I have friends that took around eight days to name each of their children after the births. Can you imagine!? I used to think this was ludicrous. Then I was pregnant with my older son and we decided firmly on his name in pregnancy and changed it just before he was born.
Apparently the need to rename your child is called “baby-name remorse.” Considerably more common than one suspects. Certainly unusual by standard practice of naming your baby, but in the larger scheme of things it is less unusual than many may think. I came upon a few stories on the internet about baby-name remorse and even a few personal stories by parents who went through with the out of the box renaming of their child. Hell, even some celebrities have been guilty of this seemingly shocking act!
In fact, in my own circle of friends there is a couple who renamed their ten-month-old adopted child. Whether adopted or not, there are many reasons why one might decide to change their child’s name. These reasons span from just not liking the name that was originally chosen to suddenly realizing that the child does not suit the name originally chosen at all. Whatever the reason, and there are too many to list, the fact remains that name changing isn’t a new occurrence.
I thought we were on the ball while I was pregnant. Ok, so maybe we were having issues agreeing on a name, but surely we would agree by the time he was ready to be born… right? Wrong. We passed names back and forth. My partner hated the unique and unusual names I liked. I despised the traditional and classic names he suggested. Finally at the birth I swallowed my unsure feelings and we named him Angus Griffith Asher — a name we both settled on but didn’t love.
When he was three months old and we wanted to rename him Finnegan. My partner and I not only had seriously considered it during our pregnancy, but it was really the only name that we had agreed on and both loved. When we looked at him we recognized it as his name, he was Finnegan. However a promise made to a (now) former friend about not using that name kept us from it. Had that promise never been, he would have definitely been Finnegan from the beginning with never a name change to come upon him.
Because we couldn’t use Finnegan we then went through a few more names and even actively changed his name to the ones we liked (not legally, but instead by announcing it to others and calling him by it). None of the names we tried seemed to fit just right. I started to think that maybe it wasn’t just about names that we liked, but more about whether I was bonding with this baby as I should be.
I started to look at names that had a connection to my history and culture. My other kids had Hebrew names; therefore I decided that must be the problem. If the others had Hebrew names then by all means so too should this child in order to be properly connected to this family. Well, I realize now that at the time nothing would have worked. His name was Finnegan in my heart and nothing but that would suffice. It’s a name that we loved so much that we suggested it to our other friends for their baby just to see it used (they decided on another name). A name that not only fit him, but that created a stronger bond between my partner and I. We both loved this name, a big feat for us with our vastly different tastes in names.
By the time he was seven months old I thought I had finally found him a proper name (the name Finnegan notwithstanding). We decided to change his name to Levi. It was a name we had previously considered and one that I really liked. My partner didn’t love it, and I didn’t love the sound of the name on my tongue when I heard myself saying it (I kept playing with how I would pronounce it, Lee-vy or Leh-vee). However it did fit most of my terms for a name. It had a beautiful meaning “united” and was from the Hebrew origin (a way for me to honour my history and culture). And for a brief time, about three months, it worked. My partner grew to like it and we started to see him as a “Levi.”
Still I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was cheating him and myself and my partner out of the name we had always thought was right for him.
Now at ten and a half months old, he is certainly not without a name, but instead with many, many names. All the names that were considered along the way have stuck in one way or another. And he’s been “officially” renamed four times. All but Finnegan, the name we wanted but didn’t use. It’s evident to my partner and I now that the reason we never actually sent through the forms for the legal name change (that is ridiculously easy in the province of Ontario) is because we really weren’t ever truly committed to those other names, try as we might.
So, holding our breaths and diving into the raging waters of stigma (we’ve been wading in it up to our hips for a while now) we reintroduce you for the fifth and legally binding time to Finnegan Levi Angus Griffith Sleigh.