Bestowing a name on a newborn baby is exciting, full of potential and demands care.
One needs mountains of foresight to imagine this kid growing up and attending a high school full of ruthless other children, telling the barista which name to call out and participating in job interviews.
Yes, it is possible to botch that decision. Especially when you go with the exact same name as a world-famous fictional character.
Reddit's very own ExcellentCondition4 posted to the forum site seeking some plain advice. She wanted some closure after she received some negative feedback regarding the name she and her husband chose for their newborn baby boy.
As the story begins, it becomes clear where this is all headed.
One very specific "Potter" comes to mind.
Her story quickly shifts directions.
She describes the emotional fallout following her father's recent sudden death via car accident.
"It destroyed me, we were incredibly close, and his death ended up causing my pregnancy to go from easy and calm to high-risk. I'm still mourning him. It's been four and a half months and I'm still not over it."
"My dad's name was Harry."
No one is disputing that the loss of a parent, a sudden loss at that, is a difficult experience and requires careful mourning. Honoring past familiar members is also a worthy practice.
But the stars have aligned for this kid to be named after a globally famous wizard that speaks intimately with snakes.
"I wanted to honor my father by calling my son after him. But that would mean his name is Harry Potter."
So the new mom did understand the danger at play here.
But damn the torpedoes, she went for it.
You only get the power to name a human being once, right?
"Anyway, I decided to not let the book series and movies rule my emotions and decision, and my lovely little boy with big blue eyes and bright-red hair is called Harry Michael Potter. He's only about three weeks old and we're totally in love and he's a decent little dude, we'll probably end up keeping him."
After she was feeling good about the choice to cast legitimate concerns aside, she had to go public.
The response was well below even lukewarm.
"I had a professional photo of him taken and formed into a birth announcement, which I sent out via USPS, and later put onto Facebook. Being a birth announcement Harry's full name is on the announcement."
"I've been getting an unending amount of ridicule and shaming from people for calling my son Harry. To add insult to injury one of my so-called "friends" shared the birth announcement with a meme page and now I'm getting it from everywhere."
"The worst is the shaming online. Y'all know the toxic culture of Facebook and mom-groups, I'm having people accuse me of child-abuse, people saying I need to have the authorities, CPS, whatever, called on me."
So ExcellentCondition4 thought, "what better place than Reddit to find solace after encountering internet abuse too harsh to take?"
She did not find a room full of yes-men, that is for sure.
"Your family reasons were good, but there's still the realty of the world we live in, and it's harder to name a more well-known character."
"Couldn't you have made Harry his middle name and still honored your father without the constant threat of teasing?" Alternative_Answer
"If you think you get ridiculed it's nothing compared to what your son is going to get." Poekienijn
"He's going to have to constantly explain to people that 'yes, that's my real name, I'm not joking.' You seem to only be considering how you feel about the name and not how it will affect him the rest of his life." DickLongo
Some responses were less delicate.
"I genuinely, truly do not give an ounce of a sh*t for your multitude of reasons and excuses for why your son so desperately needed to be named harry f*cking potter--your son is in permanent cosplay now and it's your fault. "
"This is playing life on a difficulty setting he absolutely does not deserve, and it's your fault. you may as well have had him be Spongebob Squarepants." proximete
"Back in 1999, there was an article in Time magazine that talked about real-life Harry Potters, and how much grief they were getting because of the book series. One guy couldn't order pizza, another guy got prank calls asking about the Sorcerer's Stone, etc."
"That was 1999, when there were three Harry Potter novels and no movies. Imagine how much worse it'll be today." M0506
"I'm sorry but you're not the one keeping that name for 18 years until you're legally allowed to change it." GrowingApathetic1
"Your son is going to send in resumes and have people think he is joking." WynnMauve
Some comments, though, were a bit more empathetic.
"It's not child-abuse, that's taking it about ten degrees too far. More like not really understanding the impact this is going to have." Alternative_Answer
"You did put some thought into the name before you released it to the world, but I don't think you could have anticipated this level of reaction. As you can see from these comments, people have a lot of feelings about this issue."
"The internet's actually a pretty good litmus test here, because like strangers online, kids can be cruel. And your kid will have to deal with them in school." redeyelens
"You need to come up with some strategies to address it in real life ('he's named for my late father' accompanied by a cold stare should work) and to handle the online hate (which may just be ignoring it)."
"Then you'll have to teach those strategies to your son."
"Congrats on the baby, and I'm sorry about your dad." MaIngallsisaracist
Edits to her original post show that the feedback did have an influence.
The kid will be renamed Harry Michael Vaughn.
That was a close one.