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New Mom Called Out For Picking Inappropriate Baby Name To Honor Her Late Grandmother

woman holding infant
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Parents can get pretty creative when it comes to naming their children.

People think it’s a recent phenomenon somehow influenced by social media and “those crazy millennials,” but Baby Boomers were the ones who spent time as beatniks, hippies and various other counterculture radicals in the 1950s-1970s.

Nature based names like Rainbow, Tree, River, Ocean, Meadow and the like became very popular.

In the late 60s and early 70s, nonconforming rocker Frank Zappa named his daughters Moon Unit and Diva Muffin. His two sons got the comparatively mainstream names Ian Donald Calvin Euclid and Ahmet Emuukha Rodan.

But Ian Zappa would have his legal name changed at age five to his nickname Dweezil. According to his mother Gail, she and Frank told the delivery nurse his name was Dweezil, but the hospital refused to put it on his birth certificate so Frank rattled off a list of some of his fellow musicians instead.

At the same time hippies and beatniks were looking to nature for inspiration, Black parents began embracing names with African roots and creating unique names as a way to split off from WASP cultural norms.

So while unique names or unusual spellings are common among the children of Gen X and millennials, they didn’t create the trend. And names not popular since the 1900s to 1950s are actually making a comeback in the 21st century.

But what happens when a parent likes the sound of a word, but it has a less than desirable meaning?

Typhus, Rubella, Varicella and Lassa might all roll off the tongue, but they’re actually infectious diseases.

So when a new mom decided she liked a word viewed as an insult as a name for her daughter, her sister tried to convince her to reconsider but was unsuccessful.

When the choice blew up in mom’s face, she blamed the sister who warned her. Wondering if she was culpable, the sister turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Excellent_Fishing_Bo asked:

“AITA for not warning my sister ‘enough’ about her choice of baby name?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My (26, female) grandmother passed away eight months ago. Her name was Charlotte, but she was known by everyone as Nana Lottie. Her loss has devestated our family beyond words.”

“In honour of Nana Lottie, my sister (19, female) wanted to name her newborn baby girl (1 week) something which could have the nickname Lottie. She did not like Charlotte, so there had been lots of brainstorming for different names which could still have Lottie as a nickname.”

“In her third trimester, my sister came to me and told me that she had decided on Harlot. This is because it is easy to say, easy to spell, and has the nickname Lottie.”

“I told her this was the bad idea to end all bad ideas and asked if she had Googled the word. She said that she had, but ‘no one would make the connection’ because it is such an uncommon word in day-to-day life.”

“I did suggest naming her Lottie, but she didn’t want her child to be named a nickname. She wanted something proper for legal documents.”

“I recommended choosing something else, but she was firm and got so upset about me not liking the name that she stopped talking to me for about a week. So, I left it alone.”

“Now, baby Harlot was born and an announcement went up on Facebook. She specifically said, ‘In honour of Nana Lottie, I am pleased to introduce Baby Harlot (nickname Lottie)’.”

“To say the family lost their minds would be an understatement. People were so upset that Nana Lottie was now being associated with the word ‘Harlot’, and a lot of the extended family have said that they will not meet this child because they couldn’t face the situation.”

“My sister reached out to me to cry, but when I said that I had tried to warn her, she got really upset and said that I hadn’t warned her enough. I should have kept trying in different ways, and I should have ‘forced [her] to listen’.”

“I don’t really know what that means, but now my mom (56, female) is on her side as well saying that hormones lead to bad decisions, and it is up to family to steer our loved ones in the right direction.”

“She said that I should have known a teenager’s decision to name a baby Harlot would end in tears, and I should have done more.”

“For clarification, my mom did not know the name in advance as my sister wanted to surprise everyone with a touching tribute to Nana Lottie.”

“I feel quite upset now that so many people who were grieving already are now having to deal with this association, and I maybe could have done more to talk her around.”

“Was I the AH?”

The OP summed up their situation.

“I should have warned my sister more about the name. I may be the a**hole because I could have stopped a lot of hurt.”

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).

But some doubted the validity of the story—especially given its proximity to April 1st.

“Damn, forgot April Fools’ was today.  Oh well, it’s still pretty funny even if it’s fake.” ~ Thefishthing

“Excellent April Fool’s post.” ~ DiscussionExotic3759

“Please, please, please tell me this whole post is an April Fool’s joke…” ~ FeistySpeaker

But Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their daughter Apple and children’s book author Dallas Clayton named his son Audio Science, so who knows? Is Harlot really that unbelievable?

Despite the doubters, people still gave the OP the judgment they sought.

“Absolutely NTA. You warned her. That was the extent of your responsibility.”

“Your sister had every right to name her kid whatever she wanted. It was her responsibility to name the kid.”

“She had better ‘mom’ up. She can’t expect anyone else to make sure she is a good parent. She is responsible for a whole other, helpless person.”

“I knew someone with the surname ‘Hooker’. I’ve also seen employment rosters with some pretty odd first names. ‘Harlot’ wouldn’t really surprise me.” ~ TheOpinionIShare

“That is… hilarious. NTA.”

“What was to stop her simply calling the child ‘Lottie’? Why the need for any other name if they planned to call her ‘Lottie’ all the time anyway?” ~ hellouterus

“Man, I wish I was a fly on the wall when they told the nurse that name. Freaking dead!”

“You did your thing. NTA.”

“You can’t fix stupid and your mom shouldn’t be blaming it on you or the hormones.” ~ PonderWhoIAm

“NTA.Your sister is an idiot. I feel sorry for you—and the child—that you share DNA with this person.”

“She should just change the name, of course, but she will no doubt come up with some stupid reason why this can’t be done.” ~ PonderWhoIAm

“I’m familiar with Lottie as a nickname for Loretta. I don’t know if that helps or not.”

“She could also change it to Harlow, though Lottie isn’t an obvious nickname, but that’s ok. My mother’s brother was named John, but everyone in the family called him Brud.”

“Nicknames don’t have to be obvious. But she REALLY needs to change her baby’s name.”

“You aren’t responsible for her naming her baby. You warned her.”

“She chose to ignore you. You did your part. For 19, your sister is quite naive or ignorant. NTA.” ~ Intermountain-Gal

“But Lottie is actually a whole name in and of itself. Just because it was a nickname for Charlotte for your grandmother, doesn’t mean it’s not a bona fide name on its own.”

“This post and the comments are cracking me up.”

“BTW—NTA! Repeat after me: ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys!’.” ~ dilligaf_84

“NTA. But your sister is diluting the intelligence of the human gene pool by procreating.”

“Seriously, has she always been an idiot, or is this some new, pregnancy hormone spawned insanity?”

“Make her? You didn’t warn her enough? Ugh, I’d refuse to talk about this with her.”

“She sounds like someone who makes people around her dumber by interacting with them.” ~ According-Western-33

“NTA. You can’t force your sister not to be an idiot. She can go ahead and change the name.” ~ Brainjacker

“This is so funny. NTA. ‘Don’t name your baby that. It’s a terrible idea!’ Names baby Harlot anyways.”

“People react. ‘You should have warned me more’. That is your sister’s way of placing the blame on you instead of looking inwards at herself.”

“She was warned. This was a terrible decision that she made even AFTER you told her not to. She needs to grow up and change the baby’s name.” ~ Organic_Strategy_478

“NTA. To be honest tho, your family sounds like a lot.”

“I’m sorry, but I find it ridiculous they would shun a brand new member of the family—an infant—over this.”

“Now by all means, horrible name choice. Not your fault, you did your best.” ~ Distinct-Practice131

“NTA. It’s time for your sister to learn some responsibility now that she has a child. Also, does she not know that she can have the child’s legal name changed?” ~ 2-travel-is-2-live

If OP’s sister does decide to change her baby’s name, she could always choose Jezebel.

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.