AGONIZING name dilemma...This should be a Seinfeld episode!

I posted on here a few days ago. I am reposting about my situation because it has changed.

I come from a large family. I am the oldest of four sisters. We all share the need to have somewhat unique names for our babies. None of us could be considered laid back or go with the flow type people. Basically, our kids’ names are pretty important to us. None of us would ever consider a name that was in the top 500. It just isn’t our style. Also, I have one of the most common last names imaginable, so finding a unique first name is pretty important to me.

All that to say, here is my super annoying, horrifying dilema…

I am due in a few weeks with my fourth child, a daughter. I currently have two daughters and a son. Their names? [name]Mary[/name] [name]Alice[/name] ([name]Mary[/name]-[name]Alice[/name], a double name), [name]Major[/name] (the boy), and [name]Milla[/name] [name]Josephine[/name] (pronounced Mill-uh). My hubby and I have poured over the usual name books. Being that it is our fourth child, we have only been able to agree on one name…[name]Mabel[/name]. We have been calling our unborn daughter [name]Mabel[/name] for four months. “[name]Mabel[/name]” has been prayed over, sung to, and nicknamed. [name]Mabel[/name] is her identity to us at this point. All that we know of our daughter is her name, which we so lovingly call [name]Mabel[/name]. She was named so for multiple reasons, one of which was that [name]Mabel[/name] is a family name, the name of a favored great aunt who passed away within the past year. Her name means “loveable”. We have pictured our loveable and final child for months.

Our family always is very secretive about their name selections. We have never shared the identity of our babies until the day of their birth. Here is the horrible dilemma. My sister had her baby boy a few days ago. They decided on calling him the name that they had also kept a secret for a long time… “[name]Abel[/name]”. This news hit me horribly. I feel as though my own daughter’s name is being stolen from her somehow because of this strange coincedence.

Based on advice I received on this forum, I called my sister and talked with her about the matter. Because we are so attached to this name and also have NO other names on our lists. ([name]Remember[/name], this is our 4th child), I explained the situation and offered a compromise. [name]How[/name] would she feel about our baby being named [name]Mabel[/name], but being called by her nickname around our family ([name]Mabs[/name] or [name]Mae[/name]) to alleviate confusion? What was her take on these events?

[name]Both[/name] she and her husband are extremely unreceptive to any kind of a compromise. As far as they are concerned, even though we didn’t do this intentionally, and even though we have not one other name that we like, they have informed us that if we choose to go ahead with announcing the name of our child (not the proposed name, but the actual name that we have had for four months), both she and her husband will be “extremely hurt”. They feel that our continuing to use this name would detract from the uniqueness of the name of their firstborn son and detract from his uniqueness and specialness somehow.

I feel like we are put in such a horrible place. On one hand, I see how frustrating this situation must be for them. On the other hand, it is just as, if not more frustrating for us. I don’t want to name my child a name that I dont’ love. She already has a name…[name]Mabel[/name]. On the other hand, I come from an extremly critical and snippety family and am afraid of what would happen should we continue on with announcing the name “[name]Mabel[/name]” as our daughter’s own. I can see it now… Without my sister’s blessing or willingness to compromise, my whole family would see our decision to go ahead with the name “[name]Mabel[/name]” as a slap in the face and a total disregard for my sister’s feelings. Nobody would see the facts that we, too, already had the name, that we too, felt it was special and unique.

Those are not my intentions. I have already spent hours upon hours contemplating the baby name thing. In the past (for instance, with our first and second children), it would be a painful loss to give up the name, but we would be able to then go to a list that had two or three suitable options on it. As it is, without this problem, we’ve only been able to agree on one name…[name]Mabel[/name].

I SO wish that we could work things out, that my sis could try to see it from my point of view…that we literally don’t like any other “M” names. I’ve had so many suggested to me ranging from [name]Matilda[/name] (which I think sounds like a warty witch), to [name]Mandolin[/name] (a musical instrument), to [name]Maggie[/name] (reminds me of a snotty nosed kid I had when I was teaching). Furthermore, we haven’t been able to agree on any names outside of the “M” family. We are worn out from thinking. I have been up most of the night for the last several nights pouring through each of our seven baby name books. It is beyond frustrating. :frowning:

I really am trying to figure this out. My sister and her husband say that if they had known the week before that we were thinking of [name]Mabel[/name], they would have changed their name immediately and that we should do the same. If only it were that easy! I am one who is obsessed with the naming process already. I have ALREADY purchased seven baby name books and looked through them all to find a suitable name. I have already visited several forums. The name [name]Mabel[/name] felt like a Godsend a few months ago. Finally! A name that we both loved, with the added bonus that it was a family name, the name of my Great Aunt [name]Mabel[/name]. [name]How[/name] perfect!

I feel like a part of my child, the only part of my child that I know at this point, is being put to death somehow. It is very painful. Meanwhile, my sister and her husband are waiting in the wings, ready to be “hurt” by something that I think could be minimized by a nickname or some other compromise. Part of me wants to scream "What about MY hurt? My daughter was special and unique too! What about the stress that you are causing to ME? Why must I be the one to have to change everything, especially when I feel so out of options already.

I do love my sis and want to try my best to preserve our relationship. I feel like she is being irrational by not bending in any way to make this work. I just don’t know what to do!

I am losing sleep over this and need some kind of an answer. I would rather my child’s name ruffle a few feathers than be one that neither I, nor my husband likes very much. I just don’t know what to do!

What do I do??

I can understand your wish for a solution to this problem that would both let you keep the name you love or make your sister feel better about it – but it’s not going to happen. Sure, your sister is being unreasonable, but telling her I think so is only going to add fuel to the fire. If it would have been so easy for her to come up with a different name for her baby, maybe she should do so now – what’s the big difference between changing a name a few days after vs. a few days before a birth? But I doubt that’s going to fly either.

So you’re stuck either choosing a name that will eternally be a thorn in your family’s side, or choosing something different…and always resenting it. Argh.

That said, there are a lot of great M names from which to choose. And maybe it’s even time to break the M pattern in search of another name both you and your husband love. Or you could let your other kids make the choice, if they’re old enough. A few ideas:

[name]Mabyn[/name] (rare 6th c. saints’ name)
[name]Macha[/name] (Irish goddess and saint)
[name]Magdalen[/name] or [name]Magdalena[/name]
[name]Mirabel[/name] or [name]Mirabella[/name]

I have never heard of the name [name]Mabyn[/name]. I will investigate that more fully. I really like the sound of it. It reminds me so much of [name]Mabel[/name], but is also different. Surprisingly, that is a name that I am going to consider and run past my husband. Thank you thank you thank you very much. You have made my day and given me hope that I might be able to come up with something!

[name]Hi[/name] there–
That is a very unfortunate situation—I definitely sympathize. My personal opinion is that your relationship with your sister (to whom you’re close) is more important than sticking to your guns and naming her [name]Mabel[/name]. Sadly, [name]Abel[/name] and [name]Mabel[/name] does sound like some kind of joke. Sure it’s unfair, you had no way of knowing, etc, etc, but dwelling on the unfairness is only going to make matters worse. I had a similar situation this pregnancy where I couldn’t use the name I ‘really wanted’. It took awhile–for some time I just couldn’t ‘move on’ to new names, but now I have (still haven’t chosen one, but no longer feel really stuck on the name I couldn’t use). I forget how far along you are in your pregnancy, but I think it’s possible to switch gears and start thinking of your unborn baby as something else, and you’ll probably feel better if you’re able to just be gracious about it in the long run. As much as you loved [name]Mabel[/name], it would only taint your girl’s name if every time it’s spoken around your family, it creates angst and irritation for all. I would probably use [name]Mae[/name] as a stand alone name–I actually love that, and would have used it myself if it went ok with my last name. [name]Mabyn[/name], as suggested, is also nice, and retains a lot of what [name]Mabel[/name] offered phonetically.

Good luck to you–it certainly is an unfortunate coincidence you’ve been dealt!

Fantastic! Yes, [name]Mabyn[/name] is really unusual but has a lot of history behind it. It can also be Mabena, Mabon etc, plus there’s a village in Cornwall, [name]England[/name] called [name]St[/name]. [name]Mabyn[/name]. Here’s more on the saint:[name]Mabyn[/name]

Plus you can get to your nickname [name]Mab[/name] or [name]Mabs[/name]! [name]Hope[/name] this works out for you (but I think you should extract some extreme favors from your sister before you give in). Best of luck and tell us how it goes.

I agree with mommyx3. Your relationship with your sister and your family are most important. Also, no matter how much you love [name]Mabel[/name], it will always be a source of resentful feelings.
Honestly, if I was your sister, I would probably feel the same way. She chose a unque name that was special to her family for their firstborn, and you choosing a nearly identical one for her son’s cousin, whether you knew it or not, DOES take away some of the specialness. If this was her third child, she might be more flexible about it, but she [name]JUST[/name] gave birth to her firsborn child, and right now she thinks he and his name are the most special thing in the world. I think this is a case of “finders keepers,” and you should keep looking.
On the positive side, we have seen so many people on these boards whose chosen names have become unusable for some reason or other, and they always find another that they like even better. I think [name]Mabyn[/name] is a good compromise. For now, I would focus on loving little [name]Abel[/name], and being thrilled that you have a nephew with a name that is so close to your heart.

Sorry that you have been put in this dificult situation. (This is why I’m an early name-discloser!)

wow i am so sorry to hear this! baby naming is a very sensitive issue!! ive actually had my fair share of naming issues this time around too:/ my dh and i have always wanted to do all T names and have been upfront about it. we already have [name]Tess[/name] and wanted either [name]Tanner[/name] or [name]Taryn[/name] this time. unfortunately my friend was naming her son tanner and didnt want me to use it too…this coming from her was upsetting because before we were both married we knew we both liked t names and joked that our kids would have the same names. also tanner would be honoring my maiden name which also starts with tan…anyways we ditched tanner deciding friendship was more important. turns out were having a girl. we wanted taryn. we fell in love with tess & taryn! unfortunately my niece is named taryn, shes 9 and lives several states away and we get to see them maybe once a yr if were lucky (same with my friend who lives far away and we only see once a yr maybe!) my mom knew ive always loved name taryn and told me it doesnt matter that we already have one…until we announced her name…distant relatives and friends thought it was too weird and got negative feedback. my sister in law and niece taryn loved it however!!! the neg feedback didnt bother me so much until baby started having health issues and we have 2 ultrasounds a week until delivery. thankfully health issues cleared up but it seemed strange all of a sudden to us calling her taryn-- shes unique and needs her own name not a copycat. we went back to drawing board and all t names i liked dh didnt and visa versa. good thing it happened now instead of trying to name our 3rd dd. so we looked at other letters instead. we kept coming back to adelaide. i announced taryn is no longer the name and everyone was soo happy we changed it which was irritating for me. my mom even said its ok because i didnt call her taryn anyway!! :0 made me so mad!!! we were sad not to use taryn anymore but it was a wise decision. only downside is my 2yr old doesnt forget anything and now thinks i have adelaide & taryn in my belly. im gonna bring home adelaide and shes gonna say wheres taryn?? lol :slight_smile: …im very sorry about your situation:( sometimes it helps to know youre not the only one. i actually have a great aunt mabel too:) but maybe mabyn, maeve or mae would be the way to go since it would forever be a sore spot in the family:/ or you could go with a different letter. i know a fam that the 5th child is a different letter cuz they liked that name better than the other letter options. keep us updated!!

[name]Mabella[/name]? This way you hear the [name]May[/name] and the [name]Bella[/name], not the ‘abel’
I could see anyone being annoyed if they said their name and then it was ‘stolen’ by an earlier born baby, but not if she already named her son and then you are ‘copying’. If she doesn’t get mad at this, it seems she’ll just get mad at something else down the road. You might as well just make yourself happy.

[name]Mabyn[/name] is a very cute name and it is close to [name]Mabel[/name]. I really like it. I understand your situation with having to “rename” your unborn child. It is tough.

Here are a couple others for you to think about:


Good luck to you!

I’m so sorry you have to go through all this drama! Naming your child should be happy and fun, not agonizing! That being said, your relationship with your sister(s) sounds similar to the one my sister and I share- we’re both big on individuality and we’re quite competitive with one another, so I can only imagine what would ensue if one of us used a name that was even remotely similar to another’s. [name]Abel[/name] and [name]Mabel[/name] are quite similar. And however much it kills you to let the name [name]Mabel[/name] go, is it worth the resentment and the dramatics that could follow to use the name? It sucks that you can’t reach a compromise and both use the names you love, but consider if the situation had been reversed. If your [name]Mabel[/name] had been born and then you sister had [name]Abel[/name]… how would you feel?

I really love [name]Pam[/name]'s suggestion of [name]Mabyn[/name]. It’s wonderfully unique and it has plenty of history being used as name. However, now I’m wondering if you’ve noticed the similarity between your sons name, [name]Major[/name], and the name [name]Mabel[/name]/[name]Mabyn[/name]? They both begin with the “[name]May[/name]” sound and are two syllables, and additionally are distinct from [name]Mary[/name]-[name]Alice[/name] and [name]Milla[/name]. [name]Just[/name] something to keep in mind. Another solution, I’ve heard of the name [name]Maebelle[/name] or [name]Maybelle[/name] being used. That would be pronounced more like “may-[name]BELLE[/name]” with the emphasis on the [name]Belle[/name] part, whereas [name]Mabel[/name] would be ([name]MAY[/name]-bul). That way, [name]Maybelle[/name] would not rhyme with [name]Abel[/name] (AY-bul) because the emphases would be different. It’s not the perfect solution, but it would let you (almost) use the name you love and it also is more distinct from [name]Major[/name]. I would also suggest [name]Mirabel[/name] and [name]Maribel[/name], which are pretty close to [name]Mabel[/name], but different enough from [name]Abel[/name]. Also, Maven is popping into my head ([name]MAY[/name]-ven). It’s kind of close to [name]Major[/name] in sound and it’s a bit wordy, but I think it works. And it’s quite unfamiliar and very cool.

[name]Hope[/name] that helps!

I love the suggestion of [name]Mabyn[/name], I also submit:

Maiken (Dutch version of [name]Maria[/name], can also be spelled Maekin)


I’m really sorry for your situation:( I just had to say that I really like the suggestion of [name]Mabyn[/name] for your girl. It’s kind of the same, but totally different! I think [name]Mabyn[/name] sounds sweet, and very unique. Best wishes!

[name]Just[/name] thought I’d add my thoughts. I really am sorry you have to go through this. I think [name]Mabel[/name] is a really beautiful name, and if you love it that makes it even more special. I don’t believe in what your sister is telling you to do. This is your special name! However, if it is always going to be a problem in the future, maybe it is worth looking for another name you love, even though it may seem like the hardest task in the world! I love the suggestion of [name]Mabyn[/name]. I think it is very pretty and unique, but still feels like you never lost [name]Mabel[/name].

I wish you the best of luck!


I’m so sorry to hear about your dilemma. [name]Mabel[/name] is a great name that would fit perfectly with your other kids names. However, if naming her [name]Mabel[/name] is going to cause loads of family drama and hurt your sister then you probably shouldnt use it. I agree with you that you that your sister is being stubborn and should be more sympathetic to your situation, but unfortunantly you cant change her mind. All of the negative vibes surrounding the name will likely make the name feel less special. Instead of it being a happy moment when you announce your daughters name it will a stressful one.

I like the suggestions of [name]Mabyn[/name], and also the suggestion of [name]May[/name] [name]Bell[/name]. You could all do something like [name]Maeva[/name] [name]Belle[/name] and call her [name]May[/name]-belle as a nn.

I’m really sorry you are dealing with this right now. [name]Pam[/name] brings up a great point about how the two things you want ([name]Mabel[/name] + your sister to accept it) being things that just can’t seem to happen in tandem right now… or probably ever. It’s hard to accept these types of things some times, but you should be realistic too.
You did the right thing by going to your sister right away and sharing your story. You can’t say exactly how you would feel if the situation were reversed. What if you had [name]Mabel[/name] and she called you to tell you she’s is so hurt that her firstborn son was to be named [name]Abel[/name]. You may be more reasonable and tell her to go ahead and use the name. She might still be hurt by it and not use it because it now lacks it’s unique-ness. In this case, she cold be mourning the “loss” of a name. So, the debate really shouldn’t be if your sister is being reasonable or not. Maybe she can help you find a great name to replace [name]Mabel[/name] (sorta a healing thing for you two). Or you can use [name]Mabel[/name] and know that your sister will be unhappy (and you have to accept that- you have to let go of the guilt and not feel any need to apologize. you can’t make everyone happy…so maybe this is the right choice?)

I think you have some great name choices here and maybe you will feel inspired about a new name soon? Could [name]Mabel[/name] be her mn? I recently went through a re-selection of names for my twins. The names we chose received a few negative comments from family and friends. My DH decided he wanted to choose new names and I was so angry! I didn’t like any other names and I had spent a month calling them by the original names. Within a few days, I did find inspiration again and the twins have new names now!

I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I can only imagine the agony I would feel if we had chosen a name and it was used, in some fashion, by a close family member. [name]Even[/name] though it’s hard, I sometimes think we really do have to let go of the name we love if it really does mean keeping the peace in the family. I mean what is really important, your daughters name or your relationship with your sister? Maybe you could try a new name for a few days and she how it “feels”. You might just surprise yourself. Here are a few names that have a similar feel to [name]Mabel[/name].

[name]Mabyn[/name], as suggested earlier is nice.

I sympathize with the situation for both you and your sister. I would use another name because – in addition to affecting your relationship with the extended family – it would be quite a burden for your daughter to know that her name was a source of contention and resentment in the family. I love the suggestion of [name]Mabyn[/name] as an alternative. Personally, I like [name]Mabyn[/name] MUCH more than [name]Mabel[/name]. Other excellent suggestions include [name]Maeve[/name], [name]Maeva[/name], & [name]Mirabelle[/name].

Thank you all SO much. We are truly working on finding a name that works. I hope I can find one that we like as well as [name]Mabel[/name]. It may just take some time. I’m due in a little over a month. I really appreciate all of your help. We have put a few potential names on our list. We’re letting them mull around in our heads a little bit. I’m having a hard time letting go of our beloved daughter’s name, but am trying hard to be a peacemaker in this unfortunate situation. Thanks again for all of your sweet words, encouragement, and help. I can use all of the help I can get!

Wishing you the best during this very hard adjustment! Please keep us posted on your decision regarding your daughter’s name.

I am so sorry, too, to hear of this wretched situation! I just can’t believe your sister is being so unreasonable about this. I understand her feelings (sort of!), but I think the nicknames you’ve offered would do much to alleviate the similarity between [name]Mabel[/name] & [name]Abel[/name]. That being said, if I were you, I wouldn’t even know if I’d be able to name her [name]Mabel[/name], anyway; as a pp said, it would seem tainted.

I do think [name]Mabyn[/name] is a great alternative; does your husband like it?? I also love the suggestions of [name]Maelle[/name], [name]Maeve[/name], [name]Mireille[/name], and [name]Mirabel[/name]. It seems you’d still be able to use most of your nicknames for her, while still satisfying your sister’s wishes. (Although I wonder, would she consider [name]Mabyn[/name] also to be too close to [name]Abel[/name]? Let’s hope not!)

Anyway, I offer you sympathy and wish you much luck! :slight_smile: