Baby name dispute with partner(56 Posts)
I am nearly 6 months pregnant with our first child, a daughter. My partner, her father, is a committed feminist and our relationship is fantastic. We are not married and even if we ever were (unlikely) I would not change my name, which he supports.
However naming the baby is causing row after row and stress. At first he was determined she should take his surname. I feel strongly that this would mean I was betraying her and women in general by making the first thing I do for her- naming her- a reinforcement of patriarchal bullshit! I thought we’d agreed on a cumbersome but fair double barrel but he says he can’t stand to double barrel and she should just take my surname, with his as a middle name (which is reality would be rarely used).
His condition is, he gets TOTAL control of the first name as I have got my “choice” for the surname. (I don’t see it as a choice really as it’s a deeply help principle not a “choice” to me.) The first problem is he hates all names except one that he’s fixated on from the start, that I don’t really like. I’ve given him a list of about 10 suggestions, he’s dismissed them all. Anytime I mention a possible first name, he shouts “oh no!”. This started even before the surname debate!
I hate this method of making the name decision- surely we need to choose together, not chop the decision in half?
Last night there was another heated debate. Getting exhausted by it and stressed.
What do you think?
I'd probably just choose a different surname for the three of you to be honest. Gay friends of mine did this when they married.
Then choose a name you like together?
Yes, give yourselves a completely new surname or make a hybrid of the two existing ones. E.g. Smith and Johnson you become the Smithson family.
I don't think he is a committed feminist, somehow.
And, erm, does he realise that actually he only gets a say in registering her if you permit him to? Point him at the gov.uk website:
'The mother can choose to register the birth on her own if she isn’t married to the child’s father.'
He sounds like a bully. You shoudl make the decision together.
What has he done that shows he is commited to equal rights?
Anyway, I'd take the heat out of it. Don't rise to it. Just snurk and say 'I don't think so dear' each time he mentions his crap name ideas.
Do you plan on having any more DC? If so, take it in turns to name them. That's what DH and I did. He had his heart set on a name for DS which is not my style at all. However, it made him happy so I agreed. When DD was born it was entirely my choice. I know DH would not have chosen this name, but he never said anything.
Make a new surname for you all? All of you double barrel? When we had my DS we weren’t married and just gave DS my then DP’s surname. And then I regretted that. Later we got married and changed all our surnames to a new double barrelled one. That worked for me as I didn’t feel like I’d outright given up my name, but we all have the same name which is nice. And I love that my DH changed his name too. I wouldn’t let him choose a first name that you don’t like, I think you’ll regret that.
Right now I feel like telling him he’s being a real dick about it, and ultimately the person who pushes her out through their genitals will name her. But I’d rather try and find an amicable agreement if at all possible.
We’ve been through all the options re surname solutions... inventing a blended name (doesn’t work well at all with the specific names involved), all using my name, all double barrelling. Couldn’t agree on any of those.
We had similar traumas naming the dog and the poor dog ended up with a semi stupid name!
Agree with @Lancelottie re the birth certificate
There’s an awful irony for me to your post, in that your DP sounds like my narcissistic controlling ex who is behaving like this with our soon to be third child. He has told me what surname the baby will have as well as his middle name. His actual words were he has been magnanimous enough to let me pick his first name. We’re not even married. My ex is a raging misogynist control freak though: to be fair yours is just being a bit of a latent one with this surname shit. And I’m not a feminist by most standards.
I’d ultimately be most concerned about his lack of a truly egalitarian approach to the issue of naming the child, as opposed to the whether the feminist paradigm in your relationship has been breached.
This is the problem I have with all this “stuff”. Sometimes it’s just words when the issues becomes intractable like this one. Ends up in a pitched battle regardless of beliefs.
Hope you manage to sort it out. I’ve probably just made an unwanted observation. Sorry. 🙈
Perhaps coming up with a new surname really is the best way to solve this problem.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and can resolve this.
Double barrell without a hyphen?
That way you can choose to use it as a double barrell or just use the the last part for daily use.
Most double-barrelled drop one day to day anyway.
@lollipop7 Sorry to hear about your ex, sounds a real pain.
Yes you’re right- the real issue is lack of desire for shared approach.
@Sunrosepink That’s pretty much what’s been agreed for middle/ last naming. Sensible suggestion.
If you put it as official two last names on the birth certificate but with out hyphen. Then it is not a middle name so you will always use the two names as a surprise name if you choose. It's just abit easier to drop one also if you choose.
I don't think his arguing style is related to his feminism or lack of. You both sound very similar and stubborn about what you want and his option is at least an attempt at compromise. What are you willing to "give" on?
You both strongly want your surname used but when he effectively gives in on this point you respond that as it's a firmly held belief it doesn't count as your choice exactly. That is petty and not a very kind response to him backing down in something important to him. I can see why he'd get equally petty over first name discussions after that.
I don't like these point scoring type of compromises and arguments but I see they work for some couples. Is there anyone, MIL?, that he'd like to honour with a middle name?
Thanks for all your ideas and comments.
Discussed it a bit more and the agreed plan is he will create a shortlist from which we’ll choose the first name together, his surname is the middle name and my name is the surname.
Going to take the dog with a silly name for a long walk. Have a good day and weekend all X
I wouldn't actually agree to that. What if you hate every name he suggests?
That's where nicknames come in Lancelottie
Oh you want to call him Maurice, dp? That's fine, I'll just shorten it to Ben 😄
Well if I hate all the names on his shortlist it’s back to square one.
"Committed feminist" my arse.
Lofty ideals are one thing but you have to also apply them to your personal life. His attitude to what should be joint decision-making is completely disrespectful.
DH and I disagreed on DS's surname but he eventually conceded that both surnames was the only fair way of doing it. We haven't used a hyphen so DS can drop one of the surnames for day-to-day use if it makes life easier for him. In part because of the surname debate, it was very important to me that we found a first name that we both liked. You're both parents and it's not fair for one parent to force their choice. DH and I each wrote a list - separately - and then compared them. We vetoed a lot of names from each other's lists and agreed on a shortlist. The name we chose was DH's suggestion originally and it wasn't my favourite to begin with but totally grew on me. Crucially though we didn't approach the discussion and decision as a battle to be won and lost. We are both very strong willed and we do sometimes dig our heels in but I think as parents you have to find healthier ways to manage disagreements and reach a compromise.
Is your partner like this about other issues you disagree on? I worry that he's going to be a nightmare to coparent with
Actually that sounds more reasonable now, though it seems to have been gruelling getting to this point.
@AnotherEmma I hope we will come to a decision in the same way you and your partner did. After more discussion today that’s what we’ve agreed we want to do.
The only other time we’ve disagreed like this has been over naming the dog! Everything else like political views, work dilemmas, house buying, holidays, family dramas, discussing parenting etc etc we are really aligned in our views. Bizarre.
Oh and I hate the idea of taking it in turns to choose names for children - that means one parent could hate their child's name, and what it you are hoping for more children but can't have them? It should be a joint decision, and if a couple isn't capable of making joint decisions I would question the wisdom of having children together.
What's his position on shared parental leave? How much paternity/parental leave does he plan to take and how much maternity leave does he expect you to take?
I totally agree about sharing all decision making. I hate the idea of taking it in turns to choose of whatever.
We are going to share parental leave and longer term considering him going part time while I carry on full time.
Cross post. I'm glad you've had another discussion and decided to do it that way, sounds sensible - fingers crossed you can find a name you both really like!
Also relieved to hear that other important decisions have be less fraught. Names are pretty emotive to be fair.
You’ve made a child together. He (or you) don’t get total control of anything, you have to decide together - that’s what parenting is about.
Get this sorted now, it’s the first of about a million decisions you’ll have to make.
My surname is pretty unusual and complicated so only quite plain names go with it... surely he won’t come up with anything too offensive! Giving him some space for a few weeks to come up with his shortlist.
You have until 42 days after the baby is born to register the birth (sssuming you are in England) so no hurry. Giving him some space for a few weeks sounds like a good idea.
Has he given you a reason why he feels the need to either decide the first name or else have his name as surname?
I ask as I have had exactly these discussions/debates with my DH. Only difference is I'm not pregnant yet. When we got married I refused to give up my name and I wouldn't go double-barrelled unless he did too (I didn't see the point in me changing my surname to double-barrelled if he didn't). Initially we were going to both go double-barrelled but have never really got round to it so have just kept our own names.
He has said that he would be happy for a baby to have my surname (or double-barrelled) as long as he can choose the first name. It took a while for him to explain why but when he eventually did I could see where he was coming from- I'm from another country and so my surname is foreign. If our child were to have my surname then he knows I would choose a name from my homecountry (I probably would) but he would rather choose a name from his country (where we live) so that the child doesn't end up feeling more of a connection to my country than his own. He's said that he's worried a child might see my name and country as cool and exotic and try to ignore the history on his side of the family. When he explained that, although I don't agree because the child would be growing up here, I kind of see where he is coming from. He says the same about wanting to choose the name even if we double-barrelled because he thinks the child could drop his surname as they get older, again because he thinks it could seem cooler to them.
If you say your surname is unusual, maybe your partner could be thinking along the same lines?
@loobybear That’s really interesting. I can see where your husband is coming from too.
Our situation is a bit different, my surname isn’t foreign just a tricky one to spell and pronounce if you’re not familiar. I fully admit it’s annoying to have to constantly spell and explain your name to people! However the principle and all that.
Are there no names that work in both languages/cultures? Some names work in more than one European language, for example.
There are a couple. There's one girls name I love that's Scottish (we live in scotland). But it means something in my language which could be weird but may still be passable. I dont want to ask family and friends what they think yet as they'll just assume im pregnant so going to at least wait until i actually am and ask. Boys are easier though as we've agreed to call them our dads' names put together.
Good that you have options
If you don't mind a bit of unsolicited advice... discussing names with family and friends can be a bit of a minefield. DH and I decided to keep quiet and it was hard but I'm glad we did. People are more inclined to be polite about the name once the baby is born and you're announcing it
We did of course canvas the opinions of anonymous strangers on the internet (on forums for both languages/countries).
What a thoughtful and constructive contribution
I know exactly where you're coming from. SIL didn't share any of the baby names she had in her list with family or friends before the baby was born and names so that people didn't give opinions based on personal preferences, "oh don't call them that, I knew someone called that 20 years ago and they were an asshole". I always thought that was a good idea.
Just not sure with this particular name how else I would guage if it would 'pass' when I get back home. The versions of mumsnet there are full of parents who don't like anything except typical names from that country and can be far more scathing that the wider public there. I wouldn't mention to everyone, just a couple of close family members or friends who I know wouldn't be judgemental but would know whether my child would be judged over there for having this word as a name.
Really? Giving a child her father's name is bow by down to the patriarchy? Does he see giving her your name as pandering to the feminazis? It is just a name, it may be symbolic of inequality to you but that is all it is sybomlic and subjective. If you are truest concerned about being a good feminist and doing the right thing for your baby maybe don't let petty gender politics ruin your relationship.
Oh dear, I think you got lost, this is "Feminist support" - AIBU is that way >>>>
Honestly, just let him choose forename. You really are choosing surname quite unusually for our culture. My doh chose our kids' forenames and they took his surname with my surname as a second middle name which I like. The forenames I didn't love immediately but do now. Kids can pick their genders nowadays when they're old enough to decide so don't see the point in making a decision about names which are obviously the easiest thing to change if you don't get it right.
"It is just a name, it may be symbolic of inequality to you but that is all it is sybomlic and subjective."
I've read this sentence a few times and can't work out what it's supposed to mean.
What was the reason for your DOH choosing all your children's first names?
Loobybear I couldn't think of any good ones. Another Emma thank you.
Another alternative... do you or your DH have surnames that you could use as a first name? Our friends did this:
Her: Lynette Harper
Him: Greg Harrison.
They called their DD... Harper Harrison. Harper being her first name and Harrison her surname.
(I've altered the names slightly, but you get the idea).
In what ways is he a committed feminist?
Why the anti marriage stance? It gives you legal rights as a family - I'd get down the registry office before having a child. No need for this to affect your surname obviously.
Apologies in advance that this veers more towards conflict resolution than purely feminist support but game theory is a topic that I rather enjoy.
WARNING: super geeky
Might I suggest a somewhat odd but seemingly fair selection process? You each have to write down 10 different names you'd be happy with and, if there's one on both lists then you go with that name. If there's no commonality then you add another 10 to the list and so on until you reach an agreement. At no time does one party see the list of the other until an agreement is reached.
To prevent cheating, you can either have a neutral third party check both lists for commonalities or use a cryptographic hash. The former is simpler but the latter works like this:
Enter the name here (make sure you agree beforehand whether you're entering them with the first letter capitalised, all lowercase or all in capitals, each will produce different hashes) in the 'string hash' box:
www.fileformat.info/tool/hash.htm and write down the CRC32 hash, you can use any of the hashes but that's short enough to be easy to compare.
Compile a 'private' list of your name choices with each hash next to it and a 'public' list of just hashes which you show to your partner.
Compare lists and look to see if the same hash appears in both. If it does, then refer to your private lists for the actual name (unless you want to name your child bcf845e1 or similar).
If there's no commonalities, add another 10 names to the list, hash them and compare your lists of 20 hashes.
If more than one commonality arises, you can use preference voting, if there's a tie then perhaps you could play Monopoly or Trivial Pursuits to decide .
how is he a 'committed feminist' exactly?
The personal is the political..
..and marriage protects women..
@Gronky Thank you! The baby was born and named in Feb but we will use your method for next dc!
Very interesting that this thread has been reawakened right now... I have been v anti marriage for a long time because I thought it had been used to perpetuate sexism for such a long time, and that if we ever really wanted a legal union it'd be a civil partnership. However, just last week I was reading something along the lines of... now marriage is open to gay couples as well so is no longer discriminatory I've been persuaded that the actual best thing to do is get married and help reform the institution of marriage by living ours in equality.
So... mission: Make marriage not bullshit!
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