What if?

I went to my follow up ultrasound today at 24 weeks. And they noticed a spot on the heart that can be an indicator of down syndrome. I am choosing not to have an amnio to find out for sure if the baby has down syndrome.

However it got me thinking, would I name my child differently because of this? What would you do?

My thoughts were if the child is going to be special because of a physical or mental issue, then perhaps I would lean towards a more common name.

I know names should be the least of my worries…

Hmm . . . interesting question for, what I assume, is a very challenging situation to be in.

I actually have a friend who knew, part way through her pregnancy that something was going to be ‘wrong’ (sorry, I’m up late with pregnancy-related insomnia and can’t think of a better, more politically correct word) with her baby. The doctors thought that the baby might have a heart condition. My friend, as you, opted not to have an amnio and, in hindsight, knows that that was definitely the right decision for her and her family. Her baby is over a year old now and it turned out that he has Downs Syndrome. I have never thought to ask her if, once she knew her baby had Downs, they reconsidered the name they had chosen (which actually is a fairly common name). I know meanings mean a lot to them and, I imagine, that is what they considered more than whether or not the name was common.

The name we have chosen for the baby we are expecting means “healthy” and, earlier on in my pregnancy, there was the potential for complications due to a virus I was exposed to through my children. I have been cleared of any complications related to that virus, but sometimes I still wonder if everything will be okay. Regarding the name we have chosen, I wonder about its meaning and whether or not it would be ‘appropriate’ (again for lack of a better word right now) to use it if our baby wasn’t ‘healthy’. Then I think that maybe we shoudl still give her the name because we really like the name and that, instead of the name’s meaning being descriptive, it could be a prayer/hope/wish that we bless our child with.

I guess, from both of these examples, what I’m trying to get at is, for me, what I think would be more important to me than how common the name is that I chose in a situation like this, is whether or not my husband and I really liked the name and the significance of its meaning. We generally consider a name’s meaning anyways, but I think if we were in a similar situation, we would find a name’s meaning even more important.

I think what you are getting at, with your question about choosing a more common name, is whether or not a child with special needs would ‘stick out’ even more if his or her name didn’t ‘blend in’ with the names of other children around him or her. I think I would stay away from really outlandish, super quirky, realy unusual names or names that are really difficult to spell or pronounce (though anything that would fall in those categories isn’t really my style to begin with). Other than that, I don’t think it would be necessary to choose a really common name. I realize I’m not really giving any reasons to explain why I think this. Sorry, I’m finding it hard to explain myself.

I’m not sure if any of that helps. I guess, the other thing I would suggest if this is a significant concern of yours (the name choosing), is to talk to someone with personal experience – another person with a child with Downs Syndrome, someone who works with families of children with special needs etc.

You know, it seems odd, but I always wondered what I would do in this situation. Honestly, I think I would reconsider if the name I chose was completely out there (which is actually how I like them). Also, if your child does have Downs Syndrome, then you already have an idea of some of the facial features they will have and you know they will have a cute little personality. This may help in picking a name!

Also, it would depend if it was a girl or a boy. I think I would try to choose a soft-sounding name for a little girl and a some-what common name for a boy (I would steer clear of [name]Kai[/name] or [name]Felix[/name] and instead go for [name]Matthew[/name] or [name]Spencer[/name] - those are just examples of a style, not necessarily suggestions :slight_smile: ). If that makes sense.

Overall, I think it’s important to pick something you [name]LOVE[/name] that you would want to use nomatter the outcome. Pick something that you would want to use either way.

I wouldn’t choose a more common name or anything like that. To me that’s kind of like saying they aren’t “normal” enough for the chosen name you had. You don’t want to treat them like they are any more different than other children. If anything, I would change the name to something that is more powerful, that means strong, blessing, etc. You wan’t to be able to say “we named you _____ because it means ______” or we named you _____ because we’ve always loved that name" not “we named you [name]Emma[/name] because it was popular and we didn’t want to further burden you with a less common name.”

I work with children who have all sorts of special needs, and honestly the names are never a problem. Whether a popular name or less common name the name always seems to fit the child perfectly. All in all, just go with the name you like regardless. And most importantly good luck and I hope everything turns out okay.

I have a family friend whose youngest (of five sons!) has Down’s. All of the older boys’ names start with the same letter, are from the Old Testament, and are 3 or 4 syllables. When their youngest was born, they stuck with the same general naming rules, but simplified a bit and named him [name]Joel[/name]. I think it works well, as he is able to recognize his name and pronounce it (though he prefers [name]JoJo[/name] :smiley: ), despite being on the lower spectrum of Down’s speech function. So, I don’t necessarily think it’s as important to choose a common name, as much as a name that may be easier for a child to identify with, pronounce, and possibly spell. I think it would work well to even choose a longer, more complicated full name, but with a simpler nickname that both family and others would use. Personally, this wouldn’t change much for my naming style, as I prefer shorter 1-2 syllable names, so I don’t think I would reconsider names if I found out that something would be “different” about my little girl.

That said, I agree with previous posters that what’s probably most important is that you love your child’s name. I wish you all the best and will be sending good vibes your way. We should have about the same due date :slight_smile:

I also work with special needs children. The only advice I have is not to give the baby a cutesy name. It makes people forget to treat the person by their actual age. About 4 girls I work with that have Down Syndrome are named [name]Katie[/name]. I wish their parents would have given them the name [name]Kate[/name]/[name]Katherine[/name] instead. I dont like the name [name]Katie[/name] on a 17year old girl. It is your child so name the child whatever you want but make sure that it can be grown into as he/she will eventually become an adult even if she/he isnt independant. Other kids I work with that have lovely names:
Boys: [name]Anson[/name], [name]Andrew[/name], [name]Liam[/name], [name]James[/name], [name]Noah[/name], [name]Nolan[/name], [name]David[/name], [name]Brenden[/name], [name]Matthew[/name], [name]Jack[/name], [name]Patrick[/name], [name]Sam[/name], [name]William[/name], [name]Hudson[/name], [name]Quinn[/name], [name]Colby[/name], [name]Jonah[/name]
Girls: [name]Patricia[/name], [name]Jenna[/name], [name]Ashley[/name], [name]Ashlee[/name], [name]Megan[/name], [name]Brooklyn[/name], [name]Gabrielle[/name], Kiaya,

Thank You all for the thoughtful answers.

Sorry I did not go into detail about my thoughts towards a ‘common’ name or to put it differently, a name that isnt outlandish,uncommon, etc. In fact I hadn’t really fully thought about why I felt that way, I just did. After reading your responses though, it clarified to me some of the reasons why I felt that way, such as burdening her with a complicated, unusual or outlandish name, and made me think of things that I probably would have never thought of.

I would never pick a name I didn’t love, and in general I don’t think I lean towards extremely uncommon names anyway, so I don’t think my parameters for naming have changed. I’ve just been given more information to consider. I do think perhaps a name that isn’t too long, is easy to pronounce, and common enough for others to easily recognize would be helpful, although I already wanted these things out of a name anyway. And I hadn’t thought about making sure that it is a name that isn’t childish/cutesy but that makes sense. On the other end of the spectrum I went to high school ( in the 90’s) with a developmentally delayed girl who was named “[name]Betsy[/name]”. That always seemed a bit too grown up for any teenager.

Thanks Again for the responses, they mean so much, and were so well thought out. You all are so much better with words than myself!

In terms of common vs. unusual, I probably wouldn’t let a child’s disability sway me one way or the other on the issue. However, if I knew the child would likely have mental/learning issues I might refrain from using a difficult to spell and/or pronounce name to avoid adding additional complications for him/her.

My daughter was born with a severe heart defect. It was important to me to give her a “meaning” name, regardless of popularity. We named her [name]Grace[/name] and had 3 years with our precious girl before she passed away. I wanted to choose a word name that I would see out in the world should we lose her. It is comforting to me to see her name in our community (churches, etc.).

The name fit her perfectly (she went by [name]Gracie[/name]). It was through grace that we were able to spend the 3 years with her, and she had an incredible amount of [name]Grace[/name] through her ordeal.

For me, it made sense to choose a name based on our situation. [name]Hope[/name] that helps. I hope everything works out for you.

I am so sorry to hear about your loss, and thank you for sharing your story.

[name]Grace[/name] is actually a name we are considering, because it has a great meaning and is a beautiful name.

What a perfect name it was for your little girl, and to be able to see reminders of her where ever you go, though it must be difficult at times as well.