"Have you thought of any names yet?"
You'll find when you're pregnant that this is a question you'll be repeatedly asked. You'll expect it. You may even excitedly anticipate it. Or if you're completely insane you'll raise the subject yourself! Don't. Don't mention names you like, names that mean something to you, or names you've read in a book. Pretend that names don't even exist. Say Nothing. Do anything you can to avoid people asking you this question.
Many people presume that parents keep their baby names secret to avoid people copying.
That's really not the reason.
They keep them secret because they, like I, know how awful people can be. And once you've seen that look of disgust on someone's face as you sweetly tell them the name you and your partner have finally agreed on, you'll be sobbing in to your big book of baby names and wondering why children need names in the first place! Can't they just be given a number?
There's a collection of responses which will all more or less have the same effect.
The stone faced smile response, for example. This is a more discreet reaction where the person doesn't quite know what to do with their face. They're in between either throwing up with repulsion at the name you've just told them, or they're about to laugh. They manage to reign in their rudeness and muster up a stony smile. This will sometimes be paired with an "ohhh" response, or a redirection in the form of names they "do like." But either way, you're now paranoid as fuck and having second thoughts about the name you once adored.
Some people have less tact and will simply state with no qualms whatsoever
"I don't like that!
Don't call them that!
If you weren't so dumbfounded by the rudeness you may state that it's a good job it's YOUR child and not THEIRS! But of course you will be dumbfounded and the words will not come.
I'm unsure what the general thought process is with these types of gobshites but I'm going to hazard a guess that they don't comment rudely on adults names when they're introduced to them.
"Pleased to meet you, I'm Bernard"
"BERNARD!!! What a revolting name! I had an uncle Bernard. He was a total nobhead! All Bernard's are nobheads!"
It just doesn't happen.
When enquiring about people's name choices, the general rule of thumb should be, If you can't poker face through the answer then don't ask the question. It's a simple rule.
I'd forgotten the valuable 'name' lesson from my first pregnancy but have since had the pleasure of revising it this time around. I've experienced both stony faced, and gobshite responses. As I answered the question for a third time and was greeted by "I'm not sure about that. You could always call it (this) instead" it all came flooding back to me.
How could I have forgotten the worlds incessant need to push their baby name opinions on to you whilst simultaneously sending your already hormonal and irrational being in to a sense of despair!
So no. I'm not keeping my choice of names secret from now on because I'm afraid someone will copy. I'm 30 something (a lady never tells), not 5!
I'm keeping it secret because I'll sucker punch the next person that gives my future baby's name the asshole treatment!!
If you like a good rant on the subject of names you can read about another time I lost my shit