A very close friend of mine came to me a few months ago asking for my permission to use my baby's name as her own. Ok, I am sure many of your mouths may have just dropped. Mine sure did, but along with that, my heart sank. She went on to suggest that she would pronounce it slightly different and left me believing she was still toying around with the spelling. At the same time, she was still unaware of the sex of her little one and planned to keep it that way until the birth. I did what I feel any mature woman/friend would have done and shrugged my shoulders saying "sure", immediately hoping for the opposite sex. Deep down I felt that I wanted to avoid any hurt feelings and any awkwardness of the situation that was still weeks away from happening. Hormones can be a crazy thing, so I just moved on hoping she would stumble across another name and dismiss the crazy idea of sharing one with mine. I dreaded the following weeks leading up to her birth, spending some nights asking my husband why someone would think this was ok. My thoughts were that if a friend has to actually ask permission, then it probably isn't the respectful thing to do. There are millions of beautiful names out there, why ours? I think the thing that stings the most is that she and her husband are also the godparents of my daughter who would be sharing the same name as hers. My daughter's name is unique. One that was an emotional process for us and one that we both agreed would be a beautiful addition to our family. Had it have also been a family name of hers by a strange coincidence, then I think I would have been able to understand a little more.
Well, long story short... that day came. I pulled up my Facebook that afternoon to see the birth announcement of her beautiful baby girl and there it was, the same exact spelling and with a very similar short little middle name to throw a real dagger into my heart. Tears streamed down my face as I turned to my husband. His face was frozen pale with shock. As we stood there staring at one another speechless, we both realized in that moment our friendship with them was going to be different. When we began receiving texts from mutual friends equally as shocked, we knew we weren't wrong in feeling the way we did.
I have learned a lot about life and relationships over the past 3 years. I say three years because I have a 3 year old and for a lot of us, raising a child forces us to re-evaluate our relationships with people in a new way. Our priorities change. In most cases, our friendships will grow stronger. Sadly, some will fail. They fail quite simply because we haven't the time, energy or drive to want to keep them. Life gets messy. Whether it be a repetition of drama, flaky commitments, or glimpses of competition, I have made some tough decisions to distance some friendships simply because of how they make me feel. There are some people that just can't truly be happy for you. I realize that I have missed out on a lot of opportunities to have more uplifting, quality conversations with friends and far too often have settled sometimes for toxic negativity. As we turn the page on a new year and a fresh start, I want to remind myself of this...
Mama K - I am beyond shocked!! What kind of friend would do this?? There are millions of names out there!! This is ridiculous!!ReplyDelete
I would never ever think twice about naming a child the same name as a best friends child. Ok, so if it is something like James, and it is a family name for both of you, that is one thing, but you said your name is unique, AND they are the godparents? Unacceptable.
I can understand your frustration and understand that your relationship with these people will change drastically.
One of the reason I referred to marlo on the blog as simply M is because I didn't want people to have kids with the name Marlo! It is unique, took us a terribly long time to agree on, and when people hear it, they love it. Why would I want someone else to have it?! I know that is ridiculous but it is the way I feel. If one of my friends came to me and asked to use the same name I would have said HELL NO. Of course I couldn't stop them, but I would have had a real issue with them right away...
I am so shocked!! And sorry that you have to deal with this...not cool friends. Not COOL.
Thank you Mama J, I so appreciate your words. It's a tough one to move on from, that's for sure. Some people say I should be flattered, but I'm not. They do pronounce it with a harder vowel sound, however it has quickly become a huge confusion amongst our mutual friends as they (including HER) now mispronounce my baby's name and the apologies surface my feelings all over again. It's beyond annoying.Delete
Not to be a troll, but when I heard you named your daughter Marlo, I immediately thought of Dooce. Did you know that her second daughter's name was Marlo? I think she's three now...Delete
Ha! I only recently discovered who Dooce is and had no idea she had a kid named Marlo!! We combined my late mother in laws name with my grandmas to get Marlo. Didn't know of any other kid anywhere named it. Since she was born I have heard of other Marlos of course.Delete
How old is Dooces daughter? My Marlo was three in December.
Her Marlo turned 3 last June. (She was my first thought when I heard the name, too!)Delete
The only situation where I could see this being okay would be if it was a name she'd had her heart set on for years and years. Otherwise, to just gank it? Uncool.ReplyDelete
Wow. I am always shocked that people find something like this upsetting. I don't find anything wrong with it at all. No one owns a name, not even unique ones. Maybe try to turn this into a positive - those two kids can have a uniquely close and strong relationship that is enhanced by the common name.ReplyDelete
On the BabyNameWizard website, there is a constant discussion about this very topic and strong opinions on either side. Today people feel very strongly about names that they choose for their kids in a way that was just not an issue even a few decades ago (ask all the Jennifers, Heathers and Amys I went to school with). As my three girls all have uncommon names (on purpose), I understand where you are coming from. I would think it a little strange if a friend couldn't find another name than the ones I chose, but maybe I would be flattered. Hard to say.ReplyDelete
What this experience shows is the importance of having clear communication with people even when you assume you don't need it. I feel for you, but also your friend. Imagine being in her shoes - you love a name, your friend says go ahead and use it, and you do, then you lose the friendship for reasons you can't quite put a finger on and nobody says anything to you about it.
You say your friend approached you and asked if you would mind if she used the name...I'm sure you would have been angrier if she didn't ask you. That initial meeting was the time for you to say that you weren't comfortable with the idea. (As Mama J would say, "Hell No!") You also had several weeks or even months for you to revisit the conversation, but instead stewed about it and wished for it to go away.
Since your friend is under the impression that using the name was ok with you, because that's what you told her, you have to stop seething about it or one day, there will be a final straw and you'll end up spilling your pent-up anger in one ugly mess. (Not that that has ever happened to me in different contexts or anything!). You're going to have to follow your own advice and let it go.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that what is really bothering you is the fact that you thought your child's unique name underscored the fact that she is special, but now that someone has "copied" that name, you feel maybe a little bit like that won't be the case going forward? If that is the issue, of course it is not true - your little one will always be her own person regardless of her name (and think about all of the Johns and Marys throughout history who have had their own stories and identities, not to mention all the Aidens and Isabellas in the preschools today). Hope this is helpful.
Very helpful and I do agree with you. I should have spoken up about it in the beginning. To be honest, I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about it until it became a reality. I had my money on it being a boy in my mind and chose to ignore it. Bad idea. It's a touchy subject with so many different views. Thank you for all of your feedback, it definitely helps to talk about it and get other's opinions. I am guilty of not handling situations immediately in fear that I will become emotional. I definitely spill too, and it's ugly when it does and always seems to come out of the blue. You couldn't have hit the nail harder there. I sometimes think I am a lot stronger than I really am. At the end of the day, I do know I am an awesome mother, wife and friend. No one can take that away from me. I see this as a lesson learned... Don't say yes to someone if it means saying no to yourself. Thanks everyone!Delete
Man jules - that was very well said. Where as my comment was my immediate dramatic reaction. HA! Love that we all balance each other out on here :)Delete
It does strike me as weird to duplicate an unusual name, but I do have to say that when I was pregnant with my first and was debating names I kept saying "oh, but the so-and-sos have a [great name], the such-and-suches have a [whatever]..." My mom said "Never ever avoid a name you truly love and want to use if your only reason is a friend's kid. You truly never know where any friendship will be in 5 years." (She based this on personal experience with me and my brother.) We didn't end up using any of the names in question, but in just the two years since then our friendship with the couple (who had one of the kids in question) we were closest to at the time has almost completely fizzled. (These were friends we vacationed with regularly and had almost asked to be our kids' GUARDIANS.) You truly never know, and you have to do what's best for your family. Of course, we were talking about classic old-fashioned names, not creative/unique ones, and maybe there's more of a free pass on those?ReplyDelete
I agree with Jules. Your friend tried to do the right thing and give you a chance to say that you weren't comfortable with it. You can choose whether to let it end the friendship.
No one owns a name, and names cant be stolen. What she and her husband chose to name their child is none of your concern or business. What your doing is middle grade s***. Grow up lady, and realize that you cant co trol others. The thing that makes my jaw drop to the floor is that you actually believe she did something wrong here, when in reality, she did nothing at all wrong. She named her daughter a name she loved, and sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that daughter is more important then you. You my dear are a very bad friend for writing about her on the internet, my guess is she knows your blog, and your also a bad friend for texting about her behind her back....you obviously indulged in the gossip texts about it....as you stated. Grow up lady, you area mother, so act like it. And cut off the friendship, your friend deserves friends who aren't two faced. And please for your own sake, don't go telling new friends about this or you will likely get someone like me, tell it to you bluntly only in person and will rip you and your ego to shreds.ReplyDelete
Also, Even if you had said no, I dont want you to u it, she may have ended up resenting you and ending the friendship with you. That is why the bottom line is you cant try to have a say in the matter. Obviously you are hyper sensitive and controlling with a huge ego, so the friendship likely wont last, but future lesson be learned, keep your no out of other peoples life choices. You dont get a vote in what they name their baby! You did the right thing by staying quiet because you instinctively knew it wasnt your place! I hope for your sake, that your views evolve and you attain a lesser ego.ReplyDelete