Nova Scotia girl discovers her legal name was Baby for 12 years

A 12-year-old girl from Liverpool, N.S., found out her legal name was Baby when she recently went to a provincial Vital Statistics office to get a birth certificate.

Rowan Goulden only discovered the issue when she was in the process of applying for a passport

Rowan Goulden says she could've picked an entirely new name, but decided to stick with the one she'd been going by for 12 years. (Submitted by Shawna Goulden)

A 12-year-old girl from Liverpool, N.S., only found out her legal name was Baby when she recently went to a provincial Vital Statistics office to get a birth certificate.

Rowan Goulden is planning to spend Easter in Cuba, but didn't have the official documentation she needed to apply for a passport. 

Her mother says she never got around to getting a birth certificate after her daughter was born. But neither of them expected that would have a lasting impact.  

"The woman went over everything and she said, 'She's just listed as Baby Goulden. She doesn't have a birth registration,' and I said, 'What?'" Shawna Goulden said.

"We just sort of stood there with our mouths hanging open. [I said] 'Oh my God, you've been Baby for 12 years."  

Baby Goulden

Rowan Goulden says she could have picked a new name, but decided to stick with her own since it's the name her father chose. 

"I'm not really the person to have extreme reactions, but I guess then I did cause I'm like, 'How could you do this to me, Mommy?'" Rowan Goulden said.

Now she says the story will be "a good conversation starter."

"In the future when I have a job, I'll just bring it up some time when I'm having coffee," she said.

The good news, the Gouldens say, is they were able to fix her name at Vital Statistics the same day. Her mother said she had to get a paper signed with her junior high school registration to prove her identity.

Shawna Goulden said she thinks there could be more people out there unintentionally named Baby. She doesn't remember if anyone at the hospital asked for her daughter's name after the birth. She said it was a confusing time due to it being a difficult birth.

"I'm not sure if we filled out the papers and they got lost," she said. 

"I'm usually on top of things like that, but who knows?"

Goulden's mom, Shawna Goulden, is now wondering if there could be other people out there named Baby who don't know it. (Submitted by Shawna Goulden)

Too young for Dirty Dancing

Ironically, even before the incident, Baby was actually a nickname for Rowan.

"On the way back and forth between [Liverpool] and Halifax, there were a lot of jokes," Shawna Goulden said. 

But she says there are no immediate plans to watch Dirty Dancing with her daughter, a movie famous for the line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," in reference to a character of the same name. 

"The woman at Vital Statistics, she actually said that to Rowan, she said 'well, nobody is going to put you in a corner,' and I said, 'I don't want her to watch Dirty Dancing.'"

Rowan Goulden was eventually able to get her passport in time for her southern holiday.

Because the incident happened on Feb. 29, she plans to celebrate her name every leap year. 


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