When my husband and I started discussing baby names (I believe at that time were were only dating), I was clear from the get go - the names were going to be secret. Any name that he seriously wanted to consider for a future child had to be kept secret, from everyone.
I am not entirely sure why. I mean, there are lots of people that will not discuss baby names, but I was particularly militant. It just seemed... right. I wanted it to be a surprise. I did not want our names stolen. I did not want anyone they would honor to know in advance. I did not want anyone elses opinions on whether they were good or bad names. I think I felt that by sharing a name I was somehow spoiling it.
Now my position has changed a little bit. I just love discussing names so much, not mentioning my favorites has become impractical. Plus, after deciding to do everything with my first pregnancy a certain way, all of which are decisions I liked (keeping the name secret, not finding out the sex, etc), I realized that there was no reason to do it the same way the next time. If I get pregnant again, I can have an entirely different experience. So, I lifted the ban on discussing names.
And now, for the full disclosure name. What exactly names got discussed when we were naming our first child?
Well, his name (Benjamin Robert) was picked out for years before he was born. It was picked out while we were still just dating, in that very first conversation about baby names mentioned above. Therefore, we did not need to discuss boy's names that much when I got pregnant. We still did a little bit, in case one of our cousin's who was due shortly before us used it (we had two). Other boys names that were discussed are Barrett, Bode/Bodhi, and Nolan. Possible alternative middle name of Nathan or Nathanial. Actually their are lots of boys names we both like, its just a matter of finding one we both love and are OK with the popularity and honor value of!
Girls names are what really got the heavy discussion. We do not agree on many. In fact, as far as I can tell, DH just flat out does not like many! We discussed it ad nauseum. Natalie was strongly in the running for awhile, but ultimately felt too popular. For awhile early on it seemed like it would be Keira/Kiera but ultimately we could neither agree on the spelling or pronunciation (I liked Key-air-a, and he liked Kir - a). He vetoed some of my favorites- Virginia (Ginny for short) and Verity. It kept coming back to the same thing. My favorite name was Felicity. He was OK with it, but did not love it. His favorite name was Cosette. I was OK with it, but did not love it. We tried to throw those two out and just start going through the baby name book. Aurelia. Ariella... we had a growing list of names we liked but did not jump out as the one.
In the end, we struck a bargain. We agreed that if the baby was a girl, we would use one of our favorites (Felicity or Cosette), and then if there was ever a second girl, it would be the other. Of course the only question was which name to use first? (After all, the bargain was as much a gamble as anything). Finally, I decided to "give in". Thinking about the two names, I thought in the event that she ended up being an only child, Cosette was somehow fitting. Cosette is from the novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. He pretty much invented it for the novel as a pet/nick name for his main female character. Some people think its a spin off of Nicole, or a different take on Colette, but really no one is sure. The character Cosette is an orphan, single child, who ends up with a life full of love and happiness after a rocky start. So, I agreed that it would be Cosette, but that the middle name needed to reference a strong female role model. We debated it for weeks and eventually landed on Jane for Jane Austen. Jane also happens to be the anagram of a family name, which we liked. So, had he been a she, she would have been Cosette Jane.
But he was a he! And now the bargain is called off. We are back to square one with girls names, and I have no idea what will happen if we ever have a daughter!
I may in the future write a more general entry on the decision of whether to keep names secret or disclose them, but don't you think I will be better able to do that once I have experienced both worlds?