Advice needed: Baby name decisions

Normally, Mr. Nishkanu and I are pretty good at compromising.  Being a pig-headed person, this was a very difficult skill for me to pick up, but as reported previously on this blog, it was a required skill for our marriage to survive our long path through the world of infertility.  There is one area, though, where we are having a hard time compromising: baby names.

I didn’t really see this one coming.  You see, we have had a list of baby names worked out for years already.  Lists of names we both thought were promising, based on a mutually-agreed-upon procedure for choosing names.  Boy’s names, a bit  thin, but girl’s names a-plenty, and from my perspective, beautiful ones that we could pick almost anything from and be happy.

So when we decided to actually make some kind of dang decisions about baby names a few weeks ago I had a bit of a heart attack when Mr. Nishkanu announced that he didn’t like any of the names on the list after all.  In fact, he hated them, and thought the agreed-upon procedure that had generated them should be abandoned.  One boy name survived the name holocaust, none of the girl’s names did.  Since I had grown very attached to 3 of the girl names on the list this was not good news.

10 minutes of brainstorming later, we had a list of 3 acceptable boy’s names.  Girl’s names?  A nightmare.  Many, many names and suggestions later, Mr. Nishkanu had rejected pretty much everything I came up with (he even, in fact, went the dangerous route for a moment of making fun of the kind of names I like…  wisely, after some growling on my part, he backed off from the edge of that particular cliff).  I wasn’t crazy about his suggestions, either.  Finally, though, we have compromised on a girl name.  It is his top choice, it is not my top choice, but it meets all the major criteria I think are important in a name and so I can live with it.  But I am a bit bumming that all the names that I thought are great seemed to be rejected out of hand.

On to the boys’ names.  We had to eliminate one name from our list of 3 because we discovered it is a super ultra fashionable name in Mr. Nishkanu’s home country right now (something that shocked us because honestly we thought our problem would be that no one in that country had ever heard of the name).  Mr. Nishkanu has a “fashion name” for his era and he hates that about his name – not just the sharing your name with 7 other kids in your class but also the ability of the general public to estimate your birth year within 2 years from the moment they are introduced to you.  So we both agree that that name should be shelved.

The remaining two names?  We both think both names are acceptable but I strongly prefer one and he strongly prefers the other.    We’ve talked round and round in circles and I understand why he prefers his and he understands why I prefer mine.  But, neither of us feels comfortable budging.   We already did all possible background research into frequency of names in Mr. Nishkanu’s country and mine, meaning of the names, etc.  None of this is going to make a difference any more to our decision, we are just stuck.  When I ask Mr. Nishkanu how we are supposed to decide, he says “I don’t know!!!”

At the moment our default strategy is to wait until after the baby is born and then flip a coin.  But neither of us is particularly happy with that strategy.  So, my dear readers, here is where I need your advice.

When you and your sweetie cannot agree about something that is important to you, how do you go about deciding what to do?  How would you resolve a name dilemma?




  1. MMC said

    You, Nishkanu, should get to make the final call. Here’s why:

    You’ve already made the most notable compromises thus far. You pitched your entire list of preferred names because Mr. Nishkanu suddenly decided he hated them all.

    And that’s fair enough — obviously it’s important he not hate the name! — but now that you’ve come up with two *new* names which are each fairly acceptable to you both, I think it’s time for Mr. Nishkanu to be the one to compromise and let mom make the final call.

    It’s only fair to share the compromising! 🙂

  2. Melanie said

    This is my take – the one who has the battle royale and endures the whole “watermelon through a garden hose” thing not to mention the 9 months of hard work before the hard labour begins, and (lets face it) takes a whole lot for the team during infertility should get the final say. That doesn’t mean ignoring him all together – just that I believe you should get extra votes to swing the outcome. May not be fair – but who says life is fair? I’m certain I won’t be when he’s getting a diet coke from the vending machine and I’m having contractions 2 min apart.

  3. Ana said

    Hmmm. No advice, but best of luck. I am thinking I might be in the same situation soon—we haven’t started the name discussion yet, but I’ve already picked a couple of favorites—what if he hates them???? What if I hate all his choices.?? Yikes.
    I think if he didn’t totally object to my name, he’d yield to my pick, since I’ve given this much more thought than him. But if he really disliked it for some reason…we may be back to square one.

    Oddly enough we agreed quickly on a girl name early in the pregnancy, but didn’t have any boy choices [We are having a boy].

  4. small heresies said

    If you think you are likely to have another child, I would suggest letting him have his way *this time* and then insist on having it yours the next time around.

    This is what we did with Child #2; my husband had a very strong attachment to a particular name that I wasn’t crazy about. (it’s a Scandinavian girls’ name that has gotten more popular than I’d have liked, but he, unbeknownst to me, had been cherishing that name for YEARS.)

    So I gracefully ceded the floor to him, and let one of my top picks become her middle name instead.

    Then I named our third child with minimal input from him. (but I did let him pick the middle name.)

    Child 1 and 4 were both relatively easy for us to name, oddly; it was 2 and 3 that we could not seem to come to a real comfortable agreement on.

    And, even more oddly, we both agree now that our second and third children’s names suit each of them perfectly.

    It will work out, I promise. lol.

  5. Lisa DG said

    I’ve thought a lot about this because I am worried we’ll be in the same predicament. Since I have endured most (ok all) of the pregnancy stuff, physically and emotionally (and it is my primary infertility that caused the last 5 years of pain and suffering), I think my choice should win out. I will be flexible and compromising on the top 3, but I want final say. Call me selfish.

    In the end, a live, healthy baby is what is most important…a rose by any other name smells as sweet, I am sure.

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