Naming children

I love my mother-in-law, I really do. But her baby name choice, Esmeralda, was not, I repeat, not, anywhere near the top of my baby name list. She knew that, I knew that, and my wife knew that. And yet, my daughter’s name is Esmeralda. It was a surprise to me when I saw it on the birth certificate. I was so mad that I just went along with it. What was I supposed to do, argue with the woman who just brought life into this world?
— Antonio H.

To say the above quip made me angry would be an understatement. It’s from a slideshow on The Stir called “11 Moms & Dads Who Totally Regret Their Baby’s Name“. This is absolutely downright despicable behavior as well. It doesn’t matter if it was the wife or the mother-in-law who put the name on the birth certificate.

Naming your children should always be a partner agreement. Meaning if one of the two is completely opposed to a particular name, regardless of how much the other might “love” it, you don’t go with it. It doesn’t end up on the birth certificate in any capacity.

And if the name were to end up on the birth certificate, I’d consider it grounds for divorce. Because it shows that, for decisions that have such a long-term impact, you’re either unwilling to compromise or at the least are willing to be underhanded to get what you want.

At minimum, if I were in Antonio’s position, I’d be filing with the Court to get the birth certificate withdrawn. And absent that, I’d be looking at other options to get the name changed so we could come up with a name more to our joint agreement. And, again, if the mother were to contest, I’d consider it grounds for divorce.

It’s one thing if she is single, the father is out of the picture, and the woman is giving birth and raising the child on her own. But if she’s married, then the name must be a joint decision. No sneaking around. No subterfuge. No subversion.

If either sneaks a name onto the birth certificate and files it, especially if it’s a name the other parent has expressly opposed, again that’s grounds for divorce if they don’t go along with having the name changed. Because if you’re going to sneak around for something as supremely important as naming a child, it gives reason to not trust you on lesser decisions.