For a lot of families, choosing a baby name has a lot to do with family history. There’s the tradition of naming someone after their parent and tacking a “Jr.” on the end (and the III, and so on), and there’s using the same first initial for everyone (Hey, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, RZA, and Riot Rose!), and there’s the practice of choosing a baby name that honors a loved one — whether they are still living or are no longer with us.
And when there are those traditions, it can add even more pressure to choosing a name. Because now you have to find a way to color within the lines. Or, for some people, it may be easier to have a set path. It cuts down on the choices, ya know?
But one woman on Reddit is ready to break free from her family’s tradition. She — the woman who originally posted (aka the “OP”) — does not want precedent to dictate her and her family’s future. And based on her post, commenters on the “Am I The A—hole? (AITA)” subreddit can honestly see both sides.
As for her family? Nope. There’s one clear answer, and (you guessed it) it’s not what OP wants to hear.
In OP’s family, the first child born after someone in the family passes away will have that person’s name as their middle name. OP said the last family member they lost was her sister’s 2-day-old son Philip, who tragically passed away almost a year ago.
“It was a huge, earth-shattering blow for our family,” she wrote.
A few months ago, OP found out she was pregnant.
“[My sister] said it would be nice to have some positive news to focus on and she wanted me to continue the tradition our family keeps and give my baby, if a boy, the middle name Philip,” OP said. “She was so happy about the idea. It surprised me a lot. I would have figured she would not be okay with it. But she wanted it.”
Baby Name Options
The problem, OP said, is that she and her husband don’t want to be part of this tradition.
“[Philip] isn’t [a name] either of us likes or would ever pick ourselves … We have not announced the sex of our baby yet but my husband and I know we are expecting a boy.”
Breaking The News
OP’s family agreed with her sister, saying it would be amazing if she was having a boy and could use Philip as the middle name.
“I suggested they wait until we announce the sex and the name before jumping to conclusions,” she said. “They asked why and I said we were thinking of not continuing with the tradition.”
OP’s parents were “really upset,” but her sister was “the worst,” asking why OP and her husband wouldn’t want to honor Philip.
“She asked if I saw him as meaning so little and I said no, of course not,” she said. “Then she asked if it was his name and we didn’t like it. She said she really hoped it wasn’t that. I said we just didn’t feel like the tradition was something we wanted to continue.”
The Fighting Continues
The decision not to use the name has “brought up a lot of bad feelings” within the family, and OP’s sister thinks she is being “insensitive” and doesn’t care about her late nephew.
“I feel terrible,” she said.
“My husband hates them for putting this pressure on us. He said we should be allowed to name our son what we want and we should not be obliged to use a certain name.”
“I never wanted to be an a**hole but my family believes I am.”
This one’s a toughy, and Reddit can see both sides.
“You and your husband have the right to name your child whatever you want,” said the top comment with 13K upvotes. “However, your family also has the right to be hurt. Not only is this a tradition, but it’s a tradition that honors people the family has lost. Keep in mind how rarely a middle name is actually used. Is this something you are willing to create a fight over?”
“It may be a tradition for your family, but it’s not for your partner. This baby is both yours and your partner’s, so it’s up to you both how you go about naming your child. I understand your family’s feelings, but these expectations that someone else who had nothing to do with deciding these traditions will just go with it also seem too one-sided.”
“I completely understand OP and spouse not wanting to give their child a name they don’t like. And honestly, if they did, once the child was old enough to understand he has the name of his dead infant cousin, it might make him uncomfortable. It’s entirely a different scenario to name a child after an older, deceased relative. To name a child after a deceased child seems cruel to the living child.”
“You get to name your kid whatever you want, but your sister is entitled to her feelings, and she will NEVER be able to fully believe that your choice to break with tradition isn’t some sort of slight of her or the 2-day-old baby she lost. That kind of thing is going to hurt her for the rest of her life … She’s entitled to her feelings. In short, it’s your choice, but your choice has consequences.”
“You do not ever have to follow tradition if your heart isn’t in it. That said, if Phillip had been my baby, this would genuinely break my heart. So I don’t blame her for an emotional reaction.”
“Sooooo … yet again we find ourselves faced with a situation where simply assigning NTA or YTA is not really doing things justice out in the real world. You’re NTA for wanting to name your son as you and your husband see fit. But that isn’t going to stop your family from viewing you as such. This is kind of a nice family tradition, and numerous others in your family have made this ‘sacrifice,’ or I guess gesture, for lack of a better word. You can accumulate all the NTA votes you want on here OP, and I’m one of them. But know that in your family’s eyes and hearts, you (and your husband) very likely will be seen as the AH … It’s just a middle name … you literally will never have to use it for anything.”
“You and your husband are allowed to name your child whatever you want. You can also find a middle ground. For example, you aren’t crazy about the name Philip. But maybe you include a P name to honor Philip … Porter or Patrick or Poll. Or Philip means horse loving — so you could include a horse-inspired name, like Colt, Coulter, or Rider. At the end of the day, you and your husband have to be happy with your child’s name. And everyone has to remember that the kid can change their name at any point.”
Speaking of changing names…
There was one hilarious comment referencing a “funny as f*ck” baby name-related post, and we love this throwback.
“Name your child whatever you want apart from Cheelee,” someone said, talking about the dad who wanted to keep with a “C” name tradition and name his daughter “Keelee” but with a “Ch.”
“😂😂😂 And you know that 20 years from now there will be an ‘AITA for changing my name from Cheelee?’ post!!” someone responded to the comment.
“I will NEVER forget about Cheelee. Thank you for giving me a laugh.”
“I’m so glad others were … moved … by it too 😄”
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