Family naming drama

I have a dilemma: after we announced baby’s name to our families and close friends, SIL got extremely upset because we’d chosen the name of someone who treated her badly (we don’t know the details but know that it wasn’t assault). She believes it’s an insult for us to choose this name and claims to be traumatized and humiliated by it. The other sibling in that family supports SIL and the rest of the family is trying not to take sides.

I don’t want to change the name but also don’t want to be resented for life. Should we change the name?

What significance does this name have to you? She may have had a traumatic experience with someone that has the name, but you may have your own amazing ties to the name. Does she expect everyone she knows to avoid using this name in the future?

While I understand her feelings, it isn’t fair for you to have to filter your name choices through your SIL. Would she do the same when it is her time to name a child?

1 Like

Your partner must not have been aware of how this would affect their sister if they chose the name too? I don’t see how you could have read her mind on the matter and you came to a decision on the name without knowledge it would hurt her.
It’s unfortunate that the name reminds her of someone who wronged her but anyone could say that about any name. What if you try another name and another family member has a problem with that one?

1 Like

I’ll give a further example. My brothers’ MNs are our father’s FN. I have been traumatised by him, but they haven’t. My older brother gave his younger son his own MN as his MN. I have no rights and expectations for him to not use the name he chose due to my trauma. I live with it. I, however, will not be using the name when it is my time.

1 Like

She thinks it’s humiliating for her brother to use the name because people who know her will view it as disloyal to her—like we don’t care about how that person treated her. I don’t think she’d care if anyone outside the family used the name.

The name doesn’t have special significance to me except that I’ve loved it for years. I’ll definitely be upset if we don’t use it but can’t decide if that’s worse than being disliked by my SIL.


Goodness, this is such a tough spot to be in, I’m so sorry!

It sounds more like an issue between your husband and SIL. He’s the one who would know the name of the person who wronged her, not you, right?

It’s like… If he had mentioned this name had a bad association within his family, it could’ve been avoided. And if she could take it as less of a personal offense and more of a coincidence, then it wouldn’t be an issue. Meanwhile, you’re stuck in the middle :pensive:

Are you still pregnant or has baby arrived? If you’re still pregnant, I think it’s a good idea to explore other names. If none of them grow on you the way this one did, then I think you should keep it. But giving others names some more thought can’t hurt :woman_shrugging:t2:

1 Like

Tough one! This is one of the many reasons why we choose to wait until the baby is born and then announce to everyone at once what the bubs name is through a WhatsApp sent to all family/friends followed by and Instagram post. Not sure whether you decided to tell people before baby was born or after but I think people have more expectations that you will change the name if they don’t like it if you’ve announced the name before the baby is born.

Right now I’d say that if your husband didn’t even know your SIL would have an issue with the name, it’s highly unlikely people will think it’s unloyal to her.

It’s tough for her but at the end of the day it’s your baby not hers and she can always use a cute pet name for her niece/nephew if that makes it easier for her.

When will people today learn that the naming of a child is completely the job of the parent(s)?

We’ve all had unpleasant associations with names and then we meet someone great with that name (like our NIECE or NEPHEW!) and end up loving the name.

She needs to grow up and shut up in my view.


Thanks so much all.


I was in a sort of similar boat and posted about it here. What happens if you met someone mean with your intended baby name? - #12 by leafygreens

I feel like you’ve got 3 options:

  1. Don’t kowtow to bullying over something that was locked in or registered. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you have the same issues with this person?

  2. Not all (your child’s name) are bad people. SIL is going to need to learn to associate “good (name)” with your innocent baby and “bad (name)” as being a different person.

  3. If you do change, consider similar meanings or sounding names like I did!

That is really unfortunate that your SIL is taking it this way. Without knowing all the details it sounds like very childish behavior (I mean if it was something super traumatic like assault/rape/kidnap etc. then I totally understand why she wouldn’t want to be reminded of it every time, and would suggest going with a different name.) However just telling you you can’t use the name without discussing with you the reasons why is a little immature and unhealthy.

I would suggest having a conversation with her if possible, where she can express her concerns and her reasonings, and hopefully she will listen to your side as well. I would hate for the birth of your child to be a divisive moment in the family, however I also would really hate if someone told me I couldn’t use the name I love for something that has nothing to do with me or my baby.