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Dad-To-Be Upset After Pregnant Wife Wants To Name Their Baby After Her Late Husband

Mother holding a newborn baby.
Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Naming your child is never as easy as you hope it might be.

Namely owing to the fact that your partner might not agree with your top names for your soon-to-be-born children.

No matter how long you’ve been dreaming of naming them, or how personal the name is to you.

Redditor Sad-Contact8480 and his wife were expecting their first child.

While they reached a consensus on their unborn son’s first name, the original poster (OP) vehemently objected to his wife’s desired middle name.

Entirely owing to the association his wife had with this particular name.

Wondering if he was being insensitive to his wife’s feelings, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not wanting to name our kid after my wife’s late husband?”

The OP explained why he didn’t feel comfortable with the middle name his wife wanted to give their unborn son:

“Before my wife, Anna (30 F[emale]) and I (30 M[ale]) got together, she was previously married to Caleb.”

“They were high school sweethearts, got married at 20.”

“And when they were 23, he was hit by a drunk driver and passed.”

“Anna and I have been together for 5 years, married for two.”

“We are going to have a son very soon here and we have agreed on a first name.”

“However, she wants his middle name to be Caleb, after her late husband.”

“I told her I am uncomfortable with this as she is married to me now, and we should not be naming our kid after a previous partner that she had.”

“She said that Caleb was a very large part of her life and she isn’t going to budge with that middle name.”

“She said that since our son is going to have my last name, she should be able to choose the middle name.”

“We have come to an impasse and cannot agree with this.”

“She is calling me insensitive and that I knew how important Caleb is to her.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

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

While the Reddit community was somewhat divided, they generally agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for not wanting to name his son after Anna’s late husband.

Many understood why the OP felt uncomfortable, but also understood why Anna might want to name their son after Caleb, as he was a very important part of her life, also making the point that this would be a different situation if Caleb were simply an ex and not Anna’s late husband.

“She’s probably feeling a lot of emotions coming back up, excitement and joy, but also guilt and grief knowing she’s having a child when he never got the chance to and she’s so excited about it.”

“It doesn’t mean she loves you less or wants to pretend it’s his kid or anything like that.”

“She’s feeling the urge to affirm she didn’t forget him and the life they had because she is moving on – with you.”


“But, you are the husband of a widow.”

“Grief is complex and a lot of the time it’s not all that rational.”

“You aren’t an a**hole for not wanting to give your kid his name, but you should be empathetic to why she’s stuck on this.”

“Both of you need to come out of your corners.”

“Talk to her about her feelings around this pregnancy and her late husband.”

“Listen without getting defensive or jealous.”

“I’m not saying your feelings aren’t also valid.”

“Just see if you two can come up with another way to satisfy her complex feelings on the matter if the name is too much for you.”

“Pregnancy has a way of stirring up old trauma, it’s a vulnerable time where hormones go all out of whack.”

“Keep an eye out for symptoms of PPD (they can start before the birth.)”

“If she needs emotional support, get it for her early. It can be rough.”- Alternative_Boat9540


“You both have valid feelings on the name, but one ‘no’ from either parent should be a veto on a name.”

“I don’t think calling the LH a ‘previous partner’ is quite the right phrase.”

“It may be true, but it’s not a partnership that ended by choice.”

“It’s important to be respectful of LH when you talk about him, but you do not have to name your son after him.”

“Your son is a product of your union with your wife, not an opportunity for a memorial to LH.”-Squiggles567


“Baby names are 2 yes decisions.”

“That said your wife’s feelings are valid.”

“May be worth talking through with therapist or neutral 3rd party.”- Economy-Weekend1872


“But can we stop calling this guy her ex.”

“He’s not her ex he’s her dead husband and was a major part of her life and probably largely helped create the person she is today.”

“Look at it as honoring that period of her life instead of that person.”

“Or as honoring the pain she went through that brought her to you.”

“If you’re worried about what other people will say about you naming your kid after her deceased partner just tell them ‘if he didn’t die I wouldn’t have her’.”

“Also would his middle name be something more palatable for you.”

“Also consider your about to watch your wife go through the worst pain imaginable maybe cut her a break on the middle name.”- PhotogDebbie88


“Firstly he’s not her ex.”

“He’s her late husband.”

“Expecting a widow to ‘get over’ their late spouse is not realistic.”

“She is NTA for asking.”

“You are NTA for being uncomfortble.”

“I don’t think the middle name is a place to stick your heels in.”- Lozzanger

Others, however, felt the OP was justified in not wanting to name their son after Anna’s late wife, pointing out how a child’s name should always be a unanimous decision, regardless of the situation.


“Why should a child that bares both of you, have the name of a person who isn’t a part of your child’s life.”

“Losing someone is always hard but you deserve to have your child be both of you too.”

“Not the three of you.”- Big-Astronomer1624


“There’s a billion baby names to choose from.”

“There’s also a billion ways for her to honor her first husband.”

“She does not need to combine these two activities.”- Quick_Persimmon_4436


“This is YOUR child too!”

“You expressed how you felt uncomfortable about the idea, and she completely disregarded your feelings.”

“Both parents should mutually agree, and be 100% on the same page when it comes to naming their child, because it is a very big deal.”- Resident_Garlic2532i

“My son with my second husband is named after my late first husband, so I get why your wife wants to do this.”


“There’s no way I would have insisted on it.”

“I only did it because my husband was 100% on board.”

“If he felt like you do, I would have dropped it.”

“NTA.”- farsighted451


“Maybe NAH.”

“Most of these comments are nuts, though.”

“Feeling how you feel is normal.”

“Her feelings are decently normal, too, though.”

“Having someone be a big part of your life (being a deceased spouse or relative or whatever) and wanting their memory to live on is normal.”

“That said, there are other ways to do that, and the naming of your (as in both of you) child should be a fully mutual agreement.”

“If either side is uncomfortable or dislikes it, then it should be removed from the naming pool.”

“If you are married, did she not take your name?”

“Like throwing the family name in your face is odd.”

“Normal naming would suggest its 2 decided names, and the family name is a given.”

“Typically, the middle name would be a name to honor someone if you were going that route.”

“That said, my way of kindly pushing away a name I felt uncomfortable with due to similar reasons (deceased grandfather though, not spouse) was to go through the route that my child’s name be uniquely their own first and middle with the family name at the end.”

“They are going to grow to be their own person and not have the ghost of another’s name attached to them.”

“With all that, it is a delicate situation.”

“Try to be gentle and kind.”

“You can be caring and still find a common ground.”

“If you have decided on a first name, try finding a middle name that flows between that and the family name but is not connected to anyone else.”- ipna

It’s understandable that the OP might feel somewhat threatened by Anna wanting to name their child after her late husband.

That being said, Caleb poses literally no threat to him, and even in death will always remain an important part of her life, so it makes sense that she would want to honor his memory.

Even so, first and middle names should be a unanimous decision from both parents.

Hopefully, both Anna and the OP will find names for their son that please them both.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.