Parent Left Raging After Family Member's Baby Name Theft

"I just feel really angry, like they’ve taken away part of his identity..."
Tatsiana Volkava via Getty Images

Choosing a baby name is tricky business for parents-to-be: opt for something too different and you’re at risk of family members shunning the name altogether; choose something relatively common and there’s a high chance someone close to you will have used the name already.

So what’s a parent to do? Well, probably don’t follow in the footsteps of the person who chose the same first and middle name for their new baby as another young child in the family.

An angered parent recently took to Mumsnet to rant about how their husband’s cousin had named their new baby the exact same first and middle name as their son, who is four. Eek.

Asking whether they were being unreasonable for being annoyed at the apparent baby name theft, the parent said their husband’s cousin had attended their child’s christening and had seen him since (as they’re a “close knit” family) so they were “fully aware of the name”.

“It’s not a massively common name so it’s not something you expect lots of people to have. I just feel really angry, like they’ve taken away part of his identity which, I know, is probably ridiculous,” said the enraged parent.

“But why copy his first and middle name? His middle name we chose to honour his grandad and they have no family connection to it so I just can’t understand it!”

Fellow parents rushed to their defence, saying it was “annoying” and “strange”.

“That is really strange! I’d be miffed too,” said one commenter. “Thats so weird of them,” said another.

“I’m normally the first to say no one owns a name. But that is just bizarre,” added another respondent.

But some were of the opinion that it’s not a big issue. “I’ve been to many christenings in my time and I can’t remember any of the kids’ middle names,” said one respondent.
“Are the kids likely to have much of a relationship growing up? It is a weird thing to do but maybe they’ve always wanted to use this name and it’s just an odd coincidence?” said another.
“My view is probably warped though because I’m from a huge family and share a first name with three of my cousins, and a first and middle name with one, and it’s never caused an issue.”

It’s safe to say nothing raises the hackles of some parents like a potential baby name theft. As HuffPost previously reported, the topic has been the subject of personal essays, national surveys, Reddit threads, satirical articles and even some iconic TV moments.

But why does it feel so personal? “We have an emotional attachment to the names we select,” etiquette expert Diane Gottsman said at the time.

“Parents are very attached to names for reasons that range from wanting to honour a family member, like a grandmother or favourite uncle, to idolising someone like a mentor or important movie star.

“When someone else comes in and uses that name, it feels like a theft. However, a name is not intellectual property. Anybody can use a name, and while you have an emotional reaction to it, you can’t really steal a name. But it feels like a stab.”

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