Coming Clean

Why do questions from strangers about your pregnancy follow the exact same pattern 85% of the time?

The Holy Trilogy of Pregnancy-Related Questions:

1) When are you due?
2) Is it a boy or a girl?
3) Have you picked a name?

These questions are usually followed with a couple of random tidbits about their own pregnancies with a possible hand movement towards the belly- of which I DENY with a quick fake sneeze. Hands off the belly, people.

Obviously, I have no issue with telling people the due date or gender, but the name game makes me a tad uncomfortable.

Here’s the deal. We have the name picked out and we absolutely love it, but are keeping it a secret. Why, you ask? Well, it’s like our own little special unveiling when the whoorlito is born. However, this approach REALLY confuses some people… especially the people I barely know. Isn’t it always the quasi-strangers or pseudo-acquaintances that pull this type of shit? I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “You KNOW the name, but you’re not TELLING anyone?” And they say these words with such utter confusion in their eyes. Um yes, that would be the situation jacko.

Based on those uncomfortable situations, I have chosen to completely lie regarding the name game. Because lying makes life easier, yes? Whoorlito, don’t say I never taught you anything. Everytime someone asks me if we have a name yet, I shrug my shoulders and tell them “Noooo, my husband and I can’t seem to agree on anything”. Yes, that’s right- I’ve been lying to you and you and you. And everytime, you lay off with the questions. Works like a charm.

Until this past month. The lying isn’t working anymore. Is a higher power trying to teach me an important lying lesson? Maybe because I’m in the home stretch, but strangers keep pressing and pressing, “Well do you have any options?”, “And what would those be?”, “What about family names?”, “You know, (insert name) is such a beautiful name. Don’t you think?”

OH SWEET JEBUS, leave me be! I’m not telling you anything! SHIT. Do you see the pain I’m causing myself with this lying? Long, drawn-out, “problem-solving” conversations to help me name my child who really already has a name, but I’m too much of a wimp to say “Yes, we have a name and we are keeping it a secret”.

Hi, I’m Whoorl, the people-pleaser. Nice to meet you.

So now, I guess I’ll have to tell the truth to keep from lengthy and pointless conversations about what to name my child.

I’m skeered.

  • Wendy

    June 27, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    We did the same thing. No names were revealed until they were born. With my first pregnancy, I waffled around like you–we haven’t decided, we’ve narrowed it down to two choices and we’ll decide when he’s born, and eventually no we have no idea. With the second one, I just said we’re not sharing. My usual line was “We feel like something about the birth should be a surprise and since everyone already knows the gender we decided it will be his name.” That usually seemed to work. I guess it’s a trade-off. You don’t have to deal with everyone’s opinion about the name you’ve chosen, but you do have to deal with their never-ending curiousity.

  • whoorl

    June 27, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    Wendy, Wendy- I like your style. I think I will use your line, if you don’t mind. :)

  • BeachMama

    June 27, 2006 at 7:05 pm

    We did the same as Wendy. We didn’t tell anyone the name we had picked out, and when they asked why not, we just said that it was our only surprise to offer.

    I really felt that it was great to keep that a secret. It helped us bond with the baby before he arrived and it was special when we finally introduced him to everyone.

    His name is very special both in meaning and how it was given to me in a dream, so it was a doubly special day when he was born.

  • lissa

    June 27, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    or you could say it’s none of your business bitch. hmm… this might not work so well with family.

  • don't call me ma'am

    June 27, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Yeah, I’d go with lissa’s idea. Or maybe, “None of your beeswax. Piss off!”

    When I was pregnant, I was APPALLED how many people, including total strangers, would come up and touch my prego belly. Hello?!? No touchie! Yikes. People are stupid.

  • Serenity Now

    June 27, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    Oh God it’s Jebus isn’t it and that’s why you aren’t sharing the name… oh no… :)

    I think I would come up with a great name – Shamacaus or something and then when they ask you can say, “Yup. We like Shamacaus.” and then watch their reaction. Then you have to say, “We think it’s important to keep it real.” And walk away. Have them thinking that you and Dapper D are naming this kid Shamacaus.

    (Unless you really ARE naming him Shamacaus in which case that’s GREAT.)

  • Nila

    June 27, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    I lied too. I would say we just hadn’t decided. I lied because I didn’t want to know what people thought of the name we had picked, which was Tristan. It wasn’t that popular back then and I didn’t want people’s comments messing it up for us. The name suits him perfectly.

  • Angella

    June 27, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    I had one of those conversations today, with an acquaintance. And then they throw out suggestions, which you HATE, and you have to make up excuses why they’re not a good option. You can’t just say, “That name sucks”, so I tend to say, “Oh, I like that one, but Matthew doesn’t”

    Funny how your life becomes public property once you’re preggers. And when it’s your third, you get all sorts of nice comments, like “Oh, I’d NEVER have 3” from complete strangers.

    Seriously. That happened again today. And then I feel like I have to DEFEND myself. At least we get a sweet baby for all of the grief :)

  • Jessie

    June 28, 2006 at 5:41 am

    My mom did it slightly differently with me – she didn’t know my sex before I was born, but my name was going to be Jessie whether I was a boy or a girl. This also drove people nuts, especially my grandmother who thought that Jessie wasn’t a proper name for a girl, it ought to be Jessica instead. Well, it isn’t, and I guess no matter what happens people won’t be happy with anything less than full disclosure and it’s totally not about making other people happy. They’ll deal, I’m sure.

  • Bethany Coffey

    June 28, 2006 at 6:19 am

    Dude, how DARE you keep a smidgen of privacy. We are the internet and we need information dammit. You owe us!!!

    Does it go something like that? I think that you have every right to do the unvieling exactly how you wish. This is your wonderful expierience an nobody elses!!!

  • kimmer

    June 28, 2006 at 6:59 am

    Totally unacceptable for people to behave the way they do. My employees are driving me insane trying to guess my baby’s name, and most of their guesses just make me want to vomit. I can’t believe you are almost a month out.

  • Emily

    June 28, 2006 at 7:32 am

    Same deal here. Dave and I are actually having a difficult time with the name thing, and people can’t stand it. At work, I get hounded. At home, I get hounded. My mom went so far as to buy us that 10,000 baby names book and she went even farther to go through it and pick out the names she liked. Needless to say, not one of them was our style. AT. ALL. Dave almost threw up when he read them.

    So whatever we decide, it will also be a secret. Everyone has an opinion, but its harder to express a negative opinion of a name when the baby is right there in front of you all sweet and adorable and smelling good. Don’t you think?

  • Amanda Franks

    June 28, 2006 at 7:56 am

    I lurk here from another blog, and I just have to say I love your candid look at the real side of pregnancy. Being preggo for the second time it’s odd how some things never change! I think it’s fabulous you’re able to keep the name a secret, so many people end up spilling and wish they hadn’t. I hope you can find the strength to keep lying for a few more weeks!

  • Sara

    June 28, 2006 at 8:25 am

    If there’s a next time, I think we’ll keep the name to ourselves. We didn’t know the gender, and people (especially family) complained about our boy names. Everyone has an opinion and it would be nice not to have people making faces at our choices. And what is is with the belly touching? Even with my very best friend, I didn’t assume I could just fondle her.

  • rachel

    June 28, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Just about all the pregnant women I know don’t reveal the baby’s name until he/she is born, even if they DO know the gender. It seems to be a pretty normal thing these days. Wonder why all those people are so shocked? Weirdos.

  • jonniker

    June 28, 2006 at 9:38 am

    I’m with you on this one. And frankly, it’s not just that it should be a surprise, but it is *necessary* for your sanity. Because – and I find this unbelievable – so many people feel like they can tell you what they think of the name when you tell them.

    “Oh, James? That’s a shame. I knew a James in elementary school and I hated him. Bad name.”

    “BillyBob? As in, Thornton? Are you SURE?”

    “Marco? Ewwww. That’s awful. They’ll call him Marco Polo! Don’t do that!”

    (The last one actually happened to my sister somewhere in the range of 100 times each day, and we both barely resisted strangling the offenders with our bare hands. His name is Marco, and it’s perfect, and they can all suck it)

    I mean, these people actually think that you’ll listen to them – a near stranger – on what to name YOUR BABY. Shocking. People are shocking.

    Whatever you name him, that is what he’ll be, and it will be wonderful. Names are magical like that, thank God.

  • christina

    June 28, 2006 at 10:43 am

    Ha! I lied too–except I had fun! I made up names. Horrible awful names like Archibald Icabad, or Humpfry Zeeds and it was hysterical to see people’s responses! Try it.SOO FUN.

  • Natalie

    June 28, 2006 at 11:03 am

    Hmm, I don’t see why that’s such a weird thing for you and hubby to do…I was going to say exactly what Wendy said. You’ve given up enough info, can’t there be one surprise?!

    And strangers touching the belly…Whyyyy people? They wouldn’t go touching your stomach if you weren’t pregnant, so why is it ok to touch your stomach AND your unborn child?…come on people.

  • Annika

    June 28, 2006 at 11:07 am

    People seemed pretty accepting when we told them we were waiting to pick a name till we’d met the baby (which happened to be true). I think it helped that we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, of course, but there’s no reason that line couldn’t work for anyone.

  • nabbalicious

    June 28, 2006 at 11:50 am

    I’m learning so much from you. If I’m ever knocked up, I’m going to make up hideous names, and I’m going to tell everyone something different.

    “Did you hear Nabbalicious is naming her kid after her dog?”

    “Really? She told me she was naming him Reginald.”

    Oh, I can’t wait to fuck with people!

  • maseume

    June 28, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    just follow in our shoulda-coulda-woulda first ladies footsteps (Ms. Heinz-Kerry, that is) and next time someone asks a question you don’t want to answer tell ’em to ‘shove it’. Works like a charm.

  • Susie

    June 28, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    I think it’s so weird the way strangers think it’s okay to touch a preggo’s belly. I mean, just think about it: the belly is a pretty intimate part of the body to touch — could you imagine touching someone’s belly who ISN’T pregnant? When I was pregnant and a stranger touched my belly, I was always tempted to reach over and gently caress hers. I was never brave enough to do it, but it was tempting…

    As for the name thing, I actually think it’s a good idea not to tell, even if you’ve made a decision. People always feel more inclined to tell you what they think of a name before the child is born (“Really? Aren’t you scared they’ll call him [awful nickname]?”); once the child is already here, all anyone can say is “Oh, how adorable!”

  • lini

    June 28, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    Precious is his name as far as I’m concerned.

  • Leah

    June 28, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    I think you’re incredibly wise. It seems like whenever parents share names before the baby’s actually born, people tend to be really vocal about their opinions–especially negative ones. Frankly, who the hell cares if you don’t like the name because you knew a boy with that name in elementary school and he never wiped his nose?! It seems like with babies everyone thinks she’s an expert.

    That said, I’m looking forward to the unveiling of Whoorlito–the baby and his name.

  • gorillabuns

    June 28, 2006 at 4:27 pm

    i’m all for not telling anyone your name. if you have friends like i do, i “share” and then they steal it like the poor unimaginative fools they are!

    i learned my lesson after the first kiddo.

  • Serenity Now

    June 28, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    Reluctant Housewife – I seriously TAUGHT a kid last year with the name Shamacaus. No joke – I had a Shamacaus, Shanequea and Shaneta. It was hell.

  • reluctant housewife

    June 28, 2006 at 10:57 am

    We didn’t reveal the name to anybody – not even our parents – until the birth. I think it made it even more special. And yes, people totally tried to get us to spill the beans. We just said what Wendy said. Over and over and over again.

    Stick to your guns. Whoorlito will be here before you know it.

  • whoorl

    June 28, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    After reading all of these fabulous comments, we’ve decided to toss our name idea and go with Reginald Shamacaus Archibald. As Serenity Now pointed out, it’s important to keep it real, yo.

  • reluctant housewife

    June 28, 2006 at 10:59 am

    Oh my God, “Serenity Now” you’re killing me with the Shamacus. I’m stealing it for the next one.

  • Kate

    June 28, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    wow. i can’t imagine trying to touch someone’s pregnant belly, even if i did know them. there are just some spaces you don’t invade. and i’m not sure what the big deal is with someone’s being angry at someone not sharing the baby’s name. i don’t know why it’s not enough to say, “we’re not telling anyone.” if you’re not telling the grandparents then you’re sure as hell not going to tell a stranger.

  • amanda

    June 28, 2006 at 8:05 pm

    How do you ever refrain from smacking these Nosy Nellie’s hands away when they go for the belly? I hate being touched on a regular basis, I’d be super weird about it if I were pregnant. As for the name, how about saying… “Oh, we’re waiting to meet him before we name him. You know, like a puppy.” That’s weird enough to shut people up.

  • Jurgen Nation

    June 28, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    Shit, I think I’ve asked you that about twice now. I totally understand, though. I’d never tell anyone what I was naming until it is born. (Boy: Felix, but this is the only time I’ll say it.) Also, the tummy thing would irritate me.

  • Stacie

    June 29, 2006 at 7:11 am

    Well, I understand why some people wouldn’t enjoy having perfect strangers touching their belly all the time. However, I have been pregnant four times now and it honestly never bothered me. I always kind of thought it was a sweet gesture… that other people were excited for me and wanted to experience a kick or a movement for themselves. It’s understandable, right? But, yes, it’s your body and if it bothers you it’s your right to say, “I’d rather you not fondle me or my unborn child”.

  • Natalie

    June 29, 2006 at 11:15 am

    I think it’s more a matter of them just going for it. No ask, just reaching out and feeling das belly. I can totally understand wanting to experience a kick or a movement, but it’s the total stranger reaching out with out any warning.

  • chantel

    June 29, 2006 at 11:31 am

    My best friend is doing this. I caught on a while ago. Now I ask her for fun, I like to see what made up name she and her husband are using this week. It totally cracks me up but I respect her privacy because it IS private and it’s HER business. However, she lets me touch the belly because I’m her girl and she still can’t beleive there is another person inside of her so she wants a witness.

    Another co-worker of mine literally walked around the office for 9 months and said; “I’m not telling you its private.” Something very admirable about the truth.

  • carrie

    June 30, 2006 at 6:43 am

    I’m six months pregnant with baby #2, and while I don’t mind FRIENDS or some FAMILY members (the ones I like) touching my belly now, I did mind greatly when a co-worker who suspected I was pregnant (because she saw me eating a donut) touched it! I was only 8 weeks and had to lie and say I wasn’t anyway because my own in-laws didn’t know! That’s actually happened to me twice: people who had no idea if I was even pregnant or not touching me.
    As for the names, I’m with you. If my husband and I can ever agree on a name, we aren’t going to tell but maybe one or two people whose opinions I value. If you have one you like, don’t give just anyone the chance to comment on it. If you tell people what it is, they just assume you want their opinion about it, which you probably don’t.

  • rebecca

    June 30, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    I remember this well. I was free with telling people the names we liked, and definitely learned my lesson for next time! I don’t know why it is, but people feel free to judge anything and everything related to your pregnancy. I always wanted to wear a shirt that said “it’s a boy, his name is evan, he’s due in april” just so I could avoid answering THE SAME ANNOYING questions over and over again.

    I also became an expert hand-on-belly dodger. I worked with a girl who drove me crazy because every Monday without fail she would run up to me, touch my belly and say really loudly “Oh my God! You really popped out!” Even typing that sentence out right now gave me the heebs.

    Sorry for the uber-long comment, just had to chime in and say I hear you, girl. Can’t wait to see pics of and hear all about Shamacaus Whoorlito Archibald. :)

  • MsPrufrock

    June 30, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    I cannot get away from this blasted naming question lately. For awhile it was the gender question, now it’s all about the name since we know the sex. When I tell the enquirer that we have a list but don’t want to divulge it, they actually beg me to tell them. Christ on a bike people are strange when it comes to all matters pregnancy.

  • Sarcastic Journalist

    June 30, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    Do you like the name Bob? It is such a sweet name.

  • Rachel

    June 30, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    Sorry if this posts twice – I’m having network issues.

    We don’t know which flavor we’re getting, so we have to be prepared for either one. Since we have a girl’s name picked out that I absolutely ADORE, I’m sure The Speck will turn out to be a boy, and I am stumped on the boy names.

    When people ask, we tell them no, we do not know the gender, and it doesn’t matter anyway because we’re naming it Marshmallow Fluff no matter what flavor it is.

    That shuts people up pretty good.

  • Kim

    June 30, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    We knew from the very beginning we weren’t sharing the name of the baby. Before we knew if it was a boy or girl, we decided to call the baby Dave Grohl. Our family and friends were furious that we wouldn’t share the real name with them and they refused to believe we would name a little girl Dave. But they finally just accepted it and by half way, they were calling her Dave too. We found that it was much easier to tell those nosey strangers we hadn’t decided on a name yet. It sure beat the endless conversation of “Oh you can tell me! I won’t tell anyone.” Please! I don’t get it either… it’s not the most important piece of the situation but I guess it’s the piece everyone thinks they’re entitled to give their unwelcome input.

  • The Muttering Muse

    July 1, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Yea what is up with touching a complete strangers belly? If a woman wasnt pregnant that would be considered harrassment, but someone because she has her unborn child in there now it isnt? You should wear a T-Shirt that says “Touch me and die” across the bellly. Or, “Back away from the Belly.” :)