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We gave our kids only my husband’s last name. Years later I regretted it, so we changed them all to include mine.


Mom pushing stroller with three kidsThe author changed her kids’ names after regretting having given them just her husband’s last name.

Courtesy of the author

  • When my first child was born my husband and I decided to only use his last name. 
  • Years later, and after having two more kids, I regretted my decision and changed their names. 
  • I felt like I was being erased from their identity and our family. 

When my husband and I found out we were unexpectedly having a baby, we spent hours making lists of names. We wanted something that would be easy to say in both English and Spanish since I’m from Argentina and my whole family still lives there.

Once we settled on his first name, we then made a list of family names for his middle name. We landed on using my maternal grandfather’s name, who, despite never having met him, meant a lot to me.

But when it came to last names, I told my husband that I was OK following the tradition of kids having only the father’s last name. He asked me multiple times if I was sure, including at the hospital after I gave birth and before filing his birth certificate info.

Years later, and after having twins, I regretted my decision. I felt like I was erased from my children’s lives.

I didn’t change my name when we got married

When we got married, there was never a conversation about what my last name was going to be. Both my husband and I had very well-established careers, and neither of us was looking to change our name.

I practiced saying my first name with his last name once and laughed out loud because my first reaction was, “Who is that?” It felt weird to have any other last name than my Italian one.

I also felt like it would be such a pain to change all my emails and my social presence, and changing my name would make it harder for long-lost friends to find me. So we both carried on with our own names.

I grew our children with my own body

After our kids started going to school, and I started seeing things like clothing labels, email correspondence, or birthday invites with just my husband’s last name, I began to regret our decision to just use his name.

I felt erased.

I had done this incredibly hard task of growing three humans with my own body, and somehow, my husband was the one getting to continue his legacy. It felt so unfair.

When I brought it up to him, he laughed and said, “This is why I asked you so many times,” and together we decided that we were going to change our kids’ names to include my last name.

We gave them 2 last names

Back when we were choosing our first baby’s name, my problem with him having both of our last names was complex.

Our names don’t go well together when hyphenated, and I had heard from friends with hyphenated names that it can be cumbersome to include the character in visa applications and official documents.

We also wanted short names for our kids. We both have very long names; mine sometimes takes up all the characters allowed in paper applications.

We ended up choosing to give them two last names since they all already had middle names. That way, they can choose whether to go by one, or both, when they are older.

Changing their names was easy, but it was harder for them to understand why

The process to change their names was fairly easy since we are still married and all our kids live with us. We presented all the paperwork in court, and within days, the changes were approved without any hearings.

It was harder to get our kids understand why they now had different names. At first, my son rejected the idea of having a “new” name, but we gave him time to process it, and now he says he is proud to have both.

I underestimated how much I was going to care about the names of our kids, and as an only child, I’m glad I get to continue my family’s name through my kids.

Read the original article on Business Insider