Friday Fluff: Fetus Naming

So, this starts in a non-fluffy place. Lord Saletan wrote this asinine-even-for-him essay claiming that pregnant women who refer to the sweet little parasites in their wombs as “fetuses” instead of “babies” run the risk of dehumanizing them so much that they’ll end up giving birth and sticking the kid in a freezer. NO SERIOUSLY HE DID. (Note: Yes, that was a tasteless way of referring to a true, tragic story. Fair warning, the post only gets worse in that regard later on. It’s a laugh-so-you-don’t-cry thing, but surely not something everyone will want to read.) 

Fortunately, my fellow broad Tracy Clark-Flory took it down so we didn’t have to:

It seems to me that Saletan is irresponsibly conflating pregnancy denial with philosophical beliefs about abortion and fetuses’ personhood. A woman who is considering an abortion can maintain a minor level of disconnection from the fetus, refuse to call it a baby and yet still be able to acknowledge that there is life there. She can do all of this even after having an ultrasound, as Saletan instructs women to do. It’s more complicated than willing herself to see only what she wants to see: People have very different scientific, philosophical, political and religious ideas about when a fetus becomes a baby or a person. Couples often have very different independent experiences of a pregnancy’s “realness,” and early on in a pregnancy, so much of the significance of the word baby is parental projection. But Saletan assumes that his definition of personhood is The Truth with which women must reckon.

Really, that last line is all that ever needs to be said about William Saletan.

Anyway, this led to a g-chat between Fillyjonk and me, and since y’all seemed to enjoy that before, I thought I’d share.


FJ:  man, who knew salon and jezebel would become the go-to sites for feminist writing?
 me:  ha, yeah, i’m really happy with how broadsheet’s going these days
FJ:  broadsheet is great
no real love for salon overall
 me:  I do love Salon… but like a family member with a million annoying quirks you put up with ’cause they’re family
And that’s pretty much how I felt before I wrote for them
FJ: incidentally my parents called me “d’embryo” until i was born
so suck it, saletan
And yeah, my niece was “Zyggy” for “zygote,” which I’ve heard several other people use
even though it wasn’t technically accurate for long
She or one of the others also became “Bun” as in “in the oven” — ALSO DEHUMANIZING! COMPARING YOUR CHILD TO FOOD! DO YOU WANT TO MAKE HER FAT?
FJ:  hahaha
fetuses are very suggestible
me:  I mean, seriously, you could call the fetus “our little clump o’ cells,” and if you wanted the fucking kid, it would be a term of endearment.
FJ:  yeah it turns out that the thing that determines whether you want the kid is whether you want a kid
me:  get out!
I think maybe if I get pregnant, we’ll call it “Little Lord Saletan.”
“Wanker” for short.
FJ:  hahah
says mom: “I guess the reason I didn’t kill you is that we called you Dembryo, which is way cuter.”
me:  Ha!
FJ:  also, i gchatted her and said “according to william saletan it’s a miracle you didn’t put me in a freezer after i was born”
mom: yes, that was my first impulse.
 me:  HA! Love your mom.
FJ:  she’s hilarious
though sometimes i think she’s just gunning to be on postcards from yo momma 

With that, here’s the Friday Fluff question: If you’re a parent, what did you call your kid(s) in utero? If you’re not — or even if you are — what would you call a future fetus? Over to you, Shapelings.

226 thoughts on “Friday Fluff: Fetus Naming”

  1. Do you know? I don’t remember what we called him when he was Unknown.

    My sister and her husband called their eldest “Book” rhyming it with kook.

  2. I have never been pregnant, but my friend’s sister called her fetus “Godot,” which I liked. Surely that’s at least as dehumanizing as “fetus,” Lord Saletan.

  3. Well, I’ve never been pregnant, so I haven’t picked a pre-name for my future fetus/baby. But I am looking forward to it. :)

    When my mom was pregnant with me I was Cadwalader. My brother Andrew, who came next, was Mortimer in eutero, and my cousin Erica was dubbed Thumper.


  4. I haven’t been pregnant, but I always got a kick out of the fact that my aunt and uncle called my cousin “Ortho” when she was in utero because clearly the birth control method had failed.

    And a dear friend of mine called hers, alternately, “Orson” or “Frances” as a play-off of Bean, which is what (she) looked like on an early ultrasound.

  5. No kids of my own, but my folks called me Bernie as a fetus. They have no recollection of why.

  6. No kids yet (working on it) but I have a nephew who was Bean, a nephew who was Binkus (named by the Bean) and a niece who was Nutter Butter. Currently have another nephew/niece on the way who is Fig.

    All wanted babies, none for eating despite the names, and none referred to as “baby”.

  7. I was due on March 15, so Mom called me “Julius” in utero. OMFG, she named me for a man who was murdered on my due date!

    Seriously, it’s a miracle I have lived and breathed lo these 40 years.

  8. Also, the fetus of a friend of mine got dubbed Oliver, around the time the fetus was the size of an olive. The baby was a girl, but the mom hated olives, thus: Oliver.

  9. I’m not sure what my mom called me when she was pregnant with me. My guess is she probably called me by the name she picked for me. Did they have the ability to find out the gender of the baby circa ’85? I know if they did, and my mom knew what I was, she would have referred to me by the name she picked.

    I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, I’ll probably come up with some cute nickname until I find out the gender. After that, I’ll call the baby whatever name I pick for him/her.

  10. I have no kids, but I have a friend who’s been calling hers ‘Pumpkin.’ (Pumpkin is due any day now, so they know she’s a girl, but I think they’re not telling anyone the name.)

    I don’t think my parents called me anything but ‘the baby,’ which is singularly unimaginative of them, considering that they didn’t (like many parents 26 years ago) find out my gender until I was born.

    Godot, I think, wins.

  11. “Jellybean” was one a friend of mine used. I’ve also heard someone refer to their fetus/embryo as “the highly effective parasite.” When I have kids, mine will probably be “the geeklet.” Heck, based on my husband’s and my personalities, geeklet might be a valid nickname for our future spawn from in utero through high school.

  12. No kids here either, but some friends of mine have had some cute names for their fetuses. One good friend called hers “peapod,” and then after they found out they were having a girl, they changed it to “she-pod,” which I thought was adorable.

    Another friend called hers “Spot.”

    If and when I ever get pregnant, I plan on calling my embryo/fetus “Envira,” which was my great-great-grandmother’s name, for reals. This will be mainly to irritate my mother. (I keep threatening to actually name our hypothetical kid Envira, and my mom keeps rolling her eyes dramatically. Good times.)

  13. My nephew was dubbed “Peanut” while still in the cooking phase, apparently because he looked like one in the ultrasound. A later ultrasound resulted in the nickname “Rocky” because his face was mashed flat and he looked a bit like Stallone.

  14. True confession: DH and I called our first child “Cletus”. As in, “Cletus the Fetus”.

    Strangely, I have yet to kill my son (now 5) or even want to kill him and, in fact, went on to have another baby–whom we also have not killed–despite our dehumanizing nickname practices.

  15. We called her The Dude (in a non-gender-specific way) and sometimes Bellybeast. I still call her Bellybeast now and then.

  16. When a dear friend of mine who is prone to hyperbole and comic books was pregnant, the fetus was blamed for every wee twinge, earning such supervillian names as Captain Indigestion/The Indigestion Express, The Energy Sapper, Doctor Nausea, and TODOK (Tiny Organism Designed Only for Kicking).

    And because her husband was (fondly) called ‘The Bastard’ when he was teasing her, the kidlet also became The-Wee-Bastard-Who-Makes-Me-Tired-Just-Like-Her-Father, or TWB for short in email.

  17. We called our kid the Nuni (it came from a long ago SNL skit, and just stuck). We still do — she’s 2 now, and she’s still often referred to as the Nuni or just Nuni.

    Oh, and we totally stuck her in the freezer when she was born — she liked it.

  18. This reminds me of John Irving’s “The Hotel New Hampshire” and the youngest kid in the family whose honest to dog name was “Egg” because when the mom got pregnant the parents tried to explain to the other kids that the fetus was once an egg. So they all started calling him “Egg” and it just stuck, even after he was born.

    How they managed to keep that kid out of the freezer is beyond me. *eyeroll* Surely the fact that they actually wanted a kid would have had no bearing once they started referring to the fetus as something as dehumanizing as “egg”. *giant monster eyeroll* The stupidity of this Saletan guy is horrifying.

    Quite frankly, I’ve never been pregnant, but I think that if one would be so inclined to name the fetus something, a nickname like “egg” or “feetie” or “embry” is actually pretty cute.

  19. TODOK made me laugh out loud.

    How they managed to keep that kid out of the freezer is beyond me.

    I think you mean the refrigerator.

  20. According to my baby book, my parents- well, my dad- called me Cosmo while I was in utero, before they knew whether I was a boy or a girl. I always laugh when I think about it, because I think of Cosmo Kramer. Then when he found out I was going to be a girl, he started calling me Budine, because he thought that sounded more feminine than Cosmo. Then it said that he started calling me Gubernatorial Convention. My dad is really weird.

  21. I just had my first baby, and we called her “little parasite” early on, since that’s fundamentally what an embryo/fetus is. I wasn’t comfortable referring to her as a baby while she was in utero until the 3rd trimester. I was never considering an abortion, but to me “baby” implies some base level of personhood, which I just don’t think a fetus has, no matter how wanted. Until it’s born, it’s only a potential person.

    By the time my 3rd trimester rolled around, though, I knew I was carrying a girl and she definitely felt more real. I think for me it was the knowledge that she had reached the point where she could survive outside the womb. Also, there was a certain element of societal pressure. I referred to her as a fetus once she reached that stage, but I always had a sense that in doing so I was making some kind of political statement, which made me uncomfortable. I felt like other people would think I was weird or unconnected to her if I referred to her as a fetus instead of a baby.

    Anyway, once we got to the third trimester and knew her gender and had decided on a name, we started calling her “baby [name]” instead. Remarkably, even though we called her “parasite” and “fetus,” we have not yet stuffed her in the freezer.

  22. Man, don’t tell him my friends are referring to their still-cooking kid as “the parasite”. Was chatting online with the male genetic donor who said, “Whups, gotta go put the parasite host to bed!”

  23. Yeah, I giggled a lot at TODOK. TWB is good too.

    Also, I just realized I tend to refer to actual children with similar nicknames. My sixth grade classes were “the rugrats” and I often refer to a friend’s 2 boys (one teen, one pre-teen) as “the urchins.”

  24. TODOK made me laugh out loud.

    I regret to this day not taking copious notes when the two of us were hanging out, or better yet getting a tape recorder. She once regaled me with a long, mock-irritated tale about the epic battle going on between the kidlet and her internal organs.

    Now there’s a comic that needs to be made.

  25. some of my friends have has some pretty funny pre-natal names for their spawn!


    my sister who is currently pregnant refers often to “the fetus”, maybe i should start worrying… X)

  26. You want to talk about dehuminizing, I called my twins parasites…they were sucking every ounce of energy I had.

    And my husband refused to discuss names, so once I felt better, I just called them little ones. Or the names of old school WWF wrestlers due to their crazy headbutting techniques.

  27. Oh also: Carsteloot.

    Or actually, I’ve been twitting my mom by telling her I’m going to move to France, get pregnant, smoke all through the pregnancy and name the baby Gauloise. So I would probably call it that. Or Garance, which is a longer story. (Just to unpack that, the moving to France part is possible-to-likely; the getting pregnant there part is what my mom is worried about; the rest is fantasy.)

  28. My cousins have had “Peanut” and “Wally” (short for “walnut”).

    Though she won’t say, I suspect my mother called me many four-letter things while I was in-utero, seeing as she had hyperemesis for most of it. The only one she’ll cop to is “BooBoo.” Being called after an animated bear HAS to be dehumanizing, right? It’s animated! And a BEAR!

  29. There’s also a very adorable story about my husband getting the opportunity to suggest names for his sibling-to-be and insisting “name the baby Joseph!” (“But what if it’s a girl?” “NAME THE BABY JOSEPH!”) so that’s a possibility too. I love all the parasite-based nicknames, and I LOVE that my folks called me Dembryo, but I feel like I would be more likely to give it a people name. (ETA: Er, or a cigarette name that sounds like a people name.) When I was in sixth grade my best friend’s mom called her fetus Hortense in utero and we had a great time narrating her adventures, and that’s my fondest memory of fetus nomenclature.

    Come to think of it, “Utero” is a pretty good superhero/supervillain name for a fetus.

  30. Called my first fetus “Buggo” – as in ‘I have a little stomach bug’, because the feeling of him moving around post 16 weeks was alarming.

    I’d be sitting there, concentrating on something, forgetting I was pregnant and my hind brain would say “Hey, woman, get to the doctor. You’ve got something REALLY ODD happening in your intestines and it should probably be looked at by a team of experts.”

    Called the second fetus “Spark”. As in ‘Yeah, I think that time we sparked something.’

  31. Okay. So I’m currently THREE FUCKIN’ DAYS OVERDUE with my first child. A child, mind you, that my husband and I planned to have and looked forward to having after almost 8 years of marriage and grad school. As you might imagine, I’m getting a little weary (getting? ha ha ha ha ha how totally amusing) of being pregnant.

    And let me just be honest here. Pregnancy has been a major challenge for me. A big struggle. Despite wanting this kid and being excited about moving in this new direction. Because here’s the thing. I’m not someone who has been in a comfortable, happy, sane, easygoing relationship with my body for most of my 32 years. (Hell, even the fact that I still find it a little tough to think of my body as *myself* and not some annoying separate thing that gets in the way of my mind and goddammit if I never had to pee or eat or experience embodiedness in any way I could just KEEP READING which is what I really want to do anyhow). Point being, I’m still on the journey of becoming a whole, happy, embodied self (hence the need to visit this website on a regular basis:)

    And lemme just tell you… Boy oh boy has pregnancy screwed with my pathway on that journey. In every single possible way, my experience of my self, my body, my health, my choices…. all of that stuff has become very, very fraught for me over these last nine months. For example, just when I think I’m getting a handle on eating the things that I want to eat, and figuring out how to be more straightforward and intuitive about my food, the crazy hormones suddenly make me hate things I used to love for no apparent reason. And the intense, very serious pregnancy-causes sinus hell I’ve been going through for 7.5 months means that my tastebuds have become totally useless. And also, breathing only through my mouth means that chewing and swallowing becomes an epic battle some days. And about that whole peeing thing….

    Also, this may sound weird, but as someone who has a fairly high need for solitude, independence, and autonomy, ever since this fetus o’ mine started moving, I feel like I’m never completely alone. Honestly, that’s really how it feels to me. I was talking to my (supportive, feminist) husband the other day about my hospital’s policy of immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby and mother in the seconds just after childbirth. I plan to have my husband do the skin-to-skin contact for at least a few minutes. Why? Because I really, truly, know that I will need five minutes to NOT have the baby intimately present after 9 straight months of having him hanging out in my torso.

    I’ve felt very, very isolated because I have no one to express these thoughts to except my husband. Largely because dumb shit (mostly men like Saletan but also plenty of women) look at me like I’m a serial killer or a scumbag for even beginning to venture the first tiny little hint that I might not be totally enamored of/attached to/in love with this baby. That I might have some ambivalence about both pregnancy and the particular set of embodied experiences it entails. That, while I’m honestly pleased to think that I’ll be meeting my son really soon (if he’d ever decide to get out of here!), I’m also rather anxious about the ways my identity is going to change, the challenges of balancing my career etc. (My mom is already giving me a hard time b/c I’ll be toting the baby along at 4 month when I head to Europe to give a paper at a major conference. Crucial career move for me, not negotiable, must attend, big deal for me to be invited. And yet my mom thinks I’m selfish for going. And so already it begins… pitting my mom identity against my scholar identity).

    Sorry this is so long. I just felt like I wanted to share in a place where I’m pretty sure that y’all will be compassionate and understanding. So thanks for letting me vent and share my experience of having a fetus bouncing around in there.

  32. This strikes a chord with me.

    I was told off by a midwife for referring to the several week old ‘fetus’ whilst waiting for surgery for a cyst that was at the time thought to be malignant. ‘It’s a baby, not a fetus!’ she exclaimed. I felt terrible, as she made me feel uncaring, but it wasn’t an easy time & I just couldn’t talk about it like that.

    The surgery was successful, the cyst ended up being benign and so the fetus became ‘beanie’ because it looked like a dancing bean on the first scan, until we chose a name.

    I love the other names up here – really creative.

    Pregnancy isn’t always easy and I think that everyone should be entitled to use whatever name they feel comfortable with, without being judged in such a terrible way.

  33. I called mine in turns Swimmer, Tooklet, Littlest One, Sine Nomine, Linebacker, and Bean. Different names got used in different places with different people. Sort of practice for how our parenting approaches flex and change depending on who we’re with.

    (They get away with all sorts of stuff at home that just wouldn’t fly in front of the Grandparents)

    And then turned the whole thing into a paper on naming conventions for an Anthro course.

    Why a name? We didn’t know gender, and “it” just wasn’t going to work for me.

  34. LOL! My sister called her fetuses “tadpole,” “bug” and “parasite” among other things. She also called the older one “Becks” for David Beckham because he kicked all the time. Both pregnancies were wanted, both children, once born, were (and are) loved. But her irreverence didn’t go away because she got pregnant…thank goodness!!

    My best friend is pregnant right now and one of the online sites has a “size chart” for each week of pregnancy comparing the size to a type of fruit, so the fetus has been Kumquat [lastname], Fig [lastname] etc. Her hubs has taken to signing texts Daddy Fig, etc. (She’s also due on Christmas so sometimes they call it Jesus, but only in front of people that won’t be offended.) Ha!

  35. (((Lindy)))

    Also, this may sound weird, but as someone who has a fairly high need for solitude, independence, and autonomy, ever since this fetus o’ mine started moving, I feel like I’m never completely alone.

    Wow, that’s one thing I really never thought of, but I can imagine feeling the same. Damn.

    And like everyone else, I’m cracking up at all the fetus names.

  36. Wow, that’s one thing I really never thought of, but I can imagine feeling the same. Damn.

    Yeah, that actually brought me up short… I can totally see having the same problem. It’s sobering. But there is nothing wrong or weird or inhuman about it (quite the opposite).

  37. i would probably refer to my fetus as TBA because TBA jokes never get old for me. “TBA has engagements all over town!”

    i’ve started to refer to my nephew-in-utero as the Cobra Commander. it was originally a facetious baby name suggestion, but now because it’s fun to ask my sil in a lewd tone if “the Cobra Commander is keeping her up nights.”

  38. Hm. I’m tempted not to post this because it’s a Fluff thread. Still, in the interest of being honest, I will. I hope I don’t ruin the spirit for everyone else.

    I’ve always used the word “baby”. But it’s always been about potentiality for me, at the same time. When my (late) husband and I were trying to get me pregnant, I said “baby”. When I found myself accidentally pregnant a couple of years ago, I told the clinic staffer, “Yes, I need to terminate, I can’t have a baby now.”

    So, was it dehumanizing? Only insofar as the “baby” wasn’t yet an actual person.

    If a late period is met with relief or sorrow, depending upon the woman’s hopes, what’s so much “worse” (i.e., “immoral”) about the word “fetus”? Does it matter? I don’t see how.

  39. Oh! All this reminds me that my cousin called her in-utero daughter (before she knew the gender) “Bruce” or “Bruiser” because she had a wicked kick (like Bruce Lee, of course!) and kept kicking her rib cage out of whack and creating all sorts of bruises.

  40. I have an older brother named “Chip,” so I understand I was referred to as either “Dale” or “Putt.”

    Or “it.”

  41. Hugs to Lindy, too. It is a lot of changes, and it can suck a lot, and society doesn’t really let us deal with that.

    I didn’t have any consistent nicknames for either of mine in utero, although during particularly uncomfortable kicking bouts I may have been heard to call them “you big jerk”.

  42. If a late period is met with relief or sorrow, depending upon the woman’s hopes, what’s so much “worse” (i.e., “immoral”) about the word “fetus”? Does it matter? I don’t see how.

    Me neither.

  43. (((Lindy))) Mine was 6 days late – hope yours gets out sooner! And I know how you feel about not being able to discuss ambivalent feelings about your baby with anyone but your husband. My sister was here visiting a week after the baby was born and she kept asking things like “Don’t you just love her completely?” and so on…I think she was honestly anxious and wanted reassurance that I loved my baby unconditionally, but the thing is, I couldn’t really give her that reassurance. A baby at a week old (or even a month old, I’m finding) doesn’t have a lot of personality. It’s basically just a bundle of needs. If I had answered her totally honestly, I would have said “I am preparing to love her unconditionally. I’m sure I will when she’s a person.”

    Luckily, my mom is really understanding about this. She makes no secret of the fact that she went back to work after 6 months out of desperation to be around adults and not have every moment of her life scripted by a bundle of nerves incapable of expressing gratitude or love. Still, there aren’t a lot of other people with whom one can talk about this. The narrative that mothers must unconditionally and immediately love their children is too pervasive in our culture. To do anything else is considered unnatural.

    Hang in there, Lindy, and good luck!

  44. fwiw, I would probably enjoy coming up with funny nicknames, but I also would always refer to any unborn child of mine as an “embryo” or a “fetus” — and it’s because I don’t really like misnomers. It doesn’t meet the definition of a “baby” until it’s outside my body, and I like precision. Fetus is the correct term so that’s what I would say.

    That said, Cara, I most likely would never say “I can’t have a fetus now,” because that would be inaccurate, too. I could see myself terminating a pregnancy of a fetus because I felt I could not have a baby, and fetuses usually lead to babies! (I also don’t judge women who refer to their fetuses as “babies,” because it’s cool if they want to think of it that way. Whatever works!)

  45. Oh, Lindy – you poor thing! Gads, being overdue is the worst. I can’t believe due dates are pinned down so hard, they really should (at least) be RANGES so you don’t sit there feeling like xmas came and went and Santy left you nothing ’cause you were bad. Normal gestation for a first is longer than for subsequents, so you’re probably not *even* overdue – I think 41.5 weeks is usual.


    For whatever it’s worth, you sound totally normal to me. And taking a 4 month old on a flight is a lot easier (in some important ways) than taking a toddler. Enjoy that pliable early-baby phase, they’ll never again be so easy to tote around. Get a sling, you’ll be fine. (And forget your mom, jeez, seriously? You’re TAKING THE BABY, not leaving him to wolves. How is that selfish?!?)

    Sorry you’re so tired of being pregnant. Everyone gets there. Maybe it’s a necessary stage of the labor process, you have to be damn good and fired up for it or you’d never make it through those first few weeks. At least you’ll be able to stagger around in a sleep-deprived fashion THANKFUL AS HELL you’re not pregnant any more!

  46. I should add that my mom is an amazing mother and successfully raised three daughters to independent and well-adjusted adulthood. Her own early sense of alienation/ambivalence did not in any way have a negative impact on her capacity to be a good mother.

  47. Right, I guess I don’t really understand why it’s seen as so immoral and impersonal to use the correct terminology. But I suspect that there are a lot of things about me that would meet with Saletan’s disapproval.

  48. “smoke all through the pregnancy and name the baby Gauloise”

    LMFAO. YES!!!!!!

    Lindy, you’re a tougher woman than I’ll ever be.

    I usually call my friends in-utero children ‘fetus mother’s surname- father’s surname. ‘ If I were pregnant I don’t know. So many things can go wrong in a pregnancy I can totally see why people who use detached references.

    Saletan strikes me as one of those dudes who would announce ‘we’re pregnant’. I sincerely apologize to those of you who feel this is appropriate. God bless you. You’re more egalitarian than I am. For myself, I would have to slug any man who ever claimed to be pregnant ‘with’ me.

  49. My kids-in-utero were Arwulf and Grimbert. Arwulf was a radio host we liked; Grimbert was the name of a badger in a fairy tale. Picked kind of at random.

    True story – a few days after Arwulf was born (and revealed herself to us as a girl named Clara), I had an incredibly horrible vivid dream that she was too hot and I had to cool her down so I PUT HER IN THE FREEZER. And then I slipped and dropped her when I took her out and she shattered into a million pieces.

    It was actually a perversely reassuring dream since I *wasn’t* feeling all the immediate gooey-eyed bonding love people were assuring me I would feel. More a sense of interest & perplexity. But waking up sweating and shaking from that dream I thought, “gee, maybe I do care what happens to this creature. That’s good.”

  50. But–but it’s not a baby. It becomes a baby when it’s born. I have never understood this insistence on calling embryos and fetuses and zygotes and blastocysts and whatever-all something they’re not.

    Anywho. A friend of mine referred to her fetus as the Plus Sign. I liked that.

    FJ: yeah it turns out that the thing that determines whether you want the kid is whether you want a kid
    me: get out!

    Go figure. No, I just can’t get my head around that one, do you think y’all could explain it a little more clearly? So, wait: if I want a kid…that means I want a kid? And if I don’t want one, then I…don’t? Or what?

  51. “My Little Fibroid Tumor” was the pet name of my last pregnancy. We tried for over a year with no luck. We were on the verge of fertility treatments when voila! One of the bazillion home pregnancy tests I took came back positive. The doctor didn’t want to see me until I had missed two periods, so I went in roughly 6 weeks later.
    The doctor thought I was farther along than what I absolutely knew to be the date of conception, and ordered an ultrasound. There on the little screen, much bigger than the sack of cells forming my now 9 year old daughter, was a fibroid tumor the size of a tennis ball. It was blocking the opening to one of my fallopian tubes, guarding half of my fertility like a sentry. It grew throughout my pregnancy, often kicked, poked, prodded and pulled by its’ bunkmate, to the size of a large grapefruit.
    My Lil Tumor is now 9, and has yet to be shoved into a refridgerator, freezer, dumpster, gunny sack, closet, microwave, furnace, trunk of a car, or suitcase. *

    *additional comment pre-deleted by poster

  52. This is embarrassing, but I’m having a brain freeze and can’t remember what we called our kids before they were born. But good friends of ours referred to their first fetus as “Figment.” He’s almost 21 now and to the best of my knowledge has never been placed in a freezer.

  53. For the life of me, during this whole blog post and all the comments I can’t stop reading the man’s name as anything else than ‘Lord Satan’.

  54. The foetus name I’ve liked best of those I’ve heard is Zontar the Thing From Venus, after the 1966 tv-movie.

  55. For the life of me, during this whole blog post and all the comments I can’t stop reading the man’s name as anything else than ‘Lord Satan’.

    Go with it.

  56. When I thought I was pregnant for a couple weeks we were already referring to our lil’ clump o’ cells as Sammy.. in honor of our beloved, deceased, cat and turtles.

  57. I have some friends who call their potential offspring Awesome, because they generally talk about awesome it is going to be.

  58. Some friends of mine called their fetus Curlita, since everyone in their family has thick Ashkenazi curls and they knew she’d have a 1000% chance of following suit.

  59. Holy shit, Lindy – I rarely say “I know how you feel” because I assume that I probably don’t, but this is one of those times I’ll go out on a limb and guess that I might actually know how you feel, because everything you wrote I could have written while pregnant. It’s awful, and everyone thinks you *MUST* be blissed-out or what the hell kind of selfish person are you? I wish we knew each other in real life.

    One good thing, though, is that in my experience 4 months is a great age to take a kid to a conference. They’re sleeping better but not too mobile and still in the little carriers. At least, I took mine on a conference on the west coast where I was giving a paper (I live in the midwest) and he did great.

    Oh, and our first was “Snuffy,” after Snuffleupagus, i.e. the one everyone talks about but doesn’t see. Our second was Dorothea because we were told he was a girl. He wasn’t. Surprise!

  60. I’m here from Shakesville, laughing at the fetus names. I called my now 5year old the Little Fishie because he was swimming around in my innards.


  61. I remember calling my first son Octavian while I was pregnant with him because I told my mom I wanted to name him that and she hated it so I was really just messing with her. I don’t remember what I called the other two, presumably because I was so busy with preschool age “Octavian” and later his sister. My youngest is lucky he got a name after he was born, actually. We waited til the last minute to pick one-once you get to your third child you get a little lax with all that baby stuff you had obsessed over so much with the previous kids.

  62. My partner and i are calling our not-yet-conceived first child Marzipan, because of something i sleepily, drunkenly said: “We could name her Marzipan and call her Zippy for short.”

    A family we know called their most recent Lemonjello, with the stress like, leMONjello so it sounded like an exotic name of some kind (he’s now named Samir).

  63. ((Lindy))

    I think it would be helpful for a lot of women if they were encouraged to talk to each other honestly about being pregnant and express all the stuff you did rather than having our only cultural representation of pregnancy be what we get from tv and commercials, where all the kids are serenely cooing and the moms are dressed in impeccably clean white linen dresses sitting in rocking chairs in white rooms with white curtains looking beatifically contented. What a load of horse crap. My sister had my nephew when I was 13 (she’s 14 years older than me) so I saw what pregnancy meant from an early age, and it don’t look like the media wants it to look.


  64. Hee – I have no kids, and most likely won’t, but Regina T reminded me that, on the flip side of this question, I had a uterine cyst a few years ago that I named Steve.

  65. Funnily enough, I called my son “The Doughnut” because, well, that’s what his first ultrasound LOOKED like. A slightly squashed doughnut.

    Until putting in this very comment, I never actually thought of the baby-flavoured doughnut joke.

    Now I’m laughing!

    He’s still alive, at age 3. I haven’t eaten him yet.

  66. While my friends have had some fabulous names for their fetuses (Troglodyte, The Trog for short, being the most recent), I can’t imagine having a fetus to name it anything.

  67. For the life of me, during this whole blog post and all the comments I can’t stop reading the man’s name as anything else than ‘Lord Satan’.

    Me too. After all, his followers are supposed to sacrifice babies, whoops, fetuses, in his name. Whereas Lord Fat Satan would devour donut-flavored babies all day while sitting on his flaming couch watching The Hellfire Channel.

    Speaking of hell, my mom told me that I was supposed to be born on January 16, but didn’t arrive until January 29 (I needed more time to cook). She said the labor was horrible, painful, and she threw up green chunks too. She thought she was giving birth to the Antichrist. No wonder I turned out demonically obese!

    Still, even through all that pain and vomiting, I didn’t end up locked in a freezer, and despite the occasional petty bickering, my mom and I get along good.

  68. Random tidbits:

    * My sister called her first kid “Schmitty” and “Mini-Me” while she was pregnant. (the whole family refers to her two girls, who are irish twins, as ‘the dynamic duo’, ‘the gruesome twosome’ or ‘Thing 1 and Thing 2’)
    * I had a teacher in high school who referred to her pregnant belly (and its occupant) as “Goiter”.
    * My grandmother referred to her second pregnancy as “Susie Q”. Good thing the baby was a girl, since nobody in the family could think of her as anything but “Susie” after that.

  69. we referred to our son as “green bean” because i got pregnant in late summer, and during the first few weeks of nausea, the only think i could stand to eat were green beans. and i ate a lot of them. heh.

    he’s three now and still alive and kickin’.

    lindy, i too know how you feel. i had hugely ambivalent feelings during pregnancy and was quite frankly terrified of motherhood. and even though i had a fairly uneventful pregnancy, i still did not like having my body hijacked. one of the (oh so many) reasons we’re stopping at one child is that i have absolutely no desire whatsoever to go through pregnancy again.

    i also think the reason we stuck with calling him “green bean” for so long is because to decide on a name would have made it all so much more real for me, in a way i was not psychologically ready for. we didn’t finalize the name choice until after he was born, actually. which is good, because i think his name suits him.

    but hang in there and do not beat yourself up. you are completely human. (((lindy)))

  70. I loved reading all of these… My boys were both “critters”, both before and after their births. It’s amazing that we shopped in the baby department rather than the pet department isn’t it? In addition to that, son #1 is still known as Zomax, because before we knew his gender, we had settled on the names Zoe or Maxwell.

    I loved reading about Dooce’s recent pregnancy with “Not-Maria”, since the only thing she and her husband would announce is that they were in agreement that they would not be naming their new baby Maria.

    I adore TODOK and Bellybeast!! Totally cracked me up!

  71. Oh, Lindy. Hugs! So many! My son was three weeks late; I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, ever. Eventually, though, your pregnancy will end. Your body will be your own again.

    I remember being so grateful to be alone in my own skin.

    And we always called my in-utero son “the baby.” It seemed easier for my eight-year-old then-stepson. In fact, we called him the baby for a couple of years afterward.

  72. I called my son The Goat! Short for Zygote, primarily because my mother-in-law wanted to know what “cute name” we were calling him in utero, “you know, like niblet, or peanut”.

    The Goat, I thought, was sufficiently devilish to not be cute. ;)

  73. One of my friends called her kid “Seamonkey” while in utero; if you’ve ever seen an ultrasound, you can appreciate the accuracy.

    The Perfect Baby Handbook has convinced me: any kid I have is going to be named “Garden Spigot.”

  74. I love this from Saletan: If you talk to pregnant women or read accounts of what they say to friends and counselors, you’ll notice a pattern. Those who are happy to be pregnant and expect to give birth describe what they’re carrying as a baby. Those who don’t want to be pregnant and are seeking or contemplating abortion avoid that word.

    Mmhmmm. If you, Gentle Reader – whom I’m assuming, inasmuch as you are a thinking subject, has not actually ever BEEN and are not CURRENTLY a pregnant woman – take it upon yourself to talk to pregnant women or read accounts of pregnant women, you may, 19th century independently-wealthy hobby anthropologist that you are, notice a pattern. Well, first you have to exclude all of the things that they say that confuse your nice neat bifurcated reality, but after THAT you may notice a pattern. Some women use some words, and some use different words. This is clearly a Very Important Distinction about which you should write an essay directing all pregnant women – that is, beyond the ones you’ve just personally talked to, which I’m sure was a representative sample – on how they ought to feel, what words you’d like for them to use, and what they should do while pregnant. Thank God there are dudes like you around.

  75. My sister called the fetus Ace and best friend called hers Little Pink Alien or LPA for short.

    Lindy – I had never thought about it but I imagine I might react similarly. I hope you have a supportive team in with you.

  76. My son was known as Beeb, or The Beeb when he was in utero; we didn’t know his sex before birth 9and I hadn’t picked out any boys’ names anyway because I was convinced I was having a girl. Oops!)

  77. I’ve never been pregnant, but knowing myself, I predict that I will probably talk to the foetus/future baby, and that I’ll probably address it by the disturbingly food-like nicknames Spike used for Dawn on Buffy (Niblet, Little Bit…). And I’ll probably call it Phoebo, after Phoebe’s terrible/brilliant suggestion in that Friends episode where Rachel and Ross try to pick a name.

    So yes, my kid will probably grow up addicted to television.

  78. I’m not sure what my parents called me… but I do know that sometimes when I’m really hot, I will stick my own head in the freezer for a few seconds.


  79. Oh, the freezer thing makes me think of the fact that when I’m really hot, I like to eat ice. I’ve even stuck my head in the freezer. *cute scary music*

  80. I get really angry about how we’re not supposed to talk about the facts that pregnancy and parenthood are not blissful. If we talk about ambivalence or loss issues, people think there’s something wrong with us–when, hello, there’s LOTS of loss associated with it. That doesn’t mean we’d choose not to be parents (in most cases)–but life is different, and in many ways harder. It’s particularly true in the beginning. I liked what a friend of mine who used to be a neonatologist said when I was having a rough day in the early weeks of my daughter’s life; she described newborns as “nearly non-sentient need machines.”

    Oh–and we were taken with the descriptions of the pre-baby as compared to fruit, and called her kumquat for the rest of the pregnancy. (My daughter, that is, not the neonatologist.)

  81. My parents always called me “The Bump.” They may have also called me Boo or Baby Boo, but that may only have been after I was born. I, er, don’t remember. (They also called me “Butterball” after I was born for rather a long time. Seems I was a chubby baby.)

    I can’t remember what we called my brothers– I probably called them “my baby sister” both times, out of desperate wishful thinking. Both times my mum came home with a baby boy, I told her to try again, and have a girl this time! I only stopped because she pointed out that she could very well have a boy every time, and I didn’t want to risk more brother. (It’s a miracle they didn’t grow up with a complex, honestly, but we’re very close.)

    I’m not going to have children, but if I did, I’d probably name the fetus Renesmee after Bella’s talking fetus in the Twilight books. It’s just too absurd to pass up.

  82. Oh Lindy, I’m sorry. Despite wanting children I’ve always been scared to death of the whole pregnancy process for many of those reasons, not the least of which is having to pretend to be all blissed out when you don’t feel it. I hope you will update us on how everything goes. I’ll be thinking of you and hoping for the best.

    My birth mother told me she named me Anne Marie before I was born (she knew I would be adopted shortly afterward.) Just for herself to have something to call me instead of baby. I remember my parents called my sister Esmeralda and my brother P.S. (he was the last one.)

  83. I was actually referred to by the sex the ultrasound technician swore I would end up being: Boy. Little boy, little man, baby boy…


    My nephew, on the other hand, was ‘Beachball’. At 7 months, my sister was bigger than a friend of ours (who was the same height and body type as my sister before they got pregnant) who was doing her C-section in a week. It was hilarious.
    And I swear, we never wanted to put him in the freezer. Or oven. Even though my sister went through three days of contractions for him.

  84. Lindy,

    I’ve always been pretty comfortable with my body and physically confident, but pregnancy gave me all kinds of weird feelings too. Part of it is that I really do think women experience it in many different ways, but there’s all this mythology surrounding pregnancy that makes you feel like you’re not “doing it right.” I wasn’t bothered by the presence of the fetus, but at times was bothered by the fact that, if she wasn’t moving or kicking I totally forgot I was pregnant (I didn’t get that big and was never uncomfortable, really) and then would be all surprised everytime she woke up and started moving around. I know, it sounds bizarre, and I think this idea that when you’re pregnant you’re supposed to be walking around either feeling totally miserable or in this exalted state all the time made me feel weird – like I wasn’t going to properly bond with the kid once she was born or something. But in retrospect I just think that we all experience it differently depending on personality and what stage we’re in and stuff like that, and the pregnancy-industrial-complex and well-meaning people who have bought into the mythology just foist a lot of crap on us that makes us feel like we’re not “doing it right.”

    Not sure it that helps or not…

  85. Oh, and we referred to my daughter as “biscuit” but I can’t remember why.

    And I was reprimanded by the two older ladies who work in the department office at work for responding to a question of “what’s up?” with “nothin’ much, just makin’ a fetus” in front of them. Everyone else thought it was funny.

  86. Most of my pregnant friends gave their fetuses nicknames like “The Parasite,” “Alien” or “Chestburster.” But we’re a bunch of SF/F dorks, so what do you expect.

    My mom called me “Pele” because I kicked so much.

  87. The Grapefruit. The weirdest bit was when she moved in time to music at 20 weeks gestation. I almost got sick from the “AIEE ANOTHER PERSON LIVE SIN ME” shock. And turned the music off. Ew. It got easier to handle as time went on, but it was pretty shocking.

    Um, also Chestburster, Parasite, Alien, Humpty (my eldest sister’s babies were all Humpty), and It.

  88. When a chicken egg mysteriously hatched despite the presence of a rooster, we called her “Parth” until it was clear she was a girl, and then Genesis.
    It was bizarre.

  89. A friend referred to hers as “Frisbee” because she did in vitro and that’s what the photo of the blastocyte before implantation reminded her of. (She won the “earliest baby picture” contest hands down. Why bother with ultra sounds of a 16-week fetus after that?)

  90. “How they managed to keep that kid out of the freezer is beyond me. ”

    FJ: “I think you mean refrigerator

    lol. Right.

  91. Sigh…Moms. My mother is Empress of the Universe, as far as I’m concerned, but every now and then I discover a truly weird idea or concept in her head, particularly for as worldly and experienced as she is. In a discussion about gays in the military recently, she utterly failed to recognize any distinction between “lesbians” and “men.” And I had to spend a whole week once convincing her that being bisexual did not mean one has both male and female genitalia.

  92. I think I alternated between calling mine The Fetus and The Baby. Once they start kicking around and taking on form it feels natural for me to call them The Baby even though I know they are not technically babies. Its very personal – I have called the fetus I gladly aborted a baby and a fetus as well. Sure, baby isn’t the dictionary definition, but that’s okay. I object to people with an anti-choice agenda referring to every blastocyst and fetus as a baby, but think its great if thats what a mama wants to say.

    As a midwife, I rarely hear my clients describe their fetuses as such, and I usually try to use the words they are using. Very often it is “baby” even with my early pregnancy pro-choice mamas. If I don’t know, I usually use Little One.

    With parents who have had an early ultrasound Bean and Peanut are very popular because, well, thats what the embryo looks like on the screen.

  93. Though I have no idea what she called me, other than “three weeks late,” when applicable.

  94. Charlotte – Gender typing was available in ’85.

    My parents chose not to know my gender, but found out that mom was preggers while in Italy (mom kept taking pregnancy tests because she wanted to know if she could drink or not and they kept saying she was “sort of pregnant.” I think it took several weeks before it came up definitely positive), so the running joke was that they were going to name me Chianti.

    I’m still not sure if I want kids or not, so I haven’t thought about what I’d call the fetus.

  95. well, I’ve never been pregnant but I’ve known a few sets of expecting parents and one used “Peanut,” I think because they had decided to name the boy Peter but felt weird referring to an unborn fetus by name. Now they regularly call him Pete Potato. As far as I know they haven’t yet eaten him. Another couple wasn’t going to choose a name until birth and referred to the fetus as Tibidi, for “to be decided.” Tibidi, now Margaret, was also 2 and a half weeks late, and they were definitely making “waiting for Godot” jokes.

    There was also the time Heidi Klum referred to her pregnancy as “this bump” on Project Runway. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the news, and definitely not celebrity gossip news but I think if Heidi Klum had stuck any of her children in a freezer I would have heard of it.

  96. I was once told off for referring to my unborn child a baby—it’s a fetus and it’s basically indistinct from a chicken at this stage and by the way quit complaining about your morning sickness, it isn’t too late for an abortion, you know.

    Why do people have to be ugly?

    Meanwhile, a couple of people here have complained that they aren’t supposed to express the negative side of parenting. I have the opposite sense. I feel intense pressure to downplay the joy I have in my kids, lest someone thinks I’m lying or I’m some kind of mindless drone or something.

    Seriously, it sucks to be a woman. It really does. There is no way to get it right. Just sayin’

    I tend to use the term fetus until the chlid reaches the point of viability. To me, if it could live outside the womb, I’m pretty content calling it a baby. Before that, yeah I probably called my kids my baby but I do also use the term fetus at that stage.

    As for fetus names, I called my first daughter the womb fish. I don’t know how I came up with that but she’s five and I still call her my fish.

  97. Ha–Godot for sure!:)

    Went out to run errands and came back to read so many funny fetus names and words of encouragement and compassion for me. Seriously, y’all just made my day on so many levels. I can’t tell you how much better I feel just being able to say what I’m actually thinking. So thank you, a hundred time overs. Once again, I’m amazed by the thoughtful, insightful, challenging, hilarious stuff I find on this site.

  98. Also, my parents thought I was going to be a boy (not sure if you could find out the sex in 1974) and called me Zackariah Banana. I’m glad I turned out to be a girl, although Zack is ok without the rest of it!

    Oh, and this is mean, but I referred to one fetus as Oops. A guy I was seeing casually suddenly dropped off the radar, and a mutual friend told me that while he was seeing me, he was trying to get back together with his ex who lived out of town (convincing her of his love and fidelity, I’m sure), and she’d gotten pregnant accidentally and they’d decided it was a sign that they should get married. So he became Shotgun Wedding Guy, and the fetus became Oops. I didn’t have a name for the woman, except maybe Be Careful What You Wish For……

  99. When my mom was preggers with my sister, I remember that they called her The Tadpole. I have a friend who’s baby-in-utero name was Frosty. We were not creative when I was pregnant, at all, and both times just called them “the baby”. I’m sad about that, but what are you going to do?

    Also, I <3 FillyJonk's mom.

  100. I really disliked being pregnant. It felt like I had been boarded by aliens. To top it off, my first child was a full three weeks late. A very looong three weeks that lasted at least a year of my life.

    My son was called “The Blob” in utero. When he was born, that changed to “Spud” because wrapped up in blankets his ugly newborn baby face looked like, well, a potato. But we didn’t eat him, and he has been Spud or Spuddy ever since.

  101. I am currently pregnant. I use the gestational terms: embryo, now fetus. See, look, it’s growing up.

    It has a pre-name too, Janus, for January, the due date. It rhymes with “anus” yes, but it will have bigger things to worry about once I stick it in a freezer.

  102. I hated being pregnant. I had so wanted to be pregnant and be good at it (whatever that means) and instead I spewed for five months, had a couple of weeks of feeling blooming, and then succumbed to heartburn until they dragged my son out two weeks late. My sympathies are with you, Lindy.

    The foetus was referred to as Beyoncé Ski (according to a divorce lawyer friend, there’s a real child out there carrying that one) until the abnormality scan, at which point he became The Boy (except to my sister, who mounted a campaign for him to be named Rufus).

    Lord Satan is a fool.

  103. I would call the fetus “Alien.” Because I do not ever want to be pregnant due to my psychological issues with hosting another human being within my body, in an alien-esque way.

  104. My husband’s aunt and uncle referred to their first as Froggie while in utero – the name stuck despite the facy that she’s almost 6 now. We are looking forward to creating our very own Newt – a name that came up in conversation one day and stuck. My best friend loves Bean for feti :)

  105. Oh, and my sister referred to her first child as Tater while in the womb. It came from my sister once feeling like she had a big potato in her belly.

    So of course we all joked that we would call the kid Tater Tot for the rest of her life, but we don’t.

  106. Oh Lindy, I totally don’t know how you feel (never been pregnant), but my heart goes out to you. I’m sending you good thoughts through teh internets. :)

  107. We called our daughter “Honu” or “The Honu” which is Hawaiian for sea turtle… you know, swimming in the uterine sea…

  108. No kids for me, but my best friend and her husband called their in-utero son Quiggley (I think I’m spelling that right…).

  109. Got pregnant three times, miscarried all three, figured I knew a sign when I saw one. (Felt like Lindy up above every time, too.) Anyway, where I’m going with that is while we did name the proto-children aggressively gender-neutral names (Orlando, Darwin, and Tiresias, respectively), for conversational usage, we were also way careful to Use Our Science Words at each stage, mostly because, after the first one, we were kind of expecting to lose them. Offspring are technically embryonic up to about week 12, and fetal for however long after that. I think we would’ve started calling them babies at some point when they really looked like babies on the ultrasound, but we never got that far along.

    The point is that it helps, believe it or not, to remember that you’ve lost an embryo and not a full-on baby, that you’ve lost great potential but not someone you really knew yet (at least if you don’t get past whatever point in time marks that for each individual.) Feeling that I’d lost an embryo rather than a child also helped me to remember that, given the chromosomal damage that can cause spontaneous abortions, maybe I was lucky…hard as it is to wrap one’s head around that at the time. But I’m glad to know Saletan or Satan or whomever is there to decree that that comfort should never have been mine. Satan rules, it would seem.

  110. I’ve heard a few in-utero names – Bean, Button… Paris, short for Parasite. Paris, for where the child was conceived.

  111. We called him Woobie. Now he’s fourteen and I call him Puppy. Through the entire first trimester, during which I suffered horrifying hyperemesis, I also frequently called him “alien,” and “tapeworm.” During the last trimester, during which I was so done, I called him “Damien.”

  112. I’m glad for this refreshing conversation about pregnancy, because I read this from Greg Laden yesterday and just about went through the roof (partly because it’s a science blog, no less). I’d been toying with removing him from my reader feed for awhile, but that sealed it.

  113. Mine was the very un-creative (but definitely freezer-chucking inducing) “Plus Sign”.

    And no, the kiddo is 9-1/2 mos old and is as yet unchilled.

  114. I have secretly planned for years (I think about this a lot for a 25-year-old young woman, considering I’m a preschool teacher) to call my future fetus “Audrey II.”

    …C’mon! I can’t be the only one who gets a kick out of that, right? :)

  115. for #1, Shlomit (though he is a boy). For #2 — Shacher Macher (with iddish/hebrew accent).

    Lindy, hope you’re delivering your boy right now!

  116. My sister called both of her first two “bubs” or “the baby” and sometimes “stop kicking, you little shit”. For the third one (she was the third girl) we called her “Hattie” (short for “hat trick”).

    My sis-in-law only had the one after looooong go-rounds with IVF, and we found out the flavour was “strawberry” (another little girl) and so I immediately dubbed her ‘Princess Strawberry’ and it stuck.

    Should I ever get knocked up, I’d be tempted to call it all sorts of things, just to watch peoples’ faces.

  117. My parents didn’t have a name for me until after I was born, after three miscarriages I think they just didn’t want to get attached. Due to the magic of epidurals and picking the name out of the Bible at the last minute, they spelled it wrong.

    Wasn’t ever stuck in a freezer, though I’ve been left in the back of the car a few times.

    I keep thinking of the Sex and the City episode where Miranda isn’t 100% thrilled to find out the sex of her baby. “You’re growing a tiny penis inside of you. That’s so sci-fi!”

  118. Hey Lindy (if you’re reading this still) – are you dissertating by any chance? Because there’s an ABDMoms email list that’s been a great source of help for me and a few of my friends over the years.

    Not super active; but lots of logistical help with things like “How can I breastfeed/pump-and-dump at a conference?” or “What do you do when you feel pressure to spend 100 percent of your time on your diss. AND 100 percent of your time with your kid?” or “Help! I shall be visibly pregnant in front of my freshmen students. Can I still have gravitas and authority?” or “How do you deal with a non-supportive spouse/adviser/committee?” etc.

    There are also a couple of dissertation coaches or people who’ve worked with dissertation coaches, so there’s great time management and productivity advice too.

  119. A facebook friend of mine is pregnant and keeps referring to the baby/foetus as her “charm”.

  120. My friend called her first “piglet,” because its development made her hungry, and “Alien,” because of the whole Being-in-the-belly thing.

    I forget what I called my first. I had a girl. I called the second pregnancy “Junior” because it was both masculine and feminine — baby junior.

    Now I’ve skimmed comments: have also heard “Peanut,” and “cashew,” for the approximations of size/shape offered by Experts.

  121. I can’t remember exactly what we called superhero princess — we didn’t know her sex, I do think I called her “bean” as in “human bean/being.”

    When I had a miscarriage earlier this year, I had been thinking about the life inside of me as a baby, but I was really careful to say things like “the embryo stopped growing inside of me, but now we just have to wait until the miscarriage starts.” It was excruciating. I guess I thought of it as a seed that didn’t grow into a tree. Potential not realized. Neither baby nor blastocyst.

    I feel like I lose my feminist/cool cred when I say this, but I really liked being pregnant, both times. I would like to be pregnant again but it’s prettly likely that’s not going to happen.

  122. Oh, and in the moments before we realized that the embryo was no longer alive while we were having the first ultrasound done, I totally thought, “my peanut!” Those joyful milliseconds were both long and brief.
    Argh. Being a female human is just so messy.

  123. We called him nothing until we decided to go forward with the pregnancy (it was definitely a surprise), and then we pretty much called him “the baby.” Since we wanted him, I had zero problem with deeming him “the baby” but even after we’d decided on a name after the sex was known, I couldn’t call him by his name until he was born. Sometimes we would call him “the little dude,” but we never had any cute cell/fetus names (although I like them!).

    I know a lot women who would call it “peanut” because that’s what it looks like in early ultrasounds (seriously, even at the big ultrasound, our son mostly looked like a blobbity thing, but the tech knew what she was looking for), and my personal favorite was “cletus the fetus.”

  124. I know a scientist couple who occasionally referred to theirs as “Brown & Jones 2004 in prep“.

    This is the best idea I’ve ever heard.

  125. My first was ‘bug’ throughout the pregnancy– and is still, een though she turns 9 this summer. Also sometimes Buglet or Buggles. She will occasionally get annoyed and ask me to stop, but always asks me to start again within 2 days. :)

    I don’t remember what I called my 2nd. /shrug

  126. Initially, they were “rice” and then “garbonzo”. Farther along, the first one was “little nemo”, second was “balthasar”.

    Speaking of children as food, my second one was your basic pre-raphaelite red-headed chunky cherub, who would have looked fabulous in a fancy casserole with vegetables around him and an apple in his mouth, a la suckling pig. Sadly, the two children came so close together I didn’t have the energy to set it up. I really regret it, that would have been a great photo.

    Also, I managed not to actually eat them, but just barely. Now, I have two little boys running around who apparently DID eat them.
    That was quick.

  127. My first son was “It” until he was big enough to kick the hell out of me all the time, then he was “Kicky McKickerson.” And my second son, with whom I had horrible nausea and morning sickness, was “The Barfinator,” or sometimes “Lord Barfington.”

    Hugs to Lindy. I hope your pregnancy ends soon, and the labor and delivery aren’t too arduous!

  128. One was Epiphany and one was Maybe (i had my sadly accurate doubts about the viability of that pregnancy) and one was Sid Vicious…. there were other names too, no doubt. Those are just the ones i remember.

    Now that i have three out of the womb, they’re often referred to as ‘The Larger’, ‘This One’, and ‘That One’. No one has made it into the freezer yet, but it’s a long way until any of them are 18….

  129. I told my DH early on that the embyro was the size of a sesame seed. He started calling him “Sesame” and it stuck. I had wanted to use “embryo” itself as a nickname!

    We also sometimes called him “the Nerdling” (we’re scientists). Still do, in fact.

    To all those who have posted about the ambivalence surrounding pregnancy and early parenthood, THANK YOU. I think it really needs to be discussed more. For me it helped a little to give myself permission to grieve for my old pre-baby life, while realizing that at the same time I didn’t have to want to go back to it. Went through a somewhat similar process when I got engaged, actually. Loss is a part of any big life change, even one that you welcome.

  130. My daughter was “excitement” before she was born. My son, being a poor neglected second child, was named by his sister. We brought the blobby ultrasound picture home and showed it to her and she said, “Oh, a ricecake!” So he was “ricecake.” But we’ve never put him in the freezer because, obviously, ricecakes go in the cupboard.

  131. Now that i have three out of the womb, they’re often referred to as ‘The Larger’, ‘This One’, and ‘That One’.

    Heh. My dad still refers to me as “Number 4.” When he’s not calling me by one of my sisters’ names.

  132. One of my labmates called her fetus “Swimmy” (and his name was picked at the last minute, so he was in some danger of getting that on the birth certificate. She also referred to him as an “endoparasite” who became an ectoparasite. He’s over a year old now and she definitely views him as a human.

    (Who knew? Scientists manage to reproduce despite calling their babies parasites!)

  133. Still reading through all of these great names. Recently, a few friends gave birth. One used “Peapod”, and the other, I believe, used “Buddha Barracuda”. Or, they may have been throwing that around as a possible baby name. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell with them.

  134. Hmm, well, when my sister-in-law was pregnant with my first nephew, he was nibblet, for little corn nibblet, and my second nephew was “the peanut.” Yeah, neither one of those kids is loved to distraction by parents or their auntie. Poor children having food nicknames. How could I have been so cruel? Positively dehumanizing.

  135. FWIW, wellroundedtype2, I don’t dock you any feminist points for enjoying being pregnant, or saying so. That’s what’s great about feminism, I think (and what I try to explain to people who hear “feminism” and think “screeching banshee with bizarre social agenda”): ideally, you get to acknowledge how you feel about and what significance you attach to the kind of major (and intensely personal) events that were previously considered not open to interpretation. You get to own your experience, as the sound bite goes.

  136. I’m gonna state the obvious and say that, reading over all these delightful in utero monikers, one of the things that bugs me the most about Lord Satan is that, whether he realizes it or not, with his weighty pronouncements about being serious about being pregnant, he’s trying to deprive women of a vital coping mechanism: humor! I mean, it might be nice if we could all watch in reverent awe as our bodies completely re-purpose for the larger portion of a year, but there’s a lot about pregnancy that’s best handled with a light touch, I think.

    I see a direct link with Christopher Hitchens and his lameass “women are too burdened by the gravitas of their awe-inspiring reproductive function to be truly funny” thesis.

  137. I feel like I lose my feminist/cool cred when I say this, but I really liked being pregnant, both times.

    No, you don’t! Being pregnant is awesome when you want to be pregnant.

    You’d only lose your feminist cool cred with me if you said “You’ll really like being pregnant” to someone else.

    So sorry about your miscarriage. That’s a sad loss.

  138. I know I used varying degrees of foetus, zygote etc etc with my other 2, and I can’t quite remember if they had any specific nickname… but my most recent 3rd baby was called “Slomo Rodriguez”. The Rodriguez being a Futurama reference which is tragic :D

    Because I had high-risk pregnancies it was always in the back of my mind not to get too attached. I felt a lot of guilt about it, but I don’t anymore, because I am a damn good mother and have all those fierce lioness instincts that someone who has named it ‘jellybean’ would.

  139. The only good fetus naming story I have is that one of my siblings was very firmly called Eggbert. My parents had been perturbed at my grandma and her “But when will I have another grandchild” rhetoric, and it apparently drove her batty when they offhandedly referred to the fetus as Eggbert one day. So of course it stuck, at least until they discovered it was a girl. Then it became Eggberta. I was too young to know, but apparently the eye-rolling from my grandma about this was legendary.

  140. We called our bub ‘the peanut’ because that’s what he looked like on the first ultrasound…hmmm…

  141. I’ve heard friends of mine call their in utero offspring “critter” or “The Parasite.”

    Only one has never wavered from “The Baby” of the child’s name. But she’s kind of a pain in the ass perfectionists alpha mommy type. (I mean no offense here, in case anyone is happy to be identified as a perfectionist alpha mommy.) The type who gets annoyed when several of us started calling another woman’s baby by a cute nickname, even though her actual mother thought it was awesome.

  142. Just realized I forgot the funniest one. My husband, in the course of a joke about eating babies, dubbed our friends’ unborn “Soup.” He’s almost two now, and I got a text message the other day from my friend telling me that she and Soup were coming for a visit. Yes, she refers to her toddler as “Soup.”

  143. When my friend was pregnant, I nicknamed her embryo Zod. She’d made some comment about being trapped in the phantom zone because it was early and she was afraid she’d lose it and/or something would go wrong.

    A friend of ours ran with it and made a blanket for him with the Superman logo on it. Heh.

  144. A friend of mine, whose nom d’Internet is Kass, started calling her in-utero kid Bean. So some people in our circle (*cough* me) started calling the kid Kassoulet.

  145. With out first we didn’t use a pet name. We had his name picked out early and called him Henry. With the one currently in mah belly I’m having a hard time calling him by his name, so instead we call him Flippy or It.

  146. I object to people with an anti-choice agenda referring to every blastocyst and fetus as a baby, but think its great if thats what a mama wants to say.

    Oh, this, definitely. It occurred to me after I posted my earlier comment that it would probably sound like I was saying women shouldn’t get to call their own fetuses babies if they want to, and that was totally not what I meant, so I had to come and clarify even if you weren’t talking to me specifically.

  147. The article was just offensive until the end when it became one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read: If you don’t have an ultrasound, you risk becoming a baby-killer. Right, because the baby’s movements and mother’s hormones are so much less real to a woman than a technician producing an eerie, watery shadow-like image on a tiny black & white screen. Yes, ultrasounds have become a strange sort of ritual for modern-day parents, and yes, for some parents, especially fathers because they don’t have direct experience of the baby, it does make it more real. But wow, how dismissive of the power of the pregnant body and psyche to assume that without a medical technician and an ink-blot of a vaguely humanoid figure with a monstrous head and tiny appendages, I just may kill my baby after it’s born. His assumptions are so simplistic it’s outrageous. No acknowledgment whatsoever of the social forces that bring women to kill their own babies. Nope, it’s all about what they call the baby and whether they have an ultrasound. Jesus.

    I also take issue with his using the word “denial” to describe what a woman feels toward a baby she doesn’t want, or by extension, what anyone feels who doesn’t see the baby as quite a person yet. What is denial to him is another person’s reality. I love my children more than my own life and I would kill anyone who tried to harm them. They are my number one priority from the time I’m aware I’m carrying them. But I don’t regard the death of a baby in utero or even shortly after birth as a tragedy or horror — except to the parents, if they feel it to be so. Buddy, that’s not denial, that’s a difference in philosophy and belief. “Denial” is the sort of convenient word you use to try to silence people who don’t agree with your faith- or emotion-based belief when you don’t have any actual evidence to make them believe. It’s about as clever as saying, “Well, that’s just… just… *wrong*.”

    To answer Kate’s question: I referred to my gestating mass of cells at all stages as “the baby”. It’s just my personality — I neither care for the technical and clinical, nor the cutesy terms of endearment. I know many people who wanted their babies very much, who did use the word “fetus”, as the doctors do. “Parasite” and “bean” are popular. Actually it seems like I’m in the minority with “baby”. I have to wonder how many “those who” women Saletan actually knows.

  148. I was Tonto and Yolanda, by turns (born pre-ultrasound.)

    My twin daughters were collectively the Tiny Parasites and the Rats, and individually were Watson and Crick (I did IVF.)

  149. I see a direct link with Christopher Hitchens and his lameass “women are too burdened by the gravitas of their awe-inspiring reproductive function to be truly funny” thesis.

    This is SUCH a good point. Just because Lord Satan and Hitch are so overawed by the fact that ladies have wombs doesn’t mean we all are walking around going “My god! I can reproduce!” all the time.

  150. Just because Lord Satan and Hitch are so overawed by the fact that ladies have wombs doesn’t mean we all are walking around going “My god! I can reproduce!” all the time.

    Well, I am. But still.

  151. Or, we can be psyched/awed/amazed by reproduction AND STILL HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT IT. Shocking!

  152. Yes, ultrasounds have become a strange sort of ritual for modern-day parents, and yes, for some parents, especially fathers because they don’t have direct experience of the baby, it does make it more real.

    Just listening to the heartbeat is enough to make it real for some fathers-to-be. I never had an ultrasound during my pregnancy, chiefly because I didn’t want anyone to know what genitalia my future sprog was going to have.

    SM: This is SUCH a good point. Just because Lord Satan and Hitch are so overawed by the fact that ladies have wombs doesn’t mean we all are walking around going “My god! I can reproduce!” all the time.

    Kate: Well, I am. But still.

    Dude needs to be taught the differences between modal verbs. Can != MUST.

    I look at the kiddo about every other day in complete awe that ZOMG I DID THAT. This recognition of my own power really doesn’t make me want to do it again. If it hadn’t been my choice to remain pregnant, I would have hated every step of the way (the pregnancy itself was an oops).

    Interesting how anti-choicers use what is one of women’s most powerful attributes, and one that is unique to us, and try to use it to entrap us.

    ALSO interesting how anti-choice dudes are convinced that we’re using our reproductive capabilities exclusively to ruin their lives. It would blow their little minds to know how very little is actually About Them. I mean, that’s a 20+ year commitment; I’m certainly not going to have any babies AT someone.

  153. I never realised how many people there are out there just like me! My children were called the zygote and the parasite while in utero, mostly, too – and as others have said, being coldly scientific about their stage of development at any given point was, for me, not a mark of detachment but a deliberate coping strategy in case we should have to deal with losing one of them, in which case I thought that the less emotional attachment, the better – although when I did actually have miscarriages later, I strangely found myself more keen to use words like “baby” in my effort to deal with how big a deal it actually was. Which just goes to show that trying to put one person’s reactions into boxes doesn’t even work, let alone expecting all women to react in the same way.

    Sympathy to everyone else who’s suffered pregnancy losses, especially Cat – I am so sorry. And best wishes to Lindy – actually I hope you are no longer here to read them, but if you are, I clearly remember being 11 days overdue with my second and being sure I would be the first woman in the history of the world to be pregnant for ever – it will end! And remember that at least at first, you can put the baby down, walk away and it can’t follow you, so you can always be alone when you need to, even if just for a few seconds. Once they learn to walk and can stalk you even to the bathroom, it’s a different story…

  154. Reading back over Lord S’s essay, I am really bugged by that ultrasound bit. Try to grok his reasoning, if I’m summarizing it properly: if you’re pregnant and bummed about it, for god’s sake get an ultrasound, so you really appreciate the seriousness of the situation. That way, if you still don’t want the pregnancy, you can get an abortion. If you don’t get an ultrasound, you risk remaining in denial, surprising the heck outta yourself by giving birth, and then panicking and doing something tragic and decidedly illegal and immoral. To review: get an ultrasound; you’ll be that much less likely to commit infanticide. Beg pardon?

  155. I don’t have kids, and hadn’t thought about this before, but if/when I get pregnant, I’m definitely going to call it “Rehab” because it’s the only thing that could get me to quit drinking.

  156. I’ve been letting this rattle around in my head a bit more.
    I definitely thought, the first pregnancy, of the growing something inside of me as a potential human being. Emphasis on potential. Because we firmly did not want to know (okay, I wavered and wanted to know at times) the sex. So, when people asked what we were having, I would say, a human being. This also was a little creepy, because it made me think, what if it’s an alien life form, or another animal growing inside of me? Pregnancy is really weird. Anyhow, I hope I don’t offend anyone by refering to the growing thing as “life” or “human” — words are so wonky — I really had this whole botany perspective when I had a miscarriage — not all seeds germinate, not all seeds grow, we are such a complex set of systems that it does feel miraculous when things actually come together AND it works in the realm outside of the womb for the life to come forth and settle in (and when it doesn’t, for whatever reason, abortion or adoption are alternatives).
    I have always wanted to be a mom, and have found the reality of it to be both better and worse than I imagined it.
    JupiterPluvis and Richelle — thanks for the normalizing and tent-widening. When friends tell me they are pregnant for the first time, I certainly don’t tell me, “you’ll love being pregnant.” My attitude is, wait and see, support and listen. It’s sometimes hard for me to listen to friends who are small-to-medium freak out about getting bigger, but that is their experience and part of what they don’t love about being pregnant.

    Partly what I loved about being pregnant and nursing is that I felt like such a mammal — not in the sense of biological determinism, but in the sense that humans are animals, that I’m descended not from a bit of clay* or a man’s rib**, but share DNA with bacteria and slugs and crickets and slow lorises and capybaras and platypuses and cheetas and bears and even bananas and cherries and swiss chard. Although, I felt a little less connected to swiss chard than, say, a momma bear nursing her cub.

    *Well, if you go really far back, I suppose that clay may have played a role.
    **Not slamming creation myths, just sharing my beliefs.

  157. We referred to my daughter as Bean through most of the first trimester. Once she became active, she got the nickname Hurricane. And in the second half of the third trimester we called her Melonhead, for reasons which I am sure will be obvious.

  158. Have no desire to reproduce myself, but when a good friend and his wife decided to have a go, somehow whenever we talked about the kid-to-be we got in the habit of referring to it as ‘the sprog’ and now even the kid’s grandparents use that in conversation. It’s a little weird, but funny. :) (I was living in the UK at the time, so I imagine that’s where I got it from.)

    As far as I am aware, the sprog has yet to be put into a freezer, oven, or any other otherwise unsuitable places. Though knowing the kid, it’s just a matter of time until he gets in someplace himself to see how it works. (He’s one of THOSE kids.)

  159. Had twins the first time, and carried them front and back so we never got a clear ultrasound picture of Baby B. (BTW, the doctor and ultrasound techs consistently called them A & B.) We knew that Bailey was a girl so she was named about mid-pregnacy. Her sister was only a “probable” girl until she was actually delivered, so they were Bailey and It until the big day.

    Little sister was also gender unknown, so big sisters named her “Stinkerbelle”.

    I like all of them and the only time they’re in the freezer is when they’re looking for ice cream. So far they’ve always come back out of their own accord.

  160. I’m definitely going to call it “Rehab” because it’s the only thing that could get me to quit drinking.

    Ha! I also think “Detox” is cute.

    BTW, the doctor and ultrasound techs consistently called them A & B


  161. I mean, that’s a 20+ year commitment; I’m certainly not going to have any babies AT someone.

    Cue bizarre mental image of firing babies into a crowd like a t-shirt cannon.

  162. Just because Lord Satan and Hitch are so overawed by the fact that ladies have wombs doesn’t mean we all are walking around going “My god! I can reproduce!” all the time.

    Whatever did women do before they had ultrasounds and Lord Satan to tell them what to do? It’s amazing there are any people around at all.

    I don’t have any great names, but in the last two years, eight of my colleagues (out of 27) have become parents. The fetii were inevitably named “Bean” or “Peanut” or “Gummi Bear” – all because of ultrasound pics. Even the prospective fathers did this! Why isn’t Lord Satan shaking his finger at them?

  163. I was fidget, according to my mother. Most active fetus ever. Unlike my sister, who was Alice, because the first time mum ever felt her kick was while listening to Alice Cooper.

    I dread to think what could have happened there if she was listening to something else at the time.

  164. I was “peanut” — which is, apparently, just as crashingly unoriginal as I thought — and my brother was “the beachball” and “Sophie” (that one was me; I really wanted a sister)

    I currently have no plans to reproduce, but it’s disturbing how easily I can imagine my potential genetic recipient being saddled with something like “Spawn” or “The Shape of Things to Come” well into puberty.

  165. I was Toadie (don’t know why). My mom was utterly convinced that I was going to be a boy- so convinced that she agreed to let my father call me “Frances Toadette” if I turned out to be a girl. Boy am I glad he didn’t hold her to that…

  166. [Kate, Bun was from Jim and me . ]

    Both my boys were “The Bun” and even though I had them in the oven for 42 and 41 weeks, respectively (I so feel your pain,Lindy), I have yet to transfer them to the freezer.

    At 15 and 12, they would no longer fit in any but the largest chest-style freezer, and I can’t lift them anymore, so I guess that ship has sailed.

  167. My parents and I called my little sister “algae” while in utero, because that was what Ramona Quimby called the occupant of her mother’s uterus. (I was a pretty geeky seven year old, come to think of it.)

  168. “Peanut,” which is embarrassingly cliched, I guess. When he was born, we were tempted to dry-roast, salt, and eat him, but we managed to control ourselves.

    The second one was dubbed “Sam,” by older brother. For unknown reasons.

  169. Just read Lindy’s post. As someone who puked and felt nauseated for the whole 9 months during each pregnancy, uh, yeah. It isn’t such a blissed-out-motherly-feminine-glow thing, is it? My body changed immediately and permanently, and there was a big mourning associated with it.

    Re: wanting to be alone – I so relate! And here’s a secret, horrible-mother tip: they will keep that baby in the nursery for you so you can sleep!

    Best to you. You’re not crazy; the expectations are.

  170. Some of these are hilarious!

    For the record, Mr. Dickweed, we DID name our first fetus and called him by his name all the way to the day I aborted him due to a fatal genetic disease. Sorry to harsh your mellow guys.

    Also? Fetus #2 that made it to my arms healthy and pink? He was “Critter McWiggly” until that day… I was afraid to name him.

    So take your theory and stick it in the freezer.

  171. Kate, Bun was from Jim and me .

    Ah. I thought that might be the case, but they all get muddled in my head. I’m pretty sure I know the actual names of the ones that belong to you, at least.

    Also, #1 was more overdue than #2? I recall being there past #2’s due date but before his birth, and you had me convinced it was the longest pregnancy in recorded history. Also, my favorite memory from that time is of me sitting on your porch, drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette, and you stepping outside just long enough to say, “I could KILL YOU for both of those right now.” Even though you hadn’t smoked in 10 years or so.

    Pregnancy sounds awesome.

  172. Thing 1 was “squidget,” Thing 2 was “whatzit.”

    There have been a few times I wished I could put them in cryogenic suspension for a few hours, but so far the freezer has only been used for housing chicken nuggets.

  173. I’m childfree, but I just had my first niece. My mother called it the grandfetus the entire time. This may be the only grandchild she ever has, so she was and is thrilled about it. No freezer in that kid’s future.

  174. I referred to both of my kidlets (boy,6 and girl,2) as “The Parasite” when they were in utero. I had a former friend who thought it was “the most horrible thing in the world” to call them but everyone else found it amusing

  175. I know I’m way late to this party but I just have to add mine!

    When I was in utero, my parents called me Icabod, and my little sister was Zaphod.

    Yeah, I guess I never really had a hope as far as the geek genes!

  176. My cousin is pregnant and she refers to the bump as ‘jerkwad’.

    As in, ‘OW! Hey, jerkwad, don’t hurt mommy,’ or ‘Hey jerkwad, quitcher squirmin’ or I’m comin’ in there after you.’

  177. my MIL waited a long time for us to get pregnant, and when we finally announced we were expecting, she started bombarding me with potential names

    then one weekend we went over for a visit and she said “I have a new name for you.” I tried not to wince as i said “yeah? what is it?”

    “Hambone,” she said. And thus my son’s nickname was born.

    3 yrs later, he was joined by baby sister “Pork Chop”

    BTW – my husband and his family are from Iowa

  178. A friend referred to her growing bub as “the Ninja”. For what should be reasonably obvious reasons :)

    Generally, I refer to friend’s growing bellies as “the muchkin-to-be”.

  179. In my family, all fetuses/babies are referred to as Mark. This is because my Grandfather had four sons and named all of them Mark. (All but the youngest go by their middle names.)

    My flatmate called hers Algie – as in “Algie went walking, Algie met a bear, the bear was bulgy, the bulge was Algie”

  180. My middle brother and I referred to our youngest brother (born when I was six and he was three and a half) as ‘Bonzo Biffer’. We lobbied hard for this to be his name after birth as well, but he got Hugo Aelred instead. : )

  181. My sister is due to have her second child at Christmas. She’s calling it Tinsel for the moment. The first one was Caspar (the friendly ghost) initially and later on was called Grasshopper.

  182. This little gentleman was “Bean” when he was still fetal. However, he had another nickname. You see, my mom is of the same opinion as Mr. Saletan about the word fetus, but I am very scientific. I’d refer to Ganon as “fetus” and my mom would flip out.

    Hillary: “Well, okay…he’s a precious grandfetus!”

    It was my FAVORITE game when I was pregnant. Torment the grandmother.

  183. @valerie:
    What if the guy had a “sympathetic pregnancy” (the fancy-name-because-it’s tough-for-a-guy-to-tell-his-coworkers-he’s-pregnant is Couvade syndrome)? According to wikipedia,

    ‘Couvade syndrome is a medical/mental condition which “involves a father experiencing some of the behavior of his wife at near the time of childbirth, including her birth pains, postpartum seclusion, food restrictions, and sex taboos”‘

    Would it then be accurate to say we’re pregnant, since his pain won’t go away until yours does (i.e. when ‘Cletus the Fetus”–best name ever–comes out of you)?

  184. I don’t remember calling my first child anything but “the baby.” With the second, however, hubby had consulted this radio guy (Spike O’Dell, Chicagoans) who did the Chinese birthing chart which determined that the baby was a girl. “Mad about you” was the hit comedy of the day and they named their baby “Mabel”, which we used for the 9 months, and only picked out girl names. After the birth we had to make the poor birth certificate lady come back about 3 times before we decided on a name. Kevin is now 11.
    And yes, that maternal, in-love-with-the-baby feeling didn’t kick in with me until a bit after the birth, when it did with a vengeance.

  185. My best friends are married to each other, and they had their first child two and a half years ago. While he was in utero, the father, who is an enormous Aliens fan, started calling him Newt, and it stuck. Now they call him Bug. The reason they didn’t keep calling him Newt was that they were saving that nickname for his little sister, who was born in May. They named her Rebecca, after the mother’s mother, who died several years ago. And in Aliens, the real name of the little girl called Newt is… Rebecca.

  186. Being particularly sensitive to the way words sound, I’ve always despised the word “fetus”. It’s kind of like “vagina”. They are just ugly words to me; not because of what they mean, but the way that they sound and the images they evoke. I prefer the word “embryo” over “fetus”; it’s descriptive but sounds less like chalk grating on a blackboard. And it doesn’t evoke images of some skinny guy in cleats and a toga named Cletus the Fetus. When using the word “embryo” I get the picture of the actual thing being described.

    No one has come up with a decent sounding name for “vagina” (or penis, for that matter) imho except maybe “delta of Venus”. I’m just weird, what can I say. Biology just tends toward the most horrible sounding words for names because they rely on Latin. Latin is for the most part very grating.

    Thanks for the giggles, ladies. The optional names are fantastically creative.


  187. We called my son “the tyrant”, because if I didn’t do exactly what was required (i.e. eat every two hours and sleep for 10 hours a night, sit down when I felt tired, etc) I would feel sick. My last pregnancy failed and in moments of crazy-grief I felt it was because I called/thought of it as the name we had picked out.

    I’m pregnant now, I’m calling it squishy because I’ve lost two and I hope this one sticks.

  188. I called my (now 16-year-old) daughter “Little Murgatroyd,” “Murky” for short. (Get it? I was a wit in my day. Murky = unclear as to gender. Argh.)

    I also made a baby-shower card featuring “Murky Murk and the Fetal Bunch.” No lie :D

  189. I suspect we would call it “parasite”. Or “kidlet”. “Peanut” is the bad dog, so that’s out. “Little one” would probably work too.

    Part of my problem is, working in a veterinary hospital, all the cute-nicknames-for-small-creatures are associated with critters for me. If I call the fetus the wrong thing, I could end up spaying/neutering it and sticking an ecollar on it!

  190. I called both my son and my daughter, ‘my little parasite” while pregnant. People gave me looks, and not always nice ones, though.

  191. Whoops–I was just reading over the Bacardi kerfuffle and realized I used “lameass” as a pejorative upstream. Let’s substitute…hm…ludicrous. Great thing about English–if you decide not to use a word, always plenty of synonyms!

  192. We’re going through IVF which means that any babies we have will have spent some time in deep freeze. As a means of coping with the inevitable hopes and disappointments of IVF, we’ve given each attempt a Borg-like designation (“One of Ten” for the first embryo implanted from the harvesting of 10 eggs, etc) while my womb is referred to as The Maturation Chamber. We want a child very much but we have to regard each attempt as merely a possible life or we would not be able to cope emotionally with the frequent disappointments. Some of the women who are going through IVF are emotional basket cases after each failed cycle, which paradoxically means that their next attempt is even less likely to succeed. I am sure Lord Saletan would be one of those people who doesn’t get how our jokes are a means of dealing with the fears and uncertainty that many of us experience.

  193. Excellent thread! No peanuts of my own, but a couple I know called theirs Zorg, which I think is a very fine name of the alien variety. (I think they switched to Zorgina when they found out it was a girl.)

    When a close friend had her baby, I referred to those first few “bundle of needs” months as the “grub stage.” Thought she would be offended, but she absolutely agreed!

    Best wishes to MargB — a friend of ours had at least three difficult rounds of IVF before it worked — now she and her husband have lovely twin boys, almost three years old.

  194. I’m currently pregnant, and it depends.

    I use “the baby” or Baby, and occasionally embryo/fetus. Now that we’ve gotten a good idea of the gender, and since we’ve picked out a name, he tends to use the name we’ve picked when we’re talking to each other.

    I also use LC (love child) and Babat (baby batter – baking a cake kind, not swing batter swing).

    I did celebrate Fetus Day, around the likely time when the embryo “graduated”.

    Despite calling it a baby, we were committed to a termination if the prenatal testing had come back with serious issues. Of course, that might break Saletan’s brain, so probably best not to mention it.

  195. Man, I’m loving all the fetal names. We, too, called the first “Cletus the Fetus” until she was clearly shown to be female, at which point she became Cleo. It still sounds like a character name on a happy little fifties show. It should come with a themesong.

  196. Speaking of children, I just happed to turn on Maury, and today’s topic is about obese children. I couldn’t change the channel fast enough.

  197. My friend’s mom has one sister, and their mom refers to the older one as “Mama Peepee” and the younger as “Mama Doodoo” which is kind of unfortunately gross, but hilarious at the same time.

  198. Spud. I still call my kids Spud from time to time, and they know why. They think it’s cute and kind of funny. Also that I’m weird. You know why I felt no impulse to harm them when they were born? Because they were WANTED babies. Also, because my blood chemistry didn’t go wonky. Reducing a tragic incident to a way to scold women for the way they regard their pregnancies is despicable.

  199. Ha! Wish I hadn’t been out of town and could’ve jumped on this fluff earlier!

    My husband and I plan to have kids, but we’re just getting to the point where we’re starting to try for one. Over the years of planning, we started out calling it Hypothetical Spawn. Then it became Unnamed Spawn. Now it’s Nameless Spawn. In fact, we’ve been calling it that for so long now that when (I hope soon) the hypothesis actually becomes a fetus, we’re considering giving it a name with the initials NS. (Which could be Nameless OR Named Spawn. See how that works? Ha!)

    My friend who recently had twins called her kids The Parasites while they were in the oven.

  200. I called my son parasite, zygote, symbiote, and the little lima bean of love, from time to time. His main nickname, though, was Lump, from the Presidents of the United States of America song. After he was born, he became Noodle. He was very much wanted.

  201. We called them both “The Squid.” I no longer remember why–a vague sense of a squishy salt-water dweller, I guess.

    Neither has ever been in danger of freezer burn.

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