A sweet gesture to honor a family member who died has turned into a major headache for one man on Reddit. According to the new dad, both he and his brother's wives gave birth during this time of social distancing. Unknowingly, each man named their new baby after their brother who had passedaway. Unfortunately, the man's brother shared the name of his baby first, so now the Redditor is torn: Should he go ahead and tell everyone that he used the same baby name -- or should he make a switch before it's too late?
It all started with the best intentions.
As the 28-year-old explained in a since deleted post on r/relationship_advice, "long before I was ever born," his parents lost a baby they named Michael.
"He only lived a few hours, but he was still their baby," he continued.
For years, the original poster (OP) and his brother vowed that they would name their own firstborn sons Michael in his honor.
But plans change when it actually comes time to name your kid. By chance, both brothers were expecting at the same time, but it didn't seem like either would use the name Michael.
For starters, the OP's brother wasn't going to use the name because "his wife was insistent they were going to use a different name entirely, and [my brother] seemed to go along with it."
And the OP and his wife didn't discuss baby names too much, either.
The problem arose when his brother's baby was born on April 30 -- and the OP's daughter was born a full month early on May 4.
The OP and his wife did end up using their beloved baby name -- but tweaked it to Michaela for their little girl.
"There's a family tradition about not outing name and gender 'officially' until we have a little welcome home party when the baby's a few days old," he wrote.
But the current health crisis put a damper on their typical family tradition.
Instead of getting together, his brother decided to throw a Skype call with the family "and my dad dropped off takeout for them at their door."
It was meant to be a sweet way to turn lemons into lemonade -- but then his brother dropped the bomb.
His brother and his wife had used their treasured name in the end.
On a video call with the family, they announced the birth of baby Michael.
No one besides the OP, his wife, and her mother know that he used the baby name too.
And now the OP is absolutely sick with anxiety and is panicking.
"Do I tell them ahead of time? Do I warn my parents?" he wondered.
Should they change the name before anyone else finds out?
Luckily, his wife hasn't returned home from the hospital yet, so they have a little bit of time before they're due to announce their baby's name at their own welcome home video call. But what to do while he's figuring it all out?
"I can't just say our baby's in the hospital with absolutely no information to my parents, or else they'll assume the worst," he continued.
His biggest fear is that his brother will think he "stole" his baby name.
The OP swears that he thought his brother was going to go name his son after his wife's father "like they talked about" -- there was no baby name theft on his end!
His wife is deeply unbothered by this whole thing.
"[She] says while the names are close, the real names are distinctly different on the end, they have different middle names, and will end up with different nicknames as they grow," he explained. "But I don't know if Theo and his wife will see it that way."
The OP concluded, "Literally any advice would be amazing, because I've seen enough posts about siblings and cousins freaking out at 'stolen' names I'm sort of expecting the worst."
Commenters thought this new dad should take a breather and chill.
"Micheal and Michaela are two different names, you shouldn’t feel compelled to do anything," one commenter wrote. "My family has an Emma, Emily, and Emmett all named for my Grandmother Emma. Nobody asked or cared about the names being similar."
"It's actually cute!" someone else assured him. "They're almost exactly the same age and will grow up Michael and Michaela, it will be adorable."
"Given that you and your brother had already discussed it (even if it was long ago) I can't see why there'd be an issue," a third person added.
In the end, the brothers already set a precedent that they'd both use the name, so the OP has just as much right to use it as his brother. But if he's really concerned about any blowback, he might want to reach out and tell his brother about his baby name before their family party to avoid any surprises.