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One of the most common pieces of advice I’ve received since becoming pregnant is not to share my baby’s name before she is born. 

And I get it. I do. 
 
Even while my friends and co-workers played name-guessing games someone was likely to say, “Ew, not that name” in response to at least one of them. 
 
No one wants to open themselves to unwanted criticism. We’re afraid that while everyone will rejoice with us after the baby is born, they will also think it’s OK to tell us they don’t like our baby’s name before.
 
After all, we still have time to change our minds. 
 
Maybe they think if the birth certificate hasn’t been signed yet they can sway us away from our terrible choice to something more sensible. Like their name, for instance.
 
Or they think they are saving our future kid from embarrassment by sending them to school with a name like “Wolfgang” or “Apple”. 
 
I do realize that many people like to keep the baby’s name a surprise until they are born and I fully support that, too! The point is that we should rejoice with parents regardless of what they name their baby and when they choose to share it. 
 
Regardless, there is no need to ever tell an expectant mother you do not like her baby’s name—before or after.
 
That’s why I decided to say “to heck with that rule” and told everyone my baby girl’s name anyway. 
 
That, and a bunch of other reasons.
 
For instance, if someone hates my baby’s name, it  doesn’t really make a difference to me if it’s before or after she’s born. It’ll grow on them. And if it doesn’t they can always give her a nickname. 
 
So no one else could take it. OK, I am joking. Well, half-joking. Someone I know from where I grew up recently posted on Facebook that she named her baby the same name I picked out. At least we’re not in the same state but I don’t want people to think I copied them. (Again, I am half-joking.)
 
Because I didn’t want to keep calling her “Baby A” or “Nugget/Bean/BB/Biscuit/whatever everyone else calls their unborn baby. My husband and I already decided on our baby’s name so why not share it? 
 
I don’t feel the need to give her a nickname until she makes her grand appearance. We can work out cute nicknames after she is born. Like how my family called me “Booger” growing up because when I was three years old I picked my nose at church once and wiped it on the wall in front of everyone. ONCE. Unfortunately, the name stuck until I was about 12-years-old. But see? This just shows there is plenty of time to come up with a nickname later. 
 
Plus, to me she is already here.
 
No, no one else can see her except through an ultrasound but she is a real person growing stronger every day and not just a “fetus” or a “clump” of cells. I can tell when she sleeps and is awake. I can tell what food she likes. And I can tell she will be an Olympic gymnast one day by how many times she flips and rolls and somersaults into my lungs so I cannot breathe. 
 
For these reasons, and so many more, I decided to share her name early. According to my Facebook page I am not the only one, either. I am seeing more expectant mothers share their baby’s name proudly before their entrance and – thankfully – being received with joy instead of criticism over their name choice. 
 
After all, this is how we should respond to every new baby before or after they are born: with joy, excitement and recognition of a wonderful new life being created. As Dr. Seuss so famously said that, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Or in this case, a person’s a person no matter if you name them Berson or even Terson. 
 
Oh, and if you’re wondering, we’re naming our baby Penelope Jane, or Penny for short. If you don’t like it, that’s OK, too. Just please at least tell me to my face that you do. I’ll be sure to do the same for you. 

Sarah Althouse

Sarah is a Buffalo transplant living in Washington, D.C. with her husband Josh and cat Squeakers. By day she work as a Communications Director for a Member of Congress; by night she dreams of being Martha Stewart. She also loves pigs, peonies, politics and peanut butter. Follow her at http://prettysimpleideas.com/

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