x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

What to Expect When You're Expecting left out the naming scene

Even if you don't know if you're having a boy or a girl, you're expected to have names picked out anyway.

Despite struggling through a book that contains a little too much detail on what can go wrong with a pregnancy (instead of confirming my suspicions that being pregnant is a miserable experience that leaves you with a body you do not recognise, devoid of any sort of "glow"), I insisted that Mr T and I head to the cinema to watch What to Expect When You're Expecting. It seemed the movie was marketed more as a comedy, and less as a manual on child bearing - safe enough. We were due for some comic relief when it came to this pregnancy, which happens to be more punctuated with indigestion than with any sort of baby movement.

Although mediocre, the movie did elicit some laughs, mostly because 75 per cent of the audience seemed to be expectant couples just like us. The material was relatable: raging hormones, waddling, the uncontrollable urge to vomit in the most inopportune of times and the intense fear that a 3.5kg tiny being was about to turn our lives upside down.

I do wish, however, that the script had touched upon what I've noticed is the most popular question asked of expectant couples: "Have you picked a name yet?" Nevermind that we don't yet know the baby's gender; we're expected to have names picked out either way.

In and of itself, the question is innocent, perhaps well meaning even, exemplifying genuine interest, innocent curiosity. The problem is in the varied reactions raised by our reply to that question.

Most popular response? "You're going to name the baby (insert name here)? But I know someone with that name, I hate him/her, he/she is so annoying!"

Other reactions? "But that name is so old fashioned. But that's a prostitute's name. But that name is geeky. But that name is for old people. But the name you picked is going to make the baby seem dumb. But doesn't that name sound Russian/Greek/Italian/strange?"

Opinions are readily branded, their owners oblivious to the fact that we might truly end up with a child bearing the name we had just shared. I will be forever in awe of almost every response we get to this most inevitable of questions. And for the rare times a tongue is held, the person's facial expression says it all: a mixture of surprise and displeasure at our limited imaginations when it comes to baby names.

The raging hormones that come hand in hand with pregnancy mean that I do not take the reactions lightly, and spend a lot of time crying to Mr T that no one seems to realise they have no right to shoot down our precious list of baby names, especially not to our faces.

Mr T thinks I'm making too much out of this, and should learn to ignore anything that bothers me and "not make a big deal out of it"; another example of an absolutely outrageous reaction, in my opinion.

I'm pregnant, I informed him, which means I get to blow things out of proportion, and his job is to back me up, not calm me down. "If a pregnant lady says something is a big deal, then it's a big deal," is our household's new mantra.