What’s in a name…

by

Way before we had a kid, my husband agreed that the kid’s middle name would be my last name. Then we had the kid, and he pretended he never agreed.

In the hospital, filling out the forms, I’m having this giant argument with the man whose baby I just gave birth to.

Me: But you agreed.

Him:
You would have argued otherwise.

Me: What??

Him: Whatever, the kid’s not going around with your last name as middle name.

So I carried the kid for nine months inside me, literally created it cell by cell with MY body, had it claw out of MY vagina less than 24 hours ago, plus I’m going to be the one doing all the breastfeeding and 90% of the burping, changing, bathing, caring and put-to-bed-ing once we leave the hospital… but HIS is the only name the kid can be allowed to bear.

Whatever, right? #MFIF

– Practically Every Woman You Know, Anywhere In The World.

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79 Responses to “What’s in a name…”

  1. Zlabiroth Says:

    What about telling him to f*** off and divorce ?

    Honestly, if he is such a jerk on this point, why would you stay ?

  2. FeministaSista Says:

    Wow that seems so pointlessly unreasonable. What happened in the end?

  3. Amy Says:

    Well, it’s clear what’s happened here. He has put his foot down, because he is in charge. You’re allowed an opinion, but ultimately he makes the final decision because he is in charge. He is in charge because he has a penis. It doesn’t matter that you are an adult, or how much effort you put into birthing and caring for ‘his’ child; on account of him having a penis and you not having one, he will always outrank you and have the final say. This isn’t my opinion, it’s his – he wouldn’t speak to you like that if he didn’t think he was your superior.

    Strange how baby-naming often uncovers a snakepit of hidden misogyny. Zlabiroth’s suggestion seems like a good one…

  4. Anji Says:

    In the UK at least, it’s the mother who has final say over the kid’s name. Unfortunately I was a pushover when my son was born, and he only has my ex’s name. I wish I’d pushed for my name to either be double-barrelled with it, or used as a middle name.

  5. Notamoron Says:

    As much as I like this site, some posts like this sound a bit petty and petulant. As do stupid comments like Zlabiroth’s/

  6. D.S.Gill Says:

    As a man, I think that the attribution of this to “Practically Every Woman You Know, Anywhere In The World” only undermines the valid point being made here. This is a specific anecdote that cannot be so generally applied to all husbands/fathers. Whilst the guy in question is obviously being extremely unreasonable and pretty much a major dickhead, assuming that this happens to all woman in this situation everywhere helps neither the men who are at fault in such scenarios nor the women who are being wronged. Speaking so broadly and demonising all men isn’t the right way to approach this issue as this is not the ubiquitous outcome of this scenario, as you have presented it. This overly-negative generalisation does not provide for a positive framework for both parties to understand why this is not a good course of events and change the behaviour of those who are being domineering and unreasonable.

    • Julian Says:

      Thank you for mansplaining that to us. I mean, OBVIOUSLY with my little ladybrain I had to look up the big words like “ubiquitous” but I think you make a valid point. While I’ve got the dictionary out would you like me to check “hyperbole” for you? It’s clearly not in your lexicon.

      • Stephen Says:

        Responding to a totally valid point with open hostility and thinly veiled accusations of further misogyny isn’t a productive or helpful way to respond to male allies asking for a little credit.

    • AFemale Says:

      It’s a rant blog. Get over yourself.

      Can women please have a space to vent, so we can go back into the UBIQUITOUSLY sexist real world with “But I’mma Nice Guy!” trolls like you with a clearer head?

      • teleen Says:

        So because it’s a place to vent, we should all deny the reality that not all men are like this?

    • Liam Says:

      Comments like “but not all men are like this” make it seem like patriarchy is only a problem because of some “bad” men, rather than something that happens pretty much everywhere and affects a huge number of aspects of womens’ lives. It’s not that some men are sexist or misogynistic, although some are more than others, it’s that society is. Everybody needs to take part of the blame whether they like it or not.

      • teleen Says:

        Assigning blame isn’t going to fix the problem. If someone is blamed too often for the crimes of others, they’re going to stop caring that the crimes are being committed at all.

    • Ampris Says:

      Hear Hear. Quite frankly, if we were going to have children, my fiance would never behave towards me in this manner. And I hardly think that I have somehow lucked into one of the few “decent men” in the world, even if he is fabulous.

      OP, I have to ask, why exactly is it going to be you doing 90% of the baby care?

    • CH Says:

      Hm, I didn’t read it that way at all.

      I thought she was referring to general sexism, not this incident. Obviously not every woman has experienced this specific scenario. And I don’t know how we got from her universalizing this situation to hating all men anyway.

      But she posted on a blog about sexism, I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say every woman has experienced it. When I read that I thought that’s what she meant by her tag.

  7. The Writer Of This #MFIF Says:

    @Zlabiroth
    Well… would YOU divorce over a name? He’s a fantastic husband in almost every other way. This seems like a small thing in context, but it rankles nonetheless.

    @FeministaSista
    There has been no resolution, other than in my mind to give ONLY my last name to our second kid.

    • Yonmei Says:

      Well… would YOU divorce over a name? He’s a fantastic husband in almost every other way. This seems like a small thing in context, but it rankles nonetheless.

      Bloody yes.

      There has been no resolution, other than in my mind to give ONLY my last name to our second kid.

      Good for you! Your kid should have your surname. If your husband wants everyone in the family to have the SAME name, he can change his name to yours.

    • Matt G. Says:

      It gives me no joy to say this, but I think this marriage is headed for divorce. This is just symptomatic of a guy who has no respect for you.

      P.S.: Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be able to change your child’s name by yourself.

  8. Sarah Says:

    That last paragraph, I honestly can’t believe it’s still so taken for granted!! When I asked my boyfriend if he’d ever consider taking my name if we were to get married, he didn’t even think a second before refusing. Started talking about how he was expected to carry on his family name (in spite of his many nieces and nephews who already have it), which is one of the most common in the Western world.

    I’d have insisted if I were you. And how lovely of him to be so considerate right after you’ve gone through giving birth.

    • Ellie Says:

      My husband took my last name when we got married. I wanted to flip a coin to start us off on equal footing, but he didn’t want to leave something so important up to fate and said he’d just do it.

      Our son has his last name as his middle name.

      But gender equality is really important to me in a romantic relationship, and I made that clear from the start. I think everyone picks their battles.

  9. Ma'at Says:

    My aunt had the same issue.

    Had the baby, decided on a first name. Husband went to register name. Chose COMPLETELY different name.

    Madness. They are divorced. Just saw my cousin, he’s nothing like his father. Thank Goddess.

  10. Blah Blah Blog Girl Says:

    I don’t have kids – but I’ve always felt that the MOMMY gets final say on the name since she does 99.9% of the work to create the baby. Men, I get it, you feel some primal need to stake your claim on the child…blood line and all…but until you ready and able to deal with PMS and a menstrual cycle every month for the majority of your life, so that you have the capability to create a miracle inside you and carry it for 9 months (many of which include daily vomiting), and then push out said watermelon-sized miracle through a not-watermelon-sized opening in your body, the mommy gets to choose the name!

    • Ampris Says:

      Sorry, but if it’s your husband, or bonded lifemate, or whatever…that’s their kid too, and they get a say. Should OPs hubby have behaved this way? No, it’s reprehensible. He lied to her, blatently and without shame. That’s just wrong. But if he had communicated this issue honestly and at the proper time, could you seriously try to say he had no right to voice his opinion in the matter? That is doesn’t count because he’s not physically capable of becoming pregnant? It’s not like, as the the father and husband and equal partner, that in the birthing process he is somehow relegated to being only a DNA donator. How incredibly sexist would that be?

      • jesurgislac Says:

        Sorry, but if it’s your husband, or bonded lifemate, or whatever…that’s their kid too, and they get a say.

        Wow. Where have you been living? Our whole patriarchal society is set up to ensure that the man gets to name his children.

        Of course he “gets a say”. Chances are both sets of grandparents, hers as well as his, will be standing there going “OF COURSE THE CHILD HAS HIS NAME”.

        But if he had communicated this issue honestly and at the proper time, could you seriously try to say he had no right to voice his opinion in the matter?

        Where have you been living? He has all the rights. If she’s married to him, she has virtually none, except what her stubbornness will get her. He lied to her because he took for granted he had a right to name his child whatever he wanted, and expressions of defiance against that cultural presumption, assertions that she, not he, gets to name the child, ought to be supported, not decried.

        It’s not like, as the the father and husband and equal partner, that in the birthing process he is somehow relegated to being only a DNA donator. How incredibly sexist would that be?

        Trying to argue that denying men the rights they have had over women and over their children for hundreds or thousands of year, the rights and privilege men take for granted, is sexist? WHat kind of feminist are you?

        With naming of children, this society still thinks womens are DNA and uterus donators: that men have the right to give children their surname, women may manage to choose one or both of the given names. Reversing this assumption of privilege is HARD. Don’t be scared of it. Don’t attack women who are trying to reverse it. Be a feminist. Stand up for the right of the mother to give her child her surname, and to have final say on the given names. Be against patriarchal privilege, don’t support it, however apologetically.

  11. stfunny Says:

    Seriously, I can’t believe how angry that made me. WTF!? What ended up happening?

    • The Writer of this MFIF Says:

      The “compromise” was the kid doesn’t have a middle name. But I fully intend to give the second kid my last name no matter what he says. I’m feel I’m more prepared for this weird attitude now, this name thing being the one and only patriarchal tradition he feels compelled to respect. It came out of nowhere in the hospital, knocking me off my feet when I was already kinda wobbly.

      • I have a middle name Says:

        I wasn’t given a middle name but adopted one at age 11; my grandmother’s last name. Why don’t you suggest it to the kid, when s/he is old enough.

  12. shoutingwoman Says:

    Ah, this is familiar. Going through the same with my husband right now, except I’m still preggo. What happened?

    • The Writer of this MFIF Says:

      The “compromise” was the kid doesn’t have a middle name. But I fully intend to give the second kid my last name no matter what he says. I’m feel I’m more prepared for this weird attitude now, this name thing being the one and only patriarchal tradition he feels compelled to respect. It came out of nowhere in the hospital, knocking me off my feet when I was already kinda wobbly.

      Good luck with yours, and DON’T GIVE IN! This shit is important.

      • shoutingwoman Says:

        I’m fighting it as much as I can, we still have a few months yet so I’m hopeful. After being bullied mercilessly by him and his family into taking his surname when we got married, I’m standing up for myself this time. 🙂

    • ty Says:

      In my family the girls get their mother’s last name and the boy’s get their father’s…

      • Jezebella Says:

        You know why? Because the girls are seen as unimportant so it’s okay for them to carry the mom’s last name. If not, explain why the boys don’t carry the mother’s last name.

      • teleen Says:

        @Jezebella – really? Seriously? This actually sounded like a fair compromise to me. Couldn’t it be as simple as, the girls get the female parent’s name because they are female?

        Getting us away from a patriarchal way of thinking is difficult and compromises like this are one way of starting the process. Thinking like yours is a way to end the progress before it starts because it comes across as judgmental and unwilling to compromise. And before you say that the *other* side is unwilling to compromise so we should be as well, may I simply ask how sinking to their level helps our cause?

        The issue of baby last names is incredibly complex and most of the reasons for it have been mentioned already on this post, but I really feel that I should itemize them to give you a bit of the scope of the problem here.

        1) Boys are taught from an early age that they are supposed to ‘carry on the family line’, while girls are taught that they are supposed to carry on their husband’s family line.

        2) Mainstream society hasn’t caught up to the idea that family lines don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, so if you go outside the norm (woman takes man’s name and kids get his name) it can cause gigantic headaches and confusion for all involved. Some examples:

        a) Some friends of mine, will call them John Jones and Jane Smith, decided to be progressive when they got married and hyphenated their last names, *Jones-Smith*. For a variety of reasons, Jane has found this to be a huge headache and when they had kids, she decided to simply give them their father’s last name.

        b) If you give one child the mother’s last name and another child the father’s, they are generally assumed to have different fathers.

        c) If you each decide to give up your last original last names and pick a whole new one when you get married, your families could very well be hurt by that choice.

        This is not an easy situation – we have thousands of years of patriarchal thinking to overcome here and much as we’d like for an equal system to happen overnight, it’s not going to. Right now, basically everything legal-wise is caught up in the traditional method of doing things, not to mention that society as a whole has been programmed to expect that you’ll be doing things the traditional way.

        I guess what I’m saying here is that the way we do it now happened over thousands of years and we’ve only started trying new ways in the last 100 or so (really, more like the last 50, but I was being generous), so it’s a little unrealistic to expect society to reprogram itself overnight, especially over something that’s so very ubiquitous to humans pretty much everywhere. (Not everywhere though, 🙂 – some cultures are more forward-thinking that others. In the Philippines, for example, the children get the mother’s maiden name as their middle name.)

        Again, attitudes like yours just make it easier for the other side to say, “Well, look how hostile and unreasonable they get when we even *try* to compromise.” Plus, I have to say, I found your comment that the girls were unimportant and that’s why they got the woman’s name very offensive. While I do see your point, your attitude isn’t going to help and in fact will probably hurt the cause in the long run.

        A name is just as much a part of a man’s identity as it is a woman’s – in fact, because of societal upbringing, I would say that it’s more so. Are you saying that men should give up their rights to have children with their names completely? Yes, women do all of the work bringing the child into existence, but when this tradition came about, men also provided 100% of the support to the children. Now, it’s supposed to be divided equally. What incentive does a man have to support children that don’t even bear his name? I’m not talking about the great men that are posting here. I’m talking about the average man out in the real world.

        Why should a man care to support children that were made without his help (or so we say)? After all, according to a lot of the reasoning that I’ve seen here today, he had nothing to do with their existence, so why should he support them? Yes, a good man will support his children regardless, but in the real world, not all men are good men and we have to cut them at least 50% slack if we want 50% support.

        A man doesn’t have the same connection that a woman does – he doesn’t get to feel a baby growing inside of him or the agony of childbirth or any of the other stuff that we’re constantly throwing in their faces and yet we expect them to feel that same connection “just because”. In the past, they used names to give men that connection and now we need to find something for the future to do the same. Assuming, of course, that we want them to be there as more than sperm donors.

        Now go ahead and tell me that I’m unreasonable or anti-feminist because, well, you know, I accept the reality of human behavior as it is rather than how I think that it should be.

  13. Zlabiroth Says:

    @ Blah Blah Blog Girl

    I wish you will finish your life alone and sad.

    Why ? Maybe because you’re accusing men of being all the same a******s ? Have you ever thought that couples can choose the names of their kids together ? With my ex we agreed on the names even before conception! And there wasn’t any fight. We didn’t get to the point where you have babies, but it seems so logical to me, why can’t you see that ?

    Your attitude is just pointless and gives credits to m***** like the husband of this poor woman.

    Oh, and are you aware that commonly, females try to get rights, equality and such normal things? What you are doing is comforting women into the role of the suffering part of the couple.

    Making men guilty because they don’t carry the baby is so selfish, because our body don’t allow us to make babies we don’t have anything to say? And insisting on the pain is so old fashioned. It’s like telling every little girl : “YOU WILL SUFFER LIKE HELL GIVING BIRTH TO THE NEW PROUD OF YOUR HUSBAND !!!”

    So take the time to think about what you wrote and what you think.

    • L Says:

      her comment was perfectly fine to me — she didn’t say ALL men. She was just referring to men in general. And I agree with her

    • Merely Academic Says:

      “I wish you will finish your life alone and sad.”

      That is an unacceptable personal attack which invalidates anything else you have to say.

      • Matt G. Says:

        Yes, that was a petty attack. No, it doesn’t invalidate the rest of the argument.

        For a rather extreme example, if I were to say, “All women are stupid bitches. Two plus two is four.”–Would two plus two then not equal four?

        BBBG did display a bit of man-hating in her comment. Now if you want equality, that means the mother and father have an equal say in the naming of offspring–i.e., each has unlimited veto power and the two must find a name they can both agree on.

  14. Zlabiroth Says:

    To the writer :

    Yes, I will.

    Why ? Well, you came here saying that you’re husband is acting of a so selfish manner and denying what you are and what you said, and you still consider him as a good person?

    I’m sorry but that’s not a good point for your wedding, trust me.

    And if you can’t see that, then, we have two options: 1. you will be unhappy and end up in a divorce 2. it wasn’t important at all to you but you wanted to post something here.

    I’m judging him by what you told us and by how you made it.

    • The Writer of this MFIF Says:

      That’s quite a silly point of view. If you’re going to judge him by what I told you, how about the part where I said he’s fantastic in almost every other way? I’m a gigantic feminist. So is he. This incident is an aberration. That’s why I’m so pissed off about it, it’s totally unexpected and uncharacteristic and not what I signed up for.

      It’s ONE INCIDENT, though. Not worth divorcing a perfectly awesome man over. Especially since I will be giving my last name to the second kid no matter what he says.

      • teleen Says:

        Um, you didn’t tell us how fantastic he was in your OP – I just re-read it twice to be sure. You only told us about his jerky behavior, which sounded controlling and borderline abusive.

  15. stfunny Says:

    @MFIF I’m not sure what you mean by no resolution. Does the child not have a middle name at all?

    • The Writer of this MFIF Says:

      Yes, the child has no middle name. That was his “compromise” (according to tradition on his side of the family, the child should have his first name as its middle name regardless of the child’s gender).

      Needless to say I don’t consider it much of a compromise. I fully intend to give the next kid only my last name, and not his at all.

  16. Blah Blah Blog Girl Says:

    @Zlabiroth

    Wow – your venom and anger is disturbing. First of all, my comment was meant to be a lighthearted response – obviously didn’t come across that way so I apologize. But the unfortunate fact that you choose to attack people and wish them loneliness and unhappiness is sad. I hope you find happiness in your own life so you can stop wishing unhappiness on others.

  17. Zalbiroth Says:

    @ Blah Blah Blog Girl

    I apologize too, honestly.

    But, I always find myself as an alien among all my male colleagues. Of course I have male friends who are good persons, but, the main part of the time I don’t understand why the majority is acting like that…

    So, for me you were saying that all males were like that and that it was impossible for us to think, which was hurting.

    I still disturbed by your vision of birth which is full of pain…

    Is it really how you see it? I’d like to hear what you think of that, deeply.

    • Rufus Says:

      “A vision of birth that is full of pain” is disturbing? How so? Giving birth virtually always damn well HURTS, and anyone who pretends otherwise is lying… it’s not about how you think and feel about it, it’s experience.

      • Zalbiroth Says:

        I know that it can pretty painful, I’m not that foolish.

        But seeing it only as something painful and being angry at men because they can’t feel it is not a good thing for comprehension between men and women.

        Don’t you think ?

      • Merely Academic Says:

        Not “can be pretty painful”; IS painful. Please get your head around this fact.

        re: being angry with men for not feeling it: that wasn’t the point. The point is that when a woman has just suffered through 9 months of pregnancy, and however long and whatever pain birth took her, she deserves the utter gratitude of the man she has just made a father. He owes her one; in fact, he owes her several. Having a say in what the baby is called is the least of the perks she should have the right to claim.

      • Tracie Says:

        Short threadjack:

        I just want to provide a rebuttal for the idea that birth=(always) painful. The idea that birth is always and without exception primarily an excruciating event that women “have to go through” is a paternalistic idea that is reinforced by the media dating back to the idea of “The Curse of Eve.”

        Birth is more complex and varied than that. Birth is as a different and varied as there women. Some women experience painless births, and some women experience pleasurable births. Women are taught to fear and dread birth. That it is an emergency that needs to be managed and controlled (by a doctor, usually male) instead of a physiological process through which a woman works with her body to bring forth life.

        That being said, I would be pissed at this guy too.

    • L Says:

      this is supposed to be a safe space for women to post stories about things that have bothered them. The majority of media out there is men’s stories from a man’s perspective. Can’t just one little space NOT turn into a “what about teh MENZ???!!!” troll fest?
      /rant

  18. Tulpenpink Says:

    I find your story very upsetting. The time after birth can be very vulnerable for mothers, and he took advantage of that. And his reply shows that he didn’t respect your point. And rather than discussing / argueing about the name when you’re both on equal footing he decided to just override your decision when you’re after giving birth, exhausted and hormonal. Not fair. Don’t let him do that again! Get from him in writing what your next baby’s name is going to be, and tell the nurses not to let him near the registration forms!

  19. Linn Says:

    this makes me mad. Why would a female parent care that her own (father’s) name be perpetuated? what’s the point of perpetuating her own father’s name – how would that male family name be of any more worth than the name of the male parent?
    Now if the female parent had a name that reflected the female line, that would be different, but that’s not the way it works.

    • Myrra Says:

      I find this argument confusing. Since most families have been adopting the male’s last name, is there really any female family name to speak of? Even the OP’s mother’s maiden name is likely to be a male family name.

      Sure, neither name is “worth” more than the other. I think the point of this post was not about the names- but rather, how the husband went back on his word.

    • kly Says:

      Surely the point is that the woman should have a choice? Saying “well it isn’t her name really is it it’s her father’s so it doesn’t matter and she should just shut up about it and let her husband do whatever he wants because why should she care” erases the fact that she DOES care, and she SHOULD have a choice, and it is not, frankly, up to us to say what that choice should be. Doesn’t she already have enough people – like her husband – ready and willing to rip her choice away from her? We should not be among them.

    • D Says:

      I’ve never understood this argument. My last name is mine, whether it originally came from my mother’s side of the family or my father’s. I also think you’re missing the point about why a woman might want to keep her maiden name or pass it on her children. Yes, going against the patriarchy can be part of the motivation, but it isn’t always and regardless, no name is “worth” more. It’s about a woman being able to keep a part of her own family identity or pass it on.

      I decided years ago that I want to always keep my last name precisely because it’s my father’s. He died when I was young, and I was his only child. If you think that wanting a part of my father in my life makes me not feminist enough, that’s not my problem.

    • teleen Says:

      This attitude is why everyone is upset. A woman’s name is her own and she should have the right to give it if she chooses to do so. The whole bit about the ‘line’ goes back to a patriarchal way of thinking that simply has no place today.

      • Jaya Says:

        It’s not her father’s name it’s her name!! It’s the name she’s had her whole life and she’s expected to just give it up because it’s not as important as her partner’s name.

      • teleen Says:

        @Jaya – That’s what I was saying…

  20. Eva Whitley Says:

    Wow…just wow…FWIW, our older son has my last name as his middle name and even with all the fights my late husband and I had, I can’t imagine him pulling crap like this. Although, to be fair, he only has my last name for a middle name since I wasn’t expecting a boy, and we couldn’t think of a good middle name. If I had to do it over again, his middle name would be that of my favorite uncle, who died when I was 9.

  21. Frankie Says:

    We never want to get married and if we did I wouldn’t change my name. Its my name… it’s who I am… I don’t think either of us should change it, unless we want to… so what we did was decide that girl babies would have my name and boy babies would have his name. I think it’s messed up that he won’t let the kid have your middle name. I mean, it’s not asking a lot is it? The baby still has his last name. I think it’s pretty rude and condescending and you should tell him so.

    All those people telling you to divorce though… well that’s not helping is it!? That’s not a cool thing to tell a woman who gave birth a couple of days ago and wants to anonymously get something off her chest.

    Good luck to you. I say register the baby yourself. It’s just as much yours as it is his and if it’s already agreed you have every right to go ahead with what was agreed.

  22. Amy Says:

    I know it sounds harsh to say ‘divorce’ and I kinda regret agreeing with Zlabiroth above.

    Having said that though, and I speak from experience… eventually, being with someone who doesn’t see you as an equal becomes too much to bear. It did with me and my ex. We had a conversation once about hypothetical babies and he put his foot down in much the same way as your husband did. ‘If I’m having a son, he’s being called [his last name], end of story’. He was putting his foot down because he thought he was in charge, end of. I had no say in the matter. It hurt a lot because he was treating me like a subordinate. We had a blazing row about why can’t a child have its mother’s last name etc etc and it slowly dawned on me over the subsequent weeks that he didn’t see me as equal to him, he didn’t see women as equal to men, and he never would.

    I couldn’t stay with him after that. Despite any positives there may have been in the relationship, being an equal partner is a deal-breaker.

    I’m now with someone who sees me as an equal, who wouldn’t dream of asking me to change my name if we got married, or dictating what name our future child might have. Couldn’t be happier.

  23. Mickey Phoenix Says:

    I would not divorce my partner “over a name”. But I most certainly would divorce my partner over (1) going back on her word, (2) lying to me deliberately because telling me the truth up front would have led to further discussions, and (3) telling me “Whatever, .”

    It’s not the name that’s the central issue. It’s the controlling, dismissive, deceptive, dishonorable way he behaved. Spare yourself and your new child pain, dear original poster, and leave this worthless twit before he does more harm. Or, at least, get into serious couples therapy with him, and get a legal name change for your child to the name you both agreed on.

    Best wishes and support,

    Mickey.

  24. Claire Says:

    After my first child was born, the greeting her father gave to her (after 3 days painful labour eventually followed by emergency c-section) was “oh no, not a girl”.

    Naming the child is always down to the mother in unmarried couples- they are the only people who can register the birth. However, despite his initial disappointment not to be provided with a male heir, he still insisted on getting to choose the name. I refused, explaining that since I didn’t share his name and I would be the person sitting in the GP surgery with the child, I wanted the child to bear my name. He backed down when it got to the “you can’t register the birth anyway” stage.

    During this pregnancy, we went for a scan where we were asked if we wanted to know the sex of the baby. Knowing how difficult this was for him and how hurtful for me was his reaction at the point of birth, I agreed. We were told it was another girl. Since then, he has refused to look at pink babygros, insisting that it could be a boy, that we should buy unisex etc. He is also refusing to go over baby names until after the baby is born.

    He wont be getting to name the baby at all. Our relationship has fallen apart. I am 8 months pregnant with a 4 year old daughter and about to leave him and all our worldly possessions rather than put up with this any longer.

    Yes, how stupid to get pregnant by him. But guess what- these are not things you learn about your partner until after you have children.

  25. teleen Says:

    My husband is a III and if we have a son, I will name it IV, simply because it’s important to him and despite the fact that I don’t really care for his middle name. I took my husband’s name (with my maiden name as a middle name) because I wanted to be a part of my husband’s family more than I wanted to be a part of my own. Sad but true, :(.

    That said, your husband was a jerk. I wouldn’t divorce over *just* a name, but the fact that he completely disregarded your feelings and went against what you wanted when the time came sounds like a symptom of a larger issue, especially since you’re talking about only using your name with a second child. That sort of division and infighting over a name doesn’t speak to your relationship being very healthy, honestly. The two of you had agreed on a name, he agreed just to keep you happy while you were pregnant (mustn’t upset the pregnant lady – we’re very fragile then, don’t you know) and when the time came he disregarded your feelings for what he wanted. Not cool.

    I’m afraid that I also have to agree that calling this ‘practically every woman you know’ isn’t really helping the situation. I’ve known men who’ve taken their wive’s last names, giving up their own completely. I’ve also known men who’ve had no issue with their children having their wife’s maiden name as a middle name. My dad, who is as ‘traditional’ as they come, had no issue with my half-brother having my stepmom’s maiden name as a middle name (it’s traditional in the Philippines, where she’s from, which is actually a point against your ‘anywhere in the world’ comment). In my case, I have no middle name because it’s traditional in my mother’s family for the wife to take her maiden name as a middle name. Both times, my dad yielded to his wife and if *he* could do it, well, I would submit that many other men can and have done it as well.

    Only you can decide how important this really is to you. I wish you whatever outcome would make you happiest.

  26. The Heff Says:

    I think if a baby is clawing its way out of your vagina, you’ve got bigger worries.

  27. Dr. Selena Says:

    Had a similar problem: we agreed our son’s first name would be after my grandpa M., middle name after his grandpa J.. We both loved our grandfathers very much. I had a 65hr labor. It was a horror I don’t wish upon anyone. I gave birth, two days later it’s time to register the baby and he goes: “would you mind of we name him J.M and not M.J? I really want my firstborn to be J. after my grandpa.”
    “But we agreed…”
    “I didn’t want to talk about it then because I didn’t want you to argue.”

    Ok, just had a 65-hr labor, I am completely hormonal, but I broke down and yelled at him like crazy. Then I wobbled out of the room in this really skimpy hospital shift (wouldn’t do it if I weren’t pumped full of hormones ), grabbed my husband’s best friend who was standing outside, and who is a father of three, and told him to talk sense into my husband.

    Our son was named M.J. like we planned.

    Four years later, I am STILL angry.

  28. MtotheThird Says:

    Disclaimer: the post author’s husband acted like an idiot, and while I don’t think his lying and backpedaling is divorce-worthy in and of itself, it certainly points to serious trust issues she should have with him going forward.

    Names for kids are just plain hard – it’s not just personal issues, it’s also societal expectations.

    We had a long, involved debate over our first daughter’s last name. My wife wanted all of our kids to have her last name, since she’s the only child of only children and wants her name to carry on. But I’m quite proud of my family name as well.

    By 32 weeks, we had settled on alternating last names for the kids. It seemed the least bad of several bad options.

    Then, one day, my wife was talking to a neighbor of ours about baby naming. We’re both college-educated upper-middle-class but live in a working-class neighborhood. The neighbor was shocked when she told her our plan – her reaction was “But then people will think that [MtotheThird] wasn’t the father!”

    That certainly wasn’t an angle we had thought of before. Then we thought of the inevitable confusion in schools, among other parents, and (god forbid) from hospital workers in an emergency and just gave up.

    We’re hyphenating all the kids’ last names now — which sucks because our last names don’t go together well at all, and then what will our kids do if they get married and have kids of their own?

    I wish we had both just changed our last names to an entirely different name when we got married. We were starting a new family, it would’ve made sense to pick a new name IMO.

  29. AB Says:

    My ex did that very same thing after I gave birth. But since I filled out the certificate, guess whose last name she has? MINE. And he is none too happy about that.

  30. merles Says:

    I’d have told the nurse not to listen to the raving lunatic man, that he was delusional and thought that *he* was the father.

  31. Yonmei Says:

    One solution to his suddenly going “No, the baby should have my first name as its middle name” would be:

    First name, as agreed: middle name, father’s first name, as suddenly requested: and mother’s surname, since father reneged on agreement to have mother’s surname as middle name.

    I have never been prouder of my sister when – with me as her sole support! – she stood up against her parents, her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s parents, and said no, her son was having her surname, and if boyfriend wanted them to have the same surname, he could change his to hers. I love my nephew, and would love him whatever his surname was: but my sister had guts and pride, and I liked it a lot that she wanted her son to have her name and was prepared to defy both sets of grandparents to have it happen that way.

  32. Kaz Says:

    After reading the comments, I’m disappointed the woman of this MFIF is even HAVING a second kid with this person.

  33. Sophmiester Says:

    This makes me so happy that my mom kept her last name when she married. This is also because she comes from a culture in which women are expected to control the property and family, and the husbands adopt their last names. My mom did tell me that she chose not to give me her last name too (I have my dads) because both of their last names are fairly generic so it wouldn’t really matter and because I already had two last names. She also told me that me and my siblings could change out last names over when we were eighteen if we wanted.

  34. aetra967 Says:

    I changed my name when I married my husband and apart from all the damn paperwork, I don’t see a problem with it. I personally would rather deal with another 6 months of paperwork than having to correct every person that greets me as ‘Mrs. (Husband’s last name)” for the rest of my life. Then again my family name has never meant much to me and I always had to spell it out for people despite it being a very easy name E.G. Easton but everyone spells it Eastern. I get the whole “it’s a patriarchal throwback that shouldn’t be forced on women!” but I really don’t see it as a hot button issue compared to other shit women have to deal with. Just cos a woman chooses to change her name when she gets married doesn’t mean she changes who she is in her mind and soul.

    I also don’t get the whole ‘carry on the last name’ thing. I can imagine it meaning something if you had an ancestor that you wanted to honor, but otherwise, what’s the big deal? At the end of the day, it’s just a word. That’s it.

    • jesurgislac Says:

      “I personally would rather deal with another 6 months of paperwork than having to correct every person that greets me as ‘Mrs. (Husband’s last name)” for the rest of my life.”

      Well, that’s the problem with it. It wasn’t your free choice to change your own name to your husband’s name: it was a “choice” based on the realistic appraisal of your situation, that if you opted to retain your own name, for the rest of your married life you would have to deal with people who would NOT respect your choice.

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