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Baby Naming Etiquette

Baby Naming EtiquetteI am astounded at the things I am learning about pregnancy, even though this is not my first.  Today, I learned that I had angered a distant relative when I named my now 11 year old child Rebekkah.  Apparently, the distant relative wanted to name her child Rebekkah and felt I’d “stolen” her name.

This situation put me in a quandary because I felt slightly embarrassed by my lack of courtesy.  First of all, this woman has not dated in decades, so I guess I was surprised that she had even “picked” out a name.  I was even more surprised that she still remembered 11 years later that I’d offended her and felt compelled to share that with me at this point in time.

Another thing that surprised me was the notion that one must check with friends and relatives to get their approval and to make sure that no names are “stolen”.  This is my 6th child, and I honestly never knew that I’d offended people by “stealing” names.  In fact, I honestly never even knew that it was considered polite to actually check with people before naming a child.  I never even guessed that I should check with people who weren’t even considering having children…just in case.  What do I know? Not too much it appears.

I discussed this with a friend across the street.  She said that yes, she had checked with friends and relatives before naming her children.  One friend had liked a certain name that she also liked and she did ask permission to name her child that name!

Another friend, who is having trouble conceiving, has picked out names for the children she hopes will one day join their family.  She confided to me that she was quite upset when another mutual friend got pregnant “by accident” and then named her child the name that she’d picked for her son.

What do you think?  When choosing a name for your child, do you check with extended family and friends to make sure that you don’t take “their” names?  Have you ever been offended when a friend “takes” a name that you wanted for her own child?


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