Names can be deeply personal.
They follow us through every moment, from grade school to driver’s licenses to every job application.
Names have all sorts of connotations – assumptions about gender, orientation, and nationality are just a few.
So, when something matters so much and is so deeply connected to who you are – at least in the mind of others – what do you do when someone else takes offense to the name you’ve chosen for your child?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) RoseyBud2 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for naming my daughter the name my SIL wanted”
First, OP set the stage.
“I 23f have been married to my husband for two years, together since high school.”
“I recently just had a baby.”
“We decided not to tell anyone the name till the baby was born.”
“My SIL was also pregnant.”
“We both had very similar names in mind. I liked Mary-Grace.”
“My SIL liked the name Mary-Kay.”
“My SIL did choose the name first, but our names weren’t identical. SIL still insisted I didn’t use Mary-Grace still.”
OP’s decision had consequences.
“We did anyways, and when I announced, my SIL called us and had a cow.”
“She said we disrespected her knowing she picked the name first, and now she has to choose a new baby on such short notice.”
“We reminded SIL that the names aren’t identical and there is no reason to change, but she just got upset and hung up.”
“My MIL soon called us later backing up SIL saying how childish we acted keeping it a secret so we could get our way, and SIL wanted to use that name after her grandmother.”
“They are all pretty upset with us.”
She was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
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: YTA
This is a strangely common problem.
“As a grown woman who was given the name my mom “stole” from her SIL, I can tell you. It is awkward as f*ck.”
“Everybody knew my cousin was going to have this name, baby shower with monogrammed items and everything (1980’s).”
“I was born a month early, and my mom gave me that name only with a slightly different spelling.”
“My mom wasn’t so much “shunned” by my dad’s side, but they definitely had a WTF moment with her.”
“We have a lot of cousins, and our cousins even have to actually say our first and last names not to get us confused.”
“As an adult, I changed my name to a nickname I preferred.”
“If I had to hear one more time, ‘Well you were born first. I got first dibs on the name.’ It sucks.”
“ETA – thank you for sharing some of your stories about being part of a twin set names without actually being part of a twin set.”
“I appreciate knowing we have had some similar experiences.”
“To the people who gave me awards silver and the star – ʻO nā hōkū nō nā kiu o ka lani.” ~ MauiValleyGirl
“Ha, same for me, but I’m the older cousin, and our names are different by one letter.”
“It hasn’t been an issue, but I was pretty surprised as a teenager that my uncle named his child my name, only different by one letter….” ~ chilledcoyote2021
“My mother died very suddenly and tragically when I was young, and my uncle, her twin brother, made it known that he would name any future daughter of his after her.”
“My narcissistic aunt, with whom my mother never got along, immediately got knocked up, had a girl, and named her after my mom.”
“Several years later, my uncle had his daughter and named her for my mom, too.”
“Families are stupid sometimes.” ~ tameyeayam
Some felt OP’s intentions were suspicious.
“You knew you were using a name that not only did your SIL pick first, but she was also using to honor her grandmother?”
“You’re telling me you had to choose the only name being used as a memorial? No, the name isn’t the exact same, but it’s similar enough.”
“You knew this would make her upset and cause a problem.”
“Seems like you kept it a secret so you could use it first.”~ Keenzur
“I’m just grateful someone finally noticed that these names are so close.”
“Op said they aren’t the same….”
“No, Mary and Marisol or Maria are not the same Mary is the same. The only thing changed is what you hyphenated it to.”
“Which either girl may choose to drop or go by so they don’t get confused….. “
“Cause I would call them Grace and Kay….. Mary would be left to the wind…. Look, it’s an AH move but name your kid what you want.”
“No one can own a name, but don’t play innocent and be butthurt like you didn’t know exactly what you were doing!”
“Your more the AH for being disingenuine and pretending you don’t see the problem.” ~ FrequentHalf4092
Commenters looked to the future.
“Kind of TA, lol.”
“But also, as someone who also has a hyphenated first name, your kid is going to be really annoyed in the future when they go to fill out any sort of online paperwork because they don’t let you use ‘special characters’ only letters when putting in your name lol.”
“All my job apps, hospital paperwork, apartment apps, literally anything I fill out online all have my first name as one whole name, without the hyphen, and it’s been the cause of much confusion over the years, lol.”
“And the funny thing is people try and say it as one name is it sounds stupid 😂” ~ sarahthevampyrslayer
“Late to the party, but holy crap yes.”
“Change your daughter’s name.”
“Don’t do that to your SIL and make your life awkward forever with that entire side of the family and awkward for your daughter.”
“That’s not fair to her.” ~ DirtyAsparagus69
“Of course, you’re the a**hole!”
“This potentially ruins your relationship foreverrrrrrr.”
“It’s not something you can possibly just forget about cause there’ll be two creatures running around being constant reminders.”
‘I was first’ indeed is some childish bulls*it.” ~ Salty-Task4450
This comment actually hit on several points.
“Your SIL opened up to you about the name she chose, which she wanted in honor of her grandmother”
“She requested you don’t use the same name.”
“No, it’s not different, its still Mary. Don’t care what the hyphen is.”
“Which I bet you had plenty of time to pick something else.”
“You want to pull some bull about waiting to announce the name.”
“No, you wanted to wait until as close as possible to your SIL due date so she couldn’t easily find something else.”
“Your poor daughter will cop it the most when the cousins interact because even though your daughter was born first, the story behind her name is constantly tainted because of your actions.” ~ Baobun109
Not everyone felt that OP was in the wrong.
“NTA, and it’s ridiculous that most people are saying you are.”
“Firstly, they are two different names.”
“Yes, they have Mary in common, but the last two are different and, therefore not the same.”
“My Aunt has a double-barrelled first name, and we all say the full version, so I have no idea why your family can’t do the same.”
“Hell, there are loads of ways to get around the similarity if your SIL is willing to compromise.”
“Secondly, bar a few exceptions. You are free to use whatever name you like.”
“It is your child, not SIL’s, and you even told her you don’t care if she uses the name she likes.”
“Honestly, it sounds like you kept it secret because you knew SIL would cause drama, and no-one wants that while pregnant.”
“You liked a name. You didn’t pick it to spite her.”
“It is SIL’s issue that she can’t get past this, not yours. Enjoy your new baby, and hopefully, your SIL will realize she can use her name and get over it.” ~ Broad_Opportunity384
“NTA ‘Nobody must use the name because it is MINE MINE MINE.'” ~ yoga-love
“This is another thing I just have trouble wrapping my head around.”
“Fake names, but my cousin and I are Jane Ann and Jane Kate, named for my mother, Jane Alice.”
“My nephew is Mark Douglas, my cousin is Mark Andrew, named after my grandfather Mark Edward.”
“Look at a bunch of random family trees.”
“You’ll find duplicate names galore. Usually, this sub is all ‘no one owns a name,’ and I honestly don’t see a difference between this post and the dozen (at least) others I’ve read that ended up NTA.”
“And that is my judgment here. OPs SIL doesn’t own the name.”
“The middle name is different. Your SIL and MIL need to get over themselves.” ~ JewelCatLady
Names give us context.
The context can be wrong, of course. That’s why choosing a new name is so vital to so many journeys and why it’s so important to respect preferred names.
Of course, no one ‘owns’ a name, but the issue here didn’t really seem to be the name itself.
Rather, it was that OP’s SIL asked her in confidence to refrain from doing something, and OP chose to ignore it.
Particularly with names, as personal as they are, it can be terribly insulting to ignore such a heartfelt request.