Hi Duana,

So you'll probably want to punch me in the face over this.  I kind of want to punch myself in the face.  After some fertility challenges, we are proud parents to Charlotte (Lotte).  (I know how you feel about that but don't trash me because I love the name.) We are expecting baby #2, which should be the best news in the world considering the challenges we've had and simply because we love being parents.  The problem is that I convinced myself it was another girl..like full on, no questions asked.  I pictured a wonderful sisterhood between our daughters and felt that I could live out my childhood wish of having a sister vicariously through our girls.  Fast forward to the ultrasound where the tech drops the bomb that it's a boy.  Say WHA???? I felt shock and overwhelming grief over the loss of this would be second daughter that I spent weeks, months (maybe years) imagining.  Then I felt intense guilt for being disappointed in the news.  Turns out that gender disappointment is a real thing and I've got a bad case. You're disappointed and ashamed of yourself at the same time.

Some weeks have passed and I'm accepting the news.  I know that by the time he's born, I will be happy and excited.  This boy will be loved, I can promise you that. Help me find a name and throw a punch at me if you deem it necessary.  We're semi-traditionalists but willing to deviate slightly.  I'm quasi keen on these names: Sullivan (Sully), Silas, Eli, Oliver, Oscar, but none of them seem like the perfect fit. Last name is simple and common.

Thanks for reading.  I'm officially bracing to get a blasting from you, but at the same time can assure you that many of your readers have or will experience this.  I'm finally coming around to the fact that being disappointed does not make me a terrible parent.


Dude, whoa. Judging is fun and all but I’m never going to get on your ass about something that you didn’t invite upon yourself. Besides, you just said you’re “disappointed and ashamed of yourself at the same time”. You’re already punishing yourself far more than I would, and I’m not sure it’s necessary – I assume everyone secretly thinks they’re having one or the other, it’s just that our parents didn’t have time to wonder whether they were disappointed, because they didn’t get to know beforehand, and were handed a baby the same second they learned what it was.    

I don’t think you’re the only one to go through what you’re experiencing, and I strongly suggest you give yourself a break. It’s not that you won’t love that little dude, it’s that you had pictured Lotte growing up with a sister. It takes time to adjust what we picture. That’s OK.

So let’s assume that your buddy is here and that you gaze at him and try on Sully and Silas and Eli and Oliver and Oscar and still none of them fit.   Let’s see what else sounds like those and makes you get a little more excited.

How about Jude? Lotte and Jude? Judah? There’s something about it I can’t shake that sounds like it could be so right for your family. Or if that’s a little too out there, what about Amos? Amos, it’s like Silas….no? Okay, how about Sawyer? It sounds like Sully and Silas and Oscar all at once.   Maybe?

I have confessed my love for Otto here before. Otto and Lotte are maybe a bit too close together but maybe sometimes you call her Char and that way it would work? What do you think?

It seems like you want something, not exactly trendy, but soft and of-the-moment and sort of “the new masculine”, so how about Asher? How about Seth? How about – and I know that I cannot possibly be the only one who has a crush on the most famous bearer of this name – how about Ira?

Okay, if you’re starting to roll your eyes, here are some lovely less-outlandish suggestions – Jonah, Caleb. Or any of the versions of awesome names that contain “gus” – Angus, August, Augustus. Are we anywhere close here?

Trust yourself. Don’t feel guilty that you don’t have a name yet. Don’t feel guilty, generally. You’ll find it and you’ll love it as long as you trust your instincts and don’t start to beat yourself up too much for not loving the names you hear. Or anything else.