Change Your Name for Baby?

Cynthia Dermody

old mailbox sign
Fllickr photo by pheezy

I recently had lunch with a good friend who I hadn't seen since her wedding two years ago. She lives many states away now, and we only see each other once a year. I was especially looking forward to seeing her this time, really seeing her, because she was pregnant!

She's always been super stylish and I wanted to see what she wore, how she did her hair, and everything else that I knew would play up her gorgeous pregnant woman self -- and she did not disappoint.

Up until she learned she was expecting, my friend always went by her own last name; she did not take her husband's last name after her wedding.

But a few days ago, she sent a blast email to all her friends with more news:

After 2+ years and a baby on the way, I finally changed my last name. I guess he is stuck with me now! Please note my new email address. Thanks!

We'd actually talked about this at lunch. She'd kept her maiden name for professional reasons and also ... well, there wasn't any other good reason for a change, until now.

Babies change everything, not just names but your perception of what a family is.

How important and powerful names are. They help to form the perception of the people we are or want our babies to be. This must be so because otherwise we would not spend so much time agonizing and debating over the names of our children before they are born.

And how differently people feel about this. When I became engaged and my husband's cousin learned I'd be taking his last name after we were married, she fought long and hard to convince me to keep my maiden name, else I'd betray womankind and forfeit my identity.

I didn't cave. I saw it as a symbol of oneness, of gaining rather than losing something.

There is a third option, of course -- the hyphenated last name. But that wasn't for me. Too big a mouthful and too many words to write on bank papers and forms.

Did you change your name after you had a baby? Is it important that you and your children have the same last name?

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