Friday, 8 January 2016

The Name Game

Another baby, another name dilemma!

Baby Number 3 will be making his or her appearance in the world in just 8 short weeks time, and this has to be the longest we've ever taken to settle on a name!

I think our hunt for the perfect baby name has been made more difficult by not knowing the gender this time - I find it so much harder to decide on a name and truly commit to it when there's a question mark over whether baby will be a boy or a girl and which name it will be that's actually used.

Because no matter what, ONE of the names we decide on will go unused...and so it makes it all seem a bit less "real" it's not a real person we're naming if that makes any sense?!

So over the past few months since we found out about the pregnancy, various names have been tossed around and tried on for size...

(This was our list from the beginning of the pregnancy...very few of the above are still on our shortlist, infact our top current choices for each gender aren't on the above list at all!)

I spent my time doodling various signatures on my notebooks, seeing how different names look with our surname, seeing how they match as a Christmas card signature alongside the boys names, just generally seeing how they fit...

Recently, I think we've finally settled on our final two choices - one for a boy and one for a girl.

The names are unusual - I've spoken before of my love for unusual names, I have no reason to judge what anybody else names their child but names at the top of the Most Popular lists are just not appealing to me personally.

This isn't because I specifically want to use a unique name - it's merely because I am naturally attracted to names that tend to be less mainstream - I like names that feel somewhat poetic, that have a meaning behind them that I personally relate to and the names that do that for me tend to be more uncommon ones. I'm not deliberately out to choose a name based on it's uniqueness - it's just that the more unusual names are simply the names that sound prettiest to my ears, that's all.

The problem I have this time is that one of the names, the boys one, is VERY unusual - Infact I've never heard of another person who has the name. 

I'm sure people DO have it (particularly in America), but I've never come across any of them myself...I've certainly never met one anyway...

I'd never met another Tyne either, but I was aware of an American actress (Tyne Daly) with the name and I knew that in the USA it was used as a girls name.

But this name I can't actually attribute to any person I can think of or have ever heard of...which makes me think it's more unusual.

A quick look on the Office Of National Statistics database of names for 2014 (the most up to date list available) shows that there were a total of 288 baby girls across the UK that year who were given the name we have chosen - so it's unusual (the most popular name that year, Amelia, was given to 5,327 babies that year for comparison) but not unheard of.

The name we have chosen for a boy doesn't appear on the list at all - which means that fewer than 3 children (or possibly zero)  were given the name that year.

Out of 4632 names given to the UK's baby boys in 2014, it shows that the name we've settled on is very unusual.

When I think about this in relation to our own immediate family and our own baby, it doesn't bother me - To me, the name sounds beautiful and I can already imagine a whole little personality going with it....Jon loves it too.

But when I think of other people's worries me.

People seem to think they have a right to judge every aspect of everybody else's lives these days - every choice or decision any person makes for their child seems to be open to scrutiny from perfect strangers - and that includes the choices they make regarding their childrens names.

I lost count of how many nasty jokes I saw aimed at Kim Kardashian when she'd given birth to her son, taking guesses at what "ridiculous" name she may have chosen for him and then, when it was announced, judgement on the one they'd decided on.

People seem to think that just because this woman is in the public eye, they have every right to an opinion on what she chooses to name her child.

Recently when browsing Instagram, I came across a birth announcement on the feed of Imogen Thomas - a minor celebrity by anybodys standards, so does her slightly raised profile really entitle the world and his wife to an opinion on the name of her children?!

Apparently some people think so - Imogen announced the birth of her beautiful baby girl Siera Aleira - a pretty name I thought - is it a name you hear being yelled out at nursery schools across the country every day? No, probably not. But does that make it automatically a bad choice? Does it mean people have to right to openly criticize her?

Some people think so - infact one of the comments I saw came from a middle aged man, a father himself judging by his Instagram profile - who saw fit to comment "What is it with people choosing ridiculous weird names for their kids these days? Whats wrong with normal names?"

This comment was posted just a few hours after this woman had given birth, at a time when her hormones and emotions would be running wild, is it really ok for anybody to be attacking her based on a name she'd chosen to give her daughter? A name she'd probably agonised over for months? A name she had probably fallen in love with and was proud to announce? Is she not a person with feelings just like anybody else?!

Did it make that idiot feel brave or clever to rain on her parade like that? Really....what was the point of his ridiculous comment if not to belittle her and be cruel for no real purpose? What impact does it have on his life what somebody else chooses to name their child?

And that goes for all of us...every single one of us...NOBODY has any right to judge or make comments on what anybody else chooses to name their child, because that kind of thing is very much a matter of personal taste and everybody's taste is so very different.

You may think the names I choose for my children are odd or ugly...but trust me, chances are in that case we have very different tastes and so I probably think that the names you choose for yours are ugly too - but I wouldn't go around saying it, because how is it any of my concern?

I've had comments made on this blog before about my choice of name for Tyne. "Tyne? Like the river? Oh dear...."....Yes, you cretin, Tyne like the river....just like every single name in existence originated from another word or place. Where do you think names come from?!

I've been told of ex friends of my sisters, who follow this blog despite not being part of my life anymore, having made comments to mutual friends about his name and how "silly" it is....does that person not think her own childs name is one I would personally never want to use for my child? Because that's how different tastes work. My likes won't suit you, just like yours don't suit works both ways.

Even my own Dad continually tells me that "its cruel" to give an unusual name to a child - I disagree on this, who is to say whether or not the child would want an unusual name? I would have chosen to have one if I'd been given the choice - I'd rather have been a Harper than a Hayley any day of the week - so who can say what this child would prefer?

I thought I'd decided to go with the name I love for this baby, but this evening I stumbled across something else on the internet that made me question myself again...

When browsing Pinterest for baby-related things, I stumbled across this blog post from a few years back in which a pregnant mother announced the name she had chosen for her unborn baby daughter.

The name was Lakynn (A variant spelling of a name that actually made it on to our own name list above! A name I first fell in love with back when I bought a book on names and their meanings when I was 12 years not a new fangled name by any stretch of the imagination!) - I noticed the announcement because I like the name, and so I clicked through to her blog to browse her cute photographs...

That little girl is almost 4 now, a beautiful little thing whose photographs adorn her mummy's blog - clearly the apple of her eye.

So imagine how shocked I was when I scrolled further down to the comment section and saw hateful comments pouring scorn on the name chosen for this little girl - comments made just months ago on a post from years back - from comments poking fun at their choice, to comments calling this woman a "monster" for her name choice and accusing her of having ruined her daughters chances of ever gaining employment as a Doctor or Engineer when she grows up.

It makes me sad beyond words that an invention as mind blowing as the internet, something that's connected the world beyond what anyone could have comprehended 50 years ago, is being used for something as pointless and downright cruel as ripping someone down based on a name they gave to their child.

It makes me sad to think of that woman having to read through those comments and wonder why so much hatred is being thrown her way for naming her daughter something she thought was a beautiful name...

It makes me sad to think of that beautiful, innocent little girl going about her life while a barrage of trolls attack the name she's grown in to and question her future potential based purely on something so very superficial...

It makes me sad to think that there are people out there who think it's perfectly alright to do this kind of thing, who think that their opinion matters so much that they're justified in tearing somebody else down because they have a different one...

And so, when it comes to naming this child - I'm left with a bit of a difficult decision to make.

Do I go with the name I so dearly love, despite the fact that others may find it not to their taste? Despite the fact that it may receive negative comments?

Do I go against what I want and choose a more "mainstream" name to please the masses? To pacify other people? Knowing that it isn't my own first choice...or even my 10th or 11th choice...

And what am I supposed to be altering my choice for exactly? So that a perfect stranger is happier with my choice than I am? So that relatives more distant to the baby than I am like it more than I do?

I'm the one who's going to be calling it out every day for the foreseeable future.

And what of the suggestion that it's "cruel"? Why is that? Because "it may be picked on"? If that's the case, let's think about who will be picking on it....the children named Jack, Harry, Olivia or Emily I guess? Perhaps instead of me adjusting what name I give my child, it would be better if the parents raising those "Normal named kids" spent more time ensuring their children don't grow up to be people who choose to bully someone because of their name.

As for the suggestion that a name can have an effect on your future employment potential, I've heard this argument before - when I was choosing Tyne's name I spent some time on a name forum chatting with fellow name-obsessed people like myself about my choices - and one person commented on the name "Tyne" to say that while they liked the name...they would worry that it may damage his future employment potential because it brings up an association with the north of England (Clearly this person believed Northerners are automatically unemployable...not at all offensive to a scouser mum and geordie father!).

I like to think that in a world of growing equal opportunities, my children's names will not define their future successes - and I like to think that I'm doing a good enough job of parenting them to bring them up with enough potential, intelligence and charisma to pave their own successful paths in their world whatever they may choose for them to be, without their given names having any impact on it whatsoever.

So what to do?

Go with my heart and stick with the name I love...or give in to the masses.

It's a tough call, and I don't have long left to decide!

Tweet: People think they have a right to judge the choices a person makes for their child - including their name. Why?

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