I've been thinking it's good to know the sex of your child before it's born. Christine and I are planning to name our child as soon as we know it's sex. I think this approach is more consistent with a Christian pro-life stance. It seems that Christians are often quick to claim that a tiny baby is a life but slow to treat it as such in giving it the dignity of a name and identity.



Ruth said... 7/09/2008 6:54 pm  

Some of us like the surprise element at birth, without treating or thinking that we are depriving our babies of dignity or identity in-utero.

Identity is derived from a lot more than just a man given name, afterall.

RodeoClown said... 7/09/2008 7:09 pm  

We had names for both sexes picked out, so that as soon as the little one was born we would be able to tell them their name.

I like the surprise element - and I second Ruth's statement that it is not depriving a child of dignity to leave the naming till after they are born.

Also, from a pragmatic perspective, sometimes the doctors get it wrong - I know of several couples who were assured of one sex, then finding out seconds after birth that the doctor had misinformed them (and all the pink/blue stuff was now inappropriate. And Walter is not a good name for a girl :D )

The Borg said... 7/09/2008 7:23 pm  

Alex and Shel did what you guys are planning to do, Mike. And it certainly did make people think of Levi as the pre-birth person that he was. I think it's a good idea. :)

Justin said... 7/09/2008 11:19 pm  

How about this then?

We knew the sex of all three of our kids at 20 Weeks. But we did not name them until 1-2 days after the babies where born.

With our latest boy, my wife was sharing a room with another Manhattan couple. And they helped us to name the little one.

For my wife, she has to see the baby to feel comfortable about the name. Its that, and plain downright indecision!


I hope you guys are doing well. I had a random email from a young couple who are getting married *despite* the Pacific Ocean. :)

It made me think of you and Christine, so I popped over to this site.

Jonny said... 7/09/2008 11:27 pm  

I was named Ruth Yolanda Rochester. But more than just a name, a baby needs a password. How ironic is it then, that my password is a girls name, yet I am a boy?

ckjolly said... 7/10/2008 12:41 pm  

I've been surprised by how many Christians have been shocked that we would tell people that we're pregnant ... and it isn't even 3 months yet! I've been asked if we did so in order to make a pro-life statement: the life inside is a human being.

Um ... no ... I never thought of it that way.

It just seemed natural to share the news. Especially with my Christian family so they can share the joy with us. And if something were to go wrong, we would not bear the burden of sorrow on our own.

When did Christians embrace the isolatiionism of our culture? Keep it to yourself. Don't make other people carry your burden.

What about Christian community?!

Nixter said... 7/10/2008 1:16 pm  
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Ruth said... 7/10/2008 1:22 pm  

Wow Christine, sorry people have been shocked about that. I think whether Christians choose to tell before or after the 3mth mark is just a simple matter of Christian freedom.

I don't think it's embracing societal isolationsism necessarily. For some of my pregnancies, I just wanted AB and I to know for a while as our special secret together, it wasn't an isolation in case of miscarriage thing - it was a special marriage bonding secret and delight we shared. Absolutely nothing wrong with that...other pregnancies we just told people straight away.

Mostly people I know who've had miscarriages tell their Christian family about the sad news, regardless of whether is was a secret pregnancy or not.

I'm glad you guys have decided to share your news so early, that's great. Easy to know a prayer poitn then isn't it. But I do think it's completely your choice without judgement, as it would also have been had you kept it secret - without judgement.

Nixter said... 7/10/2008 1:28 pm  

We haven't named our unborn baby yet pure and simply for the fact we haven't come up with a name we are certain of or like! We will be finding out the sex at our next appointment but we will name him/her when we feel ready!

I certainly don't think therefore that means I am not pro-life or that this child doesn't have dignity or an identity.

Our babies identity is that they are a gift from God, made by him and for him and he has chosen myself and my hubby to be this little ones parents. I reckon thats a good start for identity.

In regards to Christine's comment, I think it all comes down to personal choice. You were obviously comfortable sharing your news early on but not everyone is - and there might be several reason why people don't and I think that is perfectly ok.

We chose to tell family and close friends early on but waited to announce it until a bit later. I think when you have experienced a loss of a baby (which we did and shared that sorrow with family and brothers/sisters) you maybe chose be more cautious maybe there is a little bit of self-preservation too, but I think it is ok to wait and see.

I don't think it is a right or wrong decision it just comes down to personal choice. Whether you name your baby before birth or wait until afterwards or whether you tell people you are pregnant at 3 weeks or 30 weeks (that might be a little hard to keep under wraps) then that's OK. It's right to do it however you personally choose to do it.

It doesn't make that life any more or less precious or important or loved!

RodeoClown said... 7/10/2008 1:39 pm  

We kept our youngest a secret for several months for the same reason as Ruth outlined - it's something you and your spouse can smile about together, knowing that ONLY you know why.

As for not naming for a while - we didn't settle on our kids' names until the week or two before each of them was born (except we had a girl's name for 4 years).

mike said... 7/10/2008 1:51 pm  

Right or wrong, wise or unwise, I was careful to avoid these categories. As I said in my post I think it's more consistent.

Nixter said... 7/10/2008 1:55 pm  

But you did say:

"It seems that Christians are often quick to claim that a tiny baby is a life but slow to treat it as such in giving it the dignity of a name and identity."

RodeoClown said... 7/10/2008 2:02 pm  

I'm not calling it right or wrong, wise or unwise either - just giving what we did.

I personally hated the idea of knowing the sex of our children early. But it's completely a personal freedom thing.

I don't think there is any less consistency in not naming the child before they are born - you haven't met them face to face before then, and again, sometimes the sonographers get the sex wrong, which can make for a scramble for a gender-appropriate name. I think what is inconsistent is calling an unborn baby a 'foetus' or 'embryo'. Although these terms can be used to elaborate on their phase of development, using them as the primary means of identifying what is growing inside of your wife does (I think) de-personalise your child.

In any case, I'm praying for your family of three :)

On a side note: are you guys going to announce the name of your kid before they are born?

mike said... 7/10/2008 2:02 pm  
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mike said... 7/10/2008 2:05 pm  

So how would refer to a 'foetus' or 'embryo' if not by name?

RodeoClown said... 7/10/2008 2:17 pm  

(Please note I wasn't implying you guys were doing that).

As I said - "our baby", "our child" etc.

Most people I know have a pet-name for their kid before they are born anyway, using that is obviously ok.
Pretty much any label that conveys worth on the child, not a clinical description of the 'thing' inside of you(r wife).

Nixter said... 7/10/2008 2:51 pm  

"I think you are missing the point. Whether you call your baby Squidgy, Bump, Mavis, John, Maria, Taco. For me their identity is not wrapped up in their name whatever it may be but in the fact they are made in God's image - their name isn't what gives them dignity or an identity.

If I am honest I personally found your post judgmental.

If you don't do it this way 'name your baby' - your baby hasn't got dignity or an identity and I completely disagree.

It's not even about agreeing or disagreeing everyone is entitled to their opinions and decisions, it's about the wording of your post which I read as judgmental!"

ckjolly said... 7/10/2008 3:36 pm  


This is merely a thought or an opinion Mike and I had just while talking recently. I'm sorry you were offended. I read the post as a statement of opinion.

Perhaps it ought to be worded, "In my opinion, giving a child a name prior birth does more to show the world ..."

Mike never meant for this to be a judgment on anyone who chooses to do otherwise.

ckjolly said... 7/10/2008 3:37 pm  

Rodeo - yeh, I reckon we'll announce the name.

Ruth said... 7/10/2008 4:03 pm  

Christine, I too find this post a little judgemental, opinion yes, but a little condemning of those whom disagree...

this bit:

It seems that Christians are often quick to claim that a tiny baby is a life but slow to treat it as such in giving it the dignity of a name and identity.

It seems judgemental, not because I differ in opinion, but because the implication is that in not naming a 'yet to be born baby', I am neither giving dignity nor an identity, and am thus somehow treating him/her as less than a baby. So, if I don't do it your way, I am less consistent as a Christian?? !!

I could very easily find out the sex of a baby, give him/her a name, and still not treat s/he as the God given gift, being formed by Him and in His image, couldn't I??

mike said... 7/10/2008 4:35 pm  

I'm sorry Nix and Ruth that you have taken offense. It wasn't my intention.

I'm not suggesting you guys treat your unborn children as subhuman simply because you don't name them before they are born.

My point is that part of giving a human being value dignity and respect (aside from it "being made in the image of God") is giving "it" a name.

In the eyes of the world and in in my opinion this would be a more consistent view. Of course you should naturally feel free to disagree and hold your own opinion.

Anonymous said... 7/10/2008 7:20 pm  

Ive now typed this post a couple of times and trying to get my wording correct, as I had strong initial reaction to your post.

I do agree that Christians generally recognise life before people who dont believe in Christ.

But to go on to say, (that in your opinion) Christians are slow to treat a baby with dignity of a name and identity, i find hard that to stomach.

I think you should consider those people who decide not to know the sex of their child, would find it hard not to perceive your comment as anything but judgmental.

James L

mike said... 7/10/2008 7:40 pm  

I'm sorry that is how you understood it. My above comment I feel clarified what I said.

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