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Challenge: Choosing Baby Names

The Baby Name Game: Why We Kept Our Baby Name Secret

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Here's the scenario: Friends and family find out you're pregnant, and their second question (right after "is it a boy or a girl?") is "So, do you have names picked out?"

I am so guilty of it.

The truth is, talking names is fun. People love to make suggestions, try out first names with middle and last names, and recount stories of people they once knew who were named X, Y, or Z. But to an expecting parent, these suggestions, preferences, and stories can be overwhelming and even change an opinion on a name they might have loved.

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, my husband and I were lukewarm about every name either of us threw out as a possibility. We both wanted something a bit different, but not too different. I'm an 80s baby named Jennifer and, although I'm perfectly happy with my name, there were definitely always a few other Jens in my classes growing up.

One day, shortly after finding out we were going to have a girl, we were at Barnes and Noble flipping through baby name books. I opened one of the books to the C page and immediately the name Carrington stood out on the page. I looked up at my husband and said, "Hey, what about Carrington?" To which he quickly replied, "Yeah...yeah! I think I like that!" That was it. We had our daughter's name. Today she goes by either Carrington or Carrie and we couldn't be happier with what we chose.

But here's the catch: For our entire pregnancy, we didn't reveal her name. We knew that, especially because it was a little different, we could very easily hear opinions that, frankly, shouldn't matter to us. Even if you think people won't say something if they don't like the name you choose, you'll notice the surprised expression, eye roll, body language, whatever it may be, and chances are it'll hurt a little bit. Names are very personal and feel like a big decision (understandably so) to parents.

It actually turned into a fun little game throughout our pregnancy. People would have fun guessing (just as much fun as they would have talking about the actual name, I'm guessing) and we had our own little secret that we held close to us until the cold November morning she was born. My husband had the honors of announcing to our family anxiously standing in the waiting room that our sweet Carrington had arrived. It made that moment feel all the more special to us.

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