New mother refuses to change baby’s name when entreated by sister-in-law four months after birth

June 12, 2024

A woman who refused to change her four-month-old baby’s name after a request from her sister-in-law was not wrong to hold her ground, said Reddit users in response to a social media post—and an expert told Fox News that the sister-in-law was not entirely out of line for asking, either.

“AITA [Am I the a–hole?] for telling my SIL [sister-in-law] I won’t change my 4-month-old daughter’s name for her?” asked user “No_Leadership_2850” in a June 3 post on Reddit’s “Am I the A–hole” subreddit.

In the post, the woman said she and her husband had a four-month-old baby, whom they had named Ember.

“My husband and I both loved her name and that’s how it was chosen. We announced the [name on the] day she was born and nobody said anything negative or gave a reason for us not to use it then,” she wrote in her Reddit post.

That is, until just a few days ago.

Her sister-in-law, “who is married to my brother, sat me down and asked me to change the name because it’s the name of her stillborn daughter she had with her ex-husband seven years ago,” wrote the woman.

The sister-in-law “tried to keep it quiet,” she said, “but she couldn’t let me keep calling my daughter Ember because it’s such a painful reminder for her. She told me she really feels like we should change her name.”

The mother of the four-month-old baby balked at this idea.

“I gently told [her] that my daughter was four months old and her name is on the birth certificate and it would cost us to change it, so we will not,” she said.

Her sister-in-law “told me she tried so hard not to say anything and the fact she did eventually break and bring this up should show how hard this is for her and make me more willing to change the name for her sake.”

The mother wrote on Reddit that her husband agrees with her and does not want to change their daughter’s name either.

“He told me it seemed like a weak excuse to wait four, almost five months, to tell us, when she had the chance long before this,” she said.

Her brother—her sister-in-law’s husband—is also supportive of the woman’s refusal to change the name.

reached out and told me she mentioned it to him two months ago and that she was battling with asking us to change the name since,” she said. “But he understands why I said no and supports the decision.”

Her sister-in-law, however, is apparently not taking “no” for an answer.

“Yesterday she reached out to me again and asked me if we had decided on a new name yet, and I told her my answer is still no,” wrote No_Leadership_2850.

The sister-in-law “became very angry very quickly and told me if she had lost my niece my response would be different, and I should see this as her losing my niece because she would have been if she were alive.”

She continued, “She also told me my daughter is going to grow up always hearing about the cousin I gave her the same name as and that I should reconsider before burdening my daughter with that. She told me a good person with good morals would.”

No_Leadership_2850″ added that, while she knew her sister-in-law had experienced a pregnancy loss, she was unaware it was a stillbirth of a daughter named Ember.

“I never knew the name or the sex,” she said, adding, “I never ever heard her use a name for her daughter.”

Fox News reached out to “No_Leadership_2850” for comment and updates.

A therapist told Fox News that she does not believe anyone in this scenario is “truly in the wrong,” so to speak.

“It’s likely true that the sister-in-law held back for four months to say something; the decision whether to speak up was probably very difficult as mentioned,” Rachel Goldberg, LMFT, founder of Rachel Goldberg Therapy in Los Angeles, told Fox News via email.

Once the sister-in-law decided to talk to the woman about her daughter’s name, “the issue probably felt much larger to her, especially since the response was a firm ‘no’ regarding changing the name,” said the marriage and family therapist.

The mother of the four-month-old, said Goldberg, “has every right to keep the name.”

She added, “She can navigate this by being very empathetic toward her sister-in-law. She should continually express her sorrow for what her sister-in-law went through and acknowledge that the name might be ‘triggering’ for now.”

But the young mother should also consider telling her sister-in-law that “changing the name doesn’t seem appropriate in this situation.”

She added, “The [mother] can hope that, in time, her sister-in-law will understand that these are two separate beings.”

Goldberg continued, “While the stillbirth was an extremely painful experience, which the author fully acknowledges, the situation with the new baby is distinct and separate—and this situation might be a catalyst that motivates the [sister-in-law] to seek help as there may still be some unresolved issues that can be worked out.”

Reddit users agreed with this sentiment—with many voicing their firm opinion that the woman should not change her baby’s name.

On the AITA subreddit, people can reply to posts and indicate the poster is “NTA” (“Not the A–hole”), “YTA” (“You’re the A–hole”), “NAH” (“No A–holes Here”) or “ESH” (“Everyone Sucks Here”). Users can “upvote” responses they think are helpful and “downvote” ones that are not. In the more than 3,000 responses to her post, most said that she was “NTA,” but that they felt bad for the sister-in-law.

“Everyone grieves differently, and at their own rate,” said Reddit user “CheeseMakingMom” in the top-upvoted comment.

The user continued, addressing the mother directly ,”However, seven years definitely warrants therapy, counseling and [some] coping mechanisms. I find it extremely difficult to believe that in seven years your [sister-in-law] has never met anyone, or even a pet, named Ember. Or has she, and she insists that person change the name also?”

Multiple users pointed out how it was strange that the sister-in-law said her daughter would be hearing about her cousin Ember—given that the Reddit writer, as a member of the family, had never once heard the name during the entire time she’s known her.

“It sounds like the sister is threatening to make a point to always tell her niece about the cousin she was ‘named after,’ making the aunt the AH,” said user “AbsurdDaisy.”

Said another user, “NotCreativeAtAll16,” The sister-in-law “can ask, I suppose, but has no right to demand you change your daughter’s name. If there was a time to change the name it was when she was born.”

Research contact: @FoxNews