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Mom Wants To Change Her 4-Year-Old Daughter's Name Because It's Too Popular Now

Emily Reily 29 Apr 2019

Coming up with a name for your baby can be stressful, but once it's done, that's it. There's usually no going back (until the person is 18 and can change their name on their own.)

The Name Game

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While some people think a name is a name is a name, that isn't entirely true. There's a whole body of research around the effects a person's name can have on them.

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My Name Does What?!

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Researchers have been focusing on how our names effect our lives since the late 1940's, and have learned a lot since then.

According to The New Yorker, connections have been drawn from names to what profession we choose, who we marry, the grades we get, and even things like what charities we donate to.

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Biases

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Unfortunately, one of the strongest arguments for name-influence comes from studies done by Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, who looked at the impact of "white-sounding" names as compared to "black-sounding" names when applying for jobs.

They found that "white-sounding" names received 50% more callbacks than "black-sounding" names, and that using a "white-sounding" name gave candidates the equivalent to eight more years of work experience as compared to "black-sounding" names. Wowza.

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The Name At Hand

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The story at hand deals with much less intense issues surrounding a young girl's name, but the mother's opinion stems from her own negative experience with her name as a child.

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No One Else Can Have This Name

Mom.me wrote last year about one mother with a 4-year-old girl wants to change her name, because it's now becoming too popular.

The British mom, who goes by the name Chesternut under the social media site Mumsnet, says her daughter's name is Esmee, and she's no longer happy with that, since there are already two other girls who share her name.

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Shudder the Thought

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Chesternut wrote on Mumsnet: "I gave her a name which, I thought, was very original as I hadn't heard another girl called it in about 20 years. Only to find when she started nursery another girl called the same but (spelled) differently."

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Think Of All the Jennifers

Chesternut has come to this quandary partially because when she was growing up, there were five other people in her class that had her name, and she says she doesn't want her daughter to go through what she went through.

"I can remember my whole junior/secondary school time being colored by the fact that so many of us had the same name. I changed it as soon as I could because of that reason. Every time I hear my real name, I shudder," Chesternut says.

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What's In a Name?

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One reason the name has gained in popularity is because it's also the name of Esme Cullen, the matriarch in Twilight.

But 1.: Esme from Twilight is not real and 2.: isn't it nice to be named after someone in a novel?

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Esme V Esmee

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Now the mom wants to change her daughter's name before she gets any further in school. After all, Michael J. Fox and Katy Sagal have also named their kids Esme (no extra "e"), as mom.me notes, and apparently that's too many for this mom.

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From Bad To Worse

Chesternut also wrote that on top of her seemingly popular name, her daughter will also suffer through mispronunciation.

"In French Esmée is pronounced Ez-May not Ez-Mee. Will she forever have her name mis-pronounced too? This is just going from bad to worse."

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Avoiding Frustration

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The mother continued to explain that she doesn't care for originality, rather she's looking out for her child's well-being.

"I don't need my DD's name to be original but I know I hated with a passion having the same name as 4 others. I know they felt the same way."

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Other Options

In response to queries about what this mother would like to rename her child, she wrote:

"Both Elodie and Ethel (pronounced Etel) were both on my list as they are family names. I haven't met a child named either yet. E seems to have been the rigueur de jour."

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'It's Her Name Now'

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Thus far, most other comments in her original post's thread have urged her to keep her daughter's name the same. The general sentiment was stated clearly by user LadyLoveYourWhat:

"I don't think it's up to you, surely it's up to your daughter, it's her name now, not yours! She might not care that she shares her name in the same way that you did."

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Identity Complex

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Mom.me adds that Esme without the extra "e" (which is not her daughter's spelling) was ranked at number 585 for people born in 2017 — so the name really isn't that popular, and the spelling makes it even less so.

But unless she wants to give her child an identity complex, she's probably stuck with this name from now on.

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