It's an exciting time – you're having a baby, and one of the most important things to think about is what name you're going to give your child. There are countless sources to check through, searching for inspiration, and it can get incredibly confusing! Not only that, but everyone you know looks keen to give you their opinion of names they like, and they're always quick to tell you about all the awful people they've known who had the same names you're considering.
So where to start? Well, there's one big baby name decision that needs to be made, and by making it first, you cut down a lot of the searching. That decision is – do you want to give your child a unique name that no one else will have, or do you use a name that's in common usage. There are pros and cons to both choices, so let's take a look at those.
Firstly, unique names. By this I do not necessarily mean a name that's just not used much – I mean a name you create yourself, just for your baby. Having a unique name will certainly make your baby unique too – she's not going to get mixed up with three other kids in her grade with the same name. It can be great to have a story behind a name, too, so that when people say, "gee, that's an unusual name" you can explain how it came about. Many children with unique names grow up to be very proud of having a unique name, and keen to repeat the story too.
But there's a downside to having a unique baby name too – the fact that it's different. Being different is often a trigger for other kids to make fun, and so your child's name may be ridiculed or altered, and made a target of jokes. It can also get very tiresome to constantly have to spell your name for people because nobody else will be sure exactly how to spell it. Your child may well end up being heartily sick of having a unique name, and could even go as far as to invent a nickname or alternate name for every day use.
Choosing a common name does not in any way make your child common. Every child is unique, no matter what name they have. Names come and go in popularity, and it quite often happens that more than one child in a class has the same first name. It's illegally that they'll get teased for that. It's possible that your child might resent having the same name as others, but in that situation it often happens that their peers find a way of identifying each child as different, through some type of nickname.
There are a couple of solutions to the baby name dilemma, for example you may really want to give your child a unique name, but perhaps do not want her to suffer at the hands of merciless people. In that situation, why not give your baby a unique middle name? Then you can match it with a more common first name. You get the best of both worlds!
With my own children, I gave both of them first names that were not common or popular, but at the same time, they're well known enough that people do not scratch their heads and wonder where the heck that name came from. I've found that's worked very well.
One final word of warning – some people try and resolve this dilemma by giving their child a common name but spelling it in a unique way. I have two friends in that situation, and my advice is – do not do it! They are both completely fed up with having to spell their name over and over again, and even now they curse their parents for having spelled their names in such a different way. So if you're going to use a common name, for the sake of your child, spell it in the same way everyone else does!