Choosing the right name for your baby is a high stakes thing. And parents don’t always get it right. Let’s never forget that George Foreman decided to name his five sons George Jr, George III, George IV, George V and George VI.
Yesterday, reality TV star turned billionaire Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott announced that a baby name has been retired.
Kylie and Travis welcomed their second child into the world in early February. A week after the birth, they shared the baby’s name on Instagram. “WOLF WEBSTER” Kylie posted alongside a white love heart emoji.
But it seems there has been something of a sea change in the Jenner-Scott household in the past few weeks. And Kylie has now told her followers that her son’s name isn’t Wolf anymore.
“FYI, our son’s name isn’t Wolf anymore,” she said. “We just didn’t feel like it was him. Just wanted to share because I keep seeing Wolf everywhere.”
She’s not the first celebrity to change her child’s name. Amy Schumer changed her son’s name from Gene Attell to Gene David after realizing the former sounded a bit crude. While Grey’s anatomy Star Caterina Scorsone decided to use her daughter’s middle name (Lucinda) instead of her Lord of the rings inspired first name Arwen.
Baby name regrets are more common than you might think. In 2019, a report showed that one in seven parents in the UK regrets the name they gave their child.
A growing number of baby name consultants are now offering to relieve pressure and help parents find the perfect fit for their child by reviewing family history, studying naming trends, and delving into literature.
There’s even a trend in the States to give your child a placeholder name and then let them choose what they want to be called when they grow up.
While parents may secretly question their baby name choice, it’s rather unusual to officially change your child’s name.
But for some parents, it’s non-negotiable. Mother-of-three Zara Lawford, from Rathfarnham in Dublin, decided to change her youngest daughter’s name four months after she was born.
Ahead of the birth of their third child, Zara and her husband Peter were at odds over names.
“We had very different opinions,” she says.
Zara liked Charlotte and Annabelle, but Peter wasn’t a fan of the nickname Charlie, and a recent horror film called Annabelle made him skeptical about the latter.
Since this was their third child and they couldn’t agree on a name, Zara and Peter decided to think outside the box. They started thinking about what they thought were more unusual options.
“We were like, ‘Let’s go out there a little, be a little quirky,'” she says. The couple half settled on the name Brooke – which means little creek.
In the hours following the birth of her daughter, Zara was in an oxytocin haze and filled to the brim with love. She reached out to Peter and told him to text friends and family telling them the baby arrived safely and giving them her name.
She told Peter he could make the last call. “I said, ‘You just choose. It’s alright, I’m so in love with the world right now it doesn’t matter. You decide. I don’t have any problems,’” she says.
So Peter sent a message to friends and family introducing them to baby Brooke Lawford. They also shared the good news on social media and received congratulations.
But three days later, Zara began to have doubts. Her daughter didn’t look like a Brooke and saying that name out loud just felt wrong.
“Every time someone said Brooke, I would start to cringe,” she says.
As the weeks and months went by, these feelings intensified. When Zara was out shopping, people stopped her and peered into the buggy. They cooed over the baby and then inevitably asked “What’s her name?”.
“I would say ‘Brooke’ … and then I would say ‘But I really wanted to call her Annabelle or Charlotte.’ And people would say, ‘Oh, those are beautiful names’.”
“It became a big thing, and it just got built and built.”
Zara says the last straw came when her two older children, James and Olivia, started referring to the new baby as “Brookie Wookie”.
“I was like, ‘I’m out. That’s it. I’m done.'”
She writes to her husband that they need to talk seriously. When he came home in the evening, she explained to him why she wanted to change the name.
He understood and supported her decision. Telling people you’ve changed your child’s name can be awkward, so Zara decided to deal with it head-on and announced it on Instagram — much like the Jenner-Scotts.
“The next day I uploaded a screenshot of my daughter to Instagram. I crossed out the name Brooke and wrote ‘Annabelle’.”
Some people were surprised by the Instagram post, but Zara is glad she posted it. “You might as well own it. And the relief after I did it. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. Brookie-Wookie wanted to stay on the playground and I couldn’t do it,” she says.
Changing your child’s name can be daunting for a variety of reasons. First, it’s an admission that you made an important first decision wrong. And many are too proud or too scared to admit it.
Second, you may need to explain to people why you changed your mind, and that can lead to unwanted comments.
And then there’s the logistics; If you wish to change your child’s name through deed polling, you may need to hire an attorney. It’s an extra effort and it takes time.
But Zara chose an alternative path; She added Annabelle as a “first name” and made Brooke her daughter’s middle name. All you have to do is fill out a form and pay a small fee (less than €20). They received a new birth certificate with their name Annabelle Brooke.
While Zara has poked fun at her daughter’s name change, she says it was the best decision she’s ever made. She would advise any parents with name remorse to follow her lead.
“If you’re sure it’s not right, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life,” she says. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me they thought I was brave, they wanted to change their child’s name, but they didn’t.
“Four months of communicating a name is nothing compared to a lifetime [of the wrong name]. I was beaten, but because I knew I was making the right decision now, it was water off a duck’s back.”
According to Baby Names Podcast co-host Jennifer Moss, the best way to avoid making a decision you’ll regret later is to take a road test. Say the name out loud and in public to make sure it fits you well.
“Experience the name from the child’s perspective,” she told the Irish Independent. “Try it at the coffee shop. How would you feel if it was your name? If you feel uncomfortable going out in public and saying, for example, that your name is wolf, don’t do it for your child.”
She also recommends choosing a name that your child can grow into. “Don’t make it too cute or small. Remember, you’re not just naming a baby, you’re naming an adult as well.”
Also, make sure you google it; You may regret not doing a quick search when you find out that your child has the same name as a fast food joint, a horrible political figure, or an extremely annoying TV host.
If you want to change it, the younger the child, the better. Act quickly and trust your decision.
“Do it before the child has psychologically connected it to their identity,” advises Moss. “After that, they might perceive that there’s something wrong with them, not with their name, and it might be hurtful.”
And don’t feel obligated to hide her original name; It’s a unique part of their life and identity and should be celebrated.
“We still have gifts with Brooke’s name on them, but we wouldn’t change them,” says Zara. “It’s part of the story.”
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/baby-name-remorse-every-time-someone-said-it-out-loud-i-cringed-41476000.html Baby name regret: ‘Every time someone said it out loud, I cringed’