‘A very cruel thing to do to a child’: Wild reaction to baby name

A concerned friend has taken to an online advice forum to ask whether or not she should share her true feelings with her pregnant friend about her unborn child’s name.

She explains: “I have a friend who I will call Sarah for the sake of this post. Her husband will be John Jacob.

“One year ago Sarah had a very terrible miscarriage late in her pregnancy and gave birth to a stillborn,” she continued.

She had already named the baby and was apparently very public about her loss, even posting photos of the child’s tombstone to social media, showing his name ‘John Jacob II’.

Fast forward to this past weekend, and the OP was attending Sarah’s baby shower, as she is pregnant again with a boy.

During the baby shower, Sarah announces the name of her soon-to-be-born son and it’s John Jacob III.

“The third,” the poster emphasises.

Since the day, the OP has received messages from mutual friends to share their equal shock, so it’s safe to say she’s not alone in her thoughts.

“I will eventually have to talk to my friend and she will 100% bring it up. So, would I be in the wrong if I told her that naming her son after her stillborn would be a very cruel thing to do to a child?”

“This is such a tricky one,” a top commenter pointed out straight away.

“Your friend is clearly still grieving her loss, and maybe finding solace in being able to remember her first baby through his brother. This is understandable.

“HOWEVER, this is not a good decision on her part. I can just see the toll that being named after a stillborn sibling will take on the coming child. I would be concerned, as I’m sure you are that they will not be able to develop an identity separate from their parents’ idea of their older brother.

“So you wouldn’t be wrong for bringing this up GENTLY with Sarah. Be prepared, though, for her to be very hurt and angry; no good deed goes unpunished.”

Someone else chimed in, agreeing, “This! Children need their own identities, grief is hard. A possible solution for them would be passing down just the middle name or just the first name but as a middle name so the child could still have their own identity but carry something personal and special too.”

“I understand the logic behind the name as the child is technically named after the father, not the late stillborn. And because the stillborn was buried as ‘John Jacob II’, it makes sense to feel as though that exact name was already given and now cannot be used,” said a third.

“But any time they or their son introduces his full name, people have a chance to ask, ‘John Jacob the third? Not second?’ and someone (probably him) will need to bring up the death of the stillborn brother and clarify the name order.”

However, others urged the OP to just leave it.

“I would avoid giving your opinion unless she specifically asks for it,” one said. “You don’t get to have an opinion here… so not your business. Don’t talk about it behind her back. In some families that’s normal, even if a bit outdated. Don’t lose a friendship over a baby name that will likely be shorted to JJ.”

This article originally appeared on Kidspot and was reproduced with permission.

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