During your pregnancy, you had your heart set on calling your baby Sophia. Now that she’s here, well, you’re not loving the name so much anymore. Some new parents experience baby name regret to the point that they might even suffer depression or anxiety over the name choice. But if you’re looking lovingly at your baby and second-guessing the name you chose for your little sweetie, know that baby name regret is normal. It’s estimated that almost one-third of new parents regret the names they give their babies. Here’s what you can do if you want if you’re feeling baby name remorse.
Why does baby name regret happen?
“Choosing the perfect name for your baby can be an exciting yet difficult time, as there are so many things to consider,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a New York City neuropsychologist and Director of Comprehend the Mind explains to Celebrity Parents. “Because this can be such a difficult decision, it’s not uncommon for parents to feel regret over the name they have given their baby.” But baby name regret remorse syndrome is a real thing, and can happen for a variety of reasons, according to Michele Goldman, a psychologist and media advisor for Hope for Depression Research Foundation. Here are just a few:
- You might choose a name prior to realizing how popular it is, which could make the name feel less special for your child.
- If you do not tell others about your name choice prior to the birth, some adults might pass judgement or make comments after the name is revealed resulting in parents having regret.
- Some parents are torn between two names prior to the birth and they choose a name, but are left feeling they chose wrong.
- Some parents feel that the name was ‘right’ but it does not suit the baby, or the baby never ‘grew into’ the name.
- Parents might start to experience name regret if people are frequently mispronouncing their child’s name, frequently misspelling the name, or creating unappreciated nicknames for the baby’s name.
- It is possible that a name that once felt as if it had meaning or a connection no longer does; or simply the parents stop liking the name as they once did.
- Some parents pick a trendy name and then the trend starts to fade and now they realize that it’s not a fit anymore.
- Parents might have felt pressure to name the child after a family member.
Does baby name regret go away?
When you’re calling your baby by one name (and wishing it were another), it can be a hard thing to come to terms with. Still, baby name regret can pass all on its own, or it might be something you and your partner have to work on. “It’s possible to fall in love with the name you originally gave your baby after regret over choosing that name,” says Hafeez. “Try talking to family and friends about your choice, as we often find comfort in those closest to us, making us feel better about our decisions.”
A good place to start is by remembering why you chose your baby’s name in the first place. After all, there must have been something about it that you liked enough to consider naming your baby that. “Trust your instinct,” adds Hafeez. “As you bond with your body, you will find that the name becomes less important than your love for your newborn.”
Coping with baby name regret
If your choice of baby name has left your feeling devastated, there are a few things you can do about it. Before you do anything, though, you need to put the focus first on yourself — and not your baby. “First off, know there is no right or wrong here. Sometimes this happens and that’s okay,” says Goldman. “Remember all of the reasons as to why you chose this name and why you, at one point, loved this name for your baby, or if it has some type of significance for you or your family and remind yourself of that.”
Hafeez agrees, adding: “If you are experiencing baby name regret, try mourning the names you didn’t choose,” she says. “When you choose your baby’s name, the other names on your list were eliminated, some of which you may have loved.” The names not chosen can feel like a very real loss, so try giving yourself time to mourn the names you didn’t choose and then move on if possible.
Reena B. Patel, a positive parenting psychologist, and licensed educational board-certified behavior analyst tells Celebrity Parents: “Remember that a name is what you make out of it. Your child is unique no matter what and creating a nickname off their name helps create originality for just your child.”
Here’s how you can change a baby’s name
There may come a point when you just know that your baby has the wrong name. When you reach that decision, you can take action to rectify the wrong by changing their name. “If this is the route you decide to pursue, know that it can be a legal name change or the original name can be kept on the birth certificate but the baby will no longer use that name,” advises Goldman. “Other people decide to use their baby’s middle name instead of the first name, or they will use a nickname that suits the baby, or you can also choose an entirely new name for your baby.” Call your local Health Department to find out how to do a name change. Typically, most states will allow 6-12 months to make a name change without requiring any type of court order.
And there’s another reason why you might want to get your paperwork in order pretty quickly if you want to change your baby’s name from Patricia to Piper. “It is suggested that if you are planning on changing your baby’s name, do so as soon as you are ready to make that decision,” says Goldman. “This allows for you and your family to begin adjusting to the new name, as well as Baby becoming more familiar with their new name.”
Even if you’re absolutely in love with a specific name while you’re expecting, you might find that the name no longer works once Baby arrives. If that happens, give yourself a little time to get used to the name, and if it’s still not a fit, you definitely have options to give your baby a name that suits them — and that you love.