I have to name my daughter what now?

Published 12:23 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Dear Aunty Pam,


I’m married to a super guy and we’re expecting our first child (a little girl, yay!). Everything has been going well until my MIL just informed me in front of all the guests at my baby shower that she couldn’t wait to meet ‘little Aleid.’ 

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I thought I hadn’t heard her correctly and said, ‘Little who?’ She repeated ‘Aleid,’ which is her own name, and, completely confused, I asked what she was talking about.

She said, ‘Oh, didn’t your husband tell you? It’s the custom to name a daughter after her grandmother and a son after his grandfather.’ I said this was the first I had heard about that, and she became pretty adamant, saying it goes back in their family all the way to the 18th century.

When I got home, I confronted my husband who looked pretty sheepish. He agreed with what his mother had said and also said he was going to bring it up to me in the next couple of weeks. That it was really important to his parents and the history of his family. When I asked him about what was important to my family or to me, he said we could find a way to choose one name from my family and the name from his family. But then he stressed that the first name had to be from his family. 

Obviously, I am pretty upset about this. I barely know his family and they were only here for the baby shower. The rest of the time they live in Europe. 

I’ve already picked out a beautiful name, and while I don’t mind considering a family name for a middle name, it really irks me that I have no voice in this and feel completely ambushed. Evidently, Aleid translates to English as Abigale, which I don’t mind for a middle name, but I picked the first name, Marlena, and then put my foot down. This, of course, is causing all sorts of stress and arguing and I’d love to know if I am really being ‘selfish’ for not going along with a family tradition that I’m not a member of.

What should I do?



Marlena’s Mom


Dear Mom,


You actually are a member of this family and tradition as you’ve married into it, but I do agree that this subject should have been made known to you waaaaay before you ever even became pregnant. 

Don’t they realize you’re fatigued and hormonal and could retaliate by entering her name as Demon Copperhead (love that book) on the birth certificate when no one is looking?

To keep the peace within the family, I do like the idea of you having the name that you chose as well as the family name— and I’m assuming there would be no objection to using the English translation? Abigail is such a pretty and old-fashioned name. At the end of the day, despite how her name is written, you can call her whatever you want, right? Meaning in order to please your MIL, sure, your daughter can be named Abigail Marlena, but you can simply call her Marlena! Or Lena.

Or, being the South, ‘Hon,’ which is what everyone is going to call her anyway.


Cheers, dears!!

Aunty Pam