I didn’t change my name when I got married.

This was actually very slightly controversial at the time: a handful of people have insisted on referring to me as ‘Mrs Miaoulis’ ever since (Even although I’ve politely explained that, er, that’s not actually my name…), while others wanted to know why on earth I was insisting on keeping my maiden name, and was it because I was one of those scary feminists?

As it happen, I DO consider myself to be a feminist (I don’t think I’m scary, but, then again, you do NOT want to annoy me when I’m hungry…), but that’s not actually why I chose to keep my maiden name: the truth is, it was part laziness, and part identity crisis. Yes, another one.

The fact is, by the time I got married, I’d had my name a long a time. I was used to it. I felt like it suited me: mostly because it was me – the only me I’d ever known, and the only one I could ever imagine being. I knew, of course, that people are much more than their names, and that changing mine wouldn’t actually make a significant difference to my life – or ANY difference at all really – but it still just felt odd and uncomfortable to me, and every time I thought about no longer being Amber McNaught, I got a strange, panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if someone was trying to steal my very soul. Or, you know, something a bit less dramatic.

should I change my surname to match my baby'sOh, yeah, and I was also really lazy: seriously, do you know how many organisations and agencies you have to contact if you want to change your name? Clue: it’s a LOT. I’d have to pay the passport agencyย ยฃ80 (Eighty! Pounds!) and have new passport photos taken, which, as we all know, is a trial in itself. I’d also have to pay to change my driving licence, and jump through God knows how many other hoops with the various agencies that need to know about name changes, and with a wedding and honeymoon sucking up every last penny at the time, who wants to start throwing around MORE cash, and getting embroiled in even MORE admin? No, it was just easier and cheaper to continue exactly as I was, and while Terry was a little bit disappointed that we wouldn’t have the same last name (Which I totally get, by the way: it wasn’t important to me, but I can see why it would be important to other people – or even just a nice thing to do…), he ultimately didn’t care what I wanted to call myself, so that was that.

“I mean, if we ever had children, I’d probably change it then,” I said, safe in the knowledge that that would never, ever happen, and I’d just go on being the same ol’ me, with the same ol’ name, forever and ever, amen.

Which just goes to show what I know, huh?

I said that – and have continued to say it ever since – because, while I really didn’t think we ever WOULD have children, I just somehow felt that IF we did, I’d probably want to have the same name as them. (The same surname, I mean: I’m not planning on naming my baby boy ‘Amber’, FYI…) There isn’t really a logical reason that I can think of for this. I mean, yes, I’ve read stories about women being stopped at airports and accused of abducting their own childrenย because they have a different last name from them, but I also know plenty of people who have different names from their offspring (I mean, it’s hardly unusual, is it?), and they don’t seem to have any issues because of it, which makes me suspect it’s not actually THAT big a deal.

should you change your name when you get married or have a baby?Even so, now that I’m over halfway through this pregnancy, I once again have this niggling feeling that, once the baby is here, I’d quite like the three of us to all have the same name (Not because of any societal pressure, or because I think families SHOULD share a name, but just because I think it might be nice, basically) .. and I simultaneously have a niggling doubt that, nah, it would just be too weird to change my name now, WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO STEAL MY IDENTITY?

That last comment isn’t aimed at anyone in particular, by the way: Terry is still of the opinion that, yes, it would be nice, but really, it’s up to me (He has offered to help with the admin, though, if I do decide to make the change), so there’s no pressure of any kind there. The current thinking is that I change my name officially, but still continue to use my maiden name professionally, which I guess would neatly solve that particular problem. This is the solution I’ll probably end up going for, but I’m curious to know what everyone else thinks of this subject: if you’re married with children, did you change your name? Would you? Talk to me, people!

(P.S. No, we wouldn’t want to double-barrel our names, or give the baby my name, and have Terry be the one to change: not because either of us believes that it HAS to be the man’s name the baby inherits or anything like that, but simply because Terry’s name is unusual (especially here in the UK, where only a handful of people have that name: all of whom I think are related to us!), and it’s more important to him than mine is to me. Oh, and I should probably add that I will obviously make my own decision on this: I’m not asking the internet to decide for me, I’m just curious about what other people have done/ would do in the same situation!)

How important is it to have the same last name as your baby? If you didn't change your name when you got married, will you do it if you have children?

  1. This is a personal and difficult decision. I am in a long-term, committed relationship but unmarried and when we decided to have a baby I didn’t think twice about giving our child his dad’s last name. I felt quite traditional about it and figured that one day we’d get married and we would all be matching. But over the last two years it’s bothered me a bit because, as stupid as it sounds, he feels less mine. Fortunately doctors and nurseries and such don’t assume that mothers have the same last name as their children and always ask for both when form filling etc but it does niggle a bit. Although my partner’s grandad loves that he’ll carry on the family name – my partner’s dad is an only son, as is my partner and our son, so it’s kinda cute.

    1. That’s good to know about people not assuming! So far I’ve not had any problems with the hospital etc, although I noticed that the midwife wrote the father’s name in my file as ‘Terry McNaught’, so she presumably thinks we both have the same name – mine! I was wondering if it would be confusing when it’s time to think about nursery, school etc, but as I said, I know loads of people who don’t share names so it’s obviously something they’ll be used to dealing with!

      1. One thing that annoyed me (before my husband and I were married) was that when I gave birth, all the paperwork (including cot labels and the baby’s ankle/wrist bands in the hospital) stated my maiden name – so in your case it would be ‘Baby McNaught’. I found this so weird, as our kids would be taking my partner’s surname, and we both assumed I would after we got married (we’ve been married two years and I sill haven’t changed it on everything – and now I think I might keep my maiden name for work/professionally as like you, I don’t recognise myself with a different surname). So we never had any intention of the baby being Baby ‘mother’s surname’ and I found it so presumptuous of them, as they never asked. I understand it’s for security reasons, as whilst in hospital it’s easier to identify the baby as belonging to the mother/patient when they share the same surname – but I was surprised by how much it bothered me!

        When our kids were growing up, sometimes teachers at school would presume we were married and refer to me as Mrs ‘husbands name’, and I didn’t mind. Early on it would bother me a bit that the children had a different surname to me, but then I think I just got used to it. It’s taken my by surprise that now I don’t feel comfortable with a different surname – but I’ve had that surname for 34 years. It’s who I am.

        1. Louise, babies are always labelled ‘Baby Mother’s-Name’ in hospitals immediately after birth, as you are the registered patient who is linked to the baby, No point labelling it ‘Baby Father’s-Name’ when you are the most likely to be in hospital while the baby is.

          They are not suggesting the baby should take your name.

          1. Mya – I didn’t state that the hospital were trying to suggest the baby took my name! I clearly explained that I know why they label the baby with the mothers surname.

    2. This was the same as me. We did get married – just before our wee girls first birthday. What really bothered me is that because we were not married at the time then the Father of my baby would have no rights whatsoever over the baby until baby was registered. Now rationally I knew it would be fine and obviously our families etc would do the right thing but it still bothered me, I do like us having the same name but I wouldn’t say it was vital and I know lots of people both unmarried or married who have different surnames in family. It was just a decision that felt right for us and for me. It helps that my new surname starts with the same letter and isn’t massively different so it hasn’t been that much of an adjustment.

      The admin side of things has been ok. My passport had just expired anyway. Driving licence I haven’t done yet but it is just a case of sending off form and marriage cert. IT at work was a bit problematic but got fixed within a week. I’m slowly changing my name with shop accounts etc. Bank was straightforward. went in and within 15 min and 1 form it was done.

      The different names when we had them caused no issues with GP, dentist, nursery etc.

      On another note it has massively annoyed me for years that with our electricity&gas both our names are on the account and I pay it all off of my own personal account yet every single letter was addressed to my then partner and not me. Drove me bonkers. I paid they should have had me on statements but nooo they are stuck in some sort of dark age when it is the man job to pay the bills. Grrr

  2. Amber, do what feels right for you. I could never see myself married with children, but here I am at 46, married for 14 years and have two children. I never really liked the surname I grew up with, mainly because it was so common, so I didn’t care about keeping that identity. At the same time, I was only going to change my name if my husband had a name that I liked, turns out he did and it is also rather uncommon. I remember after my parents divorced and my mum remarried, I didn’t like the fact that I had a different surname to her, now of course, it certainly doesn’t matter.

    I changed my name six months after we got married and one of the main reasons was that I wanted an identity change. I was looking for a job at the time without success and I wanted to invent the new me. I don’t necessarily think that it had anything to do with it, but I got the next job I applied for after the name change. My email address still contains my maiden name, mainly because it’s easier to spell.

  3. It’s really difficult. I changed my last name when I got married but very, very reluctantly, for all the reasons you expressed – I didn’t associate myself with my husband’s last name at all. I’ll be honest, I still don’t completely feel like I have grown into my new last name, but, having worn it in for the last 8 years, I feel like I’ve sanded the roughest edges off it and it will get easier. It takes time though. I work at a University and it is very, very common here for women to maintain their maiden name professionally and use their married name for personal situations only, mainly as most of them have papers published in their maiden name and need to maintain consistency. They have always said that they have found this to be a very easy (and actually quite welcome) distinction – almost like the best of both worlds as their professional name is their ‘public facing’ name whilst their married name is much more private and family orientated.

    And yes, the admin is a pain in the backside. I’ve done it twice now in 8 years – once when I got married and once when I moved house and that is about enough for one lifetime thank you very much!

    1. Yeah, I think that if I do change, I will probably never associate the new name with me, which feels odd to me! Then again, given that I’d only really be using it for official paperwork etc, it presumably wouldn’t come up all that often ๐Ÿค” And yes, moving house paperwork was a nightmare, AND my passport was just renewed a couple of years ago – aaargh!

      1. I don’t know if all countries do it, but in NZ if you get married and change your name, you don’t have to change your passport, just take your marriage certificate with you when you fly. Of course that’s one more thing to remember when you travel! But if it happened to me, no way would I be getting a new passport if it was still valid for a few years.

  4. Oh final thought – when we were announced into our wedding breakfast I refused point blank to be announced as ‘Mrs and Mrs (his first name, his surname – i.e. Mr and Mrs John Smith) as though I had been complely erased just because I had gotten married that day! I made damn sure that the announcer introduced us both by our first names! Your name IS your identity and I think that sometimes men struggle with understanding just how hard it is for women to give that up if there is an ‘expectation’ that you will change your name to your married name.

    1. We didn’t have that announcement either, although I don’t remember telling the venue not to do it or anything – maybe I did, though ๐Ÿค”? I do absolutely LOATHE being addresses as ‘Mrs Terry Miaoulis’ though – I mean, it’s one thing to have his second name, but that really does feel like having your identity erased!

      1. Definitely a whole different ballgame to be addressed as Mrs + husband’s full name. Takes you right back to a time when we were property of a father then a husband.

  5. I have a different name from my partner and children and it’s never been an issue. My elder child is 14 and it’s caused zero problems. I get called Mrs Children’s Second name very often at school but it doesn’t bother me, I’ll answer to anything! I think society has moved on from the traditional family name and anything goes. Ultimately, it’s whatever you are happy with. xx

    1. I have to admit that it does bother me a bit when people call me by the wrong name, especially when it’s people who know me well! So I suspect it would probably rankle a bit, but who knows!

  6. When I got married I didn’t want to change my name but for my husband it was a deal breaker. ‘If I you don’t change your name what is the point?’ was his reasoning, so I ended up going along with it. I’m glad I did because now we have a child we all have the same name, and his surname is much shorter than yet maiden name.

    My passport was nowhere near expiry so that is still in my maiden name and I just make sure to book flights in my maiden name. Everything else I just changed as and when it came about. 5 years later and there are still things in my maiden name. If you do it that way it isn’t nearly as much of a faff.

    I still think of myself as a Williamson, just as you will likely still think of yourself as a McNaught.

  7. If I have a baby, it will have my name. We’re not married (together 11 years) and have no plans to unless we need to for tax reasons, but even if we were married I wouldn’t change my name. Why on earth would I – it’s my name, I’ve had it almost 36 years now and am very fond of it! Plus it’s quite unusual – our family is the only one with our spelling of the name in the country, and we have an interesting history. My partner equally likes his name – it’s alliterative and relatively unusual (though less so than mine) – so he would never change it.

    So… no name changing. Definitely no double-barrelling for the baby, as that would result in a four year old trying to write out a 19-letter surname at nursery. The baby gets my name. I honestly don’t understand why it isn’t at least 50/50 by now – plenty of women keep their own names on marriage, but I read recently that only 5% of British babies are named their mother’s surname. As a scary feminist ๐Ÿ˜€ I feel I’ll be sticking one to society and changing the world a teeny tiny bit.

    I completely understand you wanting to use Terry’s name, as it’s unusual – same argument as me. However, if you use Terry’s name officially you might well end up using it professionally too, as all your tax/government/official stuff will come in Terry’s name and people will assume that’s your name – it happened to my best mate, who started off double-barrelled and has now given up and gone with her husband’s name. Of course, ultimately it’s your decision (insert usual non-offending disclaimer) and all that really matters is that you’re happy as a family.

    1. Official paper work would be in my married name, but I can’t think of a reason I couldn’t continue to write as ‘Amber McNaught’? There isn’t any link between my ‘government’ name and what I choose to call myself on books/blogs/other writing I do, and there are lots of writers who use pseudonyms etc (it’s actually really common in the industry, as there’s no legal requirement that your published name be the same as your official one) so I don’t think it would be a problem!

      1. Oh, writing yes of course… I just meant you’ll start to get people (PRs, agents etc) calling you Amber Miaoulis because they’re paying Amber Miaoulis. But you can write under whatever name you want, of course!

  8. I live in a country where women have always kept their surname after they marry, so there isn’t such a thing as “maiden name” and “married name” (must be a language thing, I don’t think any Spanish speaking country does that). Because of that, to be honest, I’ve always found surname changing quite weird, really. You don’t suddenly lose your identity just because now you have a new ring, do you? Every family where I live has different surnames and they don’t feel less of a family because of that. I have my father’s surname but I still feel much more connected to my mum than my dad.
    At the end of the day, choice is yours and no one gets to shame you for whatever yo decide to do. I just thought it’d be interesting to hear from someone from a culture with a very different point of view of things

  9. My son and daughter-in-law had the same decision to make. She kept her maiden name when they married because she is also a feminist and because of professional reasons. But when she became pregnant they discussed all these options, including the double barrelled options. Their decision: she kept her own name and their children all have their father’s name and they seem very happy with that.

  10. I always told my now husband that if we had a baby before we married, the baby would have my family name, and if he felt strongly about the baby having his name, we needed to be married so we all had the same family name together.

    I’m not hugely fond of my maiden name, it’s one of the most common names in the UK, so I didn’t feel like I was losing anything distinctive by dropping it when I married, but I was adamant that any child I have will share the same family name as me. I’m not going through pregnancy and childbirth only to give my baby away to another family, which is what it would have felt like if I remained a Myname and the baby had DHname.

    You need to do what feels right for you and your family.

  11. Crickey! Names are a funny subject for me. I was brought up by my maternal grandparents and therefore choose to use my Granddad’s surname instead of my actual father’s. That said, my professional artist name here comes from my paternal grandmother!

    I always thought that I’d want to pass my surname onto a potential son since my mum is one of two sisters only and they changed their names when they married. I’ve been married once and didn’t use his name, much to the disapproval of the man in the post office (!).

    I used to be adamant that I’d never change my name if I married, but if my partner and I do then I just might. And not because it’s expected, just because like you I think it might be a nice thing to do. We won’t have children, but if we did I would want us to have the same name.

    I’d still want my professional name to go unaltered, but seeing as it’s not my real name anyway it wouldn’t matter.

  12. Really interested to see what you finally end up doing. It’s something I’ve wondered about too – I didn’t change my name for similar reasons to you, and a double-barrelled name would be a total mouthful. The one thing that makes me pause is travel, and unnecessary complications that may arise when not travelling as a family – I do know mothers who’ve been quizzed quite rudely about whether they have the father’s permission to travel with their own child because their surnames are not the same.

    That said, a big part of me feels like our generation is the one to change this, so if I have kids I should stick to my guns. The more of us that have different surnames to our partners or children, the more it won’t be unusual or problematic at all in future, as our children’s generation will be even more used to there being so many different types of ‘family’.

    Funnily enough, my husband gets called Mr Cartwright more than I get called by his surname, because I inevitably book everything – hotels, dinners etc. I kind of love that. Maybe I’ll suggest that if we have kids, they take MY name?!

  13. Obviously I’m not married and don’t have children but here’s my two cents worth anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a friend who was dead set against marriage until she and her long-term partner had children, then it suddenly occurred to her that she would have a different name to the baby’s and so they got married and she changed her name.

    Another friend is married with children but calls herself Mrs HerMaidenName (so like you being Mrs McNaught), though to me that would be like taking my mother’s name so a bit weird…

    A third friend is Mrs MarriedName MaidenName, but only because she got married in Cuba and that’s how they write it on Spanish marriage certificate (though she was planning to double barrel anyway) and having a marriage certificate written in Spanish was enough of a problem in itself with all the admin, without trying to change to a name that wasn’t even on the certificate!

    Could you be Miaoulis McNaught and Terry stay as he is and call the baby just Miaoulis? Then neither of you have to give up your own name and you still get to incorporate the Miaoulis bit to match the rest of the family.

    And yes, no reason why you can’t still write as Amber McNaught – I think it would be confusing if you didn’t (remember when Gail Porter changed her name to Gail Hipgrave and everyone was like, who?!). Many doctors keep their maiden name as their professional name and no one bats an eyelid.

    I always used to hate my surname and assumed I would change it if I got married, but as I’ve got older I am like you and feel that it’s my name so if I were to marry, I would probably just use both names.

    1. I think it would be a bit of a mouthful to be Amber Louise McNaught Miaoulis, to be honest, so would probably just use his name officially and mine professionally!

  14. I changed my name when I got married, however I am still working through the paperwork over 3 years later! I definitely consider myself to be a feminist, but it was important to me to share a name to feel like a family unit – we always knew we wanted kids. My maiden name was a common one (there was someone at work with exactly the same name) and my married one is a bit more unusual. The only downside is that I like more unusual names, so when we named our daughter we had to be careful to call her something with a common spelling (kind of like Alice over Alys, even though I prefer the unusual spelling) that people could easily write without it having to be spelled out (which we always have to do with our surname).
    Most of my friends have changed their name on getting married. My sister has a personal/professional name though and it works well for her.

  15. I kept my maiden name until our son started school. It was much easier then to have the same last name as him, and I got a lot less “are you his step mother” questions (it also didn’t help that I’d had him at age 20). But I did it because due to a hospital mix up I had my mothers maiden name and my name was different than my whole family. So I wanted for once cohesiveness and no one to be accused of being a step parent.

  16. I changed my name soon after we got legally married even though Islamically women are not obliged to, but I felt it was easier as all the women in my husband’s family had done so.

    And we knew we wanted children quickly so I wanted to have the same last name as them but still waiting on the kids haha.

    It is a lot of admin but if you get a couple of copies of your marriage certificate it’s easy enough to do.

  17. I changed mine after I had my second daughter as my passport renewal and driving license renewal came up and i wanted it to be the same as theirs. So it was like now or never. I wasnt bothered when i got married i was happy to stay with my aurname. But im so glad i changed it eventually as for some reason it just makes me feel the same as them. I also kept my surname and moved it to a middle name. The girls also have it as their middle name โค๏ธ Hope this helps x

    Amina xx | http://www.AliandHer.com

  18. I changed mine after I had my second daughter as my passport renewal and driving license renewal came up and i wanted it to be the same as theirs. So it was like now or never. I wasnt bothered when i got married i was happy to stay with my surname. But im so glad i changed it eventually as for some reason it just makes me feel the same as them. I also kept my surname and moved it to a middle name. The girls also have it as their middle name โค๏ธ Hope this helps x

    Amina xx | http://www.AliandHer.com

  19. I’d want to have the same name as my children … even if I’d have to sacrifice my last name. Some friends of mine threw a coin to decide which last name to take (pretty fair, I think), a friend of mine and his wife didn’t change their last names and now as she is pregnant, I am curious which name their children will get.
    I personally like very much to have the same name as all my (close) family, and it would be a little bit bitter if my boyfriend and I decide to take his name … a strange thought, to have a different last name than my twin sister. But I want a family name for my (then) new family, too.

  20. I changed my name when we married as grew up having my mum have a different surname…. and to be honest I hated it. Me and my brother both felt it was us versus the world as we had the surname. I wanted that for my kids, us versus the world, Team Lismer. And also…as a 12 year old it gets OLD having to explain to your teachers on parents evening who Mrs Philips is when you are a Paul. Weak, I know….but for me, it’s like all the same side wearing the same colour sports kit. These are your people, these are your tribe.

  21. I am actually curious about the name changing when you get married, because in Italy (traditional, “family-oriented” Italy!) married women cannot officially change their names. They just keep their original name, and are “married to” on documents. The documents of underage children have the names of both parents on them, though. Would I change my surname even if I could? Probably not. But I totally understand the appeal of the whole family having the same name… I look like the odd one out on our family documents…

  22. Funny, that’s a topic I had been wondering about for a while, but felt it too intrusive to ask you directly…

    So far I’m neither married, nor do I have children, but it’s clear that if my SO and I were to tie the knot, then he would change his name to mine. Because he has no ties to his family and would in fact be glad to be rid of his last name.
    In addition, if I were to have his surname, then my first and last name would end in the same 2 letters, and I wouldn’t want that. So no question here.

    Some examples from my friends:

    No. 1: They have a child, but are not married, have given the child the father’s last name, and there was no problem in any way. The mother does not want to get married for some reason.

    No. 2: They had their first child before they were married and had the agreement that if it was a boy, he would inherit his father’s last name, and a girl would get the mother’s last name. It was a boy, he got his father’s surname, and his parents have since married and had two more children. The whole family now has the father’s last name.

    No. 3: They kept their individual last names when they got married, adopted a boy some years ago, and he got the mother’s last name. The father did not change his name.

    So: Endless possibilities. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Is there a specific deadline for you to decide about the change? If not, and if you are still not sure and would like to keep your maiden name, I’d suggest that you just wait and see how it feels.
    If you are happy with McNaught and no problems arise, then fine.
    If you actually feel uncomfortable being named differently, or there really are problems (regarding travel, custody, health decisions) that cannot be solved in a simple way, then you can still decide to change it.
    As long as there’s no pressure of having to decide at a certain point, then just wait and see.

    I know that there’s probably your anxiety talking, so it’s absolutely okay to vent and to think of it out loud. And I do agree that it is an important point.
    But as long as there’s no legal problem right now or at the time of birth, I wouldn’t push it. You can proof that you are married, and that you are the mother. Everything else should not be for you to worry.

  23. This is very interesting and a very personal decision. I kept my own maiden name when I married and I have three children all of whom have the same surname as me. I married in my thirties, this was twenty years ago, and felt attached to my own name and didn’t want to give it up. Just wanted to say it has never caused us any problems socially or officially although people sometimes assume my husband shares my surname or vice versa. We quietly correct them if it matters for some reason, otherwise we don’t bother as it doesn’t upset us if someone makes that assumption. It did feel a little unusual at the time but I don’t regret my decision. It sseems to be less unusual now than 20 years ago and I’m glad people don’t feel under pressure to change their name if they don’t wish to. Thanks for bringing this up. And best wishes to all of you.

  24. I’m a scary feminist but took my husband’s name because I liked it better, although I don’t really think he realizes that. Also, my surname was my dad’s and was passed down so it didn’t feel any more feminist to me to keep his. The problem: I’m one of two people with my name (first name is super common, but last name is super not) in the United States. That makes it really easy to “find” me on social media, which isn’t my favorite.

  25. When I was in a relationship I used to say that I would change mine, ’cause I want for all of us in family to have the same last name. But when we got close to wedding I got really scared and panicked, just like you described. I told my future husband that I want to keep my last name and he was not happy about that, mostly because I was saying all the time that I am going to change it. But really what I think, is that is some thing that only feeds up tehir ego, and that can not be any logical reason to change your last name. It’s only tradition, and nothing more. So we “fight” for some time and at the end I took his last name, but I never got used to it, and I feel totaly strange when someone is referring me as Mrs his_last_name. Or when people asking me is someone with that last name related to me. I always give answer “That is not my -real/true- last name”.

  26. You may not know this but in the UK you can have both names. There’s a section in the passport application for legal aliases. So my passport is issued in my married name but also lists my maiden name. It’s been very helpful as I could legitimately use either.

  27. I kept my maiden name professionally (degrees, licenses and a career under it), but used my husband’s name in social/kid related activities, anything connected to their school, etc. I never went thru a legal name change; my passport and driver’s license still have my maiden name. On school papers I was always (first name) (maiden name) (husband’s last name), all three provided. It worked for us.

    Whatever you decide is your correct answer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW, I’ve been following you from the US for several months now; I really enjoy your blog even though your style is totally different from mine. I’m reading/writing this in the middle of my flood Harvey clean-up, when I needed a 15 minute break.

  28. My parents never got married and I have my Dad’s last name. While I continue my life totally unaffected sometimes I think about it. I’m much closer with my Mum’s side of the family and probably the last name would suit me much better but I’m one of them no matter what my last name is. Sometimes I’ve thought I’d like to have it double barreled but like you say it is expensive and time consuming when I will probably change it when I get married anyway. Even though that is a strange thought in itself…

    I don’t really know how my parents came to the decision but I think your reasoning for using Terrys unusual last name is lovely. What ever you choose you’ll be called Mrs Miaoulis by the teachers at School and other places your son goes anyway!

  29. I’m glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t changed her name, in large part because of the admin. For me, another factor was that my passport has amassed a number of stamps in it and I would quite like to try and fill a it up to the very last page. Life goals and all that…

    But, I do think I’d like to have the same name as my children. And I would want them to have my husbands name – purely because my surname is boring and I’m not particularly attached to it, whereas I quite like his.

    So having said all that, I’ve not actually saved myself any hassle and I probably should’ve changed my name in the first place, because we are going to have children long before I’ll be able to fill the pages of my passport!

  30. Hi Amber, I haven’t been following your blog for a while since I have been unplugged from social media for some time (just had a baby myself, yay!) and I am surprised and happy to find that you are pregnant! Congratulations!! I did not change my name when I got married either. In Spain that is not the usual practice as we have two last names, children get their first name from their father and the second one from their mother (couples can choose the other if they want to but this is the most common practice). My husband being from Belgium understood that I wanted to keep my name and we never really discussed the issue until our daughter was born last July. After hesitating for a little while we decided to follow the Spanish practice and give her both last names, his first. Since this is not the usual way in the US we had to hyphenate it. The result is an extremely long and complicated last name, but also a unique one that shows the roots of the baby so we are pretty happy about the decision! You should do what feels right for you and your family, I don’t think there is right or wrong in this particular matter. Congratulations again! Hope you are having a smooth pregnancy!

  31. Sali Hughes has a very interesting article on this on The Pool. I think a nice compromise is to give the baby one of your surnames as a middle name, as in the old Scottish tradition.
    Personally, I would not change my name as it is a part of my identity. Also, a quick google search tells me that I would have the same name as an adult film star if I took my boyfriend’s last name(!)

    1. I have actually never heard of that tradition! I don’t really feel any need to pass on my name, though – it’s really just about us all having the same one (or not)!

      1. My parents actually followed that tradition, despite us not being Scottish, because some of my mother’s ancestors came to the US from Scotland, and she has a Scottish last name. My brother and I both have our mother’s last name as our middle name and our father’s last name as our last name.

        Having a different last name as our mother has never really been a big deal to us at all. Some people assume that my parents aren’t married because of their last names, but I imagine that was already true before they had children.

        I’m a gay woman, so I’m not worried about changing my last name when I get married, but I totally get the identity crisis thing. I have a very rare, very distinctive last name that’s always been a part of my identity, so before I realized I was gay, I used to panic thinking about what I’d do if I married a man who wanted me to take his last name. It’s silly, but I feel like I would somehow be less ME if I changed my last name?

      2. Oh, yes, it is a tradition (although, I think, mostly for boys and mostly on the West Coast)! My dad had his mother’s maiden name as his middle name. When he remarried, he changed his middle name to his wife’s maiden name, in a nod to the tradition.

  32. This is interesting because although I’m not yet married or pregnant, it’s something I’ve wondered about. Until a few years ago I just assumed that if I got married I’d change my name, but now I’m not sure. I feel quite attached to my name and I hate the assumption that a woman should automatically change. But then I do like the idea of having the same name and I think if I have children I’d feel that way even more.

    Hope you figure out something that works for you both!

  33. Firstly You do what is right for you. It’s amazing that we can do what is right for us but it also leads us to these dilemmas because the options are many and result really doesn’t matter.
    I changed my name when I got married but kept my maiden name as a middle name as I did have one (except on my passport as they were particularly difficult and wanted me to pay twice and I wasn’t doing that). Not everyone liked that I kept my maiden name. Not everyone like that I changed my last name. To be honest I am still not that sure on it 3 years later. It really does feel like an identity crisi and it feels like I have abandoned my family for my husbands.
    But ultimately for me I wanted my family to share the same last name. I didn’t want to deal with confusion in doctors surgeries or schools or airports. I was shocked to learn a friend had to take her children’s birth certificates and a letter from their father allowing them to travel with out him because they had his name. Oh that made my blood boil.
    I have considered giving any future hypothetical children my maiden name as a second middle name but I am also wanting to give one of my parents names as a middle name and it would be weird to have my parents full name as my child’s middle names…if that even makes sense.
    But ultimately do what feels right for you and enjoy having a little one!

  34. I have a friend that retained her last name at marriage. Their agreement was that any girls born would take her last name, while any boys born would take his. They had 2 girls, who both took their husband’s last names at marriage.
    I know…that was no help at all.
    See, just do what you want.

  35. I’m 37 with no children and got engaged a couple of months ago – the wedding is in May next year, so excited! Back to the point… for a while, I considered us having children before we were married, mainly due to my age. I didn’t want to leave it too long and risk age-related complications. But in my heart of hearts, I just knew I wanted to be married first – I couldn’t quite feel right about having children first. This isn’t because of what I think is right or wrong in general – it makes no difference to me if people have kids without being married. It all really boiled down to the surname – I just couldn’t bear the idea of having children and them not having my surname! I always thought I’d feel like the odd one out in my own family, with the children I’ve given birth to! It’s a bit different for me, as I would have taken his name regardless of children, but having the same surname as my kids is very important to me. I also wouldn’t want my future husband to be the “odd one out” either – so wouldn’t want him to keep his surname and me to give mine to the kids. I know that people can argue that the name doesn’t matter, and I know it doesn’t really make any difference. But, for me, if I’m lucky enough to have kids, I’d like us all to be a little family unit with the same name. But everyone else can do whatever makes them happy, I have no judgement there!

    I think your idea of keeping McNaught for your professional life is a great one – you get the best of both worlds then.

  36. I kept my name. I wasn’t madly agin the idea of changing it (his name is nicer) but as a journalist with a byline history I was never going to change it professionally and ended up not bothering personally. Our girls have their dad’s name and I use his surname most of the time for anything directly to do with them. This just involves writing it – no one asks for documentation. Half the time I forget though and again, it doesn’t seem to matter. I travel under a different surname and once had a customs official in an airport ask where their father was (he was at another booth) and they told me it would be a good idea to keep copies of their birth certs with me if my husband wasn’t with us. I have never been asked since mind and hay was five years ago.

  37. My mother didn’t change her last name when she married my father, and my brother and I both have our mother’s last name as our middle name and our father’s last name as our last name. Having a different last name as our mother has never really been a big deal to us at all. Some people assume that my parents aren’t married because of their last names, but I imagine that was already true before they had children.

    I’m a gay woman, so I’m not worried about changing my last name when I get married, but I totally get the identity crisis thing. I have a very rare, very distinctive last name that’s always been a part of my identity, so before I realized I was gay, I used to panic thinking about what I’d do if I married a man who wanted me to take his last name. It’s silly, but I feel like I would somehow be less ME if I changed my last name?

  38. Lots of people in Canada choose not to change their name after they are married… in fact, in the province of Quebec, you are legally NOT ALLOWED to change your name after marriage… I know lots of people who have kept their maiden name and then given their children their husbands last name; a small few have hyphenated their children’s last name (not as common)… Anyway, I think it is entirely a personal choice. I do have a friend who has kept her maiden name professionally, and took her husbands name personally and it has worked well for her. Personally, I took my husband’s last name. Because I had a rougher childhood, I couldn’t wait to shed my name and start fresh with a new one!

  39. I totally agree that it’s absolutely fine whatever you decide but similarly to you I think it’s just nice to have the same name as my kids. It’s one of this reasons I decided to change my name when I got married – that and Swift is just a way cool name. I grew up as a kid who didn’t have the same surname as either of my parents – I was given my Mum’s maiden name but she took a new name when she married my 1st stepdad when I was young. As we were a bit of a mismatch family I sort of wore it with pride. But on starting my own family unit it was important to me to be The Swifts – I guess because I’d never had that. But honestly it’s all much of a muchness, I guess it just comes down to how you feel! Oh and yes it’s a pain to change everything, but as you’re married it shouldn’t cost anything… but it might also be a pain to explain it to all and sundry for the coming year too! xxx

  40. Do what feels right to you.
    I very reluctantly changed my last name when we got married, but it was a difficult decision, mainly due to there being no one to carry my family name on and it being rare, whereas my husbands name is very common.
    But as for your passport, I renewed mine just before we got married 6 years ago and didn’t want to pay for a new one, so for the next year I travel in my maiden name when it’s due for renewal.

  41. I opted for a double last name (no hyphen, because why makes things predictable) when I got married. I considered making my maiden name my middle name, but that was about seven hundred more hoops then just adding another name to my last name. Similarity, my identity is very tied to my name. And I had several degrees and was established in my career before I married and the headache of “becoming” someone new and “transferring” my reputation to a new name was ridiculous. I end up going by both last names all the time. Sometimes people just use my maiden name and sometimes just my married name. If it helps, I teach (in the US) and I’d say about 50% of the students I work with have a different last name then one or more of their parents. There are all sorts of reasons kids and parents have different last names (divorce, step parents, deceased parent, grandparents raising the kid, adoption, foster care…) and I don’t think it’s something that is so startling or surprising nowadays. If I end up being a mother, we’ll use my husband’s last name for the kid. (And my maiden name for the middle name).

  42. I kept my name, like Terry, my surname is unusual in the UK so it was important to me to keep it. When we had our son, we double barreled his name (mine-husbands) so all three of us have different names!

  43. Wow lots of comments. I have a slightly unusual one that probably won’t help in any way! My parents never married, and the way they decided what name the kids has was based on the gender of the first one that popped out. Girl = my mum’s surname, boy = my dad’s surname. I got my dad’s surname as a middle name (one of two). When it came to marrying Andy, I couldn’t sacrifice my name, and he felt the same about us. We haven’t decided what will happen when we have our kid, but rest assured, whatever you choose will have no impact on how attached the kid feels to you as his mother ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. This is a topic I’ve thought a lot about recently as I’ve started to realise how relevant is it (or can be) to women in science (therefore is relevant to me). I’ve always wanted to change my name when I marry but dire warnings of it potentially being “career suicide” (e.g through causing confusion when publishing under a new name) have made me think twice about changing my name. I understand why this can cause problems but it’s not a problem most men will ever have to worry about… My surname doesn’t hyphenate well with my other half’s name so that’s not an option for me. A colleague of mine uses her maiden name for work purposes but ran into some problems when booking to go to a conference because her passport is in a different name to the name she uses professionally. If I ever work out a solution I’ll let you know! Ultimately I think it’s best to do whatever genuinely makes you happy – if that’s changing your name but continuing to use your maiden name professionally then I say go for it and never mind what anyone else thinks.

  45. I got married two days after my 30th birthday, so I’d been a Dye for three decades. I changed my name and now have been a Jacoby for 34 years. The name change did not change me, but the years have and certainly marriage and motherhood have. Many cultures around the world do not change names at marriage or simply add the new one to the list so you can find precedent to do whatever works for your family.

    For me, it would have felt artificial not to change my name because I was committing to a new life. It’s too long to tell the story, but my name was changed at 16 because my mom misspelled “Nickolina” on the birth certificate (I am named after her aunt) so a name change isn’t that big a deal for me as long as I stay “Nicki”.

    I do think I should have kept my maiden name as a middle name but it is a hassle to switch at this point. That simple change would have been the best answer.

  46. It’s so tricky, isn’t it? I blogged, when I had Matilda, about her taking Steve’s surname, and I’m still happy with that decision, but now that she’s ASKING about surnames, I have moments of feeling weird about it – one day she’s going to wonder why she has her dad’s name, not her mum’s, and I’m not sure how to explain it to her! Blog post forthcoming, as you know!

    With the second baby, I know that I want them to have the same surname as their big sister – just because it’s nice, really, and marks them out as a team (albeit a potentially squabbling one). I do have one friend, though, who kept her own surname when she married, gave the first child her surname and the second child the father’s (or perhaps it’s the other way round…?). I don’t think there is one right answer, and it’s quite exciting to be living in an era when we can decide for ourselves.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve not had any raised eyebrows or confusion (yet) about Matilda having a different surname – although people see that on forms and still refer to Steve as “your husband” (we’re not married); I guess I’m at an age when children and partners tend to go hand in hand with weddings?!

  47. I LOATHE the name change tradition. I just do. I don’t accept any excuse people make in defence of it; it doesn’t ‘signify respect’ or show pride in your husband’ otherwise men would do the same and change their surnames too, it’s not ‘the point of marriage’ etc etc. I used to dislike my surname but now I’ve accepted it and actually it’s me. It’s always been me. I don’t want to change it. My sister didn’t when she got married and if I ever (unlikely) get married I just can’t for anyone and I shouldn’t, it should be for me if I do. I do think your name is a part of your identity and women shouldn’t have to sacrifice that. Every time a man says it’s no big deal I ask him if he will change his name and almost all of them so far immediately exclaimed no. So it is a big deal to them too so why shouldn’t it be for me? I like the idea of a kid having the mothers name or having her name as their middle name. We will be doing all of the work in the beginning after all. No thank you to name change, I want my own independent identity and I wouldn’t love my partner any less just because I will have that *rant over*

  48. When I got married 3 years ago I wanted to keep my name. Because it was my name and I identify strongly with it.
    My husband wasn’t thrilled, I didn’t mind if he wanted to keep his name and I would have been fine if our potential children had a different name then me. But in the end he caved and took my name.

    I must add though, I live in Germany and here any name decisions are permanent. You only have the choice to take one family name or each one keeps the old. One person can hyphenate, but not both and not the children (Germans are pretty anal about this stuff).

    I think you can keep your name for now and decide later. It’s nice that you have all this options.

    1. Hey, so I’ve been having this discussion a lot with my boyfriend, about what the kids’ names will be when we have children. We’ll probably be living in Germany at that point, and I know the German regulations are really strict with names. Do you know if they have any rules about kids being given multiple middle names, or a surname as a middle name? And what about adding your partner’s surname as a middle name to your name? For example, being Nita Inge Hisname Myname instead of Nita Inge Myname. I think I’d want to just add his name as a middle name and maybe have him add my surname as a middle name also, and the kids could have my surname and his surname as one of their middle names. But I’m not sure that would be allowed in Germany!

  49. I got married in a tiny civil service, with vague plans to have a larger religious ceremony several months later that would be our “real” wedding.
    (For a variety of reasons we needed to be legally married earlier.) Before the civil wedding I had generally been open to changing my name, and I had even started signing my name in a way that could be either of our last names. But I was only going to do it after the religious ceremony. Then a few days after the service my mother casually referred to us as “the [husband’s last name]s” and I was hit by nothing less than a wave of revulsion. Who was this person, Mrs. Husband? Certainly not me! Like you Amber, I had an identity crisis and I realized I never wanted to change my name.

    My mother, who was very pro name changing, recently had a moment of her own when I referred to her as Grandma C… (taking the perspective of her grandkids, my niece and nephew). She has always referred to her MIL, long-deceased, as Grandma C… Suddenly she realized she had given up her own family history, at least to the extent that a family history is distilled into a name, and become an appendage of my dad’s family instead. And since there are lots of boys in his family, there is a whole slew of Mrs. C’s and Grandma C’s who are indistinguishable on paper.q Even though she and my dad are still happily married (unlike my ex and me), I could see the exact same identity crisis/wave of revulsion play over her face as I had felt when she referred to my ex and me as “the [His Name]s.”

    I suspect my married friends are not very happy that they changed their names, but once it’s done it is very hard to go back – not just administratively but in terms of people misunderstanding why you would do that.

    So my opinion, for what it’s worth, is: your name is perfectly fine, keep it.

  50. Also the phrase ‘Mrs mans name’ pisses me off far too much and I just hate it. I know it’s not just me at least who feels that way. How does this even still exist? I cringe on at seeing official invites and at weddings when the bride and groom as announced as such. Ok end rant

  51. I kept my maiden name when we got married last year and am 14 weeks pregnant now. We decided a while ago that whenever we have children they’ll have my surname. It’s a slightly nicer name and my husband doesn’t feel too strongly about it whereas I want the same name as my baby. Plus, I figured that I’m carrying the baby for 9 months so I get the biggest say!!

  52. I changed my surname upon marriage (my passport was up for renewal at the same time, so it just made sense) and didn’t think much of changing one man’s surname for another. I also wanted to share the same surname as any children because of the same reasons you’ve mentioned in your blog. HOWEVER, since having my son (nearly 2 now) I have to say I’ve regretted the decision. I always think of my husband and I as a partnership, but perhaps it’s because of my son looking so much like my husband, and perhaps it’s because of the way my MIL treats my son, but it always feels like my side of the family and my family history has been wiped out simply because he doesn’t have my name. I didn’t realise how much my name and my identity meant to me until it was omitted from my son’s identity. I don’t know if I’ve articulated that well enough, or if you really want another angle to ponder, but thought I’d share my two pennies. If I could do it all again, I would probably have my maiden name as a middle name (if you’re doing the admin anyway…) and do the same for my son. Just a thought.

  53. Interesting question. I think babies should have the same surname as their parents but if that isn’t possible as in your case, then they should take their mother’s surname. Then if the father wants to have the same name as their wife and baby then they can change theirs. My first boss in 1985 had taken his wife’s name when they married and I thought that was a fabulous thing to do.

  54. I did change my last name even though I loved my last name. Part of this was because I wanted the same last name as any kids. Working on a school I’d seen that having a different last name from the parent could cause hassles. Small hassles- name accidentally not added to teachers email lists and the. Missing reminders for field trips or whatnot. Not anything big. Good luck with the decision

  55. When I got married I changed my last name to my husband’s bc I wanted the same last name as my kids
    My mom had a different last name than us and it was sometimes confusing.
    Also I just think it’s nice

  56. I did change my name when I got married – I went from Deanna Lynne Bishop to Deanna Lynne Debrecht, then three months later went BACK to the Social Security Administration (here in the US) to change AGAIN, because I too, had an identity crisis and didn’t want to lose my last name. So I decided to keep Lynne and Bishop both as middle names (I didn’t want to double barrel last names either). Which the lady at the Social Security Admin office proceeded to inform me was STUPID๐Ÿ˜‚.

    Anyway, when it comes to school paperwork, and doctors, and all of those kinds of things, I cannot tell you how many thousands of times I’ve said my name to someone and then been asked about my child “same last name?” and its SO much easier to just say “yes”. Not that it’s a reason to change your name (or not), just something that you might not have thought of yet, and a definite plus for the lazy side ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. Hi Amber,

    I live in Brazil and here you can name your child WHATEVER YOU WANT.

    So if you want to name your kid Gustavo Michael Jackson + father’s name (and yes, I’ve met a couple of Michael Jacksons, Elvis Presleys and Clark Kents), you actually can. The only requirement is that the kid MUST have the father’s surname, that’s all, even if the parents aren’t married.

    So the most common way of naming your kid here is NAME + MOTHER’S SURNAME + FATHER’S SURNAME.

    In some other Latino countries, the mother’s surname is the last one, making it even more important.

    My parents aren’t married and I have 2 names, my mother’s surname and 2 of my father’s surname (which are his mom’s and father’s surnames respectively). It’s huge but it’s very cool that when you’re adult, you can choose what you’re going to use. And it still fits a passport hehe.

    So even though my parents aren’t married, I’m still my mother’s kid and never got any raised eyebrows wondering if I’m really her kid. Just read about some woman traveling with her kid and they don’t share a surname and she couldn’t board because people didn’t believe she was the mother, that’s simply ridiculous and would never happen to a Brazilian.

    It lets me wondering why non-latino countries completely brush off the mother’s surname, or when you want to add it, it becomes “Jolie-Pitt”. Is there some law that doesn’t let a person have 2 surnames? Naming your kid NAME + YOUR SURNAME + YOUR HUSBAND’S SURNAME is completely out of question for Scotish standards?

    1. No, you can name your child whatever you want here too – we just wouldn’t want to give him a very long name with two surnames plus a middle name, which we’ve already chosen. As said, it’s not important to me that he have my name, I’m just wondering if *I* should continue to have it…

  58. It was a giant pain in the tail when I got married and changed my name. My maiden name became my middle name and I just tacked my married name on the end. I already had 2 university degrees in my maiden name and was guide attached to it. But we don’the have children so I guess it didn’t really’ matter. Do what feels right to you.

  59. It’s a tough decision. In my first Marriage I changed my name. After the divorce I didn’t change it back legally, but decided in my personal life to go back to my maiden name. Fast forward quite a few years, and I’m remarried. I kept my legal last name, strictly because of the paperwork and all the time that goes into it. Our friends call me Mrs. L. And address the mail Mr & Mrs. L , My husband & I figured it would work itself out & it has. We introduce ourselves as Mr. & Mrs. L and no one corrects us or questions it.

    Disclaimer we don’t & won’t be having kids, but nonetheless this situation pops up for women around the world on a daily basis and it is a very hard decision to make for a lot of them.

  60. I had this dilemma when we were engaged and I was pregnant. We thought about giving baby a middle name that was one of our surnames (so it would show up on passports, birth certificates but nowhere else) but in the end we decided to mesh our surnames as I wanted us to be all the same. Fortunately my husband wasn’t too worried about changing his. New family, new name. It worked for us. And you are right, there are tonnes of places to change, it’s a right PITA! Hope you find something for you!

  61. I’ve been married for 28 years and have a daughter, but have kept my maiden name. It was more of a big deal back in 1989, and even now people don’t quite get that I don’t share my husband’s surname. That, and keeping separate bank accounts, was very important to me when I agreed to marry a man I’d only known for a month!. I couldn’t imagine changing a name I’d had for over 20 years. We’re very happily married and my daughter has always been absolutely fine with having parents who don’t share a surname. It feels right for us.

  62. I kept my name when I married because I felt like I was just coming to accept “me”. I was also attached to my unusual surname, and similarly daunted by costs and paperwork to name-change. I have friends who taunted me with my married name (don’t really see them anymore ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚), and my in-laws address me as Mrs E Theirname, and I honestly don’t mind. My husband’s students call me Mrs B. My bestie calls us E-Buzz and D-Buzz, shortening his surname for is both (god, we’re so Aussie). I’m not precious about it. But I kept my name legally because it’s me, and I’m also known professionally quite well by my name. When I’m a published author, I’ll be writing by my middle name (which is an historical surname from my mother’s side), on Facebook I go by my married name so as to be more anonymous and not searchable by my clients. When we have kids, their middle name will be my family’s ‘historic surname middle name’ (all my siblings and cousins have this in their name!), so we’ll use my hubby’s surname so he at least gets a look in… ๐Ÿ˜‰ I feel so complicated! ๐Ÿ™‚

  63. If you are intent of keeping your surname and want to share your name with your child, perhaps consider giving the baby your surname as a second middle name and your husband’s surname as the last. For example, if your name was Jane Doe and your husband’s name was Joe Smith, the baby’s name could be something like John Haraldsson Doe Smith.

  64. Good question! And a really tough one, too.

    I have been thinking about the name issue for a bit and yes, I would like my potential kid(s) to have the same last name as me and my partner. However, his last name is Spanish and my first name* is French.
    Now being a freelance conference interpreter for neither of those languages, but for German-English… well, from a professional standpoint it might be smarter to keep my last name, as ‘my brand’ is known by it and it is the only part of my name that sounds German ๐Ÿ˜‰
    On the other hand, I have spent most of my life looking forward to the moment I get to shed my last name and take the name of the man that I want to spend the rest of my life with… and now this! Couldn’t my parents have chosen some other, more neutral, non-French(!!) first name for me? See, the struggle is real ๐Ÿ˜‰

    So I actually think that solution you came up with is super smart – keeping your maiden name for professional purposes only, like an artist’s pen name – you are a writer after all, and many writers use pen names ๐Ÿ™‚
    And I happen to think your first name sounds lovely combined with Terry’s last name ๐Ÿ™‚

    *= my real one, the one I use online is a shortened version

  65. It definitely makes it much easier for the kid if your have the same name! But that being said, it is by no means difficult otherwise, just not AS easy! When I was kid it was different, and having a different name to my mum was apparently crazy! But still, even now, people assume when they hear one name, that the kid will have the same. My nephew (my sister kept her maiden name) is so often called Dowl because they know that his mum is Mrs Dowl. It’s not a big deal, but does get confusing when he’s looking for something by his surname and after looking through the R’s-finally finds it in the D’s! My sister is so often called Mrs Rhine as well when someone hears that her son is a Rhine! If you don’t mind the mix ups it’s no big deal-but the few times I’ve had to deal with it it’s driven me close to insane!

  66. I just had the same dilemma! We just got married but already have a 2-year-old. When I was pregnant with him we decided to let the baby’s gender decide its surname (boy=the dad’s, girl=mine) so he got my husband’s name. We’d actually also said that we’d both take the baby’s name if/when we got married. Now we did get married and I just couldn’t give up my name. I’ve had a different surname for two years now and it hasn’t mattered one bit, so I didn’t see the point in changing it if I wasn’t absolutely sure about it. I feel great about that decision and while here in Germany it’s possible to change your name to the ‘family name’ (in our case my husband’s name because our son shares it) at any time I don’t think I’ll ever be doing that.

  67. You already have a ton of replies…..but, hey, here’s another ๐Ÿ™‚

    My sister changed her name officially when got married and kept her own name for work. Now she never uses her husband’s name and regrets ever officially changing it. They don’t have kids so her own name gets used far more in her life and she has never really identified with being Mrs Husbandsname.

    Me, I was never going to change my name. Didn’t when got married and have one child. Child has my surname as a middle name (to avoid double-barrelling) and husband’s last name. Work identity was a consideration for me, but actually, career has been on the wane lately due to parenthood, so not as much as an issue. There are only rare occasions where people get in a muddle with the two names, but husband doesn’t mind being referred to as Mr. Myname. Older people get confused when I say things like ‘oh, it might be in my husband’s name which is X’ but generally people these days don’t bat an eyelid at different surnames. School, never an issue at all. If it helps, I grew up in a family where two of us had different surnames to our parents and it never bothered us or (to my knowledge) anyone else. It seemed normal and natural and my child doesn’t seem bothered by it. I think if fact it helps him to remember who is related to whom in the family tree ๐Ÿ˜€

  68. I’ve just read this post-late to the party as ever-and I wanted to add my few thoughts…

    I actually had this discussion very recently and I have decided(ages ago) not to change my surname (if and when) I’ll get married. My identity is with my name and I am extremely proud of all the things I have achieved up until today with my dad’s surname so I am not willing to change it to another man’s surname, I feel it’s not going to be ‘me’ anymore!

    My mother didn’t change her surname either (women in Greece don’t take their husbands surnames since the 1950’s!!!) and my dad never had an issue with it, nor my mum encountered any issues with me and my sister having different surnames.

    Each to their own, I don’t judge women who change their surnames, but I am so disappointed when people expect me to change my surname upon marriage and even look down at me when I say I won’t!

    I wouldn’t mind my children to get my (future) husband’s surname though!


    P.S: Is your husband Greek by any chance? His surname sounds very Greek and it’s actually one with history (see Andreas Miaoulis) x

  69. Hi Amber, I’m also late – just back from honeymoon and out of the wedding-planning hole. And this topic really struck a chord as I did change my name when we got married last month and here is the story:
    When we talked about the topic of the surname after getting engaged, I surprised myself by being pretty old-school in wanting to have one name as a family. As my now husband and I agreed on this, we had to decide on which name to use. There we hit a wall. I ALWAYS wanted to keep my name. (Never wanted to marry anyway… ) It’s pretty rare, it’s short, I’m the last chance for my family to pass it on and it’s me. My husband wanted to keep his, too – even though he had toyed with changing it a year before. Because both names are hard to spell and his was long and foreign. So our compromise has been that he volunteered to changed his name before the marriage into its German translation – and I took it, too when we married. We are trying to start our own dynasty now ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Back from the honeymoon – where we both used our old names due to the bookings and not having any IDs with our new names yet – it’s starting to get difficult. I have to do a lot of explaining at work when calling or mailing people that this woman is me. I am using the addition of a “,neรฉ:” in emails to make it easier, which is a possibility in Germany. The (double) admin is getting to me, too. But the new name already feels more familiar as I have to use it a lot. And it feels great that I’m not alone in this.

  70. Hi Amber,
    I had this exact problem two years ago when I got married. I had built up my career and was so used to my maiden name. I considered keeping it professionally and taking my husband’s name personally. However whenever I came close to making a decision, I just could not let go of my maiden name. It just felt wrong for me to change it personally, so I kept my maiden name.
    For me, I think it came down to how I identified with myself and even having just a passport in husband’s name felt strange.

    We recently had a baby and again this topic came up. I like yourself was not concerned about the baby having my name but we travel a lot, and for school purposes, thought best he have both surnames. So we have both kept our names and double barrelled the baby’s surname. We just got his passport back and it confirmed our decision, it looks right having it double barreled for him. He is part both of us!

    Whatever you do, it will be right for you. The whole point of being a feminist is doing what you want and being able to! Good luck.

  71. Just happened upon your blog today somehow from pinterest I read with great interest your post about your name. When I married my amazing husband, 35 years ago I was thrilled to take his name because I hated the history of the family I was born into. I wished deeply when we signed our marriage license that I could change my whole name. I was called by my middle name by my parents because I looked like my Dads younger sister. She was 12 years younger than he was. But I was called by my first name in school. I knew there was something very messed up about it all, my whole life. There are so many horror stories in the family I was born into. I wanted to walk away from it all and have a new life. The whole story is shocking in the brokenness of the family for generations. But I found out in 2015 why I went by my middle name. It was and is so horrific, I legally changed my name. It is a long story, and before making the change I asked my husband and our grown sons and daughters who are amazing wonderful adults, if they would be ok with me changing my names. I told them the rest of the story and with their blessing changed my first two names. It was healing beyond what I even could have imagined. In changing my names I let go of the shame and story that went with it. Talk about freedom. To have a name without any history of heartache is precious beyond description.
    Our son married a woman with two children 14 years ago. Our grandson told us recently he is changing his last name to our families last name when he turns 18 this month. We have two sons and two daughters, all married. One daughter loves our family name so much she kept it also.
    A name is a treasure or a heartache and keeping or changing it is a precious gift depending on many things, all of which have to be weighed before making that decision. I was born in San Francisco, and the woman who gave me my new name gave birth to her son in the same hospital I was born in on Geary Blvd. I did not meet her until 2005. My new name has a precious happy history already and I have a name I now like, like all people who like-love their name. XO

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