When you name a baby you never really can tell if they will love it or hate it in adulthood. Go for unusual and they could hate standing out. Go for a common name and they could grow up disliking being one of many.
Such is the experience of one Mumsnet user named Louise, who has asked for advice about changing her own name aged in her early 40s.
She writes, "My name is Louise. I have always hated it as it is so common amongst women my age (born late 70s). There were four of us called Louise in my class at school. There are several Louise's at my new workplace. My children have more unusual names as I didn't want them to suffer the same fate! Would it be unreasonable to consider changing my name now? Or would it just be too difficult to get my friends and family to adjust to a new name?"
It's a fair question and many of us have at one time or another, considered a name change only to realise family might be offended or have difficulty adjusting.
The first respondents ask if she has a middle name she could use, adding that it is straightforward to change a name.
She replies, "Thank you for your responses. I do have a middle name but it is also very common! My family probably would be a bit upset, which is something I need to take into account. There are lots of names I like, but they are probably a bit too unusual, such as Tuesday, Velvet and Aurelia. Maybe something that sounds cheerful and friendly. Molly?"
One commenter has a good suggestion. "My friend Louise goes by the name Elle (L) for social media so her clients can't look her up. Would using the first letter sound as a modification work for you?"
The OP responds, "Using the L sound, like Elle, is an interesting idea that I hadn't thought of."
Other commenters agreed that keeping the new name to something similar to Louise would makes things easier. Names like Louella and Lucy.
Then the more interesting reasons behind the desire for a name change emerge.
She continues, "I've had a lot of therapy over the past couple of years and have begun to realise I can make decisions for myself and not stick to other people's rules all the time. Wanting to change my name probably stems from that, as it's bothered me for years but it has only recently occurred to me that I could actually do something about it!"
A person also with a very common name relates to the OP's situation.
"When we had our children in the late 90's, we went with incredibly unique names. DD is one of 2 I have ever come across, and DS is the only one I have ever come across. This includes online, as well. I totally understand your situation! Do what feels right, you are the one who answers to it, not anyone else."
Many encouraged the OP to make her own decision.
"Change it to whatever you want. Life is incredibly short, make the choice and go for it!"
"Do it OP, I think it will be empowering to take control of this part of your identity."
Others thought it would be too much of a stretch.
"It's ridiculous to change your name at your age, whatever it happens to be. Everyone you know already will just feel totally awkward calling you by a different name, and are likely to slip up very frequently."
Amid the variety of opinions, the OP says, "Thank you all so much for your ideas and responses. It has given me a lot to think about."
Let's hope she updates the thread with her final decision. Louise or not, we hope she's well on her way to making her own rules.