Mum's horror: husband insists on naming baby after sex organ

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

Cultural differences can make or break a couple - religious beliefs, family expectations, food preferences and attitudes towards the sexes are just a few of the things that can play a part in creating friction for partners who come from different cultural backgrounds.

Spare a thought then for this distressed mum-to-be, whose husband is insisting they call their baby daughter the equivalent of 'vagina' in her first language.

She posted on the Mumsnet baby name forums with her awful dilemma which has been enough to make her cry for a full day.

Asking for advice, she asks "Am I being insensitive?" before explaining the situation.

She writes, "So hubby and I know we are having a girl ! He told me (out of nowhere, never discussed it before) that he always wanted to call his daughter Sylvia. The issue is that in my native language, Sylvia resembles the word for 'Vagina'. I told him that, and he doesn't care."

While the exact African language isn't revealed, a quick search uncovers that 'siilka' is Somali for vagina, so there's a chance that's the similarity she's concerned about.

She then discusses her husband's justification for why his name choice should trump her concerns. 

"He says, 'We're in England not Africa'. Technically he's right, but I'd feel awful calling my baby vagina every time I say her name".

Then, unbelievably, she gets the lecture from the mother-in-law.


"Then he told his mother, and this morning she sent a long text telling me how I decided to marry an English man, how this baby will be born here, and that it's not a big deal. His son is in love with the name so if I love him I should her call that".

Um, right. Faced with a brick wall of unfeeling resistance to her concerns, she is understandably reduced to deep sadness.

"I am so sad, my husband won't talk to me, or would say hurtful things. For example during dinner last night "Pass me the water please. Can I still use the word please or does it mean something in your language that is rude?"

What do you think ? I've been crying all day. I tried to tell him that we could look at names we both like. But NO he wants Sylvia. I cannot begin to imagine my family reaction to calling my daughter vagina... even if she never lives in my home country, the thought of saying 'I love you vagina... come here vagina etc...' horrifies me."

One commenter hones in with the goods.

"Horrible. Tell him you like Dick for a boy and Fanny for a girl."

Then there are those concerned that this level of disrespect from her partner cuts deeper than choosing a baby name.

"I'm so sorry OP but he sounds like he could turn into really bad news. This really isn't about a name. He has no respect for you. It doesn't even sound like he particularly likes you. Normal people would never insist on a name (or anything else) that upsets their partner. It also appears that neither he nor his family will care about your child's dual heritage. That's so sad and might be damaging for your child in the future. Especially if she might look different to the rest of the family. There are so many red flags here. I hope you really do know what you are getting yourself into continuing a relationship with him. Be very careful."

"He can't bully you to chose a name you don't like. Both parents need to agree to a name they both like. He is being very, very unreasonable. He is always this controlling? If so you need to think carefully about whether you want to stay with him."

"Glad he's shown his true colours now rather than when he's saying this about your heritage when your dd is old enough to understand. I'd be out the door and he wouldn't find out about the birth until after she is registered. This is about so much more than a name."