I find names fascinating. I am due with my first babe in just under two weeks and I have been pretty set on a name up until now. Just to dial it back, about six months, I was pretty damn convinced that we were having a girl as I come from a large family of women. My intuition said I was carrying a girl, my family and friends thought it was a girl, and it just felt like I had extra feminine energy around me. So naturally, husband and I just focused more on gal names (just for context they leaned more gender neutral). Turns out we were wrong! We certainly were not disappointed but I was feeling unprepared and just surprised. We had a short list of boys names and an even shorter list of names we equally liked. Our list included: Jude, Julian, Issac, Ewyn, Cohen, Lennon and Bowie, (the last two are probably better for girls). Omg. I just noticed a bit of a music theme going on here.
Jude has been top shelf for a while now. I’ve been using it casually with family so much so that my mom accidentally spilled the beans at my baby shower and now everyone knows that that's the name we've chosen. I'm not sure if I like it less because the magic of the unveiling has been taken away from me or if I'm just not sure about the strength of the name anymore. One of my dilemmas is that it's very very close to my name like one letter difference to my name and that is always been an issue for me. Could that be confusing or am I just "Mum"? Lately, I have been toying with the idea of using Julian instead. The names are very different (perhaps Julian is too fem?) But they feel familiar. Also I was reading that people use Jude as a nickname for Julian? Which is bizarre. Like pick one!
Ok, so my question is am I just getting last-minute jitters? Do I need to see what this kid looks like before making a decision? Should I give a crap about all my friends already knowing his name? Have I possibly overlooked other names due to limited tunnel-vision? WWDD?
I mean, you definitely do not have to title your email with something pithy that I’ll use in the article title, but if you do, I’m gonna use it… plus I like the visual symmetry.
So. What would I do? It depends on what you mean by:
I'm not sure if I like it less because the magic of the unveiling has been taken away from me or if I'm just not sure about the strength of the name anymore.
That is, obviously it wasn’t about the unveiling of the name – at least not entirely – because you said you’ve been using it with your own family for a while. Now, if you would respond by telling me that’s not the same thing, and that using it with your family is really just trying it out and doesn’t indicate a commitment, then OK, I guess I understand that. But it seems as though you had already decided, in your own mind, without, maybe, having the satisfaction of having actually chosen – looked at your partner, given a little nod and shrug of finality, and gone ‘Yup. Yup. No, he’s definitely Jude. Pass the ketchup chips.’
But you’re the only one who knows that. Your friends and other family members will assume that’s how you arrived at this name, and that you love it the most – not that you just kind of wound up with it as the front-runner. And in a way, that’s exactly what happened, right? You liked it the best, and you were using it the most, and so now that’s the baby’s name. It happened in less of a thunderclap of lightening than you were expecting, maybe, but it’s more or less how it goes.
I’m not surprised, either, that the name sounds like yours – after all, we like the sounds of our own names, and it stands to reason your name might sound pretty pleasant to your partner, too. I’m not sure what you mean about it ‘always’ having been an issue, and while I’m not usually into people naming their children after themselves, Jude is an established name – we’re not quite into Willow and Jaden territory here.
But let’s play this out. Say you decide, either publicly or just between you and your partner, that the name isn’t settled. You start flirting with Julian, which is a great name – but it’s not going to win. You know why?
You don’t like it as much! If you did, you would be writing this letter about the fact that everyone is calling the baby Julian. You wonder if it’s ‘too fem’ – not something that ever crossed my mind, for what it’s worth – and you’re wondering whether you could get back to Jude as a nickname. As far as I’m concerned, you could; people nickname all kinds of names all kinds of ways and we don’t need to get further than Polly for Margaret to prove my point – but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re trying to get back to Jude. You love Jude! That’s the name of your kid, probably! And yes, it’s strong and unusual and lovely and sounds kind of musical. It’s a great choice, regardless of when in gestation you chose it.
If you’re really bothered, though, this is when I would be most inclined to choose a whole bunch of middle names, or even first names that you won’t necessarily use day-to-day. There’s nothing stopping you from naming him Archibald Reginald Julian Lastname, called ‘Jude’, if you want to, or if you feel like doing so is going to make the name somehow more substantial.
But if the main reason to do so is to throw your friends off the scent – trust me, they’re going to be excited about his arrival regardless, and coo over the name and buy you blankets with embroidery on them regardless, and there will be so many opportunities, in the coming weeks and months, to hear about what a great choice it is when people ask his name at coffee shops and bank lineups and etc.
If I’ve really gotten it wrong and you’re thinking you made an incorrect choice, then of course you can change it, but I don’t get the impression that’s what this is really about. May your cold feet be balmy warm. It’s a great name.