even the slightest twinge of dislike in our choice of a name, I might have questioned a decision that I knew was right. I’m sure your daughter isn’t intentionally trying to hurt your feelings, although I’m sure it’s hard to wrap your thoughts around their decision to keep it a surprise. This may not help much, but my mother was the first person we told once the baby was born.

I realize, too, that this will probably come back to bite me when I am patiently waiting to become a grandmother and have to wait along with everyone else to know the name of my own grandchild!

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Heather O'del February 3, 2010 at 12:03 am

I am going to keep it a secret too, i don’t want anyone to give their opinion on what i wish to name my child and ruin the name for me becuase they don’t like it. Who cares if they don’t like it, it’s not like i’m naming THEM and as a mother it’s my decision, not theirs. Daisy i respectfully disagree of your concern on creative spelling, i don’t want my kid sharing the same name as anyone in his/her class when he/she goes to school.

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Amy April 6, 2010 at 11:07 am

I frankly think it’s a bit odd that everyone feels this need to keep their baby names secret for the length of their pregnancies. I would be appalled if any family or friend made fun of any name I was considering, and I wouldn’t expect it because our family and friends are way too polite and hands off to do that. If you’re afraid of people making fun of a name you pick, then the people you know need a lesson in manners. Also, if they’re that rude and pushy about just a name, or it’s that hard for you to handle their opinions even if they’re offered gently, just wait until these same people start telling you how to parent every step along the way. If you must keep the names secret, then you must, but I wish people would be less afraid of what others might say to “taint” their chosen names and just grow more backbone and ability to tell their friends and family to mind their own business if they give opinions you don’t like, whether it be about a baby name, breastfeeding, staying home with baby, whether to take the child to music lessons, etc.

Also, sometimes sharing names can HELP parents-to-be. Sometimes parents are so focused on agreeing on names that they forget to pay attention to what the initials mean — some of our friends gave their child a name with the initials CRP. That’s not terrible, but my husbands first response upon hearing this (in private, of course), was “Oh, the baby’s initials spell CRAP. That’s a bummer.” If the parents had shared the name before giving birth, someone would have gently pointed this out to them and they could have decided ahead of time if they wanted this (years later they admitted this was an oversight and something they didn’t mean to do, and they felt badly for their son). I would WANT someone to point out if I named my child Andrew Samuel Stevens that it would spell ASS. While I would expect my friends to keep their general opinion of specific names to themselves, I would certainly hope my friends would point out problems like this.

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caffiend November 16, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Jan – really? You felt “left out” of a decision that rightly belongs to your daughter and her husband?! Let me guess, you want a say in how she raises your grandchildren too?

Your post comes across as very whiny and entitled. The birth of this baby is about your daughter, her husband, and their child – *not about you*. If you don’t learn to butt out as a parent and respect that your daughter is an adult and their are boundaries, then you may risk not being part of your children’s or grandchildren’s lives at all.

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Karen February 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Amy…
I understand your point about possible a possible faux pas with initials etc., but the truth is that not everyone is like your “too polite” friends and family.

There are some very opinionated people everywhere who think they are entitled to say what they think, regardless of whether others want to hear it or not. So in lieu of “growing a backbone” and picking a fight every time someone “gently” offers their opinion on the name you picked, why not keep it a secret until the mom and dad to be are ready to share or when the baby is born? Especially for those women who are extra (and understandably) sensitive to criticism.

You’re right… people will want to over-correct and give unwanted opinions all throughout child rearing, but why not try to avoid possible unpleasant situations when possible?

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Morgo July 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I completely understand that in the end, this is a decision that can ONLY be made by the parents. I don’t believe that people who keep it a secret are lacking a backbone, or that the secrecy doesn’t lead to some feelings of alienation in friends and family.
With that being said, my husband and I decided on baby names before I was even pregnant. It was a very natural and easy decision for us, and as soon as we found out it’s a girl, we’ve been telling the WORLD that Jude Harper will be here soon. I can tell you that not a single person has had a problem with the name. However, if anyone close to us had said they disapproved, I would have laughed at the idea. The bottom line is that this is your child, and the name is completely up to you. Anyone forcing an opinion on you is being plain silly, and it should be taken as such.

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e August 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm

my cousin was going to be named Alexa Suehannah (Sue as in Suzanne which is my mom’s name) and her last name starts with an S. Thankfully my mom pointed it out and it’s just Hannah. Poor thing would have been ASS. If I ever have a baby, I’m telling everyone their name. I wouldn’t care if someone didn’t like it. I would gladly take someone’s advice but if they just flat out said something hurtful, I’d just leave it be.

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Alicia at BalancingMotherhood.com August 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm

e: That’s a good one. I think sometimes people forget about initials.

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stef b June 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm

my brother and his wife are expecting a baby and they won’t tell me the name. it just makes me sad.

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