CHOOSING your baby’s name is a huge deal, but what happens if you choose the wrong one? Apparently, one in five mothers regret the name they gave their child, and six per cent feel so strongly about it that they actually go on to change their baby’s name after they are registered.
Confession time: we are in that six per cent.
That’s right, if you were to come across Ezra’s birth certificate you would discover that for a whole week he had a completely different first name.
If we go back to the start, it might sound daft, but I felt a huge amount of pressure to get our second baby’s name right. We set a precedent in choosing a somewhat unusual name for Santino, and there were a lot of remarks along the lines of ” I can’t wait to hear what this baby will be called” during my pregnancy. Just a note – this is not a helpful thing to say to an expectant mother.
We came up with our lists, just as we had the first time around – and did not agree on a single name. While some of the names on our boys’ list bordered on the ridiculous (ok, on my list at least, where our child could have ended up with the name of a TV programme … although having said that, Stew would happily have named him after an ape), our potential girls’ names were less unusual. I think deep down we both had a feeling we were having a boy, so there was more pressure. And we were right.
Baby boy was born, and as soon as his arrival was announced the obvious question came – “what are you going to call him?” This was asked in person, on the phone, by text, on WhatsApp … name any method of communication and it will have been used to put us on the spot. We needed time to think and to talk about names we would actually use now that we knew we had a boy. But anyone who has had a baby – let alone with a toddler too – will know that time is in short supply. After Stew had gone home from hospital for the night we spoke about it on the phone, sent each other our lists one last time, and still got no closer to finding the right one. I scoured name websites, listened to the other mothers on the ward – they’d all named their babies before they were born – and felt slightly panicked that we’d end up with a name we didn’t love just so he wouldn’t be referred to as baby boy for the rest of his life.
It was like a repeat of two years earlier.
Stew suggested that it would be a good idea to make an appointment at the registry office so we would have a deadline, and couldn’t let the decision drag on for two weeks as it had with Santi. The problem was that the next appointment was at 9.30am the following day – giving us a total of 17.5 hours to come up with the perfect name.
It got to the point where we couldn’t even discuss it any more. We sat in awkward silence, using any excuse not to talk about it – another cup of tea, making a bottle, time for bed. It was painful.
We had whittled it down to two names – we weren’t completely at a loss – but they were both very different. One of them we had first mentioned during a car journey but were worried it may be faddy. Originating from the Bible, it wasn’t a made up name, but it was on the rise and tipped to be in the top 10 boys’ names for 2016. That name was Ezra.
The other I had loved for months, and as it was very unusual had got quite excited any time I saw it in use as if that proved I wasn’t mad for liking it. Stew wasn’t at all keen on it, and absolutely refused to even consider it. That was the name we went for.
We walked to the registry office via Santi’s nursery. It was the first time he had been in since becoming a big brother, and all the staff made a big fuss over him rather than the baby, which we were grateful for. The children were playing outside when we arrived, which meant he could see us leaving. I glanced back and he was standing still watching us walk away, as everyone played around him. This was too much for me, and I could hardly hold back my tears as we turned the corner. I felt like we’d just abandoned our first child (I’d had a baby two days before, emotions were high) and had less than five minutes to choose the name our second son would be known by for the rest of his life. It was possibly the most dramatic I’ve ever been, and when we arrived I gave up and told Stew it was up to him. I wasn’t capable of making a rational decision at that point.
I was expecting him to give one of two names, with our agreed upon middle name, but I was stunned when he came out with a combination using our final two names. We hadn’t considered this combo, s it sounded completely alien when he said it out loud. The registrar asked us to check all the information was correct on the birth certificate, and this was the point we should have changed it, or at least for a few more minutes. But we didn’t, and it was done.
We started to walk back home and bumped into someone I used to work with. She immediately asked what the baby was called, and Stew and I looked at each other in an “are we going to say?” kind of way. We both knew the name wasn’t right, but it was on the birth certificate so we thought it was final.. We later told my mother and my gran, who both looked slightly shocked. My gran’s words were “where do you come up with these names?” but she did like the middle name, Ezra.
By 3pm we’d both (completely separately) checked online if it’s possible to change your baby’s name after you’ve registered them. It turns out you can up until their first birthday. So we had another big decision to make – should we stick with this name or should we change it? Stew was the rational one and said that if we’d already both considered changing it then we probably should. Typically, when we phoned to make a new appointment there was nothing available for a week. So it turned out that nearly a fortnight after baby boy was born we still weren’t able to tell people we had a name, just in case we decided to stick with the original one. Looking back, it does seem ridiculous, but to us it was a huge decision.
Rather sheepishly, we returned to the registry office where the staff didn’t seem to have come across anyone wanting to change their baby’s name before – let alone dropping the first name completely. Finally after two weeks, and £5 for a new birth certificate, we had an Ezra.
At the time we felt as if we were making too big a deal out of it, especially with people asking when we would be naming him, but nearly six months on we have no regrets and know we did the right thing in going back to change Ezra’s name. He suits it perfectly and couldn’t be known as anything else now.
In case anyone is wondering, the original name will remain a secret. Not because we intend to keep hold of it for a third son, not at all, but because I still like it and wouldn’t want to hear people say they don’t like it … it is VERY unusual! Let’s just hope he doesn’t see his birth certificate and prefer the other name….