What is wrong with naming a baby after a living family member?

(37 Posts)
AngelaOxford Sun 18-Aug-13 21:19:38

Why do people think it's odd to name your child after a living member of your family?

Our second child is a girl and we decided that we shall call her Mary, after my mother-in-law because we would like to honour our relationship with her. She has really been the greatest support during those 10 years that my husband and I have been married and I feel like she is my mother too. We are so unbelievably excited with our decision regarding the name, only to have this feeling ruined by some of our closest friends who are thinking naming a baby after a living member of the family is a terrible idea.

If you agree that naming a child after a living family member is a terrible idea, can you please explain to me why?

parabelle Mon 19-Aug-13 13:59:17

Like others have said, it's a Jewish tradition. Courteney Cox wanted to name her dd Courteney after her mum (and herself) but David Arquette is Jewish so they called her Coco after her mum's nickname.

SleepyCatOnTheMat Mon 19-Aug-13 13:47:40

It used to be considered bad luck in this country to name a child after a living person. But of course this hasn't stopped thousands of people doing it over the centuries with no ill effects.

For what it's worth, I think because you used your DM's name (well, a variant of it) as a middle name for DC1, you can only use your DMIL's name as a middle name, not a first name, for DC2. Otherwise it's not fair, no? No wonder your DM wasn't overly enthusiastic about the idea, she must feel slighted.

SunnyIntervals Mon 19-Aug-13 09:44:07

Eccentrica, my Jewish great grandfather was very interested in other world religions, so going way back, I don't think they were trad! My Jewish family is mixed with Sephardi as well - so maybe that is another difference.

eccentrica Mon 19-Aug-13 09:21:42

sunny I was going to say the samev- clearly your grandparents were not overly bound by tradition! (nothing wrong with that I hasten to add, my children have one Jewish, one welsh, unmarried parents)

I think it is fairly universally 'not done' at least among Ashkenazi Jews.

funnily enough though, although I'm completely non religious, the name thing still has those resonances for me. I couldn't name my child after a living relative, it would just feel wrong.

I couldn't care less if someone else does it though. my dp has his dad and grandfather's names as middle names

ravenAK Sun 18-Aug-13 23:52:28

I think it's lovely actually.

Dh happens to have my all-time favourite name for a boy, which ruled it out for ds, so we chose something v similar (so eg. one is John or Robert say, the other Jonathan or Robin. Not those though!).

It's mildly confusing as both names have a common shortened form, which we use for dh but a different one for ds - but he still gets called his dad's nn on occasion. & as he gets older I suspect post will be a PITA - my father & I share a first initial & used to sometimes open each other's stuff.

But when you have a grandparent/grandchild sharing a name, & presumably not living at the same address, these minor hassles don't apply, so I can't see any reason at all why not.

There are two names which are woven through 3 generations of my mother's family, & everyone concerned has always seen this as a positive thing - I don't like either of them, or I'd definitely have liked the idea of carrying on the tradition!

kaumana Sun 18-Aug-13 23:45:18

Don't see why it would be an issue. I was named after my gran who was very much alive at the time! Now, years after her passing, I cherish "our" name.

Ihatepeas Sun 18-Aug-13 23:39:16

Not weird at all.
Fwiw I love the name Mary. Dd was almost Mary its such a lovely name.

SunnyIntervals Sun 18-Aug-13 23:33:47

Eccentrica, I wasn't trying to say you were wrong. Just that clearly not every Jewish family feels the same. My grandfather married out, though, of course - so obviously not entirely on the straight and narrow!

My dad is named after his dad. They even have the same two middle names. Dad has never been referred to as junior either.

Confusing when the first name is shouted and they both reply.

AngelaOxford Sun 18-Aug-13 23:30:45

Casmama, how exactly is it lazy and unimaginative? I am not doing it because I am bored of finding another name for my child!

Re the attention issue, I'll just call "Mary" both will turn and then I'll tell them whom I am referring to! It's so simple!!

KatOD Sun 18-Aug-13 23:26:09

There's nothing wrong with it, do what you like and tell your friends to bugger off

Casmama Sun 18-Aug-13 23:13:11

Unimaginative blush

Casmama Sun 18-Aug-13 23:12:41

I hate to go against the grain but I think it is a bit lazy and I imaginative. By all means give her Mary as a middle name but won't it be confusing if they are both in the same room and you want to get the attention of one of them?
Ultimately, it is your decision and you should do whatever makes you happy. I would keep my trap shut in real life but you did ask!

TheSecondComing Sun 18-Aug-13 23:12:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

eccentrica Sun 18-Aug-13 23:05:46

sunny I have (had) 4 Jewish grandparents, 2 Jewish parents and a Jewish education and I can assure you it's the case :-)

BlueStarsAtNight Sun 18-Aug-13 23:02:05

I also have Jewish family and have been brought up to think that you don't name after the living, so I would find it strange, however your reasons for choosing that name are lovely and if your families won't find it weird and you both like it then great and just ignore your friends! I have to say though, if it was my mum, and we'd given DS a middle name reflecting her name, but then gave DS a first name reflecting my MIL then she would be very put out as first name is a greater honour, and she'd likely fester on it for bloody ages! If you think she might honestly be really upset then I'd consider Mary as a middle name instead so it's 'even'.

SunnyIntervals Sun 18-Aug-13 23:01:47

I have never heard this and I have one Jewish grandparent who actively wanted my mother to name me after my living df's dm.

There is no problem with your plan and Mary is lovely!

AngelaOxford Sun 18-Aug-13 22:58:57

To be honest, I don't really understand how it is anybody's business how I name my child as long as it is not offensive! I think that not even the grandparents should interfere with the decision. Only the parents, and perhaps the siblings if they are old enough and make good suggestions. My sister-in-law, for example, is named Rose, because my husband being fond of roses since he was 2, always run to her cradle shouting "rosie"! Of course, he meant roses, but since her parents couldn't decide on a name, they followed their son's spontaneous suggestion!

MrsGeologist Sun 18-Aug-13 22:49:02

Nothing wrong with it IMO. My dad had the same name as his dad, no big deal.

You like the name, it's not something stupid like RoboDong2013, that's all that matters.

AngelaOxford Sun 18-Aug-13 22:44:39

Thank you all for your contributions!! As soon as we spontaneously told them to 3 of our friends over dinner, 2 of them thought it was an awful idea, because it might cause issues with my family etc. Well, yes, my DM wasn't really that excited even after we explained the reasons for our decision, but to be fair my son's middle name is the male version of her name and we don't want to have a Simon Frederick and a Frederique Isabelle, if we were to name our daughter after her.

Something significant I forgot to add is that our daughter's due date is 5 days after my mother-in-law's 60th birthday so we're joking that this is our gift to her! My mother-in-law and I work in the same field, and before I was moved to a different department we were working together nearly every day, we still work together on projects every other week. We work in a field that is male dominated and she was my mentor somehow. She's the one that introduced us, and we both my husband and I agreed, that we would like to name our daughter after her. DH has hesitated slightly, mainly because he knows my mother is not very fond of the idea. I was named after my paternal grandmother, but only because she demanded it and my father, being his mother's son, didn't want to have issues with her! So technically, my mother was forced to accept her daughter being named "Angela" and not "Rosalind" as she wanted. Yes, I know we have some MAJOR of issues in my family! :D hahahaha

HidingUnderMyDuvet Sun 18-Aug-13 22:05:13

I'm in a similar situation to doilooklikeatourist...

In DH's family all the first born males are given the same name, and it is expected that I do the same if (hopefully when!) I have a son.

Only problem is I really don't like it! Funnily enough, neither does DH- he goes by his middle name. I plan to negotiate using it as a middle when the time comes!

rootypig Sun 18-Aug-13 22:04:54

I love the name Mary! And see no problem with it at all. I'm sure your DD and her grandmother will share a wonderful bond as a result.

Ignore your friends, I think they're reflecting this idiotically narcissistic individualistic culture we live in.

crazykat Sun 18-Aug-13 21:57:38

I think it's fine. DD1 & DD2 have middle names the same as living relatives, or were when they were born. DS2's middle name was going to be my dad's name but at the last minute we included DBIL name as he died suddenly two days before he was born.

Name your DD whatever you want and ignore what others think. I think it's lovely you want to name her after your MIL - makes a change from all the MIL bashing.

Lots of Williams in my family , each older son of the generation is William
My Dad is William
His father and grandfather are William
My cousin ( paternal side ) is William
His son is ( wait for it ... )
William
Nothing wrong with it

IceNoSlice Sun 18-Aug-13 21:41:21

I would love to name unborn DC2 after my or DH's parents or grandparents. Unfortunately I don't really like any of their names. Fine for them, just not right for a child due in 2014. No issue with the concept though.

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