Being a namenerd vs naming a person

Interested to hear how people’s experience of naming a child differed from their expectations or perhaps also from child to child.

my story

I have been obsessed with naming for years but when pregnant with my daughter really struggled and now I am pregnant again already feel like I’m losing my mojo. Don’t know if it’s having my favourites vetoed by my SO , or pressure of it being real?
I love my daughter’s name but it doesn’t hold the significance I would have liked to include and we didn’t make any decisions until after birth (team green) when I was actually a lot more out of it than I realised at the time. But we struggle to agree so I don’t know if we would ever have been able to reach something we were both happy with until she was there (pressure!).


So I’m such a name nerd and have been since I was child I’m also addicted to nameberry! I could honestly talk about names all day everyday but when it came to naming my daughter I really really struggled. I honestly thought I would find naming easy because hello I’m the biggest name nerd going but that was just not the case naming a human is hard & pressurising. The name I always thought I’d name my daughter was vetoed so I had to start again and it was hard. Every name seemed to have really jarring flaws nothing seemed right also everyone had something to say which about 70% of the time was negative. Whereas before when I casually spoke about names nobody had an opinion probably because it was a hypothetical situation that no one pictured (my pregnancy came at a completely unexpected wrong time) happening anytime soon. Along with being bombarded with opinions I also was obsessed with the name not being certain things I didn’t want a trendy name, a name that ranked highly in the charts that isn’t a classic, a name with a nice meaning and I also wanted the names to honour loved ones it was a relatively specific criteria so that made naming my daughter more challenging. In the end I made my decision which I’m happy with but her first name often gets mispronounced which niggles at me and her name is very long (two middle names & a hyphenated surname) which does at times concerns me. So I’m with you naming is hard!! However despite the niggles I am happy with her name and you will find the perfect one for your next child. Good luck :sparkling_heart:


Humans are really hard to name as a namenerd. It feels so high stakes.

I’ve also always been team green and with my first, we struggled finding the right girl name but knew all along what his boy name would be (my longtime favorite meaningful combo for years beforehand) and wound up with a boy. We had the perfect girl name picked out in the end, but wouldn’t use it again… and it was just such a journey to get us there.

[name_f]My[/name_f] second we adopted and we decided ahead of time that if the birth parent(s) had a name for their child, we would keep that name, basically even if we absolutely hated it (I’m a creative nicknamer so I figured that would always be my way around something I really didn’t like). We do LOVE his name but it also is absolutely not what I would have chosen on my own… honestly even as a big namenerd I had never heard/noticed either of his names before. There is something at once beautiful, relieving, and tragic in all that, but like I said, we really do love the name and it suits him well. I do wind up doing a bit of an explanatory comma when I introduce him, “his birth mother named him but doesn’t it go so well with [DS1]?” Sometimes I wonder if there’s some shame wrapped up in all that relating to the name… or why I’m trying to advertise the fact we kept the name (relating to some sense of exceptionalism?)… but it just is that way for the time being. He is only a year old and our adoption was only recently finalized so so much still feels new. I know that I don’t regret our decision at all. It is totally right for us, 100%.

Now that I’m pregnant again and know this is our final baby to name, things feel EVEN more high stakes than the first time around… The sibling cohesiveness is also simultaneously more important to me and also less of a “deal” than when I had envisioned having three babies to name. Honestly taking the second choice as a wildcard made me realize how flexible sibsets are and that it will be OK even if they don’t all “match” perfectly in specific ways. But I’m also less afraid of making the “wrong” choice and more afraid of all the possibilities we will be leaving on the table when it’s all said and done.


I’m really struggling with this. I’ve loved names since I was a child but now I’m pregnant the name combo we have picked out is one of the most vanilla and common you could think of. This is due to my partner really wanting to honour his mum with her common middle name and us wanting to choose a relatively easy and wearable name for our baby’s first as our last names are a bit out there. I also have 2 older siblings with kids and a lot of friends have already had babies so a lot of names I would’ve loved to consider have been used already… I also know about 5 or 6 pregnant people in my life right now all due before me so I’m just holding my breath waiting to see what they choose! I’m comfortable with the name we have chosen but if we manage to come up with anything more exciting before [name_u]October[/name_u] I’ll be happy. But I feel like I can sense this little one’s personality and most names that I love just don’t feel like her if that makes sense.


This rings very true - having a lot of requirements and boxing yourself into a corner with it all! Thank you for sharing :heart::relieved:


Thank you @hyacinthbucket it’s so so interesting to hear about the contrast for you in naming versus keeping your son’s birth name. Your last sentences felt so real to me! I think I want to try to achieve something with my second child’s name that brings extra significance to my first (eg matching meanings or using a stretch honour that means I could claim a stretch honour in hers) which is probably adding pressure, it’s really true that it doesn’t truly matter if it matches in all the ways I want it to (but simultaneously without being too matchy…sigh)


Thanks @elleplume it’s nice to hear I’m not alone. Naming a real child is so different to all the names you might have imagined if you didn’t have to compromise or rule out ones other people used etc. It sounds like the name feels right for your baby though and that’s got to be the most important thing! :blush:


I’ve been interested in names since I was a teenager, although I can’t remember the names I used to like back then besides [name_f]Gabriella[/name_f] and [name_f]Jasmine[/name_f]. I never would have thought I would use the names I have for my children back when I was thinking about names.

A large part of what influenced our name choices is the fact that my husband is from a part of Mexico with a large indigenous population. His family speaks one of the indigenous dialects, called Nahuatl. They also speak Spanish and no [name_f]English[/name_f]. [name_f]My[/name_f] family speaks no Spanish. When I was pregnant with my first, my husband suggested the name [name_f]Xochitl[/name_f]. I knew it would not be pronounced or spelled correctly in the US, so I agreed to use it as a middle name.

I had a long list of names that were different and that I hadn’t heard much of before. The names my husband came up with were [name_u]Lisa[/name_u], [name_u]Kimberly[/name_u], [name_f]Joana[/name_f], etc. Each girl was harder to name than the last. The boy name we have picked out is his grandfather’s name, Zenón, which I never would have thought of on my own. Naming kids with a spouse is a lot different than just playing around with names by yourself!


Wow, that sounds like a tremendous personal growth process. It also goes to show how much of our naming hobby is for fun, vs. what truly matters in real life. Kudos to you, congrats on your kids, and good luck with the third! Can’t wait to hear your sibset.


I’ve loved names for as long as I could remember. I used to write down names from tv shows (especially one called A [name_u]Baby[/name_u] Story), school, yearbooks, etc. I had multiple lists of names that I wanted to name my babies. I somehow thought I could use them all! Haha!!

When I got with my husband and we started TTC, things changed quite a bit. Naming with a partner after naming on my own was challenging. It was a new ballgame of different preferences, values, a new surname, new associations with names each other previously liked (mainly negative family ones)… We also had to decide what names we would actually be able to see on an actual child/adult. I usually kept that in mind all along but my husband…well…He didn’t see why [name_m]Peter[/name_m] [name_u]Parker[/name_u] or [name_m]Zebedee[/name_m] might be a little burdensome to our baby.

Naming our son was relatively easy. We had his fn picked out before I got pregnant and chose his middle names once we knew that we were having a boy. I was shocked at how simple it was.

Now we are struggling to find names we like for a second baby (likely a year or more off). Like…it’s so hard. Now we have to consider what goes with or clashes with our son’s name (some other names we like rhyme with his). Most of all, we can’t find another name that we like nearly as much as his name or that holds as much meaning. His name is so special to us. [name_f]Every[/name_f] single other name on our list is just one that we like. It seems unfair. We also don’t know if we want to use honor names again and who…

The struggle this time around has zapped away a lot of the enthusiasm I used to have for names. I spend hours piecing together names and dreaming of using them on my babies. Now I sort of fear having to pick another name for another child.


I think it’s HARDER being a name nerd because you know how many beautiful names are out there, and you’re likely invested in the meanings and connotations and popularity issues, so you’re unlikely to just be thinking “Jack is cute” or “Millie seems popular” so let’s go with that.

(Not saying anything w with [name_m]Jack[/name_m] or Millie… [name_m]Just[/name_m] you’d be choosing those really deliberately, and not because you heard them once or were just familiar with them).


Haha, nothing has made me grow faster as a human being than becoming a mom, for sure.

Yeah I used to wonder how users here who were all done with their maternity journeys could bear to stick around. It seemed so painful when my naming collection goals before having kids were always about scheming my own future kids’ names. Now I have solidified the naming stuff as a real hobby and I’m pretty sure I’ll still be interested in nameberry even after this last one arrives.


I found it hard to be realistic with my names as I had such high hopes for cool, unusual names, but then I have a hard-to-pair surname and felt so much pressure to get it perfect. I made up all these combos which sounded great but when it came to it, I scrapped all middle names and my son ended up with an honour name.

I felt like I had to narrow my names down as soon as I found out I was pregnant because it would’ve taken 9 months to find the one, and good job I did as I had him when I was 7 months pregnant! :sweat_smile:

Now I’m a mum I find it easier to find sibsets compared to before because I know what to look for and when to know a name is ‘right’. Being a namenerd I am well aware of the thousands of names out there that I found it so overwhelming at first, I was worried I’d miss good names out and have name regret lol. It all feels so silly now!


I have name lists for possible future children dating back to when I was 7 or 8 (not many left on the oldest list that I’d consider now–maybe Emmanuel?–but still.) I was thrilled to discover Nameberry back in 2011, a year before I met my husband and several years before we got together. There are other people like me! They’ll talk about names all day!
I always told myself, while I collected names and put together beautiful combos, that it was only for fun. I had names I’d love to actually use, yes, but I told myself my future husband might hate my favorites, and/or have favorites and family honors himself.

Then we got married, got pregnant right away, and I pulled out the lists and got lucky–he fell in love with my dark-horse favorite boy name. The girl pick was a little more of a process (he ended up picking one of the middles off my BOY list and saying, why not use it for a girl? And it’s been our girl choice ever since.) But we had a boy. I didn’t get to use the middle I loved best with his name–we went with an honor from my husband’s side–but it’s fine, and I was and am completely tickled that I got to use his name.
Our second son was even easier; we already had the girl name picked, and we used our runner-up boy name. It’s a lot higher on the charts (actually our first hasn’t charted in many years), which concerned me a little–were they too mismatched?–but it was our favorite that time around, has a great meaning and had also topped my boy list for years, so no regrets. We put my dad’s middle name in the middle.
#3 has been a struggle. We still have our girl name, and everyone says it’s a girl, but we’re team green for the third time so needed to choose a boy name also. The stakes felt higher this time–it needs to work with the siblings! Cohesive but not too matchy! The third child tips the parents’ naming-style hand!–and every one of our favorites had some kind of flaw. We’ve finally made a choice we’re happy with, but if this is a girl some of our boy runners-up will be going back on the table if we have a fourth. The only problem with a couple of them is that they just don’t work as well for #3.

So I think my “status” as a nerd has been both a help (I actually have lists, while my husband has few suggestions) and a hindrance (I overthink some things, especially similarity between names. The reason we landed on Boy Choice 3 in the end is because it continued to bother me that a couple others sounded too similar to our second son’s name.)


Absolutely loving everyone’s thoughts on this and feeling much less worried about the whole thing, thank you all so much!

Quoting some of my favourite thoughts:

The eternal battle!

This is the feeling that prompted my post!


All of this!!!

This is exactly how I feel. Felt? Not sure :smiley:


So glad I’ve finally stopped lurking and joined :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I love this and relate hard! Good luck with #3!


I haven’t had the opportunity to name a real person yet, but I just wanted to say how much I appreciate hearing everyone’s comments in this thread. We’re close enough to TTC now that I have become acutely aware that the names I like and enjoy as a name nerd are probably not going to be the names that we seriously consider when it comes to naming a child. It’s not just the fact that I have to factor in another person’s opinion on names (and their surname), but also ultimately my own feelings about what kind of name I’m prepared to use for a real baby and what “fits” with our family. I’ve fully prepared myself for using something that might seem quite “normal” by Nameberry standards! :sweat_smile:


I’ve been going through a similar situation right now, and it’s taken me literally years to figure out what style fit best - for S/O and I, it seems to be somewhat dated, mid to late century-ish (1950s-1980s) names. It makes me a bit sad knowing [name_f]Aaliyah[/name_f] and [name_u]Florence[/name_u] aren’t the one like I once thought they were, but honestly I don’t see S/O and I as Aaliyah’s parents or Florence’s parents anymore. We’re definitely more like Stephanie’s parents, if that makes sense?

We’re currently in early/pre TTC stages and it’s hard trying to figure out what names we both love equally enough to use on our future child - so far we have maybe two for girls (Stephanie and Julie) and maybe one for a boy (Alex), as long as feelings and opinions don’t change between now and when the time to actually name a human comes.

Part of me now is finding it emotional sometimes to let go of certain names and to realize that I may end up not using some of my beloved favourites, like [name_f]Chrissy[/name_f] or [name_u]Kelly[/name_u] or [name_u]Michael[/name_u] or [name_m]Kevin[/name_m] (Kelly’s almost entirely been vetoed, he said he’d think about it but he doesn’t like it and I swear my heart broke just a tiny bit).

Being a namenerd with a solid set list of favourites, some of which have been favourites since kindergarten (like…twenty-one years ago) is harder than I thought it’d be when potentially naming children.