Choosing a Girl’s Name When You Wanted a Boy

Baby shower cupcakes

Question: Dear Name Lady,

I was really hoping for another boy, so when we found out we were having a girl, I feel horrible to say I was disappointed. I have finally warmed up to the idea of a girl, but my husband and I can’t agree on a name. He has top choices, but I can’t even warm up to any name out there yet alone compromise on his choices. I want a name so badly for my girl, in hopes to make it a bit better in accepting that I am having a girl (I feel horrible for saying that too). How can I learn to love a name in the 10 days till I’m due?


– AnxiousExpectant

Answer: Dear AnxiousExpectant,

Please don’t beat yourself up about this. Your feelings are much more common than you’d imagine.

Lots of expectant parents hope for one sex or the other. Sometimes they don’t even realize they’ve been hoping “F” until the ultrasound comes up “M” and disappointment sets in. It doesn’t mean they won’t love their babies with their whole hearts. It just means that they had spent countless hours dreaming of a particular baby and a particular future family, and they have to let that dream go. That can be a painful separation — and as often as not, baby names are wrapped up in it.

For some parents, a cherished name is a key part of wanting a boy vs. a girl. That’s especially true of family names that hold unique personal meanings. Even if you just chose the name out of the phone book, though, naming is dreaming. Right now, it sounds like the dreaming you have to do to “try on” girls’ names cuts a little too close to the bone.

If picturing names for your baby daughter is making you miserable, go about it a different way. Look at a list of girl’s names and ask yourself, “How would I react to meeting a girl or woman with this name?” Or even “If I were going to start life as a girl today, what would I want my name to be?” Do that and you’ll find a name you can feel good about. Someday soon, you’ll even come to love it.