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Family

Woman fights to give her baby a name that her husband says is 'abusive'

Some traditions just don't feel right in 2024.

pregnancy, baby names aita

A family fights over a baby name.

When it comes to parenting, the second most important decision—after whether to have a child or not—is choosing a name for the kid. Even though we live in times where parents are getting more and more creative about picking a name for their children, those with a more common name have a greater chance of being socially accepted than those without.

According to Psychology Today, grade-school kids with highly unusual names or names with negative associations tend to be “less popular” than those with more “desirable” names. Later in life, people with “unpopular or unattractive” names have more difficulty finding romantic partners.

A 23-year-old mother-to-be wanted to name her son Gaylord and had her family's full, passionate support, but her husband, 24, and his side of the family were firmly against the idea. The woman was looking for validation and posted about the dilemma on Reddit's AITA forum.


“In my family, our genealogy is extremely important. The firstborn son since the 1800's has been given this name. I'm well aware it's a stigmatized name today, so that's why I have agreed to using a short form,” the woman wrote.

Understanding that her son would be bullied for being called Gaylord, she decided that it would be his legal first name, but could go by Gail. Her family believed that it was acceptable for him to be known as Gail initially, but as society grows more tolerant, will be called Gaylord when he gets older.

“They see the backlash over the name today as a fad that will eventually disappear, and I agree seeing how accepting each generation tends to become,” she continued. “When society stops being so immature about it, he can start using the full name.”

The father wouldn’t even consider naming his son Gaylord, or Gail, for that matter. His family went a step further and said that naming him Gaylord or Gail would be “abusive.”

"My in-laws are telling me that even Gail isn't an acceptable boy's name and that I need to 'get with the times' and choose something more appropriate," she continued. “What happened to respecting our elders and traditions? His family doesn't have any naming traditions, so it should fall to my family that does. How could I be expected to break a centuries-old family tradition?”

The commenters were overwhelmingly against the mother’s decision.

"Use your imagination. A boy named Gaylord goes to his first day of school. The teacher does the roll call. ‘GAYLORD SMITH?’ Class breaks into giggles. Embarrassed boy says, ‘It's Gail.’ Class giggles some more, since Gail is usually a girl's name. Boy has no chance of fitting in with his classmates. His fate is sealed. He is a social pariah for life. Don't do this to him. Please,” one user wrote.

"Your name is the first thing people know about you. It’s the cover page of how people perceive you. Even if you think Gaylord will just appear on the birth certificate, you’re wrong. His legal name will have to be used on official documents, at school, on his license and passport. It will appear at the top of every resume he hands out. It’s not as simple as putting a name on paper. It’s how he is going to appear to the whole world. Gaylord is totally stigmatized and has been for decades. It’s not going away, sorry." Elinbeth added.

“Some traditions reach the point where they are no longer suitable for modern times. This is 100% that time. Pick another name," CashieBashie wrote.

After the post went viral, the mother shared that both sides of the family have tentatively agreed on a name.

“We managed to work out that Gale Gaylord would be a reasonable compromise, with Gale being the complete first name, and Gaylord being the middle name,” the woman wrote. “My husband can then add a second middle name after Gaylord if he wants. Grandpa is especially not impressed that it's being demoted to a middle name, but he did say he understands the pressure I'm facing here.”

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