Being pregnant means you’re never, ever, stuck for small talk.

People seemed fascinated. How was it affecting my sleeping pattern? My eating habits? My ankles, career and travel plans all became topics of discussion.

It wasn’t that I’d suddenly become more interesting.

It was simply that, when there’s a lovely round baby belly on a person, it seems wrong to ignore it. Rude, even.

And so the one question everyone asked, at some point, was – do you have a name picked out?

Innocent enough. But I couldn’t bring myself to tell. Not even my nearest and dearest. Why?

Because of a niggling doubt in the back of my mind.

What if no-one else likes it?

Deep down, I knew other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter. That whatever name we chose would be perfect (and my child would probably hate it, anyway).

But I also knew that I myself have asked the question before – and yes, I’ve judged.

We’ve ALL judged the fruit-inspired names of celebrity offspring. Oh, yes we have.

So how would I handle a barely concealed snigger? A raised eyebrow?

Or even out-and-out ridicule? The sort my child might face in the playground one day?

And then there’s always the possibility that someone might like it a little too much. As in, they might steal it for a pet or something (admittedly, pregnancy made me a little paranoid).

So I’d ask us all to remember, when we hear a new name, that the mum-to-be might have had it picked out from childhood.

It might be the name of a relative or friend who has passed away.

It might have a special meaning beyond our understanding.

Or it might be a work in progress, you just never know.

Identity is something we all grow into, at our own pace and on our own terms.

The name given to a child isn’t a label to live up to for the rest of the world. It is simply the first word of their very own story.

So please, shout it from the rooftops. Don’t ever feel you should be keeping mum.

Leigh Mencarini is a 34-year-old journalist from Warwickshire and has two sons; Ethan, almost three, and Owen, four months.

Leigh Mencarini is a 34-year-old journalist from Warwickshire and has two sons; Ethan, almost three, and Owen, four months.