Are you a tad bit territorial over your kids’ names? I’ll be honest: I don’t want anyone having the same name as my kid. Now, I get that this is far from realistic but it comes from a good place.
When we were pregnant with Wyatt, there were a few friends and acquaintances also expecting at the same time. I would breathe a sigh of relief every time a baby announcement came and went without our chosen name being announced. So much thought and love goes into choosing what you’ll name your child, so I understand why this can be a touchy subject for some people (myself included). Perhaps you’re using a family name with special meaning, or maybe you and your spouse could only agree on one name and this was the one. To have someone else swipe “your” name can be really discouraging.
Why am I talking about this now? Well, friends of ours gave their beautiful baby boy a very unique name with an even more unique spelling. I’m talking UNIQUE. I had never heard of this name before. Several months later, an acquaintance of theirs posted a picture of her newborn boy on Instagram with the exact same name…and the exact same spelling. It was an obvious rip-off. This, my friends, takes some serious guts. Easier to pull off, obviously, with the more common, mainstream names, but with something so unique – c’mon. Our friends were gracious and wrote their congratulations on the posted photo (a comment that was never replied to), but they had to vent about it to us. While a tiny part of you is flattered someone loved “your” name so much, shouldn’t this person have spoken with you about it first? Shouldn’t they have asked or at least given you the heads up? “We love the name you picked so much and really feel connected to it. Would you mind if we used it too?” You might complain in private but I’m sure there are few people who would say no to this question. After some discussion with friends and pooling together our advice, here are a few potential scenarios and what to do about it.
If a close friend flat out steals your name: whether it’s before or after your baby was born, and you had told them this was “your” name, there needs to be a conversation. Wait until those pregnancy hormones have calmed down first, but if you value the relationship, chat about it before resentment sets in. Ask why they chose the name. Tell them it kind of bothers you. (Bring wine for this conversation.)
If an acquaintance steals your name: First, consider that it could be a total coincidence. Try to give the person the benefit of the doubt. Also, maybe they saw your name and really felt connected to it. It is likely coming from a good place. Also, remind yourself that you’re not really running in the same circles anyway, so there’s a slim chance of this being rubbed in your face on a daily basis.
If a family member uses a family name after you told them you were going to. Cut them out of your will. (Kidding.) Again, a conversation HAS to happen. If you still love the name and want to use it, you could consider it for a middle name, but give them the heads up.
Keep in mind, while a name is special to your kid’s identity, it’s their characteristics and little personalities that will make them who they are.
What do you think? Has this happened to you? I would love to know how you handled it!
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