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New Mom Chastised By SIL For Choosing Baby Name Without Getting Family Feedback

pregnant person with names on notes on their belly
jjustas/Getty Images

A pregnancy after years of infertility can be fraught with anxiety for the parents-to-be.

Who could blame them if they’re extra cautious?

Apparently a sibling can.

A new mother dealing with backlash over her and her husband’s choices regarding her pregnancy and their son’s name turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Brief-Ad8464 asked:

“AITA for defending myself against my sister-in-law (SIL) who was upset we waited to tell her we were expecting and waited until our son was born to announce his name?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My husband (42, male) and I (41, female) tried to have children for 13 years before we accepted that we were never going to have it happen for us. We spent a lot of time hoping and trying different things and nothing worked.”

“I was 35 when we decided to come to terms with our life as a childfree couple. We sold our old house, downsizing considerably and we started changing how we lived our life.”

“We had devoted so much time to preparing to be a family with children that we didn’t really know what we wanted now that it was no longer in the cards.”

“Then, just after my 40th birthday, I discovered I was pregnant. It was a huge shock and what was even more surprising was the baby was healthy when I went for my first scan.”

“But I was afraid, we both were, so we waited until I was 18 weeks to tell people. I didn’t really show until I was about 21 weeks so that made it easy to hide.”

“We announced and people were thrilled for us. All our siblings already had children who were 9 and older, so this was the first baby born into the family in a while.”

“We got asked about names and whether we would have a name reveal or baby shower with a name reveal. We decided to keep the name to ourselves until he was born.”

“Something special and a surprise for people.”

“Most people understood but it came to our attention recently that one of my husband’s sisters (SIL) was not happy about any of this. She didn’t like that we kept the pregnancy to ourselves for a while and disliked it even more that we didn’t share the name.”

“She brought this up at Christmas for the first time and surprised the whole family, she brought it up to my husband on three separate occasions after it and then she brought it up to me 4 days ago.”

“She told me we left our families out when this was just as big a deal for them as it was for us. She said everyone had wanted us to have a baby too and how could we cut them out like that.”

“She also claimed we could have gotten feedback and blessings from family members on his name—which is Hawthorn for people who will ask.”

“I told her that the news came as such a surprise and we worried and wanted to come to terms and get to what we felt was a safe point before telling people. She argued we needed our family if something went wrong.”

“Then she said there was still no excuse for the name.”

“That the name was kind of odd and she would have liked us to pick a more classic name, like James or George.”

“I told her I understood that everyone had their own taste. But we were getting one chance to name a child and one chance to experience parenthood and we wanted to make the most of it.”

“I said we never did it to hurt anyone but we wanted to do what felt right to us.”

“She told me that was what my husband said and it was lame, especially to defend myself that way when it was something that the whole family are experiencing.”

“She told me we just wanted to leave everyone out and we should have known better.”


The OP summed up their predicament.

“I defended myself against my SIL who was upset we waited to tell her and the family that we were expecting and for waiting to tell people the name of our son.”

“Clearly this is something that bothers her deeply and she is now expressing it.”

“I’m not sure whether I could have/should have handled it with more understanding. But I feel like maybe I should have.”

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 unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. Your SIL is a giant a**hole. While it’s great for your family that you got pregnant, it was in no way happening to them.”

“This was your experience and after years of trying and eventually giving up to find out you actually were pregnant would have been incredibly hard to come to terms with.”

“Especially to get to a place where you were comfortable enough to tell anyone. I only started announcing my first around 18 weeks because I was so worried something would go wrong and I had no history of issues.”

“Everything you did was completely understandable. Your SIL is a control freak who seems to think her opinion is the only right one.”

“No decent person would ever comment negatively on someone’s child’s name. I absolutely love the name by the way.”

“Congratulations on your son!” ~ northerntropicaz

“NTA. I have never told family my kids’ names until they were born and it was announced. Nobody cared.”

“We specifically didn’t tell anyone because we didn’t want any input from other people, not their child, not their decision… they can keep names they like for their own kids/pets.”

“With my last one I was excited to tell my dad, because his name was chosen as the middle name, and he got very emotional, and that was a very satisfying surprise.”

“And we didn’t announce until at least first trimester ended and/or after amniocentesis.”

“My stepsister went through the pain of having announced twins that she lost shortly after, and one of my cousins went through several rounds of IVF where they announced and then had to tell everyone it didn’t take.

“It seemed like too much public heartache, and I didn’t want everyone asking about it and then having to let them all know sad news.”

“Your SIL is an AH. None of this is her business. And she’s vastly overstating or over-imagining how involved extended family tend to be, or should be, with a pregnancy.”

“I imagine you can brace for all kinds of unsolicited advice about feeding, sleeping and every other thing.” ~ Thanmandrathor

“SIL has main character syndrome and it is not your problem, nor do you have any obligation to indulge her.”

“She’s off her rocker if she thinks she had any voting rights to your baby’s name. Which, by the way, is lovely.”

“There was literally nothing about your pregnancy or the naming of your child that had anything to do with her. I would have laughed in her face when she told me what name she would have preferred.”

“For what it’s worth, I completely understand your decisions. A lot of people keep pregnancies private until after the first trimester because that’s when the most likely chance of miscarriage is.”

“For some, it’s superstition, for others it’s just protection from having to relive any potential loss every time they have to tell another well-wisher the bad news if something goes wrong.”

“Hell, it’s perfectly valid to keep it quiet just because you want to, because it’s YOUR body and YOUR baby. And if you and your husband wanted to keep that little nugget of excitement, fear, and joy to yourselves to process then that’s your business.”

“And given SIL’s insistent need to be all up in your business, I’m gonna say that was a good call.”

“Obviously NTA, and congratulations on baby Hawthorn! And good luck dealing with your SIL who is probably going to want to micromanage how you raise him.”

“You and hubby need to prepare now for how you will present a united front and shut her down when she gets overbearing. Hopefully you will be able to do it gently but firmly so as not to screw with family relations.”

“But that’s going to depend on SIL’s level of entitlement to make decisions about things that are none of her damn business.” ~ Background_Camp_7712

“NTA, your SIL keeps justifying you and your husband’s decision to keep quiet about both the baby and the name with her behavior.” ~ SmallDosesOfEpic

The OP added:

“I’m glad people understand. It’s hard to trust that things will be alright. And for me, at that time, it was terrifying to think it could be taken away so easily.”

“We had so much to do and come to terms with and we didn’t have a lot of time really to get ready. Not as much time as we had to prepare to our supposed child free life.”

“I have never for one second regretted giving us the time for us to be just us. Even if I am thankful for our families and their support.”

“We don’t think [SIL] will leave it alone at just the name and when we announced. So we’re talking about his sister, our next steps and what we do now that we’re having these issues with her.

It was OP and her husband’s child and their decisions to make. They did what was right for them.

Even if her SIL refuses to get over it, OP has the support of her husband and the rest of the family.

They can enjoy parenthood with or without her SIL.

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.