Should I have the same last name as my baby?
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.
Oh, 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 agency £80 (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 children 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.
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!)