Asking for feedback on baby name choices isn't a modern thing, but gone are the times when parents only share their options with close friends and relatives. Nowadays, there's a growing trend of seeking the opinions of complete strangers.
Put like that, it seems crazy, right? But when we spend so much of our lives online, it's only natural that we turn to parenting forums for advice and support from the digital world. It's easy, it's quick, and it's the best way to get honest feedback.
That's great when we need advice on breastfeeding or constipation at 3 a.m., but do we really need to be crowdsourcing baby names via strangers?
One mom-to-be certainly got more than she bargained for when she asked Mumsnet users what they thought of her favorite baby name: Felicula. The thread has now been deleted, but a steady stream of comments left her in no doubt. Her baby name sucked and plenty of people were will to tell her so.
So, it's not the most popular baby name of all time. In fact, it's really not popular at all. We couldn't find it listed on any of the main baby name websites. But Felicula is a real name. She was an early virgin martyr who was arrested after her foster-brother Petronilla refused to marry a Roman official. After Petronilla's death, Felicula was arrested, starved and, um, died.
The background to the name was enough to put most critics off, while others said it sounded like surgical apparatus, a geometry term, an obsolete medical implement or "something you would buy at a pharmacy for a vaginal rash." One mocker said it brought to mind a deadly disease, while another misread it and thought it said fellatio.
Plenty of reasons to strike Felicula off the list, then. But really, if this mom loves the name, isn't that enough reason for her to go for it? Why does it matter what a bunch of strangers — who will never meet the mom or little Felicula in real life — think? Is crowdsourcing baby names simply a way to get reassurance that your name choice isn't hideous?
Asking anyone for baby name advice is pointless if you think about it. While strangers on internet forums are likely to be honest to the point of being downright rude, friends and family may go too far the other way. Generally, they'll sit on the fence until the baby is born and the name is confirmed, at which point they'll gush about how much they love it.
If you love a particular name (and the other parent, if around, is on board), your decision should be a simple one to make without needing to seek the advice or approval of others. But if you're planning to name your child something that sounds like a vaginal yeast infection treatment, perhaps you'd better brace yourself for a fair amount of ridicule.
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