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How To ‘Stake a Claim’ On A Baby Name

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How To ‘Stake a Claim’ On A Baby Name

My elder sister and I share a profound affinity for our grandmother. A wealth of treasured memories from our youth are associated with time spent frolicking in the soil and assisting with day-to-day tasks on our paternal grandmother’s farmstead or remaining awake into the wee hours engaged in watching the Game Show Network beside our maternal grandmother. Even though our grandmothers were remarkably distinct individuals, their influence on us was substantial, arguably more so than anyone else’s.

From the earliest I can recall, on the subject of selecting an appellation for a future offspring—an occurrence not uncommon among young girls—both my sister and I had long desired to pay homage to our lineage. Such discussions about baby names often veered towards the territory of potential disputes had we not exercised restraint. Despite her advanced age and likelihood of motherhood preceding my own, I was the one who staked a claim on one of our grandmother’s names for a prospective child of mine. This action internally prompted the question—can one truly stake a claim on a baby name? I did exactly that, and here are my reasons.

Is It Feasible to Reserve a Baby Name Without Being Expectant?

The quest for the perfect baby name may be a lighthearted, even competitive affair amongst siblings, isn’t that so? To approach the subject earnestly, however, the discussion of infant names was had by my sister and me on multiple occasions, always ensuring to keep a friendly tone. Our aim to commemorate family members with our children’s names was clear. I candidly expressed my fondness for the name Mae after our paternal grandmother, Laura Mae, remarking on the name’s sentimental value and its appeal as a middle name, as I intended to use it.

In our situation, the act of claiming a baby name was akin to an announcement of my intentions. Had she decided to embrace the name Mae for her child before my chance, I wouldn’t necessarily have viewed it as name theft. Truthfully, since my desire was for a middle name, I’d likely have proceeded with it regardless.

In scenarios where emotions could potentially be wounded or simultaneous use of the name would create an undesirable overlap, things can become rather intricate. Nevertheless, when staking claim to a baby name, as long as respect prevails among parties, there need be no bruised feelings.

Our Strategy for Making It Work

Upon the arrival of my sister’s baby girl, she considerately factored in my preference. Our privilege of having a close-knit relationship with both grandmothers paved the way in 2016 for her to pay tribute to our maternal grandmother, Jeanne Rea, by bestowing upon her daughter the name Reagan. I was struck by her ingenuity—transforming a succinct, endearing middle name into a distinctive and innovative first name.

Like countless girls, I’ve harbored dreams of what monikers to bequeath upon my future progeny. Indeed, I’ve preserved a compendium of potential names in my notes app for when the occasion arises. Mulling over names for years, my preferences have naturally evolved. Transient trends and various sources of inspiration have come and gone, yet through it all, the constant has been the chosen middle name I’ve harbored. Conveying this to my sister at an early stage allowed her to understand its significance to me. Additionally, the presence of another admirable matriarch to commemorate made it manageable to circumvent any potential naming rights conflict.

The Course of Action if Someone Appropriates Your Chosen Baby Name.

Declaring a baby name in advance always entails the hazard of another, akin to Laney Berlin from SATC, appropriating your selected appellation. Should this occur, maintaining a list of considerations is vital.

While one may lay claim to a name, this doesn’t necessitate that everyone will honor such a claim. In the scenario involving my sister and me, the name held great sentiment for her as well. It would have been completely justifiable for her to adopt the name, knowing my intentions. Acknowledging our lack of exclusive entitlement to any specific name can mitigate any disappointment should it be chosen by another.

Furthermore, the utilization of a name by someone else doesn’t confer upon them exclusive ownership over it. Should my sister have opted for the name I had selected, I would still rightfully claim the ability to use it as well. No decree prevents children, even those within the same family, from sharing a name.

Ultimately, in the most challenging scenarios, sometimes release and adaptation are necessary. The journey of motherhood frequently calls for flexibility. Perhaps relinquishing the idyllic baby name is an inaugural lesson in nurturing that adaptability. And who’s to say? Quite possibly a more suitable name awaits discovery for the little one. Above all, the priority lies in providing our offspring with the freedom to develop into their true selves.

Brett Nicole Hayden, Editorial Assistant

In her capacity as Editorial Assistant, Brett collaborates with The Everymom editors in manipulating the narrative process through story augmentation, image and graphics curation, and proposition and authorship of original pieces. She harbors a preference for writing on topics such as culture, interpersonal dynamics, and lifestyle. She is equally recognized as The Everymom’s in-house authority on baby names and family films.

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