Mum tells of own Kylie Jenner-style baby name backflip months after birth: ‘A problem forever’

When it came to naming her newborn baby girl, Carri Kessler didn’t hesitate.

There was only one name she and her husband agreed on, and they both loved it: Ottilie.

WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: Kylie Jenner changes her son’s name

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“I have a friend in the UK named Ottilie and it’s beautiful, and ever since I heard that name I’ve wanted to use it,” Carri told TODAY.

But saying it out loud was a different story.

“We started to get cold feet,” Carri says of the moments after they welcomed their daughter when people began to ask what her name was.

“So, we’re in the hospital and we’re just not saying it. We started Googling other names that we should use – like, ‘Is she Hazel? I don’t know! ‘”

Carri started to get ‘cold feet’ after naming her baby. Credit: Supplied via NBC

Despite their last-minute panic, they decided to shake off their doubts and just go for it.

“Then the nurse came in and asked what her name was, and we said,‘ Ottilie, ’” Carri remembers with a laugh.

“And she was like, ‘What?'”

That was just the beginning.

“No one could remember it and no one could pronounce it,” Carri says.

“I was like, ‘If you say it with a British accent, it sounds really good!’ And people said, ‘But you’re from Maryland.’ ”

Anytime anyone got her name, I kind of cringed

She knew she was really in trouble six weeks later, when her grandmother Revealed she still couldn’t remember the name.

“She said,‘ I don’t know how to say her name. I have Post-its all over the house so I can remind myself, ”Carri recalls.

“And I was like, f ***. We’re f *****. We’re totally f *****. ”

To her dismay, it just kept getting worse.

“Anytime anyone got her name, I kind of cringed,” she says.

“Introducing her made me sweat. And I thought we’re going to keep having to introduce her! This is going to be a problem forever. ”

Regretting baby name choice

While it might not be the most common occurrence, plenty of parents find themselves in Carri’s situation – regretting their baby name choice and wondering what to do.

Kylie Jenner is one of those of us – with the star Revealing in March that her newborn son’s name “isn’t Wolf anymore.”

“We just really didn’t feel like it was him,” the star explained.

“I think it’s something that happens more often now than it did a generation ago,” Pamela Redmond Satran, co-founder of, tells

“Parents care a lot more and think a lot more about names now than they did back then, and agonize a lot more about names than they did say in the mid-’80s.”

Carri started ‘cringing’ when she had to introduce her baby.
Carri started ‘cringing’ when she had to introduce her baby. Credit: Supplied via NBC

Writer Kelcey Kintner suffered a baby name regret almost a decade ago when her daughter was born, and wrote a post for her blog, The Mama Bird Diariesabout the experience – one that still resonates today.

“I literally get an email a week from parents,” she told TODAY.

“I feel for them because they don’t know what to do. I remember feeling like that. ”

Much like Carri, Kelcey’s second thoughts surfaced almost immediately.

“I knew within a week or two that I didn’t like my daughter’s name,” she said.

“And it wasn’t so much that I didn’t like the name, I just didn’t like it for her.

“I would look at her and I would know that was not her name.”

Change the name

She remembers confiding in a friend who opened her eyes to an option she hadn’t considered: She could just change the name.

“I was like,‘ People do that ?! ’” Kelcey says.

“You need permission. It’s OK. It’s possible to make the wrong decision. ”

These days, she finds herself offering that same Counsel to distraught parents across the internet, who email her looking for her advice.

“New motherhood can be a very lonely place in general, and if you don’t like your child’s name, you just like to suddenly feel so alone,” she says.

“Now people want to know that they’re normal, that they’re not crazy. And they’re not! ”

Kelcey Kintner and her daughter, Summer
Kelcey Kintner and her daughter, Summer Credit: Supplied via NBC

After three months of ever-mounting unease, Carri broached the conversation with her husband Will.

She found out, to her surprise, that she was “right on board” with changing little Ottilie’s name to something a little easier to write on a cup at Starbucks.

Her Instincts were doubly confirmed when she reached out to her mum to float the possibility and found out that her family gave the idea a unanimous thumbs-up.

“Then we were like,‘ This is so exciting, we can rename her! ’” She says.

“All we did was talk about names. Is she this? Is she that? I felt like she was anything simple that wouldn’t give me anxiety. ”

While they’d kept their name choice pretty quiet the first time around, this time, Kessler says she ran her final two contenders past “799,383 people” and ultimately took a sign from the universe – in the form of a friendly barista.

The coffee maker offered his opinion – to rename her baby Margot.

But how to tell all the friends and family – especially the ones that had flooded their house with personalized gifts?

Carri's kids, Hadley (who was named without incident) and Margot.
Carri’s kids, Hadley (who was named without incident) and Margot. Credit: Supplied via NBC

“That is People’s biggest concern – the reaction of other people,” Kelcey says.

“And it’s so much less awkward than it seems. People are so focused on their own lives.

“You’re like, ‘We’re changing our daughter’s name,’ and people are like, ‘Oh, ok, let me post another selfie on Facebook.'”

Not a big deal

Sure enough, once Carri and her husband had made their decision, spreading the word turned out to be a much smaller deal than they’d imagined.

“We sent out a mass email,” she says.

“It was like, ‘Hey! Remember Ottilie? Her name’s Margot now. ”

The reaction has been very positive, and the transition is most seamless – though they don’t intend to try to pretend it never happened.

“I honestly think she’ll be like, ‘Why do we have a bench that says Ottilie?’ I feel like it’s a good story for her. It will be part of her lore, ”Carri says, noting that while now people have switched to calling her daughter Margot, she does have a friend who calls her Nottilie – as in,“ Not Ottilie ”.

“I honestly take her out now so people can ask her what her name is and I can tell them it’s Margot,” she says.

“It’s a great thing. It’s really taken a lot of stress out of my life. ”

Advice for parents struggling with baby names

For parents struggling with baby name regret, Satran says it’s important to act fast – she says the “Absolute cutoff” for a change is one year – and not to get stuck obsessing over options.

“Sometimes I want to say to parents, ‘Just pick something!’ Whether you name her Jennifer or Gentry or Eugenia, it’s not really going to determine how good her life is, ”she says.

“You can overthink it too, because every name has advantages and disadvantages, and it can really be impossible.”

As for Carri, when all was said and done, she went back to the original Ottilie who had inspired the choice and asked what the name had been like for her.

“She was like,‘ Yeah my name has been really character-building, ’” Carri says.

“And I was like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me that before ?!’

“I feel like life is character-building. She doesn’t need a character-building name as well. ”


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