Commentators were quick to call out an expectant mother explaining why she planned to give her child her last name on a popular internet forum.
In a post published on Reddit’s r/AmITEA**hole, the anonymous Redditor asked the subreddit’s 3.5 million members if she was wrong about wanting to pass on her maternal name instead of sticking to paternal traditions. Entitled, “AITA For Refusing To Give My Unborn Son My Husband’s Last Name?” the viral post has received more than 6,000 votes and nearly 5,000 comments in just 9 hours.
Explaining that she and her husband have been married for three years, the Redditor said the couple are expecting a son and had previously agreed that the boy would take his father’s last name when he was born.
Recently, the Redditor said she had changed her mind and told her husband she wanted the child to have her last name, or a combination of both of their last names.
Adding that she kept her maiden name when the couple married, the mother-to-be acknowledged that she had agreed to give her child her husband’s last name, but explained why she changed her mind and the explosive aftermath of that decision.
“Lately I started thinking about it a lot more and thought it would be unfair for my unborn son to take my husband’s last name and not mine,” she wrote. “I spoke to my family and they said my husband and in-laws are ridiculous for pushing this on me without compromise.”
“I went home and told my husband that I have changed my mind about the last name and that I would like to have both surnames combined or give my last name to our son,” she continued. “He was confused and said we had an agreement…he said I couldn’t just do that and called me selfish when I pointed out that I’m the mother and I also have something to say.”
An analysis of The New York Times wedding announcements revealed that in 2015, 29.5 percent of women kept their maiden name in marriage. In the seven years since, there is little data to indicate that far more or far fewer women choose to keep their maiden name.
When it comes to newborn babies who take their mother’s last name, there’s even less.
In 2002, researchers at Rutgers University reported that nearly 97 percent of married couples passed on only their father’s last name to children. in 2021, The Atlantic Ocean reported that, although few studies have been conducted on it, “in nearly every American family with a mother and a father, children are given their father’s last name.”
According to a BabyCenter survey, only 4 percent of families choose to give their children their mother’s last name. And when children are given a matrilineal surname, it is often because the other parent is absent.
As the anonymous Redditor explained in her original post, that’s not the case for her family. Still, she said, her husband remains furious and refuses to talk to her as a result of her decision.
“We had an argument and then we stopped talking,” she wrote. “He said I had broken and violated my part of the deal and that I should just ‘deal with it’…but I won’t accept it.”
In thousands of comments directed to the original poster, Redditors agreed that she had violated the agreement she made with her husband and that he was rightfully angry about the whole situation.
Redditor u/baebear3, whose commentary has garnered more than 11,000 votes, told the original poster that she’s not wrong in wanting to give her surname to her unborn son, but she’s wrong in the way she informed her husband of the sudden change.
“You literally mention that you’ve had this promise at least since you got married and both discussed and agreed upon,” they noted. “[You’re the a**hole], not to say your last name, but because you promised your husband his last name for the kids and then came back to it and started a huge fight over something you two had agreed on a while ago.”
Amid a sea of comments centered on the earlier agreement between the original poster and her husband, other Redditors noted that both parties were guilty and advised the soon-to-be couple to resolve their name issue as soon as possible.
“You two are taking this so badly and dragging the whole gene pool in,” Redditor wrote u/Born-Pineapple. “If you think names are hard, wait for real parenting to kick in.”
“Let’s solve your communication problems now,” she added.
In an equally blunt response, Redditor u/fuzzy_mic noted that despite previous similarities, it’s imperative for the pair to come to a new compromise.
“Yes, you broke the agreement,” they noted. ‘And then? Both parents must agree on the child’s name.’