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We asked moms why they regret their baby name — and what they did about it

Picking out a baby name is a long process that usually involves dozens of books, long lists and way too many annoying conversations with family and friends. But even with all that research and preparation, it’s still possible to end up picking a name you don’t love or — even worse — a name you totally end up regretting.

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Sometimes a name develops a negative association based on someone you meet or a particularly heinous story in the news. Other times parents realize they hate the spelling or that the name is too difficult to pronounce. There are a million reasons a mom or dad might fall out of love with their chosen baby name, and when that happens, they have to make a choice about how to solve the problem. Here are a few reasons some real parents ended up regretting their baby names and what they chose to do about it:

1. It isn’t her daughter’s name that Julie E. regrets so much as the fact that she gave her a double first name. “She’s supposed to be Lila Claire, but it keeps getting shortened to just Lila,” she explained. “I think a hyphen would have helped.”

2. Sometimes a first and middle name will just roll off the tongue, but when you look at the child’s initials, well, things get a little strange. Jade Elizabeth seemed like a perfect choice for Gina W.’s niece. The family didn’t realize until after they’d named the baby that, combined with her last name, her initials randomly spell “Jew.”

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Kansas mom Amy O. shared a similar story. She and her partner chose Jonathan Lawrence O’Brien for their little bundle, not realizing they were basically naming him JLO. In both cases, the parents chose to not make any changes, but it never hurts to pair up the initials of your favorite names to check for hidden messages.

3. Popularity is something most parents consider when choosing a baby name, but sometimes it’s impossible to know when a name is about to unexpectedly top the charts. Ginny G. named her son Jackson in 2006, back when it was still relatively unique. Now he shares an elementary class with four other boys with his name. Her other kids, Cameron and Kate, also have names that are climbing the charts. Ultimately Ginny has made a reluctant kind of peace with her choices. “I still love the names,” she told SheKnows. “It’s just annoying [that they’re so popular].”

4. Sometimes the name you choose is perfectly fine, but you can’t stop yearning for a different choice on your list. Mom Rachel P. says she actually regrets not giving her youngest son a family name after going back and forth on the idea throughout her entire pregnancy. In this case, the feelings of regret aren’t the kind she can just tuck away and move past. She feels so strongly that she made a mistake that she’s actually considering a legal name change.

5. Regret isn’t limited to parents. Elvira A. says she’s got huge issues with her own name even though her mom loves it. “I regret what my mother named me simply because people cannot pronounce it,” she told SheKnows. “I myself couldn’t properly pronounce it until I was at least 6 years old.” To solve the problem, Elvira started going by Elvis. It’s still unique but — thanks to a certain hip-shaking rock god — doesn’t present any of the same spelling or pronunciation issues for most people.

6. For Megan C., name regret comes as the result of an unforeseen circumstance in her child’s life. She gave her son a traditional first name and intended to call him by his middle name, but things got complicated after he was diagnosed with autism. “It’s difficult to explain to him that his first name is not really what we call him,” she revealed. Megan and her partner are now considering calling their son by his first name to make things easier.

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7. Cheryl R. doesn’t have any personal naming regrets, but she does have one hilarious cautionary tale for other parents. Her friend Peter Enis discovered in school that he had a most unusual problem. It wasn’t spelling or pronunciation. Rather, it was the way his name showed up in most school or office filing systems. It’s common to identify someone by their first initial and full last name. In Peter Enis’ case, that means he’s often identified on important paperwork as P. Enis. No changes have been made, but it’s a good reminder to consider names from every possible angle to eliminate any, um, unsavory associations.

8. Janet V. doesn’t have any name regrets of her own, but she knows for a fact that her parents harbor reservations about the name they gave her. When she was born, her parents felt obligated to name her after her grandmother. That obligation resulted in the traditional family moniker Bastiaantje, which her parents were never crazy about. She ended up going by Janet instead.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

celebrity baby names
Image: photo by Farley Baricuatro ( / Getty Images

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