Inspired by another thread that is active at the moment...
- I'm a feminist
- I'm TTC DC1 with my (male) DP
- My father was abusive and I have been NC with him for 23 years
I'm struggling a little with the usual decision around surnames for our DC when it arrives and for myself.
Generally I am against changing surnames on marriage and on children being named after their father's only.
However I feel that my surname is my only remaining connection with a vile and abusive father and in that sense I'm reticent to keep it or give it to my DC.
Both myself and my DP have long surnames so double-barrel would make life quite difficult as I'm not even sure it would fit on forms.
DP is not keen on changing his own name.
So....I consider my options to be (a) give our children DPs name and change mine to the same on marriage OR (b) change mine to something totally different with no meaning or link to it and double-barrel.
I'd use my Mother's maiden name but it's Boyle so not appealing!
Oh and combining our names doesn't work....the resulting names are not good!
I'm generally pro keeping your own name on marriage. But in your case there are enough reasons not to. This strikes me as one of those tomes when feminism is actually about choice.
I wouldn't feel obliged to jump through hoops in order to prove a point. There are loads of decisions in life, not all of need be ultra principled. As long as most are, you can be purely pragmatic about something like this. It's not for anyone else to judge, positively or negatively
I am married with one DS. Didn't change my name on marriage but am also NC with every single member of my immediate family and have been for a number of years. So a similar situation to you.
My reason for not changing on marriage - my name is MY name. It's not my fathers name and it's not a connection to my horrible family, it's just my name. If I thought like that then I would also share a 'connection' with every other random who has the same last name.
When DS was born though, I didn't want him to have my name. I didn't want my family to find out and feel a connection to him that doesn't exist. I appreciate this is quite contrary to my views about my own name though! He has my DH's name. Handily it's a nicer name and sounds better but that wasn't an influencing factor.
It doesn't bother me to have a different name to DS. People often assume his surname is mine or mine is his and I just correct them, it's not a problem. I am no less his mother because we have different names, just the same as I'm no less married for having a different name to DH.
You have to do what's right for you, but don't let an abusive birth family ruin your name for you. Own your name, it's yours.
My neighbours, who have both kept their own names (one a relatively "normal" British name, the other a complicated foreign name even though eg himself is British), have given their 2 ds a "new" surname - one that meant something to both of them (it sounds British but I do to know what the link is).
I went the "traditional" route whereby ds has dh's name rather my
strange one. Part of me regrets that, as I like my unusual name.
Which of your two options do you prefer? I don't think you said!
My situation is that I'm not married to my DP, which won't change. I've got DS1 and another baby on the way. Both will have DPs surname. We had the same problem that double barrelling wouldn't work however we tried it, so it was choose one of our surnames or choose something completely different for all of us. Neither surname had any negative feelings associated with them, and the decision came down to the fact that one of my hobbies is family history. Having researched the two surnames back through the records, I didn't want either surname to disappear! I have a brother who's children have his/my surname, so it seemed fair that as my DP is the only son, to pass his surname down to our children (his siblings are unlikely to do so). That was the basis for the decision, really just our own personal preferences.
So, for you, which of your two options seems more appealing? Would you yourself like a new surname, unconnected to your past? Would you prefer your DPs surname over one you choose? There's no right or wrong answer, just what feels right for you and your DP.
I had a lovely maiden name, when I married I changed it for a really common surname. I'm sorry about the name I lost as it's now gone forever I've no brothers. But I wouldn't have dreamt about keeping it, I got married and I changed my name because I wanted to join with him
I had a related sort of thing in that I felt very keen to distance myself from my father's surname and no-one else in my family had the same name, in fact I'd used a different name for several years so my real surname never felt like mine. DH has a lovely surname so the right decision for me was to take his. Possibly we could have come up with a new marital/family name but I feel comfortable with our decision. I feel like I have to justify it sometimes, but other than that I've never regretted it.
I gave DS a second middle name that was a surname from the maternal side of my family, from a few generations back.
If you are attached to your name then you could reclaim it but otherwise you could consider either a new name (Wild?) or all decide to use your partner's.
I'm not particularly attached to my name and would prefer to drop it, too many bad connotations to make it my own I think.
Really don't know about my preference between the two options...
Taking DPs name: is 'easy' in that it's expected and won't require any explanations and I don't have to think of something new. It's not the best surname in the world but it's fine.
Making my own: Could have something awesome but would take a lot of thinking about. Would have to explain to everyone which I would be partly really up for (contributes to making people think about patriarchy) but would also be potentially annoying.
I can imagine I will be lazy and opt for DP's name.
For a second I was excited that I could have a name like Fox (my fave animal and Ms. Fox has a great ring to it) but then realised DP is Burrows so DC would be Fox-Burrows?!
do either of you have a middle name that would work as a surname?
or you could do the icelandic (I think) thing-
eg (if you are Ann)- dd would be Annsdaughter, ds would be Annson
In your situation I would be minded to think of a new name that you love and that incorporates elements of DP's name if possible, take it yourself and use it for DC. So what if you have to explain to people? You only have to do so once for people you know, and never for people you're meeting the first time, and as you say, you get to make an important point. And who knows, DP might change his eventually if he wanted to have the same name as you and DC/ren.
"I had a lovely maiden name, when I married I changed it for a really common surname. I'm sorry about the name I lost"
Same here, if I had got married and had kids older I wouldn't have done it. I considered changing my name by deed poll a while ago... I still might.
If you are thinking of changing your name anyway to something different, why not to your DP on marriage then you and any children will all have the same name? Or is your partners name a crap one?
Personally I'd give the children a double barrelled name. If you don't want to keep your current surname, change it, and give the children a double barrelled name with your new surname.
I don't see what's wrong with Boyle. How about your mother's mother's maiden name? Using your middle name as a surname?
"I wouldn't have dreamt about keeping it, I got married and I changed my name because I wanted to join with him"
So you are joining with him, but he's not joining with you?
I changed my surname on marriage but was quite happy to leave it behind as it was a source of bullying throughout my school life and even into adulthood, turns out grown ups are dicks too. I really like my surname now and it feels like mine more than my given name was.
Personally for me I like sharing a name with my children and DH but that's just me.
My surname isn't great but as far as I am concerned it is MY name and the fact my father (and relatives) share it is irrelevant. I kept my name when I married, because changing my surname felt as alien as changing my first name, and my DC have both surnames because we are equal parents.
In your situation I would either come to terms with your surname being your name and disregard your father (after all, he probably had input on your first name and other funadamental things as well and to completely remove all trace of this could be really difficult ult) or change my surname to something I liked/meant something to me and give my children both names.
My DH and I both have equally dull, common British surnames, both 1 syllable only, so I felt no particular strong feeling towards his, nor wildly positive towards my own - other than (as other posters said) that it is MY name and I couldn't imagine having any other. So I kept mine, but more because of feminist principles and because it feels familiar rather than because I think it's a very appealing name. It's not awful, but it doesn't double-barrel well with DH's name and I already knew I wanted to give DCs 2 middle names so I felt I was already overloading them with extra names!
If you can imagine yourself with a different name, though, and would like to lose yours, I would change it to something you like. And future DCs could always have a middle name or surname connected with somewhere you grew up or somewhere that is special to you and your DP (favourite beach? Favourite tree? Somewhere you've stayed that you both love?)
I know of siblings who were given a surname inspired by the name of the street where they grew up. That was an idea I thought was rather sweet.
Join the discussion
Please login first.