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New Mom Called Out By Dad And Stepmom For ‘Stealing’ Baby Name Her Late Mother Loved

Mother with baby
Sara Monika/Getty Images

Family traditions can be absolutely wonderful and can really bring family members closer together.

But when a tradition becomes more of a competition between family members who don’t get along, the tradition can take a dark turn quickly, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

After her mother suddenly passed away, Redditor BunchAffectionate812 wanted to carry out the tradition she had started with the naming of her children.

When her father and mistress, who he’d been with when her mother was still alive, wanted to continue the mother’s tradition themselves, the Original Poster (OP) knew she had to act fast.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for ‘stealing’ a baby name from my father and stepmother?”

The OP admired her mother’s family tradition of naming her children.

“My mother was a very artistic person. She dedicated her life to her art, and she was a painter and rather eccentric.”

“She had the idea of having four children and naming us in order to spell out ‘L-O-V-E’ with our first initials.”

“She passed unexpectedly last year, leaving me and my two siblings. She never got to complete the word ‘love.'”

“When I was younger, I asked her, ‘What happens if you get too old and can’t have a baby anymore?’ or something along those lines.”

“She told me that one of us could have a baby and finish it for her. She said it ‘wouldn’t be the same, but the tribute would make me happy.'”

The OP didn’t appreciate what her father wanted to do next.

“My parents had marital problems up until her death because of my father’s infidelity, and I think she put off having the fourth child for quite some time because of it. However, she always said baby Elise or Emilio would be completing our family soon.”

“I was around six or seven months pregnant when my father and his wife (and former mistress) announced their pregnancy.”

“She chimed in, saying she would finally bring little Emilio into our family.”

“My sister and I were horrified and spoke to my dad privately that, while our mom did want someone to continue on the acronym idea, we found it disrespectful to do it with the woman he was cheating on her with.”

“I then told him about how she said she wanted one of us to carry on the name when I was a child.”

“He shut me down, saying that she ‘probably expected her and me to still be together’ and that ‘It’ll be better with all of you guys in the same generation of the family’ and left it at that.”

“My brother agreed with him.”

The OP decided to do something about it.

“Two weeks before I gave birth, they found out they were not having a boy as they hoped, but a girl.”

“I realized I could take the name Elise before they would have a chance to name their baby my mother’s chosen name. They could name her ‘Emily’ or something else, but it wouldn’t be the name my mother chose and that’s what mattered to me.”

“My stepmom actually approached me and asked me for permission, and politely asked me to change my mind on the baby name once she caught wind that I was already planning on naming the baby Elise.”

“This is part of why I think I can be the AH. I never actually officially announced the name first, I felt like it would be more special naming the baby when they arrive, not before. So I announced my baby’s name was Elise when she was born.”

There was a huge backlash from the family.

“My father, and especially my stepmother, are furious at me for ‘ruining’ my mother’s last wishes and tarnishing her idea.”

“While my sister agrees with me, she won’t say it to my dad since the birth.”

“My aunt and other family members on my dad’s side called me names from ‘petty’ and ‘troublemaking’ to just outright a b***h.”

“I did not expect so much backlash and it’s really stressing me out with just giving birth, and they’re taunting me by posting pictures of their ultrasounds with captions like, ‘The E baby is coming 2024,’ and ‘Three’s a crowd but Four is Love.'”

“It’s driving me crazy and it feels like this rift in the family is all for nothing since they’re going to claim their baby is the ‘Real E baby’ anyways.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some applauded the OP for doing what her mother would have wanted.


“You carried on what your mother wanted you to do. And the fact that your dad thinks it’s okay to ‘honor’ her with the woman he cheated on her with is so sad.”

“Your baby is the real ‘E baby’ and always will be. You know that, your sister knows that, and I bet your mom knows that.” – dr_pepper_addict5678

“NTA, your dad has no right to honor a woman he cheated on. If anything, he’s insulting her memory by finishing her idea with the person he cheated on her with. To h**l with him, his mistress, and anyone who sided with them.” – Square-Ad9307


“Honey, to whoever is texting you grief, I want you to write this out:”

“‘My desire was to honor my mother by naming my daughter Elise. That was the plan for years. It’s utterly dishonorable for my father and his mistress to name their child in the same vein as what my mother wanted.'”

“And then you block them.” – rofosho

“NTA. If your dad had met your stepmom after your mom had passed, then there would be some questions about what would be an appropriate way to honor your mom’s memory and her wishes.”

“But since he cheated on your mom with your stepmom, I don’t think I could ever think of something she did as ‘honoring your mom.'”

“Sure, it might look neater on an chart if his kids, in order, spelled LOVE. But looking pretty on a chart isn’t what matters. Honoring your mom is what matters, and you’ve got the right idea. Your dad is wrong.” – gopiballava

“Your dad was dead wrong. He doesn’t actually care about all that; he just wants to make his new wife happy by allowing her to fully ‘replace’ your mom. You’re NTA and don’t ever think you are.”

“Anyone who comes at you wrong or nasty, cut them off. They shouldn’t be siding with the affair partner and your dad on this one.” – omsphoenix

“At this point, I would lean into the pettiness since you’re already being called out for it, and put him and the mistress on blast for the world to see: ‘To take the idea my mother came up with that she wanted her children to carry out… I mean, aren’t you tired? You lack such originality that you have to steal from a dead woman? Wasn’t sleeping with her husband enough for you?'”

“Then add: ‘I mean, I cannot wait to tell my new half-sibling the origin of her name and about the deceased woman who started the tradition and the mistress who slept with the woman’s husband and still wasn’t satisfied.'”

“NTA.” – stop_spam_calls

But others thought the OP was wrong for dragging her child into the drama.

“Honestly, going with ESH here instead of NTA because your decision is knowingly dragging your unborn baby into some deeply messed up family trauma.”

“The only way this would be NTA is if you went no contact with these toxic people for the child’s sake because they are already getting hate for a thing they have no control over and no influence on.” – Haplesswanderer98

“I’m on the ESH train. Both sides kind of did sucky things… but just move on.”

“There can be two E’s. Personally, I’d be happy I was first and used the name my mother wanted. I think the mistress is disrespectful as a whole.” – ForgettableJ

“If they’re THAT invested in it, there’s nothing that prevents your child and your half-sibling from having the same first name. No one has a right to any name, and you’ve always wanted to do that, and, more specifically, you were in a position to consider it in real terms first. You don’t need anyone else’s approval for your baby’s name.”

“That they’re excited about their baby and are continuing with the theme isn’t taunting you. That’s some pretty heavy self-importance going on there.”

“You did weaponize your mom’s idea to get back at your dad and stepmom, at least in part. You seem to feel part of this is important that it be YOU and not the woman your dad cheated with. Mom is dead. How kids that aren’t hers are named after she’s gone really, really has nothing to do with her anymore. This is looking for an excuse to generate drama.”

“ESH.” – LeviathanLorb44

“ESH. Your stepmother and father, while perhaps meaning well, are the AHs because of the affair. They can’t think this is what your mother would want.”

“You are the AH for using your daughter’s name to do battle with your father and stepmother. She will never have a fair chance at a good relationship with them and potentially other family members because of how you named her. Consideration for her should have cone first.” – reluctanttowncaller

“ESH. Poor babies, from the first day of their life, they will be a weapon in the battle between you and your father and stepmother.”

“I must say that I find the mother’s plan a little creepy. What if Olga or Otto doesn’t like their name, but they had to be named so as to fit the names of their siblings? And now OP’s child cannot have a name she and her husband choose, not even any name with E, but it must be Elise to finish the mother’s plan. (Although I must confess that I like Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise.’)”

“And it becomes worse when OP and stepmother fight over the name. Will you tell your daughter, ‘I had to call you Elise to punish your grandfather for cheating on your grandmother’? Please try to think about what is best for your children.” – Mathe-Omi


“I applaud you for taking the action you felt would honor your mother’s legacy. They can name their child Elise as well, plenty of families reuse names, and I think there’s plenty of room for both children’s names to pay tribute to your mother’s wishes.”

“You’re TA for expecting that they would not name their child the same name as yours. It sounds like you intended to ‘call dibs’ on the name. I’m sure this is not what you intended, but you may also have set your child up for a lifetime of snide comments from other family members.”

“They’re TAs for saying that you ruined your mother’s dying wishes. They don’t get to invalidate your tribute to your mother’s memory.”

“For the sake of both children, please settle this soon. Acknowledge that you’re all trying to honor your mother’s memory, and accept both children as being a part of LOVE.”

“Also: your feelings that it’s disrespectful to complete the acronym with your father’s mistress are absolutely valid.” – sliu198

While everyone could understand how this was an important tradition for the OP’s mother, they were more divided over how the OP was handling the situation.

Some felt it was only right for her to carry on the tradition, especially since her mother asked her to, but others thought it felt more like an unnecessary competition between the OP and her stepmother.

In either scenario, the OP’s child was being placed in the middle of a family feud that they had nothing to do with but for which they would now be an integral part.

Just imagine the heat they’d likely face from both sides of the family if they one day wanted to change their name to escape the tradition.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.