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New Mom Shamed By In-Laws For Naming Infant Son After Her Father Instead Of Husband’s Dad

grandfather holding newborn grandchild
Robert Lang Photography/Getty Images

I’m named after two of my Grandmothers. It’s not a strict family tradition—occasionally, someone would be named after someone else.

But my parents decided all three of their daughters would have both first and middle names from the women in their families.

The women who were still living when we were born were flattered, but no one demanded or asked our parents to give one of us their name. Maybe it would have been different if we were boys.

What if a family member demands to be given a namesake? What if the family member you want as a namesake just wants to make you happy?

Do you give in on your choice or stand your ground?

New parents dealing with name drama for their newborn male twin—whose twin sister’s name isn’t controversial—turned to the “Am I The A**hole” subReddit for feedback.

Adept_Juggernaut_231 asked:

“AITA for naming my son after my father instead of my father-in-law (FIL)?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I (26, female) recently had twins with my husband Harry (30, male). I love my babies so much, but the labour was a nightmare.”

“It was extremely traumatic for my husband and I, and we’ve agreed that we are definitely not having anymore kids.”

“I was labouring for two days and throughout the process we kept our families updated. When they were finally able to visit, my parents and my in-laws came to see us.”

“Everyone was fussing over the babies and my poor husband who only had about 4 hours sleep for the whole two days was napping. My dad, however, sat by me first and just held my hand for a bit.”

“When I told him to go get some cuddles in with the twins, he said ‘I’m here to see my baby’ meaning me. It was honestly so sweet and I started tearing up.”

“I nearly started full-on bawling my eyes out when he said that to me.”

“I didn’t even realise how invisible I felt when my husband was sleeping and my dad was there to make sure I was also being taken care of. He took me down to the hospital cafe and we had breakfast together while the babies were with everyone else.”

“I kept thinking about what my dad did for the next few days, and I decided that I would give my newborn son my father’s name as his middle name. My husband was totally on board with this.”

“However, this is where the problem began.”

“We knew my FIL would be pretty pissed at this. He always wanted a grandson named after him, but it’s pretty clear now he won’t get one.”

“He has two sons—my husband and his younger brother—and my brother-in-law (BIL) is gay and currently says he doesn’t want to adopt kids in the future. My FIL is also one of those people who cares about ‘bloodlines’, so I don’t think he’d want an adopted grandson named after him—f*cked up, I know.”

“The other twin is a girl and he wanted a grandson to be named after him specifically. In our culture it’s not normal to name your child after yourself so it’s pretty common for most people to have a grandchild named after them instead.”

“People don’t tend to name their kids after themselves in our culture. My husband has the male version of his grandma’s name and my BIL has a name with a meaning his mother liked with no family connection.”

“My husband has a complicated relationship with his father, so he wasn’t comfortable naming our son after him. But we agreed to give them the same initials, so they’d both be AHD.”

“I’ve always felt that multiple middle names felt a bit clunky. I personally have three middle names and it’s a bother on forms when I have to put them all down.”

“The babies do have FIL’s surname.”

“We were gonna hyphenate because I chose to keep my maiden name, but the in-laws asked us not to. My parents also thought us hyphenating would be a bit odd—not done at all in our culture—but they said if that’s what we wanted, they wouldn’t care.”

“FIL accepted this, but when he found out we were switching the middle name for my father, he lost his mind. He said that this was something he always wanted and we were throwing it in his face by giving the baby my father’s name as his middle name.”

“Basically, we were going to give our son the same initials as FIL (AHD) since my husband was uncomfortable with our son having any form of my FIL’s name in his name. My father’s name starts with an F, so now my son will have the initials AFD instead of AHD like FIL, and that’s part of why he is pissed.”

“I tried to explain why, but he cut me off and said that it was absurd to expect someone to check on me when there were babies that had just been born and my father shouldn’t be rewarded for ‘ignoring his grandchildren’.”

“I tried to explain that it was more than just the moment because my dad has been my best friend for my whole life, but he didn’t want to hear it.”

“Mother-in-law (MIL) is saying we are a**holes for doing this because my dad doesn’t care about any grandchildren being named after him, but FIL has always wanted it.”

“According to her, we are taking something away from him just because my dad chose to do something ‘unusual’ which to them was ignoring the babies until he was satisfied with me being okay.”

“My BIL and my husband are such nice guys and very gentle and then my FIL is this macho tough guy. Their mother is very no nonsense and rule abiding, so I don’t know how they turned out so different from their parents, but eternally grateful.”

“He did not ignore the kids, he got plenty of cuddles in when we got back from breakfast. My dad is honoured by our choice, but thinks we shouldn’t have done it because of what it means to FIL.”

“He doesn’t think we should give in to FIL. He doesn’t believe in rewarding FIL’s behaviour.”

“He thinks that we shouldn’t name the baby after him because it’ll upset FIL, but at the end of the day he said he’ll be happy with whatever we do.”

“At this rate, even my husband is suggesting we go ahead and hyphenate the names anyway. My husband is an angel, I don’t know what I’d do without him.”

“We haven’t registered the births yet, so we can still do it.”

“We’re in the UK, so we book an appointment with the registry office to register the births and officially name the child. Usually happens within a month after the birth, and then we get a year to make any changes we’d like before it’s set in stone.”


The OP summed up their situation.

“I may be the a**hole for giving my son my father’s first name as his middle name. This is because FIL has always wanted us to name our son after him.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“So if you named your son after your FIL, you’d be doing so simply to appease an a**hole. Not because he’s good and kind and someone you want your child to emulate, but because he’s a bully accustomed to forcing others to do his bidding.”

“And let’s take that further. Assume you did name your son after him.”

“Does it end there? Or does FIL feel he now exerts some influence and control over your son.”

“Your in-laws sound awful and they don’t get a say in how you name your child.”

“As an aside, we didn’t name either of our sons after my dad who really was a wonderful man. We didn’t because my FIL really expected we’d name our oldest after him and would have sh*t himself if we’d named either kid after my dad.”

“My FIL’s name is terrible, and burdening a kid with that name would be an injustice, AND he’s just not that great a guy. But the amazing entitlement of assuming he deserved my kid as his namesake?”

“I have regrets about not naming one of my sons after my dad. Be better than me. Stick to your guns. NTA.” ~ Salt-Lavishness-7560

“Honestly, OP did both of her children a favor by not naming them after the FIL. The poor kid with the name would be hounded and harassed to ‘live up to his bloodline,’ and the other would forever be a reject.”

“My dad had this whole ‘son to carry on my name’ thing that he never got to realize until the birth of my nephew. It became pretty clear early on that he thought a son would prove how superior he was by accomplishing all the things my dad ‘could’ have done if he’d just had the right support.”

“It was a surprise to no one but him that my nephew was as much of a hard-headed little sh*t as a kid as he was. My dad had spent the last 50 years telling himself that ‘but for his parents’ he’d have been a king of industry.”

“Now having said that, I love my nephew. And he’s pretty bright.”

“But no, the reason neither he nor my dad was a star athlete while also valedictorian who deferred to his father in all things is that running sucks, literally everything is more fun than homework, and sometimes kids and parents are a-holes.”

“The name had nothing to do with it.” ~ misoranomegami

“NTA and I have fallen slightly in love with your dad. What a touching moment for you to have shared and I’m sorry it’s being tainted by your FIL.”

“I’m glad your husband is supporting you.” ~ amijustinsane

“NTA. If your FIL wanted a baby named after him so badly, he could have given his name to one of his own kids. Your baby, your choice. As long as you and your husband agree on the name, everyone else can mind their own business.” ~ KittikatB

“If dude wants a kid named after him so bad, maybe he could be the kind of guy that makes people want to name their kid after him.” ~ legal_bagel

The OP later added:

“Just a tiny update.”

“We have stuck with my father’s name for my son’s middle name and went back to our original plan of hyphenating our surnames for both the twins.”

“Until about two days ago, we agreed to give the babies FIL and my husband’s surname. But after all of this drama, we changed our minds.”

“FIL is pissed, but who cares?”

“Not me.”

“If we decide to get another pet—we have two cats—we’ll definitely consider FIL’s name.”

It sounds like OP and her husband have things sorted out.

As for OP’s in-laws, as one Redditor put it, if her father-in-law wanted a child named after him, he should have been the kind of person people want to name a child after.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.