'It's a heavy burden': Couple's heartbreaking baby name dilemma

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto 

"My wife wants to name our baby boy after our late son. Am I being unreasonable for not wanting to reuse his?name?"

That's the poignant?question a father has posted to Reddit?ahead of the birth of his little one - and the resulting discussion about love, grief and loss will both break and heal your heart.

"My wife lost her mum and dad in a car accident when she was 10," the father writes, adding that she and her brother were raised by their aunt and uncle.

Four years ago, the pair welcomed twins whom they named Michael after the wife's late father and Adam after her uncle. "We loved both names, and it was really nice to be able to remember her father and honour her uncle," he continues.

The babies were born at 24 weeks and tragically, Michael died at just six weeks old. Baby brother Adam survived.

"Now, we're expecting another baby in May, and just found out it's a boy," the father writes. "My wife told me last night that she wants to name him Michael. "

She still wants a son named after her father, he notes, and says she feels "it's not fair?that her dad and son shared a name and they're both gone."

He continues:?"She also said if we can remember her father by naming our son after him, why can't we remember her dad and our son by naming our next son after them both."

For the father, however, using the name would be like erasing the memory of their son.


"I already have a boy named Michael, he's just not here anymore," he writes. "He lived for six?weeks. We held him, fed him, washed him, read to him, and we called him Michael."

And while he asked his wife if she would be okay with using Michael as a second name, she said no.

"She knows I'm against the idea, but we're pretty good at working through things together," the father writes. "We both could tell pretty quickly last night that we had strong and opposing opinions, so we didn't push it, knowing that we both need to think through our positions and we'll talk more later."

Asking for advice on Reddit about re-using the baby name, the father said:?"How do I handle this delicately?"

And the responses will restore your faith in the kindness and compassion of online strangers.

"It's a heavy burden for the kid, but I can understand why she wanted to name him that," one commenter wrote. "Her grief was seeping through and it's almost like she wanted to replace her first Michael... She wanted to fill that void in her heart and thought she could do that by bringing back her lost ones through a name."

"I agree with both your positions, but I ultimately think you are in the right because of what the shared name might do to your future child," said another. "Presumably you will tell him one day about his lost older brother. It would add a lot more emotional stress to your future child to have to process sharing his name."

"I'm incredibly sorry for your family's loss, and can absolutely see the reasoning on both sides of this argument," wrote another. "This may sound a little out there, but as a compromise, maybe you look in to a memorial bench or planting a tree in a location that you frequent together as a family? Maybe a nice park or another location that means something significant to you. That way, you can honour Michael's name and memory (your child and her father) in a place that you can enjoy and celebrate together for many years to come."

In an updated post, the father added that in a later conversation with his wife, she shared that she was?overwhelmed with the idea of having another chance at using the?name Michael and hadn't considered it properly.

"She admitted that she hadn't thought through all of the potential issues, both for us and our son, with naming a second child Michael," he continued.

The father added?that he loved the suggestion of the?memorial bench to honour his wife's dad?and their?son.

"We had just made an offer on a lake property a few weeks before the twins were born," he wrote.?"At the top of the hill overlooking the lake, there's a natural nook in a rock formation on the pathway leading down to the water."

But while the?pair had talked about a memorial of some kind in this spot, they never made it happen.

And it's never left his mind.

"I think about it every time I walk past it," he said.

"I brought up the idea of doing a memorial for her mom, dad, and our son in that spot, and my wife broke down crying. She loves the idea and said she's going to start working on it.

"Thank you, everyone."