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Mother-In-Law Secretly Changes Newborn's Name While Mother Recovers From C-Section

One mother-in-law really stepped over the line, but shouldn't Dad have stepped in?

Over The Line


If you ever want to feel a little bit better about your life and relationships, take a look at an advice column.

Recently in Slate's Care And Feeding column, one woman explained how her mother-in-law manipulated her husband into going against her wishes with the middle name for their son. Instead of "Finley" like the mother wanted, the MIL got her son to go with "Finlay" while his wife slept post C-section.

What Was He Thinking?


While she casts much of the blame on her mother-in-law, she also questions her husband's judgment. Not only was he so easily manipulated by his mother, but he lied to his wife about it as well.

Taking Legal Steps


"Mama Bear" is looking for advice on how to proceed with both of these relationships, but she makes it clear that she will be legally changing her son's name to the spelling that she had intended.

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Commenters Weighed In


Slate's commenters weighed in on the capital-d Drama, questioning what the MIL's long term strategy was. There is no world where this doesn't blow up in her face, so why did she think she could get away with this kind of backhanded behavior?

Taking A Stand


Many encouraged Mama Bear to take a hard stand against her mother-in-law, even potentially cutting off contact. Some even suggested that she examine if her relationship with her husband is worth it after this betrayal.

It's On The Husband


A lot of people put the blame squarely on the husband. Yes, the MIL voiced her opinion and strong-armed​ her son into doing her bidding, but it was all over the phone. He is the one who made the final decision and chose to lie to his wife about it.



Some people thought that Mama Bear was going too far with the whole thing, arguing that it wasn't a huge deal. It's just one letter in a middle name, after all.

Advice Columnist Responds


However, columnist Carvell Wallace was quick to join Team Mama Bear, exclaiming that he probably would have started a fist fight with his MIL if she crossed him like this.

However, his biggest concern was about her husband and whether he was a fitting co-parent. This level of deceit is not a great sign.

She Deserves Better


Ultimately, Wallace thinks Mama Bear deserves better, from her MIL and husband alike. He explains that she'll always feel stifled and steamrolled unless she deals with her husband and his clear issues, so maybe it's time to send the man to therapy.

With advice columns, I always wish that there was a "this is how it turned out" follow up, but alas, that usually is not a thing. Nevertheless, hopefully,​ things turn out ok for Mama Bear. Don't let anyone tell you what to name your kid, girl. Finley is definitely the better spelling anyway.

What's In A Name?


Is a name really something to tear a family apart over? There are so many names out there and you can just do names on top of names these days. How many actors actually work under their real names?

Just Call Kids Whatever You'd Like


Call your kid whatever comes to mind. Plenty of people are doing it these days, dropping crazy names left and right.

You Can Always Change It Later, Right?


And later in life, you can still change it. Heck, you can still change it after the secret comes out about the mother-in-law. Change it. Let her think she's calling it the name she brought into play. Then proceed with the name you had chosen.

The Kid Might End Up Preferring The New Name


And after all of this backstabbing and name changing, the kid could still go with their own new name. They might not like it later on.

So don't fret over such things.

Secret Is Never A Good Thing


If anything, don't go around secretly changing names or forcing changes while your wife is asleep! It's a parent decision at best, with suggestions welcome from outside...not warranted, though.