We can only imagine the pain a parent endures after losing a child, and one dad on Reddit is feeling his grief intensified after the actions of his ex.
Friends and family, however, seem to think he’s overreacting to the fact that she decided to give her second son the same name as the one who died tragically. So, he took to the AITA subreddit to see if strangers felt the same.
“We had a boy, Nathan,” wrote throwawaykidname. “Nathan was stolen from us four years later. It ended us. I’m still in therapy.”
In a later edit, throwawaykidname explained that Nathan was killed in a car accident. After the young grieving couple divorced, they remained on good terms, even as the ex-wife, whom he calls “Lana,” remarried. He said he was thrilled when she got pregnant with a boy, just a few years after the death of their child.
“Last week she gave birth to a boy and announced that she’d named him Nathan. Officially, Nathan the second (like you would with your pets),” he continued. “In a Facebook post, she put his photo next to our Nathan and wrote a tribute, but I just couldn’t. I lost it. I called her up and demanded she change his name. That she had no right. There were a lot of words exchanged before I broke my phone.”
Throwawaykidname’s family is siding with Lana.
“My mother is insisting I should be grateful that God has given Nathan back to us,” he said, adding that someone even informed his therapist about his reaction.
So, is he wrong? Most Redditors do not think so.
“I feel like perpetuating pain like this is not a good idea,” asmallman wrote of Lana’s choice. “It’s clear she hasn’t let Nathan go either. Just like you.”
“Just imagine the kind of undue burden that will be placed on him if his mother doesn’t come to terms with her grief,” Vagrant123 added. “Everything she had planned for her first boy will be doubled down on him.”
We also heard from one person who actually experienced this.
“My parents did the same and it’s really fucked up my life,” honeybiker said. “They don’t realise it, but they end up putting all the expectations of what their child could have been on you.”
Hopefully, this family has a chance to be more aware of what they’re doing, especially if they’re in therapy still.
The forum disagreed about how throwawaykidname should deal with this going forward.
“[I]t’s NOT HIS child,” robertsba2011 wrote. “He can choose not to be involved with this child. They aren’t related in ANY way. If this is going to be hard for him, he can cut contact with Lana. I would not ever name a new child after my deceased child, but Lana is comfortable with this. [Not the asshole] if [original poster] drops this and leaves Lana to do what she wants with HER child, and continues working on his own grief.”
Some even wanted him to cut contact with his mother for her comment about Nathan being reborn in the new baby, who isn’t his.
“Why does everyone jump straight to cutting contact?” AuntieAnnie81 asked. “Everyone in this situation OBVIOUSLY loves each other. It’s awful, naming the kid after their older son was awful, but a reaction to loss. No, he’s not an asshole for losing his temper, but throwing away your family (even if it’s your ex-wife) because you’re mad and sad doesn’t make sense. Cutting contact is the NUCLEAR OPTION. This is not that situation.”
Perhaps throwawaykidname will find it helpful to know that there is quite a precedent for Lana’s actions, as a few commenters pointed out.
“This sort of thing used to be really common in the era when a lot fewer children made it to adulthood,” Ad-Alert wrote. “I build family trees as a hobby, and one of my grandmothers went by her middle name Kate, but her first name was Sarah. Sarah was also the name of two other little girls her mother gave birth to, both of whom died by age 5. It’s a family name, so they kept reusing it.”
Not that history always helps a currently grieving parent, but knowing this may help him to see his ex-wife’s actions differently. They both have a lot more healing to do.