When I fell pregnant for the first time, one of the most exciting things was getting to choose my baby’s name.
Or so I thought.
My husband at the time had other ideas. I say ‘at the time’ because I’m divorced now and there’s a reason for that. My then husband was extremely controlling in ways that were pretty unfair and that included choosing names for our children. All three of them.
I love names that are a little different but not too different; if you know what I mean. I’d had my heart set on Laila for our little girl and first born. It was pretty and perfect, just like she was going to be. But my partner had other ideas. He’d decided from a very early age he was going to have his children’s names in honour of every fucking person in his family. Who does that? Weird.
This didn’t come to light of course until I was already pregnant and let him know what I wanted to call our daughter. Much to his disgust, the name I’d picked out was nothing even remotely close to any of the names he liked. This seems often to be the case. Many parents struggle to find a name they both agree on. But in most instances, you’ll find, considering the mother does the majority of leg work, dads will eventually agree on whatever the mother chooses. If only.
My ex-husband had decided that Matilda would be fitting and that then honoured his great grandmother. I wasn’t really keen on the name at first, but came to like it after we’d started calling my little bean-shaped foetus, Tilly. It suits her now of course, in fact; all of my children’s names suit them. But at the time, it was really unfair and one-sided. You’d think given my ex chose the first name, I’d at least get the opportunity to choose the middle name. Well…that didn’t happen either.
I’m not sure at what point I gave in, but as it happens, all of my children are named both first and middle names after someone in my ex-husband’s family. Exactly, how he wanted it whether I liked it or not.
Now, I’m not one to shy away from confrontation. We fought quite a bit, but I think considering the magnitude of some of our arguments, the names of my children really felt like an argument I could afford to avoid.
Do I regret it? In some ways, yes, but I can honestly say I don’t hate the names of my children.
Of course, I wished I’d had more input and would have liked something a little different and a lot less traditional. But now, it is what it is. I can’t go back and change it and couldn’t really imagine them being called something different. The entire situation really was merely a reflection of my husband’s overall attitude toward how significant or rather insignificant I was/am to my children’s lives. He didn’t value me and therefore didn’t value my input.
When my daughter was born and he named her, I really didn’t give a shit. I was just happy to have a baby, considering we’d endured IVF to conceive. Her name was irrelevant and I concentrated on how happy and healthy she was. She was literally the epitome of perfection, as are all brand new babies in their mothers’ eyes. She may have had a slightly misshaped head and looked like she’d been punched in the face a few times (she was stuck for bloody hours), but she was perfect all the same.
The same thing happened when I had my second child and first born son.
I actually quite liked the name my ex-husband had picked out, although together with his middle name, it sounded like a drink. But again, I ignored it and let him have his way with little to no conflict. It wasn’t until my third child and second son was born that I decided to put up a bit of a fight.
It went nowhere, but I still vocalised my dissatisfaction loudly. I even tried crying about it, but my ex-husband gave no fucks. By then, the marriage was extremely rocky and again, this fight wasn’t the one I needed to have. So I let it go. My last and only chance of being able to name one of my children and I let it slide.
I love my children and have learned to love their names. They aren’t different or what I would have picked given the opportunity, but they’re still uniquely theirs.
I’ve shortened them or lengthened them to pet names I adore and everything about their names now has become part of who they are. It just seemed that after the IVF, difficult pregnancies and complicated births, I just couldn’t be fucked arguing about a name. I realise this may be different to many other women out there, but for me, it was almost pointless.
Maybe things would have been different if I thought the names my ex-husband chose were horrible or ridiculous. Maybe things would have been different if we’d been happily married. Maybe things would have been different if he wasn’t a controlling prick. But regardless, there’s no going back.
And even though he picked their names and they look like mini me’s of their dad, he can’t ignore their sass and attitude. Unfortunately for him, every time they open their mouths, their mother falls out and I’m sure that annoys him way more than him choosing their names annoys me.