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What to Say When Your Coworker Asks What You’re Naming Your Baby

Also, are you having a boy or a girl?

Photo courtesy of Spencer Selover

Choosing a name for your baby can stir up conflicting emotions. You might be excited and incredibly decisive, or you might be overwhelmed and uncertain. Each of the scenarios, or even a mix of the two, is completely normal.

What you don’t need is for someone else (aka someone besides you or your partner) to weigh in. Many a mom-to-be has proudly announced their chosen baby name to a friend, family member, or coworker and looked on in horror as the person grimaced or, god, laughed. Not cool.

To avoid that scenario, many pregnant women opt not to tell people the name they’ve chosen or even the names they’re considering. Here are a few ways to keep your baby’s name under wraps, even when Janelle from accounting desperately wants to cross-stitch initials onto a baby blanket for you.

What are you going to name them?

I’m actually not telling anyone the baby names I’ve picked out. I have a few in mind, though!

But I want to get your baby something with their name/initials on it!

That’s so thoughtful! Why don’t you hold off until they’re born? Then no other baby shower gift can steal the spotlight. 

Do you have a name picked out yet?

I do! But I’m keeping it a secret until the big reveal in case I change my mind.

I don’t, but I have a few on my radar. I’m trying not to let anything cloud my judgement, which is hard to avoid!

Do you know what name I hate?

Ahh, don’t tell me! I’m in full baby mode. I’ll names are beautiful at this point—it’s making the name-choosing process even more complicated. 

Do you know what name I love?

Shhh. I bet it’s great, but if it’s the one I’ve chosen, I won’t be able to keep a straight face. I want to make this secret last!

Wait, you and the baby won’t have the same last name?

Nope! But I’m still their mom. That’s what’s important.

Doesn’t hyphenating names get complicated?

Not really. It’s more of a one-plus-one-equals-two situation.

If so-and-so continues to dig after asking one of the above, pull them aside to talk it over. Something like, Could you stop asking me about what I plan to name the baby? I love that you’re supportive and excited for me, but this is something I want to keep between me and my partner. Thanks for understanding.

Talking about the sex or gender of your baby

The precursor to asking your baby’s name is usually, Are you having a boy or a girl?, which can feel invasive if you’re not ready to reveal any information about your child yet or you don’t want gender to play a part in their upbringing. In either situation, just say you either a) don’t know the child’s gender b) are keeping it a secret until the child is born or c) are sticking to gender-neutral everything for the time being. And if they make a fuss about not knowing whether blue or pink is appropriate? Shut that down. Babies look good in everything. Because they’re babies. 

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By Beth Castle

Managing Editor, InHerSight

Beth Castle is on staff at InHerSight. Her work primarily centers on women's rights, and the South.

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