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So What If Someone 'Steals' Your Baby Name?

Photograph by Getty Images/Tetra images RF

Infertility steals so much from you. It robs you of your time, your patience, your happiness. It steals your relationships, your finances and hope. You want to know what else sometimes gets taken away from you?

Your baby name.

I went through six years of infertility. Throughout all those years my husband and I would come up with a baby name only for it to be stolen by fertiles. I was left with Apple and Gidgit.

We had a few names left, mainly for a girl. One was a name from a TV show we watched, a beautiful FBI agent with ass-kicking abilities. The other came more recently from a book series we had become obsessed with. Yes, we had our baby names, we just didn't have the baby.

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Three years ago, I attended my last baby shower up until very recently. My heart just couldn't handle the pain of those gatherings, celebrating yet another woman who had gotten what I just couldn't. The house was decorated in pink balloons and everyone was sitting there in a circle with the mother-to-be, surrounded by gifts.

And I was in the bathroom for the third time that afternoon glaring at my tear-streaked face in the mirror and telling myself to pull my shit together before any well-meaning relative knocked to see if I was dying.

I could hear my family out in the living room cooing over the blankets and dresses and bows and thought if I could just make it until the presents were opened, I may be able to get the hell out of there without anyone's questions or looks of pity. Drying my eyes and practicing a fake smile to myself, I took a deep breath, opened the door and walked back into the party.

"You missed all the presents," my sister immediately said upon my entrance. And everyone looked up at me.

"You missed the name announcement," said a cousin.

With everyone's eyes still on me, I asked my cousin, the mother-to-be what it was.

It was our name. Not the ass-kicking one, but the book series obsession one.

"What a beautiful name," I managed to tell her before muttering under my breath that I forgot my chapstick in the bathroom and promptly turned tail to go back and cry again.

Of course how can you steal a baby name that you don't really have any sort of ownership over?

For the next few years, I battled anger and sadness over the things I had no control over. Infertility. Failed treatments. A name we loved but now felt we couldn't use due to the uniqueness and the relative closeness to our family members, where it would be weird to have two girls with the same name. And that mama, she's one of the sweetest people I know. The name wasn't taken out of spite.

Still, it stung.

When my husband and I finally got pregnant and found out we were having a girl, we struggled to decide what to name her. We liked our original two names so much. Truly, we wanted to give her the same name as my cousin's daughter, but wondered what people would say.

In the end, we gave it up. We went with our second name, the one we liked for a long time and meant just as much to us. And when my baby was placed on my chest, and we met each other for the first time, I whispered her name to her, just once, and knew this is who she was.

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Baby name-stealing seems to be a real thing among pregnant couples. Of course how can you steal a baby name that you don't really have any sort of ownership over?

Here's the thing—it's your baby.

If a name means that much to you, however unique it is, and someone close to you uses it for their child first, why in the world couldn't you use that name too? You have every freaking right to name your child what you want. Kids don't care if they share names. I mean, other cultures do it all the time, with cousins having the same name.

If you're close with the other person, especially if they are family or friends you will see a lot when the babies come, tell them how you feel. Have that conversation before your baby comes so there is less of a chance of them flipping out thinking you "stole" the name. And really, you never know. You could hold on to that name until your baby is born and realize it wasn't meant to be their name at all.

What do you think? Is it stealing if someone uses your baby name?

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