Can you 'steal' someone's baby name?

Wooden cube letters
There are plenty of names to choose from, but… [Photo: Pexels]

Over on Mumsnet, one woman recently appealed to her fellow mums after her husband’s ex stole something precious of theirs.

Not a piece of furniture, not money – but a baby name.

Site user Deedee3311 appealed to others after revealing that her partner’s ex, who knew that Deedee3311 had a specific baby name in mind, gave it to her own child.

Deedee3311 didn’t reveal whether she was pregnant or trying for a baby at the time, but said that she had nicked the name they were “going to use”:

“His ex who he already has a son with who has just had a baby has actually stolen the name we were going to use,” she wrote on the post.

Baby feet
It’d be a total bummer [Photo: Pexels]

“We are on amicable terms and she knew what name we had chose, now she has robbed it.

“We call the baby by this name and it is THE name we want, but his son can’t have two sisters called the same thing can he?


And the response from other mums on the post have been mixed – but most of them told her to “get a grip” or something along those lines.

“Get a grip , you can’t steal a name, nobody owns them,” wrote Floralnomad.

While PurpleDaisies wrote: “Why shouldn’t she use a name she likes? She doesn’t owe you anything. You’re being completely unreasonable.”

Baby and mother
Can you really call it ‘stealing’? [Photo: Pexels]

They have a point; technically, you can’t ‘steal’ a name in the same way as you can so many things.

But telling her to “get a grip” is an awfully easy thing to say when it isn’t your chosen baby name which you feel has been taken away.

Like wedding venues and party dresses – though these are admittedly on a slightly different scale – no one ‘owns’ the right to such choices and, technically, you can just do the same as someone else.

But in practice, you’re not going to. You’re not going to turn up to a party in the same dusty pink cross-backed dress, you’re not going to hold your wedding reception in the same as your best friend.

Baby with teddy
If it matters to you that two children have the same name, it matters [Photo: Pexels]

So essentially, it has been stolen.

Some commenters on Deedee3311’s post said that “of course he [her ex-husband’s son] can have two sisters with the same name”, but if that prospect bothers you, it bothers you – especially if you’re worried you might be accused of stealing the name rather than the other way around.

So it’s understandable that Deedee3311 essentially feels robbed.

But, on the other hand, we need to look at the ex-husband’s wife’s perspective.

What if she, through other means, came across the name and loved it – should she be barred from calling her own child that because the first woman ‘called dibs’?

If you have many friends of the same age all having children, more than one parent is bound to pick a popular baby name – and it’s not like one day, before you all have children, you can all hold a meeting and assign one another names which you must strictly abide to.

Baby twins
Baby Anna and baby Anna? [Photo: Pexels]

These things happen – and it’d be a mistake to assume malice when it’s a coincidence.

But what could make Deedee3311’s case different is if her husband’s ex did know about one specific name, and hadn’t been interested it beforehand.

For the sake of courtesy, it’s not hard to avoid just one name – especially considering the upset that failing to do so has caused Deedee3311.

So regardless of whether you think you can ‘steal’ a name or not, if Deedee3311’s husband’s ex did indeed know that this name was important to her, and used it anyway, that’s a very insensitive thing to do.

Or as debbs77 put it:

“I’d be fuming! She knew! And bloody stole it! I’d use it anyway.

“B*tch! Seriously, I’m annoyed on your behalf.”

And you know what Deedee3311? I am too.

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