Content Warning: Child loss
Everyone handles their grief in different ways, and that includes how long they grieve and how carefully they hold onto the memory of the one they’ve lost.
For prospective parents, the loss of the baby they were expecting is handled differently family to family, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
A few years after her cousin lost a baby late in her pregnancy, Redditor mc87123456 announced she’d be using the name of her cousin’s baby for her own.
But when her cousin voiced concerns about someone else using the name, the Original Poster (OP) didn’t understand where her cousin was coming from.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for naming my baby the same name as my cousin’s baby who was miscarried (stillborn) late in her pregnancy?”
The OP wanted to use the same name as her cousin who had lost a baby.
“My cousin had a miscarriage late in the pregnancy after they had already announced the name.”
“Now years later, I’m pregnant and would like to name the child the same name.”
“It has been a name I have always loved and was planning on naming my baby, even prior to hearing my cousin’s baby’s name.”
The OP didn’t understand what her cousin’s concerns were.
“My cousin is upset since it was a traumatic experience and feels the name shouldn’t be used by the family.”
“But we see each other less than a handful of times per year outside of social media, though we were close growing up. Also, she’s able to have other children.”
“Am I the a**hole for using the name anyway?”
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 urged the OP to find a new name for her baby.
“YTA. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been dreaming of naming your baby this name since the day you were born. It doesn’t matter if you only see her once a year. The context has changed.”
“A baby with the same name died. A baby who was a member of your family, your cousin’s daughter.”
“Don’t be that person. Find a new name.” – ArwenandEowyn
“I never understand why AHs do this. As if there aren’t enough names to pick from. Do they think it makes a nice story for their child? ‘Oh, you were named after Auntie’s dead child and that’s why we don’t speak anymore.'” – Dashcamkitty
“They never reuse the name of horrific hurricanes. Hurricane Katrina caused death, destruction, and great heartache to so many people. The name will never be used again for another hurricane.”
“For this same reason, you should not use the name you have in mind. In your greater extended family, the name should be retired, just as Katrina has.” – PaulFern64
“Imagine coming together at a family event and your cousin is talking to your baby. Imagine how hard it will be for your cousin to just say that name. It’s a constant punch-in-the-gut reminder.”
“Don’t do this, there are so many beautiful names to choose from, pick another.” – Haris_Pistons
“My stepdaughter lost twice at ~22 weeks. They both were named, loved, dressed, and have a little burial plot. Now, she and I were pregnant at the same time (she was due six days before me) with her first, and it was insane to have my boy kick me in the ribs at her funeral of hers.”
“I’d NEVER use the same name. Never. Maybe a generation on, but it belongs to this child, who is… well, I consider them an eternal newborn.” – SystemSignificant518
“This isn’t hard. One of my twin daughters had a stillbirth at 22 weeks. The baby had a name, a funeral, and they have his ashes.”
“Seven children have been born to her, her twin and a first cousin in the six years since. No one, and I mean no one, wanted to name their baby ‘Steve’ since.”
“Because he was a real baby to us. He would be playing with his siblings and cousins right now if not for an awful occurrence.” – you-dont-say1330
“Technically a late-term miscarriage is one that happens between 13-19 weeks. A stillbirth is 20 weeks or more.”
“I strongly suspect this was a stillbirth given that OP said a miscarriage late in the pregnancy and is downplaying it, however. Just wanted to clarify that late-term miscarriage is indeed its own category.”
“For OP, YTA. This person doesn’t want you to name your child after their dead one. A baby having died trumps your preference for the name of said dead baby.”
“This would be terribly unkind, and could negatively impact your child.” – Magnaflorius
“My daughter died at six years old. A cousin was pregnant and trying to decide between two names, one being my daughter’s. She asked me how I would feel.”
“For me, personally, that would have been an act of great love and I’d be honored. However, I warned her that people would be forever comparing her baby to my daughter, and that was a lot to put on a newborn.”
“She opted for the other name. Secretly, I think of her daughter as having both names, but only in my own mind. I’ve never shared that before.” – Sweet_Possession_700
Others were appalled by how insensitive the OP was to her cousin.
“I’m just angry that op called it a miscarriage as a way to minimize it. Her cousin had a stillborn. She needs to call it as it is.” – Wickedlove7
“I lost my first one at eight weeks, and so many people told me that since it happened so soon, it wasn’t a real baby, but to us it was. It doesn’t take long to imagine a future as a mom and dad, a future that might still come true, but not with this child.”
“OP, YTA, the lost baby is still a family member, and it doesn’t seem like you realize this.” – CountessHargreaves
“YTA. I’ve never experienced miscarriage or birthing a stillborn child but I can only imagine it’s one of the most traumatic things a woman can go through.”
“My husband’s cousin experienced it. Her baby lived a few minutes after birth and then died shortly after. I have a daughter and I wouldn’t have ever DREAMED of naming her the same name as that baby.”
“This cousin has gone on to have four more daughters but it doesn’t even matter. They didn’t replace the one she lost. Also, I don’t much see her, since OP threw that into her post, but that’s beside the fact, in my opinion.” – chelledees
“Bonus YTA for this: ‘She has been able to have other children.'”
“OP doesn’t want to have to let go of a baby name, but expects her cousin to let go of her baby’s death? For f**k’s sake.” – Unhappy_Animator_869
“YTA. In your mind, it’s your cousin’s miscarriage. In her mind, it’s an actual real human that she loved and lost.”
“Would you do the same thing if the baby had been born but hadn’t survived? I think what you’re doing is horribly insensitive.” – ConfusedOldDude
“YTA for several reasons:”
“1. It’s messed up that you dismiss her loss by adding ‘she has been able to have other children’ at the end as if children are replaceable by having more children.”
“As a pregnant woman, you would know that a ‘late-term miscarriage’ is a stillbirth, so it seems like again, you’re softening things to downplay her loss.”
“You say nothing about even trying to have a genuine discussion with your cousin, just ‘she doesn’t want me to, I’m gonna do it anyway because I love the name.'”
“When a child dies, it’s absolutely a touchy subject. If you REALLY want to name your baby whatever name you want, yes, it’s your right, and yes, you’re an a**hole for not only pushing on when she’s said this is a very traumatic thing and it would upset her, but also for managing to dismiss her experience three times in a paragraph and a half. That’s some cold stuff right there.” – Churlish_Sunshine
“It’s pretty straightforward, though, right? Two living children sharing a name is no big deal. So using a name someone’s already used or is planning on using is generally fine.”
“The only exception is dead children. We don’t use their names because we respect the magnitude of their family’s loss. The etiquette is not hard to follow here.”
“YTA, OP!” – Elsiepeth
“Does it not worry you that anyone who knows you and your cousin may think of your cousin’s lost baby when they look at yours? I don’t think I’d want that sadness around my newborn.”
“My gut feeling when I read your post is YTA. Nobody owns a name but there are thousands of names, you might like it but your baby’s name will cause upset for your family members.”
“I’d be prepared to be even more distant from your cousin. She won’t want to see the name plastered all over social media.” – nykjhs
The subReddit was appalled across the board at how the OP was approaching this situation and her cousin’s feelings.
While the cousin did not have a monopoly on her deceased baby’s name, it would be better for the baby’s name to be honored in another way and not for the cousin to be reminded daily of the baby she lost through her niece or nephew’s name.