Why Your Baby Name Choice Is Making You Miserable

Mar 21st 2012

Back when I was writing the first edition of The Baby Name Wizard, the phrase "namer's remorse" never entered my mind. Choosing a name was supposed to be one of the most joyous parts of pregnancy, a chance to look ahead and dream of the new family member to come. Yet in the years since, words like "angst" and "remorse" have cropped up more and more in baby-name talk. Post-naming regrets have become a regular feature in my inbox, and a popular question subject from reporters, too.

Is this just a trendy discussion topic, or is the baby-naming blues really on the rise?

I believe it's the latter. The process of choosing a baby name has genuinely become more stressful, and namer's remorse is indeed more common than ever before. It was inevitable. In the past generation, baby names have become an ideal breeding ground for anxiety, decision paralysis, and regret.

The core problem is what psychologist Barry Schwartz has called "the paradox of choice." Choice is freedom, and we expect that freedom to make us happy by allowing us to follow a path custom-selected to suit us best. In practice, though, an abundance of choice not only makes our decisions harder, it turns out to make us miserable.

The more choices we have, the higher our expectations rise. With a vast array of options, we feel that careful selection should lead us to a perfect choice. The decision process drags on. We agonize. Sometimes the pressure of choosing is just too much; we end up paralyzed by our options, and choose nothing. Even when we do choose, we usually discover that perfection remains an elusive goal. Thus even a very good choice can leave us feeling disappointed.

Then there's the road not taken. So very many roads. It's hard to feel comfortable with the choice you've made when the missed opportunities still swarm around you. Perhaps a neighbor makes a different choice, one you had considered but rejected. Did they choose better? If so, you have only yourself to blame.

Angst. Paralysis. Regret. Sound familiar?

This choice-induced misery is usually described as a side effect of societal affluence. Consumer choices explode, giving us hundreds of shampoos or coffee makers to choose from. But baby names are, and have always been, free. Can there really be an explosion of choices in a realm with no costs, where the menu of options is in your mind, not on the shelves?

Absolutely. More on this tomorrow.

On to part 2!

Comments

51
June 21, 2017 12:32 PM

I'm finding choosing a name really difficult. I realise there are a set of unwritten rules you need to conisder and I have tried to identify my thought process behind it. Anyfeed back would be greatly appreciated. http://www.thedadnotebook.co.uk/choosing-baby-name/

52
October 15, 2017 10:42 PM

John and Jim are much more my style, but I find this a very approachable list. They are as a group sturdy, rugged names.

53
December 21, 2017 2:59 AM

I was contemplating this post I understood that what I find fascinating about child name is the perplex viewpoint. That may be the reason I didn't get as intrigued by child names until the point that I had a couple of children then it turned into the test to discover a name that fit with Paul.

54
September 23, 2018 2:06 PM

For a boy I really love the name Adolf. But then I'd fear if I had a boy he'd be bullied because of Hitler. But my advice is, if you genuinely love a name, don't let that stop you. This is your child and your choice. If you want to give him an adorable name, don't let a German dictator ruin it for you. 

55
October 21, 2018 1:05 AM

I am going through this and seeing counseling today over it. I have had such remorse, I cannot even say her name aloud.

I am trying to see hope in this situation, but the only hope feels like going back in time and fixing all of the things that went wrong for me to choose a name in a dark labor room with no internet and feeling pressured to pick something after working my first year of teaching up to 39 weeks pregnant and handing off my class to a sub-par substitute that did not take care of my students.<3

EDIT: My husband and I have chosen a family name and will be legally changing it. I pray that all Mom's find peace with a final name for their babe. <3

56
January 27, 2019 3:56 AM

I, too, think that eschewing traditional names in favor of the hot new thing has a lot to do with it.  I'm not a particularly straight-laced person, on the whole, and I rather like creative names.  But, with that said, trendy names are typically exactly that -- a trend (and later, distinctively so).  As soon as the trend either becomes way too big (and thus overdone) or simply goes out of style, it can feel like a shiny yellow-brass house fixture from the 80s.  It sticks out and not in good way.

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July 11, 2019 4:29 AM

My first I decide to name <a href="https://www.jeremiahwilliams.website/">Jeremiah Williams</a>. The second I just through a dart at names I stuck on the wall. Does it really matter? At least I'm not choosing names like celebreties do nowadays. Calling their kids Apple Pie.

61
July 14, 2019 11:48 PM

Too many choices, too much importance on the perfect name. Should be able to wait until the kid is at least four before deciding on a name. But I choose Sachi Beauty name

62
August 3, 2019 6:39 AM

I certainly liked the reference of "paradox of choices". Indeed more choices we have, more we agonize

63
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August 3, 2019 8:52 AM

what a nice article

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August 13, 2019 2:40 PM

It doesn't matter what you name your kid, their name is beautiful and your choice was clear. It doesn't matter what your mom named you. If you like it then it it's your name. There are many businesses that change there name all the time.

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Cookies Tempe

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Coklat Tempe

Bila sebelumnya kita berbicara perihal cookies tempe, berikutnya kita akan berbicara perihal cokelat yang berbahan dasar dari tempe. Bila anda bosan dengan olahan tempe yang cuma digoreng. Anda bisa mencoba coklat tempe ini, rasa dari coklat tempe ini tergolong unik, karena rasa manis yang ada pada coklat dicampur dengan kerenyahan tempe pasti akan membuatmu ketagihan.

Bakso Tempe

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Es krim Tempe

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Brownis Tempe

Olahan tempe yang terakhir adalah brownis tempe. Brownis adalah salah satu makanan yang menjadi favorit di masyarakat. Apalagi bahan dasar brownis ini unik, karena brownis ini memiliki bahan dasar tempe. Brownis tempe ini tidak kalah lezat dengan merk brownis brownis yang sudah terkenal. Dengan memanfaatkan tempe anda juga bisa menambah berbagai macam gizi pada brownis tersebut, dikarenakan tempe kaya akan berbagai macam zat yang diperlukan tubuh. Rasa manis dari coklat dan renyah dari tempe dapat menggoyang lidah anda, sehingga brownis ini layak untuk anda yang gemar ngemil cemilan.

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70
October 15, 2019 6:12 AM

Whew! So happy I don't lament my decision. We've had kid and young lady names chose for a considerable length of time so when we at long last had our first child 4 months back there was no doubt about his name. I think we'll feel the equivalent for young ladies. Issue will be on the off chance that we have another kid - we have no more huge top picks on that front! :- S

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72
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