Woman's Former Mother-in-Law Is Insisting That Baby Be Named After Her Late Son

The woman maintained a relationship with her late husband's mom, but now that she has twins on the way, they're butting heads over a baby name.

An image of a baby's hand in the hospital.
Photo: Getty Images.

Deciding on a baby name is challenging enough without pressure from family members, but sometimes, parents-to-be have to contend with loved ones overstepping their bounds on the subject. Take, for example, a 31-year-old mom on Reddit who asked the online community if she's a jerk for not naming her baby after her late husband.

The original poster (OP), writing under the handle u/stn0071, shared that she and her second husband recently found out they're expecting twin boys, and her first husband's mom is "livid" that they're not going to be named after her son Michael who was also the OP's college sweetheart.

Sadly, the OP and her late husband, Michael, were married only a couple of months before he passed suddenly. "It was one of the worst times in my life, and I never thought that I would ever fall in love again, much less get married again or have a family," wrote the OP.

She remained close with Michael's mom who was supportive when the OP finally did start dating again.

"Not long after I met my current husband (John) I took him to her house so that they could meet," recalled the OP. "She was so excited to meet him, and I remember going to the bathroom and crying tears of relief that she wasn't angry at me for moving on."

When the OP found out she was expecting, she shared the happy news with her former MIL who was "ecstatic, making jokes about being a 'bonus grandma' and asking to help plan the gender reveal party and baby shower."

But when names came up, things took a turn for the confrontational. "I tried to make her understand that as much as I love and miss Michael, that chapter of my life is over, and I feel like it's disrespectful to John to insist on naming one of his children after another man," noted the OP. "At first John said that he would be fine with it, if it was what I wanted, but eventually he admitted that the idea made him uncomfortable."

The OP believes her late husband wouldn't have wanted it either. "There are better ways of remembering him than giving his name to a child that will never have any real connection to him," she explained. And yet, her former MIL "wouldn't hear it"—and even threatened to never speak to the OP again.

u/stn0071 then turned it over to other Redditors, asking if she's in the wrong. The resounding response: Absolutely not.

u/M-Otusim wrote, "We all grieve differently. It's your child to name and if you don't want to name them something, don't. Name your child what you and your current SO think is right. Your MIL is an a**hole for putting this ultimatum on you. She's hurting bad though, burying your child is one of if not the worst things in this world. Up to you if you want to give her a pass on being an a**hole about this vs. just cutting off the connection yourself. Not an easy choice."

Another Redditor, writing under u/Special_Koala_1093, shared, "It's great that you have maintained a great relationship with your late husband's mother. That doesn't change the fact that your kids have no connection to Michael. It would be unfair to your husband and to the kid."

And u/She_Is_Insatiable noted, "You are showing love to her and your late husband by continuing to be in her life and giving her an opportunity to be a 'bonus grandma.' That's amazing on its own. She sounds totally unreasonable, but maybe the grief of her loss is welling up as she considers the grandson she could've had biologically that never came to pass."

The OP updated her post to thank everyone for their feedback and shared that her former sister-in-law thinks her ex-MIL "is having a long overdue emotional breakdown." She elaborated, "We both agree that she has avoided fully processing her grief, and now it's all coming to a boiling point. She's pushing hard to get her to see a therapist, and I'm hopeful that we can salvage a least some of our relationship. But if not, I'll find a way to live with it."

While this situation is unique and delicate to be sure, the OP is right to embrace the path that's best for her and her family. And that's all any new parent should be expected to do when it comes to choosing a baby name.

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