Pregnancy & Birth

Toni Street asks is it okay to steal a friend's baby name

How would you feel if your friend stole yours?

By Karyn Henger
This morning Toni Street asked a very important question - is it okay to steal a friend's baby name?
She raised the topic on today's The Hits morning radio show which she co-hosts with Sarah Gandy and Sam Wallace.
Apparently the soon-to-be mum-of three, who is expecting her third baby with husband Matt France via surrogate next month, is tossing up whether it's okay to keep one of the names on her top 10 list of boys' names. The name has already been used by a friend for their three-year-old.
Toni shared that she's worried she'll be seen as stealing the name if she uses it for her son.
Does that count as theft? Or is it merely a case of 'copying'? (Or some would argue not even copying - just liking the same name as your friend?)
If you'd asked my late mother her answer would have been 'yes, it counts as theft'. In a slightly different scenario - and one that probably seems more controversial - my aunt knowingly gave my cousin (born four months before me) the name that Mum had picked out for me. Mum had to go with something else and she was so peeved she talked about it for years afterward. I don't think she ever forgave my aunt for that.
One of the listeners from this morning's show suggested, "I don't think you can steal or bags a name, but you should consider your friend's feelings about choosing a name and talk to them beforehand."
I'm not sure that talking about it makes a difference though. If you're set on a name, and those nearest and dearest to you know that, isn't it a little insensitive to use that name?
I had a relative who had longed for years to have a baby girl and call her a particular name she'd loved since childhood. After years of fertility treatment she finally realised her dream and had her baby girl. If anyone had stolen that name she would have seen it as the ultimate betrayal.
Another show listener texted: "My first baby was stillborn and one of our close friends wanted to use his name a few years later. I said no."
I can understand that. I would have said no too.
My friend, who had always shared with me all her secrets, refused to tell me her baby name when we were both expecting. She rationalised that if I'd stolen it we would have never been able to be friends again. If I'd told others the name then they could have stolen it, which would have also ended our friendship, she said.
Some would say it's a similar scenario to hooking up with your friend's ex-partner. Even though she no longer wants him/her, you're not to go there either.
They'd suggest it's in the code of unwritten rules that all good friends instinctively know. Well, if your friend stole your baby name, what would you do?