'We Had an Agreement': Internet Backs Father in Heated Debate Over Baby's Last Name

Commenters were quick to call out an expecting mother who explained why she planned on giving her child her last name in a popular internet forum.

In a post published on Reddit's r/AmITheA**hole, the anonymous Redditor asked the subreddit's 3.5 million members if she was wrong for wanting to pass down her maternal name instead of adhering to paternal traditions. Titled, "AITA for refusing to give my unborn son my husband's last name?" the viral post has received over 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 that the couple is expecting a son, and had previously agreed that the boy would take his father's last name when he is born.

Recently, the Redditor said she had a change of heart and told her husband she wanted the child to take her last name, or a combination of both of their last names.

Adding that she kept her maiden name when the couple was married, the expecting mother acknowledged that she had agreed to give her child her husband's last name, but detailed why she changed her mind and the explosive aftermath of that decision.

"Recently I started thinking about it a lot more and figured that it would be unfair for my unborn son to take my husband's family name and not mine," she wrote. "I talked to my family and they said my husband and in-laws are ridiculous to push this on me without a compromise."

"I went home and told my husband that I've changed my mind about the last name thing and want to have both our last names combined or my last name to be given to our son," she continued. "He was confused, saying we had an agreement...he said I can't just do that and called me selfish when I pointed out that I'm the mother and I get a say too."

An analysis of The New York Times wedding announcements revealed that, in 2015, 29.5 percent of women kept their maiden names upon marriage. In the seven years since, there is little data to suggest that far more, or far less women elect to keep their maiden names.

Baby name disagreement
An expecting mother said that she and her husband are not talking after she decided she wanted to give the couple's unborn son her last name. AntonioGuillem/iStock / Getty Images Plus

When it comes to newborn babies taking their mother's last name, there is even less.

In 2002, researchers at Rutgers University reported that nearly 97 percent of married couples passed down only their father's last name to children. In 2021, The Atlantic reported that, although few studies have been conducted on the matter, "in almost every American family with a mom and a dad, children receive their father's last name."

According to a BabyCenter survey, only 4 percent of families elect to give their children their mother's last name. And in cases 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 is 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 a fight and we stopped talking after this," she wrote. "He said that I broke and violated my part of the deal and I should just 'deal' with it...but I won't accept it."

In thousands of comments aimed at the original poster, Redditors agreed that she violated the agreement she made with her husband, and that he was justified in being upset about the entire situation.

Redditor u/baebear3, whose comment has received more than 11,000 votes, told the original poster she isn't wrong for wanting to give her last name to her unborn son, but that she is wrong for how she informed her husband of the sudden change.

"You literally mention that you've had this promise at least since you were married and have both discussed and agreed," they commented. "[You're the a**hole], not for wanting to include your last name but for promising your husband his last name for the kids and then going back on that and starting a huge fight over something you guys had already agreed upon a while ago."

Amid a sea of comments focused on the previous agreement between the original poster and her husband, other Redditors commented that both parties were at fault, and advised the expecting couple to sort out their name issue as soon as possible.

"You two are handling this so badly and dragging the entire gene pool into it," Redditor u/Born-Pineapple wrote. "If you think names are hard wait until the actual parenting kicks in."

"Get your communication issues sorted now," they added.

In a similarly blunt response, Redditor u/fuzzy_mic commented that, despite any previous agreements, it is imperative for the couple to come to a new compromise.

"Yes, you did break the agreement," they commented. "So what? Both parents should agree about the child's name."