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?
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!
@Gronky Thank you! The baby was born and named in Feb but we will use your method for next dc!
..and marriage protects women..
how is he a 'committed feminist' exactly?
The personal is the political..
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 .
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.
In what ways is he a committed feminist?
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).
Loobybear I couldn't think of any good ones. Another Emma thank you.
What was the reason for your DOH choosing all your children's first names?
"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.
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.
Oh dear, I think you got lost, this is "Feminist support" - AIBU is that way >>>>
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.
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.
What a thoughtful and constructive contribution
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).
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.
Are there no names that work in both languages/cultures? Some names work in more than one European language, for example.
@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.
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?
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.
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.
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