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Can someone 'have dibs' on a baby name

(76 Posts)
YoMamma Sun 08-Sep-13 10:27:56

What would you do if a close friend/family member (with no DCs and not yet pregnant) asked you not to use a baby name because it is their favourite name for when they have children? Would it make a difference if they were TTC and having difficulties?

WhoNickedMyName Sun 08-Sep-13 13:58:32

Just use the name.

Your SIL may never have a girl - or even any children at all.

What if you pick another name and one of your friends "has dibs" on it? What if one of your DH friends wives "has dibs" on your third favourite name?

You could go on and on, it's ridiculous.

This is exactly why you shouldn't discuss names with anyone.

curlew Sun 08-Sep-13 14:03:28

As I said, usually I would agree with the ou can't have dibs on a name.

But kindness and consideration suggests that in these particular circumstances.......

CruCru Sun 08-Sep-13 14:06:13

I remember when we were having trouble conceiving. I wrote out a list of potential baby names but didn't tell anyone what they were or that the list existed (as I thought people might think it was a bit pathetic). Then everyone else got pregnant and used all my names. I was sad, although clearly I didn't tell people (plus my list included some fairly common names like Thomas so it would be unreasonable to call dibs).

As long as it is one name (or combination of names) I would avoid using it - it's a pity to start your child's life off on a sour note. However, someone up thread mentioned someone reserving a whole list of names - that isn't on.

minipie Sun 08-Sep-13 14:06:16

your thread title is misleading OP - your SIL hasn't called dibs, it's just that your mil has told you it's your SIL's preferred

I think given your SIL's situation it will hurt her deeply that you have used her chosen name for your second child while she is still desperately trying for her first. You say honestly that this is not your favourite name (as you didn't choose it for your dd1) and you only chose it a couple of weeks ago. The kind thing to do would be to choose a different name. I'm not saying you should choose a different name, I don't believe in 'dibs' on names, I'm just saying it would be kinder and less likely to hurt her. depends how important that is to you versus how important this name is.

curlew Sun 08-Sep-13 14:06:21

"I would suggest you therefore sound her out, start with saying "SIL, we've been thinking about naming our daughter after my great-aunt, she was my godmother as well, it's XXX, what do you think?" if you word it like that, spelling out clearly why its a name that means something to you, not just a nice name, then she might be fine with it. "

How could she possibly say no if you put it like that? Not fair!

CruCru Sun 08-Sep-13 14:08:26

Sorry - won't derail the thread any longer - but I have now had IVF and had one DS (with a lovely name) and am just about to give birth to a DD (whose name I have picked). Lets hope this happens for your SIL.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 08-Sep-13 14:12:36

'But kindness and consideration suggests that in these particular circumstances'

exactly this.

If it's your DHs friends wife or whatever then they can still use the name. It would be ridiculous to have cousins with exactly the same name so SIL can't use it if the OP does. It's not the OP's first choice name, I really think it would be nice to try and find an alternative name that you love.

Speak to SIL first though, don't take MIL word on it.

EnjoyEverySandwich Sun 08-Sep-13 14:39:42

Just use the name if you want to without discussing it with anyone else.

Names are not single-use items. A child may have a particular name, but that name is still available for anyone else to give to their child if they wish. Earlier generations never worried about this. One Elizabeth will get called Beth and another Lizzie, etc. When you have people sharing a name, whether it be at school, at work or in the family, some sort of differentiating factor usually kicks in.

FizzyFeet Sun 08-Sep-13 14:51:36

I agree with minipie. The kind thing to do would be to choose another name - it has meaning for both of you, but you are in a position to be generous.

DontmindifIdo Sun 08-Sep-13 14:57:59

curlew - basically, it's giving the SIL fair warning to say something if the name does mean so much to her, look at it this way, she knows her SIL is pregnant, and possibly knows its a girl. she hasn't said anything about having a name she'd like to use to her DB or SIL, and if OP hadn't mentioned it as a possible option to MIL, they might well have just gone ahead and named their DD this name. If the name means so much to her that she'd be upset by it's use by her SIL, best give her a chance to say so before the baby is born (so the OP can think of another name if it really is an issue).

But the OP's SIL hasn't felt the need enough to try to reserve the name, it's perfectly possible she doesn't care that much about it. If it's just a passing "oh, I like XXX" name and MIL has taken that to be gospel truth that any DGC on that side will be called XXX, then how upsetting would it be for the OP to chose a different name and then find out when SIL does have a baby, she didn't use the great-aunt name afterall? It could well just be a name she quite liked that day but subsequently has gone off, it could well be a name she loves but her DH hates so doesn't actually use (which is what happened in my case).

Basically, the OP needs to talk to her SIL, find out if it really does mean that much, but definately say her connection to it, I'd give up my best name that I just liked if SIL's godmother was that name and they wanted to honour her memory.

DontmindifIdo Sun 08-Sep-13 15:05:19

The kind thing to do would be to choose another name - it has meaning for both of you, but you are in a position to be generous. while this could be true, we are all just assuming it does have meaning for SIL, it really could just be a name she thinks is nice, not the name she's definately going to use if she has a DD.

OP, you've got time to wait, but definately sound out SIL to find out if it really does mean a lot to her before you reject a name you love.

Bue Sun 08-Sep-13 15:46:51

I think you need to find out if this really is the name for your SIL. If it has long been her favourite name, then yes, I would probably let her have the first name (middle names are a different story, I think, nothing wrong with a shared MN). But she may not be as bothered as your MIL thinks?

Frontdoorstep Sun 08-Sep-13 20:02:16

Seems a bit of a coincidence to me that in a conversation with mil she told you that the two names you had chosen were the two names your sil would use if she had a baby.

The first name has meaning for you, it's sentimental to you. If your mil repeats the conversation to sil and sil asks you not to use it then fair enough but otherwise I'd just go with it.

Coconutty Sun 08-Sep-13 20:23:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YoMamma Sun 08-Sep-13 20:52:24

I'm sorry if the thread title is misleading. I was trying to gauge opinion in general while avoiding giving too much away but then realised that I needed to provide some background info to get more meaningful opinions.

SIL has since confirmed (in a family group conversation rather than one to one) that this is her favourite name (helpful, as it at least confirms that MIL has correct info) but also said that we would have to 'have words' about my list of names because they are a few of 'her names' on there (which makes me slightly less sympathetic).

If she is pg I think we'll be so happy for her that we'll happily compromise on this particular name but if she starts throwing her weight around with more names I will probably be less keen to do so!

I guess this should teach me a lesson and that I should avoid any further conversation until the baby arrives and nobody can argue!!

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 08-Sep-13 21:05:36

That would make me less sympathetic as well. One name dibs is ok, any more than that and she's taking the piss imo.

If you do 'give' her the name, make a big deal about it and you'll probably get away with newborn/christening presents. Just trot out 'we gave you the gift of the perfect name....' wink

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 08-Sep-13 22:58:22

No they cannot.

She who gives birth first gets the name, assuming the baby is the right (for the name) gender.

Maryz Sun 08-Sep-13 23:09:12

If she has been ttc-ing for a long time, and going through IVF she will probably be very attached to the name.

I know that my fictitious children had names, and appearances and school-start dates and favourite activities, simply because I had so long to dream about them sad.

Unless you feel very, very strongly about a name, would it kill you to let her have it? After all, you have the children, and I know from experience which I would rather have.

I don't think you can think of it as "throwing her weight around". When you are ttc'ing and failing at it (and having your failure shoved in your face month after month after month), you have literally no control over it. You have to "think positive" and clutching onto a name can be part of that.

Maryz Sun 08-Sep-13 23:11:03

And I would normally be of the "first come first served" opinion when it came to names, and would have no compunction in using the same name as a friend/family member if I wanted to, but long-term infertility is a PITA and life-ruining. You can be graceful.

The same applies to using the name of a baby that has died. I have two friends who haven't spoken since one used the name that had been given to another's stillborn baby sad.

looki Sun 08-Sep-13 23:12:34

Ah now your SIL now has a 'list'?!?! She sounds like my sister who by the time my daughter was born, could have named an entire classroom of children with her 'favourite' names ie names I 'couldn't' use!

Unless your current preferred first and middle names are two names that are commonly used together e.g Anne Marie etc, I'd be reluctant to let her have both names tbh. A number of people have ONE favourite name, but they can't expect to retain ownership of any number of names! If she brings it up again and feels the need to speak to you about her 'list', I'd ask her what her favourite name from the list is and leave it at that. I'd also actually laugh if she started listing them. You're the person who is pregnant and while she would like to be in your position, she isn't entitled to take away your enjoyment at this time either and for a lot of people, part of their enjoyment is choosing the name.

I would also stop talking about your names to your MIL and any other family members. Keep it until your baby is born and then announce it as your baby's given name.

Orangeblossomtree Sun 08-Sep-13 23:13:53

No, just use the name you love. You made an unfortunate mistake by discussing it in the first place.

looki Sun 08-Sep-13 23:14:38

p.s I wouldn't actually laugh but I wouldn't enter into a serious conversation about a long list either!

meditrina Sun 08-Sep-13 23:18:49

If SIL were very attached to one name, then I think in these circumstances, I'd want to be compassionate and avoid it.

But if she's trying to warn to off a swathe of names, I'd be far less sympathetic.

zipzap Sun 08-Sep-13 23:45:39

I'm another in the 'first to have a baby gets to use it' camp in these circumstances.

I get that she has a favourite name and would like to use it and has had a long time to think about a name. But you also have a long term sentimental attachment to the name and would like to use it for reasons that are no less valid.

What would have happened if the conversation was the other way around and MIL had been listing off names that your SIL liked and you'd said 'well as long as she doesn't choose xxx as that's our favourite name' - I don't think MIL would have thought that it would have been a reasonable thing for you to do. Sounds like she is trying to fight for what her dd wants (which is a reasonable thing for a mum to do for her dd, but doesn't mean that you need to give in to it!).

You're not choosing the name to spite your SIL, you're choosing it to honour your godmother. If your SIL loves the name that much then she can choose to use it too if and when she has a dd. So long as you realise that that is her prerogative just as much as it is yours to choose the name. And the family will soon figure out two different nicknames to differentiate between the two of them!

Do you know the reason why your sil likes the name - does she have a reason to use it like you do or is it just that she likes the name? I think that if I were talking names with SIL I would be tempted to say that you're not going to discuss names with her - that you have already chosen your list and you know what you want, that you don't want to know her list because you want to choose the name that is right for the baby and that you love, not something that you always feel is a second or third or fourth... choice name because the ones you did like were on somebody else's 'maybe' list.

I must admit I think you've ended up in a horrible situation - if you had already chosen the names then putting them in a list of 'potentials' means that MIL will assume that you can cross them off your list with no problem, whereas actually as you say, you have chosen them and you don't want to do that. I know there was no reason to know in advance that MIL would put a spanner in the works like this - I bet you are kicking yourselves now if you are anything like me and feel you are in a bit of a lose-lose situation (having said that my mum told my bil that that they couldn't use the name that they had chosen as it was a dog's name - it's not, it's a normal little girl name and told me that my name choice was not a real name - it is, it's a really common old testament name that everybody has heard of although it's only recently become more common as a used name, she had been telling people that I was going to use a completely different name - which was the name of my teddy when I was little hmm and I don't think wanted to have to admit that we had called ds1 something different from what she had been telling people).

Sorry, I haven't got any really helpful ideas on how to solve the situation, but I hope that you manage to sort it out and end up with a (the?) name that you love for your child.

CruCru Mon 09-Sep-13 10:04:13

I do lose some sympathy for your SIL if she is reeling off a whole list of names - it also rather dilutes the attachment that I would assume she had to the one name you're considering.

Perhaps if you are being generous, say that you won't use that name but that you don't want to talk about any others. Realistically, unless she has five or six kids, she won't get to use all the names on her list, even if you didn't share some of them.

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