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Changing middle names

(26 Posts)
Jojokaty Fri 04-Jan-13 03:37:01

I have a beautiful son who is now 14 months old. But I have had what appears to be called 'baby name remorse' which has been absolutely terrible. To anyone looking in it seems like such a minor thing - 'who cares about the middle name'. But it has kept me awake at night worrying about it. I want to post this to just warn other mums how it can make you feel. Also just have to voice this ....

We had agreed his full name before he was born - always a bit of a risk and I remember that the day my DH went to register him I was chasing him to the door whilst trying to breast feed shouting 'wait, it's not right, I'm not ready!' But it had already been announced and so I felt that I should stick with the plan and it will grow on me or he will grow into it. We chose 3 very unusual names. His first name being one we both loved. But my other alternative first name didn't go in. Stupid really but we said that if we had another and it was a boy then we would choose that name so lets not waste it on the middle names.

I would go through phases where I would feel fine and confident about our choice and then other times where I would almost be plunged into a depression thinking about it and obsessing over it. My hubby did not understand at all and refused to discuss it. I kept thinking 'its hormones, it's lack of sleep,' and time went on and of course the more time goes on the more you think, 'I can't change it now'. I really worried that it would affect bonding with my son, I worried that his name was too unusual - it felt foreign and distant, I worried I was loosing my marbles frankly. It's like a feeling that you've done your child an injustice and it hits you in the pit of your stomach when you think about it.

It's such a lonely experience because you can't discuss it with anyone because nobody understands. Nobody can relate at all and if you do try to talk about it people brush it under the carpet like you have committed a crime.

Well, apparently you have a year to change or amend the birth certificate but we missed that boat. It took me a long time to realise that things weren't going to change and the more my little boy grew and his character developed I felt even more that his names weren't him. Finally I asked my DH if we could change the middle names by deed poll and he said yes provided I stop banging on about it. So we did. It was very easy, weight lifted!

So ... We felt the grandparents should know. I knew it would be difficult telling them and they both got very upset about it. Mainly my dad who felt it was very wrong. My mum didn't like the new middle names either ...

I really hope that they will get used to it in time and maybe look back and laugh?! I am goin to be open and honest with my ds about it and hopefully it makes an interesting story for him. I hope that it doesn't create a teenage rebellion or anything. I just think that knowing him he will just smile and say ' aw, mum, what are you like!' And then go back to kicking his football. I hope so.

The one thing that has made me sane through this is reading threads on forums like this. There are so many other people out there with the same issues. Hope this will be helpful to somebody out there.

MrsMushroom Fri 04-Jan-13 05:08:14

Well yes...we took two weeks to come up with a nam for DD1...she was just "baby" for that time. When we did come up with a name, we both loved it but DH insisted that DD have his 2nd choice as a middle name.

She also has a double barrelled surname so now she has a MASSIVE name. For ages (she is 8 now) I was unhappy about the middle name. Felt it was uneccassary and DH felt the same.

So much so that when we had DD2 she was not given a middle name at all!

Now DD is 8 she loves her middle name...we stopped using it unless it ws fo ffical forms but she alays includes it.

DD2 has now begun complaining about her lack of a middle name and so DD1 gave her one...luckily a ovley one. We're changing her name by deed poll to add the new middle name.

It's all a bit silly really!

mumsywoo78 Sat 05-Jan-13 01:02:41

thanx jojokaty 4 posting your experiance of 'baby name remorse' im kinda goin thru this at the moment my boy noah is almost 4mnts old &i just cannot seem to get used 2 his name & i can rarely even bring myself to use his name i just seem 2 call him the baby. i loved his name when i was pregnant so dont know why this has happened although i did av a few negative reactions&comments from relations about his name at first but everyone now fine&happy with it except me.i dont really want 2 change his name as my older child would be very upset&im wondering if id iv felt this way whatever name id av gone with anyway??? iv had times when iv suffered severe anxiety over it&im now on antidepressants. noah's not exactly a name u can shorten 2 anything 2 make it that bit different 4 me. can u suggest any nicknames &please b kind!

StellaNova Sat 05-Jan-13 19:35:19

I see where you are coming from, DS2 is Alexander which I was quite meh about for months (I wanted Teddy or Sam) and I called him Little Lexagon for a while (!) - I love Alexander as a name now, but I can completely relate to you saying the names made you feel distant.

mumsywoo Does Noah have a middle name so you can call him Noah Henry or whatever for a while then start just calling him Henry? Half my family in the older generation seem to be called by their middle names, usually because there was someone else in the family called by their first name.

Or could you go for a nickname that is nothing to do with his actual name, or just vaguely related, like I remember a book where the main character's name was Gloria but she was called Ally because of being called Glory then Glory Allelulia then Ally!

sparklechops Sat 05-Jan-13 22:25:33

'It's like a feeling that you've done your child an injustice and it hits you in the pit of your stomach when you think about it.

It's such a lonely experience because you can't discuss it with anyone because nobody understands. Nobody can relate at all and if you do try to talk about it people brush it under the carpet like you have committed a crime.'

Thanks, OP, you have put into words how I've been feeling on and off for the last ten months since my DD was born. It's such a strange, alienating feeling. I felt too embarrassed to talk to people about it as it sounded so weird.

We had a bit of confusion and uncertainty over her name - including disapproval from various relatives and friends - and ended up registering her in a more formal name to the one we use every day. It all left me feeling really down and as though we'd failed her in some way, just as you describe.

It's horrible! Thanks for starting this thread - it's reassuring to know others feel the same. Hope you feel better soon. I feel like I've got things more in perspective now, thankfully.

mumsywoo78 Mon 07-Jan-13 01:04:28

jojokaty how do u feel now ru now content with your childs name? stellanova i kinda feel the same about his MN too so i cant use that instead! thanks 4 your advice thosmile

Natty4 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:46:16

Writing as somebody who has gone through a very similar thing my advice is to just change it if it is really disturbing you so much. There's no problem in changing the name especially before they are 18 months. Your child won't lose a sense of identity etc etc...

I didn't change my DD's name and learnt to love it again. I realised It was really my problem rather than hers. There are so many worse things you can do to your child than give them a names that YOU don't love any more as it's only you that doesn't like it and for all you know they might like it more than their new one...but that's the risk you take if you change it. So no, you definitely haven't let your child down, you just feel gutted that you've gone off the name you've given them.

Anyway, life is too short to be staying awake at night worrying about a name. If its making you stressed then change it and she/he will never remember being called anything different.

moominsville Thu 10-Jan-13 12:08:40

I've been through this with DD1 and it was horrible. Throughout the pregnancy DH and I couldn't agree on anything. We just couldn't find a name we loved, so when she was two weeks old we had to call her something, so we decided on a name which we then discovered was everywhere and crazy popular. I had this huge sinking feeling and I used my every thought to obsess about it, it was awful. I then finally found a name I loved and wished we had called her.

After a few months I finally convinced DH to change her middle name - he had given up caring by this point and was sick of me going on about it. So at 4 months I gave her a new middle name - a totally random name which my DH doesn't like at all! I now hate this middle name as it reminds me of that awful time of crap sleep and obsessive thinking! It doesn't suit her at all!

She is now nearly 4 and loves her first name!!!! So after all of that she didn't actually care, it was all due to my crazy hormonal state. She doesn't even know what her middle name is but I know she will soon ask. I so wish it was another name that both my DH and I love.

All silly really as should be grateful of having happy healthy children but try telling the post labour hormonal brain that!

The good thing was that I didn't go through this with DD2, well maybe a little bit but no regrets now - we love their name.

Jojokaty Thu 17-Jan-13 09:26:13

Hello, sorry for my lack of response ... I decided to try not to think about it for a while but I'm back! :-). So.... After doing the deed poll, speaking to my parents about it it all went a bit wrong. They were so upset about it I had to tell them that I wouldn't see it through. His passport hadn't been changed, I'd just applied for the paperwork.

Just reading through ur replies and going to reply properly as I swear to god that this might be a form of post natal depression that hasn't been written about yet. I'm wondering if I need some kind of hypnotherapy so I can make my brain reprogram everything.

Will be back shortly with a more lengthy discussion! Thanks so much for ur responses - I'm not alone!


Sasparillo Thu 17-Jan-13 09:55:28

It's so hard finding the 'right' name, but over time people grow into their names, I don't think I've ever met anyone who I've thought, oh my gosh "you really don't suit your name!" I don't think it matters though as much as you think. I do think PND is probably to blame if I'm honest, part of PND is obsessively worrying and anxiety. I would suggest going to your doctors maybe? I've had a lot of negative comments regarding both of my children's names and apparently my dd's middle name is boring, unimaginative and some would call chavvy! (I'm sure you can guess what it is! Lol) Luckily I'm happy with my name choices and but I don't think websites like these help if you're feeling down about the your name choice! For what it's worth, at least our kids are healthy and gorgeous, It's only a name at the end of the day, especially middle names. They're hardly ever used. I don't even know half of my friends middle names, it's not something people tend to tell people unless asked.
For what it's worth though, I really like the name Noah, it's not an out there name that most people will hate! It's lovely, good choice I'd say xx

Jojokaty Thu 17-Jan-13 14:35:28

Just read through your comments and so glad to hear so many of you can relate to this.

Sasparillo: To anyone who hasn't experienced this, it is completely baffling so I don't expect you would understand if you havent been through it. Saying it doesn't matter is how most people react ... but it doesn't really help the problem.

mumsywoo78: I actually love the name Noah! But the weird thing is about this subject is names are so personal. Also, I've realised that if you say any name (or word for that matter) over and over then it starts to sound weird ;-)

Just to fill you in on our little man. We upset the grandparents so much I told them we would stick with what it on the birth certificate. Although doubt still keeps creeping into my mind. My parents take on it was, what if he hates the new middle names? They also said I had no right to change his names and I should let him grow into his names. I'm not going to mention it to them again and make up our own mind. I know that second names aren't as important anyway - so I'm lucky in that respect. But I might keep the prevoiusly chosen middle names and just add another one. It will mean that he has a studpidly long name but maybe at least I won't get blamed for taking anything away.

On the subject of depression and it being a factor. I think its completely possible. The problem is that you are with your child so much and often don't have much else to take your mind off your child. I wonder if the obsession with the name you've chosen and if you've made the right choice is related to a sort of maternal instinct that makes you want to protect your child. Mother nature has MADE us obsessed about our children so that we love and care for them. So maybe this is related.

Also, when you have a baby and become a mother, you can begin to loose your identity a little bit as you have to put your needs to one side and do everything for your children. I wonder whether that loss of freedom triggers feelings of self doubt and you begin to question your judgement and your decisions. I've found that I've thought about names so much that I've forgotten what I like and don't like now because I've over thought it :-) Generally in life we meet a person, say their name, then accept it and get on with getting to know that person. Then slowly that person becomes that name. Their character embodies the name. Maybe we just haven't given our kids enough time to 'become' their name.

I have also heard that choices make you unhappy. So nowadays we have so many choices in what we can call our children the options are endless and you will always feel dissatisfied with your decision...

moominsville: thanks for your input. Sounds like you've been through the situation and come out the other side. I'm wondering whether the same thing will happen to us.

Sorry if I'm babbling!


sparklechops Thu 17-Jan-13 22:52:38

Not babbling at all jojokaty - you are speaking perfect sense (to me anyway...)

I'm really sorry you're still not feeling great about all this. It really chips away at you, doesn't it? I hope you can make a decision that's right for you - and for your ds, of course. It's a shame that the grandparents are getting so involved. In my experience that can sometimes be the problem - other people's opinions can really confuse you, especially when your hormones are all over the place.

I do feel that if you would like to alter his middle names, it shouldn't really be anyone else's concern.

I posted upthread but just to add to what I wrote up there...before Christmas, I was feeling so anxious about DD's name, he persuaded me to speak to my health visitor. To my surprise, she didn't think I was being daft.

She suggested that perhaps the name worry was a focus for a whole load of other anxiety and stress that I was trying to ignore.

She was completely right. I'm now getting support for this and it's been a real help.

I'm trying to put it all in perspective and fall in love with her name all over again, just as I did when we chose it. I'm also trying not to care what other people think about it all. People are so vocal about baby names - they don't realise how hurtful it can be.

Weirdly, I only have an issue with DD's first name and not her second name (which, incidentally is recieving a slagging off on another thread in this topic right now! But I really couldn't care - that's how weird and irrational this thing is.)

I think that what you said about us mums obsessing and wanting to protect our children is so true. That responsibility weighs heavy on us. I was petrified that the name we'd chosen for DD would somehow ruin her life - that we'd 'failed' her in some way.

The name is the only thing we can choose and then change, if we so wish.
We can't 'right' a traumatic birth for instancd, which is maybe what I was trying and wishing that I could do.

I have to say that it has been reassuring to read this thread - and to know that other people are going through this and I hope that you all find a solution - whether it's changing your babies' names and moving on or getting some help and support to work through it.

Iliria Mon 21-Jan-13 03:05:14

Jojokaty, you are telling my story (even the breast feeding part and a husband on the way to the register smile. Only I am agonising over the first name. My daughter is 8 weeks old and I am torn between keeping the name the way it is or changing it. Today my husband suggested I see a health counselor... And I think I have to as I am becoming depressed. Hope you have it all solved soon!

Jojokaty Wed 23-Jan-13 22:00:20

Just want to say that posting this thread has helped me so much - I feel so much better about it all now - just talking about it and getting it off my chest and also knowing I'm not the only one.

Iliria: I hope for your sake it doesn't take you as long as it did for me to sort it out. I think the important thing is to get to the bottom of why you don't like the name. For me I think it was that we choose an unusual first name (which I loved) but people questioned spelling and pronunciation and we also choose 2 middle names which were unusual too. Just having people question me after introducing him really made me feel uneasy - it chips away at your confidence.

I'm trying very hard to not obsess about it anymore and I've also embraced a nickname.

Hormones do weird things and can really change your way of thinking about stuff to the point that you can't see the wood for the trees. I really hope you'll be ok xxx Good luck

mumsywoo78 Tue 29-Jan-13 11:41:31

jojokaty im so glad u started this thread its nice to know im not alone or weird for suffering from this.the things uve wrote sounds just like me. ive not been on here for a few weeks because id actually started to feel happier about my boys name & were even able to say his name although it was kinda forced.but my anxiety over his name has come back over the last couple of days. i also seen my health visitor over this but didnt find her that helpful infact she made me feel worse by saying just except the name uve given him &get on with it! iv also seen a clinical phsycologist she was so understanding & it was great to have someone out of the family to speak to but to be honest i didnt find it really helped in anyway as id still obsess. i really do think its a case of over thinking about their names like u said about any name sounding horrible if u say or think about it over&over i think thats exactly what ive done in my head. i still am always looking for peoples reactions to his name when i introduce him& if they dont instantly say they love his name i feel like crap! it shouldnt matter i know but for some reason it does&i cant help it. &think thats why my anxiety has return over the last couple of days because i seen an old family friend id not seen for a couple of years &when i told her his name she paused & said "oh thats nice" but to me that pause meant she doesnt like it! why im i so obsessed. iv also thought about hypnotherapy has anyone tried this did it help?? its a shame all us 'name anxiety mums' cant all get together & av a good chinwag we could start a support group! is anyone else in the manchester area? xx

sparklechops Tue 29-Jan-13 13:48:25

Hi mumsywoo sorry to hear you are not feeling great again. I've been having a bad day too.

I would persevere with getting help and talking. That is what I am going to do. I am in London unfortunately, not anywhere near you!

sparklechops Tue 29-Jan-13 13:49:37

Ps his name is lovely! But I know that probably doesn't help...

hanahsaunt Tue 29-Jan-13 14:03:10

I didn't know about the year to change your mind thing and am eternally grateful to the dear friend who told me when dd was 11mo and we squeaked in her name change at the last minute. All we did was swap the order of her middle names and to cut a long story short it was such a relief! It really did lift a weight.

mumsywoo78 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:46:41

thanx sparklechops for your comments i know noah is a lovely name really but it doesnt stop me feeling like this im sure u understand! i can also relate to what jojokaty said about the name feeling foreign & distant iv kinda felt that way to. its kinda hard for me to describe what my problem with his name is. i hope you are feeling better soon do u feel u are able to tell us on here what u have named your dd xx

sparklechops Wed 30-Jan-13 16:16:48

Hello, mumsywoo - I do think that the name thing could be an indication of a deeper problem. Have you spoken to your health visitor about it recently?

I've been feeling really low and crappy this week. To be honest, my feelings that we 'failed' her with naming her are only a small part of me feeling that I'm failing her in general. Even though she's fine and happy, it's just a nagging doubt in my own abilities as a mum.

Don't want to write her name on her but, to give you a clue, she has a famous namesake - a sixties star whose surname is Faithfull. It's a beautiful name - it's just not trendy or up to the minute and her nickname, that loads of people know her by, is TOTALLY hated on here!

Anyway, Noah IS a great name and I am sure that when people hear it, they don't think anything bad of it. But I know it's hard for anyone else to understand why you have a problem with it.

sparklechops Wed 30-Jan-13 16:21:04

hanahsaunt - your story is interesting. We only have six weeks to change DD's name (although DH would never agree to it) - what did people say when you changed it?

Jojokaty Wed 30-Jan-13 16:21:24

mumsywoo: I've thought a support group would be a marvelous idea. Talking about it is the best thing. But I'm in London too. One thing that might help you is to do a sort of mood board of his name and all the positive things about it. So for instance, there is this really handsome opera singer called Noah Stewart. And theres a film called notebook and the main character is called Noah. Its a beautiful soft handsome name. I haven't actually done this myself mind you ;-) Also I'm reading a book called NLP parenting that I got out the library. Its quite interesting. One thing they do is get you to visualise wonderful moments from your life and press your earlobe at the same time - apparently if you keep doing this then when you feel crap you can press your ear lobe and the good thoughts come back... I think staying busy busy busy is helping me! ;-)

Also, when you introduce him watch out for your tone of voice when you do it. I was saying my son's name like a question - almost like an apology. Practice saying it positively with a smile.

Give it a go. It is a bloody awful feeling though ... I also think that once the child can say their own name it will all fall into place.

God, I feel so much better about it now!

hanahsaunt Wed 30-Jan-13 16:33:22

sparklechops - all we did was swap her 2 middle names round and tbh we haven't really told many people. The long story is we knew she was a girl and we had her names from about 25 weeks and they tripped off the tongue beautifully, really loved them. Those were the names that we announced but when it came to registering her we decided at the very last minute to use a proper name for her first name (but still known as the pet version) and as such thought her middle names 'worked' better if swapped over so rather than be xie y z, she was registered as x, z, y. Name z is MILs name which we both love and knowing that dd would be her only grand-daughter thought that would be a really nice thing to do (I've had babies named after me and was really, really touched, my mum loved that her name is one of my dn's middle names etc). MIL was v grumpy about it. Tough. ANyway ... over the course of the year we would get letters addressed to Miss X Z Last Name and it just didn't seem right, it felt like they were addressing someone unknown to me and for whatever bizarre, odd, hormonal reason it made me quite sad - that the baby I knew wasn't known by others so having discovered that we could pay £10 and all would be sorted back to Miss X Y Z Last Name all was well. We haven't told MIL though she still wonders why on earth we would use her name and I'm not sure who else knows. Not a big deal.

sparklechops Wed 30-Jan-13 19:45:29

hanahsaunt - that makes sense. It sounds a bit like our situation with registering her with a formal name, after announcing another one. It's actually a relief to know other people have done it! But why wasn't your MIL chuffed by having DD named after her!? I thought that was every granny's dream!

I know what you mean about that sad feeling - I can totally understand that. Really pleased it's all sorted for you now - what a relief for you.

Jojokaty Sun 23-Jun-13 13:35:35

hello - I'm back again!
I just wanted to write this as a follow up to what has happened to me. After thinking all was ok I 'relapsed' and I began to think about names more obsessively - also his first name, then my daughters name. I finally decided that I needed to get some help to get over this once and for all. It was not healthy or normal. I went to see a homeopath and a Councillor and have since realized that many of my fears and anxieties had been manifesting themselves on my son's name. It wasn't the name but how I perceived peoples reactions to it, how I had a fear of fitting in, my fears for the future, my anxieties about not being accepted and also the result of a loss of the confidence I had before giving birth. I also think that at the fragile time following birth when lots of people ask you the name you have chosen - and they question it either through curiosity or because they don't like it - this without a doubt had a big impact on me. Since talking about it and letting someone help me understand where it has come from it has just melted away! I am still continuing with seeing both therapists and take homeopathic and flower remedies until I'm confident it won't come back. But its incredible how it has helped me. I just wanted to write this to help anyone else that may be in the same position.

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