Home » Pregnancy 2015 » Kind of a Big Deal

Kind of a Big Deal

So in the frustration of my insomnia, I forgot to update y’all on something big that happened recently. 

Finally, after nearly five years of marriage, I’ve assumed my wife’s last name.

The decision to do this did not come lightly, and for years now, I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of the whole thing. But with Dumplin’ on the way, and our desire to travel as much as possible with him, it made practical sense to all share the same last name.

Now, what’s in a shared name really? Well, it conveys a family tie. I know that lots of people do not share the same last name as their kin, but for us, and especially as a same-sex family, it allows a sort of convenience especially with things like daycare or school matters, as well as travelling as a family or as a parent with our child(ren). 

How did we decide whose last name to share?

Well, in our case, we had to weigh the pros and cons of both last names, as well as the different allowable permutations of them.

DW’s last name:

– is Scottish in origin

– is easy to pronounce, phonetically

– is not very common

My last name:

– is Chinese in origin, with Taiwanese spelling

– is a phonetical nightmare, so no one ever pronounces it correctly (to no fault of their own), and people always assume that the spelling of it is wrong (I’ve actually had people tell me that the spelling of my last name must be wrong- imagine how that makes a person feel about themselves!)

– is not common at all (the only people in my hometown phone book with my last name are actual relatives of mine)

Growing up with my last name, I was always embarrassed of it, even though my grandpa wore it with pride. To this day, I hate the reactions and looks of confusion when people are surprised that a last name like mine even exists. People make stupid jokes to cover up their discomfort with it, which makes me feel even worse. To. This. Day. 

So it was kind of a no-brainer that I would never want to do this to our kid. So we had decided that Dumplin’ would have DW’s last name. For a while, we considered hyphenation too, but having friends with hyphenated names, I knew it was a pain in the ass for things like forms and scantron cards. So we decided against that.

Professionally, as a chiropractor and as a teacher, I have always gone by my last name, and have built up a good reputation within that identity. So professionally, I will continue to be Dr. (My Lastname). 

In my personal life however, I will be known as Mrs. (DW’s last name), and while I do feel some sadness over no longer having my last name in my name at all, I know that my origins are traceable via my birth certificate. For some time, we considered moving my last name to the end of my middle name, as is the tradition in my mother’s culture, but that kind of name change is considered a legal name change here, so I would have to have the change made on my birth certificate too- which I did not want. Like I said, I want my origins to be traceable, and keeping my birth certificate untouched somehow makes me feel that way.

So now, I have a crapload of updating to do due to this name change:

– Service Canada to update my SIN 

– New passport photos and application (ugh, huge pain in the ass)

– Service Ontario to update ownerships for our cars

– all credit cards and bank accounts

– all auto payments coming from my credit cards or bank accounts

– Revenue Canada

– Costco membership

– Gym membership

– Health insurance provider

– All health care providers

– HR at work

Did I miss anything?
With Dumplin’ on the way, I wanted the name change done before his birth so that my new name is on his birth certificate. 

We like to travel, and plan on travelling as a family, so we wanted to all have the same last name. I have friends who have different last names than their children, and have to provide a signed and notarized document proving that they are in fact the child’s parent, and that they have permission from the other parent to be travelling with the child alone. Going through that shenanigans would suck, as would having to “out” ourselves every time we do it. “Yes, he is my child. Here is permission from his other mother. Here is our marriage certificate.” Ugh. Keep in mind that most countries do not have a human rights code like Canada’s, and customs officers can make your life a living hell with no justification required.

So that’s that. The change has been made. I have a temporary paper drivers licence and health card until my new plastic ones come in the mail. 

Did you change your last name when you got married? Why or why not?

What last name will or do your children have?

Do you have small children that you travel with? What is your experience like- with a different last name, or as a non-conventional family? 

I’d love to hear your experiences.

108 thoughts on “Kind of a Big Deal

  1. Congratulations!! I’m not sure if this is a congratulations moment, but I feel like it is because it’s such a huge change.
    I agonized over hte decision to change my name. Lost sleep over it in fact. I knew I wouldn’t hyphenate as I am just not a fan of a super long last name and ours sounded horrible together. So, for me it was an all or nothing change. We knew our child would have Mr. MPB’s last name (which is not actually MPB). 🙂 Ultimately I did choose to assume the use of his name, the morning of our wedding, because I decided it mattered more to me that I shared our child’s name. At the time, I really didn’t see the name change as being linked to him, just being linked to our children. Now, even without children, I know I made the right decision because I know today more so then ever before that we are a team and I love that we share our name. Needless to say, I have no regrets at all! People have suggested that we could use my maiden name as a middle name for our child, but honestly it doesn’t work. And honestly, now with the complications of adoption it’s not even a consideration.
    As for traveling with children, I didn’t even contemplate that at the time. But yes, I am glad that sharing the name will make it easier for all of us to travel. Of course, as our child may be of a different race we may struggle to travel anyways, but such as life, and we’ll deal with that at the time.
    Change your passport and driver’s license first – it takes time, and a lot of things will require two picture ID’s to change your name, like your bank. The most difficult thing for me to change was my Air Miles card – who knew?! And, I was told not to change my SIN because you are not legally changing your name on your birth certificate just assuming the use of the name (which is standard in Canada, most people don’t realize that distinction) – I’m told the reason for this is when you are old and start collecting pension. I have no idea if it’s fact or not, but I chose not to change my SIN and I’ve had not problems as a result.

    • Good to know about the SIN. I am not sure if I need to change that either because I’ll be working under my maiden last name. The passport photo is always super annoying to me. As is the idea of the whole ordeal that is the passport application, guarantors, yada yada… And waiting on the phone or standing in line at the bank or Costco… I’m dreading it!

      I did think of you when I wrote the post- particularly that you might have a similar experience to us if your child is a visibly different race than you and Mr. MPB. I hope you don’t run into any inconveniences, as I know how much you guys like to travel too.

  2. Congrats on taking the plunge into name changing! it’s exciting! I can so relate. Dear Oli and I decided early on that once we got married (engaged for two years) we would want to share the same last name for our family to be more united and for travelling. Travelling was the main reason, but then there are all the other reasons like school or hospital rooms, etc. I’m really glad we did. She took my name since she has 100s passing down her last name and with mine it’s just my brother and i and he just had a girl so Sparky will have to pass it down 🙂 It’s also more unique for living in Cali, while there are a lot more with her last name.

    We did the social security office first in order to get a new drivers license, which is all you need in order for the birth certificate to show you’re new last name (and includes your maiden name). The whole turnaround can take several weeks.

    I love that we can make family stamps or door mats with our last name. People send mail with no confusion on writing both last names. There’s a sense of unity which I love. And we are now known as the “Smith” family. As will your family 🙂

    • Yeah, that has a lovely ring to it, the “Smiths”. I love the unity of it because I really do feel like my wife and I are a team.

      I’m so glad that you have had a great experience with it so far, and what a wonderful way to continue your family’s name. I have 13 cousins on my last name side, most of which are boys, so my family name won’t have a problem with continuing down the line either. DW’s family is so small, so you make a good point that it balances things out a bit too 🙂

  3. Interesting! I have nearly all the same reasons as you do. I chose to give DD DWs family name because for one, she has no genetic tie so this was the best tie I could give her, out of respect for her and her family. Also, because of the bio parent aspect, there would be less trouble for her being recognized as one of the parents. My perception anyway. We kept my last name as a second middle name for DD on her birth certificate, so she has first name, middle name, my last name, then DWs last name – but DWs last name as the official last name. I didn’t want my name to die out completely (so far zero male great grandchildren, out of 6) but I also didn’t want to have a huge long double name, hyphenated or not. She’ll only have my name show up on government stuff really. If we ever marry officially, I’ll take DWs name and maybe will add my family name as a second middle name too.

    • Yes, that’s what we plan to do for Dumplin’ too- first name, middle name + my last name, DW’s last name. I like the representation of my last name in his name too. I also like how you point out the bio/non-bio aspect, which does make a big difference, symbolically.

  4. Congrats on he name change! It’s a big decision, and kind of exciting, eh!
    We hyphenated our names, about four years ago, after two years of marriage. Our 13 character last name is kind of a pain to spell out all the time, and makes us sound like a law firm, but I love sharing a last name and we both wanted to keep our original name. Our shared last name definitely helps ensure that we are perceived as a couple when we travel, which is great, and I like that that will extend to the baby. I’m hoping it will make traveling with her easier, but am still wary of Canada-US travel – I need to do some reading on that.

    • Yes, knowing your last name, it really does sound like a law firm, but that’s not a bad thing 🙂

      I actually love the idea of a hyphenated last name, and it’s what I actually wanted, but the hassle of it for us, wasn’t worth it. Plus, it’s kinda nice to hide in the ambiguity of a common last name as well. I’m also very weary of the Canadian-US travel with Dumplin’ and our very gay family in tow. I would love to know how it goes when you do it with Junie. Perhaps a future blog post!

      How are you guys doing?

      • I can see the draw of a straightforward name. I had no idea that changing our name would mean spelling it out for the rest of our lives!

        Yeah, I will definitely post about the Canada-US travel when it happens; we often fly to NZ via LA, and I’m always a bit of a nervous traveller, but this will add a whole new element of stress. I hate the idea of our family structure being interrogated in front of out kid. Hopefully it’ll not be a problem, but who knows… Maybe we’ll just stick to flying through Vancouver and skip the US altogether.

        We’re good, but Di is getting more uncomfortable – 30 weeks today! Really we are very lucky that things are going as well as they are; nothing scary since the aneuploidy scare. We both have a strong feeling that the baby’s going to come early, but even the full ten weeks seems like so little time all of the sudden!!

      • I also have fears about being interrogated in front of children and the trauma of all that, but I guess that learning that not all countries are equally safe for everyone is a lesson in itself.

        30 weeks! Woohoo! I am so glad that everything is going swimmingly. You two really deserve to have things go smoothly after the second trimester hell you went through. What makes you think Junie is coming early?

      • Yeah, definitely a lesson, but scary to get that lesson from someone in such a position of power.

        Di’s mom went into labour early with both of her kids (but then had emergency cesareans). Di is measuring a couple of weeks ahead, and has a short torso – it seems hard to believe that a 40 weeker could fit in there, but I know it happens! Neither of those things are especially strong indicators, but I think combined they makes us think that we’ll get an early-term baby – but who knows, I think it’s mostly just a feeling, and I’d be happy to be wrong – we want that baby well-cooked if possible 🙂

      • Her fundal height was two weeks ahead at the last check, which could mean that Junie is a bit big, or could mean nothing – all of this pregnancy stuff is so non-specific! The midwife wasn’t worried at all. Di has gained a lot of weight, but is fairly active and we eat very healthily, so we’re hoping it’s just a fluke and that Junie is a moderately sized baby, who is planning a timely and graceful exit! Maybe we’re thinking about her being early just so that we’re prepared if she does arrive a bit early – some friends of ours had their baby at 37 weeks and were not at all ready!

      • Yeah, I feel the same way. I am a planner, so I need to have things ready well in advance. Our baby shower is when I’m 34 weeks, and having it that late kinda stresses me out! I keep having to remind myself that all you really need is a car seat, some newborn diapers, and a safe place for the baby to sleep. That can be done in a day.

        My midwife has never measured my fundal height. I wonder if she will now that I’m in the second trimester. I have gained a lot of weight too, but I think it’s just how my body reacts to all of the hormones. How much weight has she gained so far? I’m up 25+ lbs at 20.5 weeks.

      • Yeah, babies really don’t need that much 🙂 I have to remind myself about that when I see cuteness that I think she needs…

        I think they usually start measuring fundal height around 20 weeks. Di is up about 27 pounds; the midwife said anything under 40 (at term) is considered perfectly normal and she wouldn’t be worried about the baby’s size of she’s under that. Looks like it’ll be close! But knowing that everything Di’s eating is healthy, and good for her and the baby, really eases our concerns about the weight gain. We figure if he weight gain is made up of tofu and brown rice and kale and dried figs, it’s a-okay – we’re big hippies when it comes to food, and pregnancy has only intensified that!

      • Yeah, I’m steadily gaining about a pound a week, so at that rate, I’ll probably be probably 46ish pounds up from prepregnancy. My midwife isn’t too worried about it either. I think I was a big underweight before, and I eat super healthy and am lifting weights 3-5x a week. My mom had gestational diabetes with me though so I am conscious of that and need to cut my carbs a bit soon. Bad timing because I am in love with all the pineapples and cherries on sale at the grocery stores these days.

      • Yeah, I figure it must be good weight! For Di it has been stop and start – she gained a lot early in the second trimester, then from weeks 18-26 only gained two pounds despite a lot of belly growth, and is now gaining again (and constantly hungry).

      • Well it sounds like mama’s sleep habits might be a reflection of what baby’s will be too. In which case, I’m totally screwed lol. At least he’ll be a good eater haha.

      • Do you have a snoogle? Di credits her good sleep to her weird nest of snoogle plus body pillow plus two other pillows – she takes up 3/4 of the bed, but she sleeps fairly well, given all of the peeing and pregnancy-related discomforts.

        Hope we both get good eaters AND good sleepers! Wouldn’t that be lovely…

  5. Man and I have been married for two years now and he recently asked me (again) if I would take his last name, especially before the baby comes. My reasons for not changing it so far were:
    -I have a strong personality with some feminist sprinklings and have a hard time accepting I must change my last name (though I never foresaw my attitude on this)
    -my last name is unique and Italian and I’m proud of it. My Italian side of the family only has women in this generation. I think the name will be wiped out of Canada after us.
    -we have done a lot of random traveling within these two years and didn’t want to wait for a new passport.
    I will change my name before baby boy. I thought about hyphening it as well but heard the same complaints. Also considered the middle name option but I already have 2. I suppose this may make things easier if/when we travel with Mans kids over the boarder. We usually only do roads trips with his kids in Canada, however, it would be good to take them elsewhere! I think legally we will still require written permission from their mom just in case… Can’t be much help on that! But for my boy, the name change makes sense how you describe it, if we travel with him, to have the same name as his.

    • It’s interesting that you have found yourself in a similar situation as me- postponed the name change for a long time as you hold on to your own identity so to speak, and now plans to change to a shared family name before baby boy comes. Will you give him your last name as a middle name? That’s how we plan to keep that part of me alive.

      The aspect of travelling with step kids is interesting too.

      • It is interesting, and unfortunate, that the idea of traveling with your own child vs my step children, is similar. That there may be hassle each time I mean.
        That’s a beautiful idea! It has crossed my mind but I think he’ll just have some random names. Which now sounds very unspectacular haha it’s just an obvious last name that won’t flow well with Man’s last name. Meh. Something for us to think about though. 🙂

      • Yeah. You’re right, I wish it was more welcoming for all non-traditional families.

        Ah, what’s in a name right? So much. It’s such a loaded issue that follows us our entire lives and beyond the grave.

  6. I took Catch’s last name for many of the same reasons as you. My own last name is French and I can probably count on one hand the number of times in my life it was spelled/pronounced properly. I really agonized over the decision, but I ended up changing my name about two years after we got married. I did keep my maiden name as a second middle name because I was having some trouble parting with it, but now I sort of regret that decision. It just makes for a really long legal name. I absolutely love that Catch and I share the same name, now. So happy for all 3 of you!

    • Thanks! I feel a bit bad about not keeping my last name as my middle name, but it really would’ve been a much bigger legal deal if I did it that way. I’m glad that you’re happy with your decision, as it is a big symbolic change. It’s so wonderful hearing everyone’s different experiences.

  7. Congratulations on the decision/action and good luck with the paperwork. It’s such a long process, especially when long-forgotten accounts start resurfacing at odd moments.

    As far as my own experience goes, I love having a shared family name. We made the decision when we got married–or rather, my wife did, because I kept my name and left it up to her whether or not she took it on–for the same reasons you seem to have done. I was a little jealous of her getting a new name to commemorate the new stage of her life but as we didn’t have a family name we wanted to adopt together, it just made sense to use mine (she was not attached to hers and does not really get along with most of that side of her family). The only time I’ve felt guilty about it being my name we use was when I realized our second child had both my childhood surname and my family’s genes. It felt a little unbalanced, especially compared to our firstborn who shares her surname with my parents but her genetics with my wife’s. That said, I know genes and names don’t make a family so I’ve mostly made peace with that. And as I already said, I do love having a shared name both symbolically and practically.

    • I like the distinction you make about genes and surnames. The dynamics are so interesting. It’s also nice to hear the perspective of the unchanged-last name partner. My wife wanted both of us to legally change our names to have my last name as our middle name and her last name as our family name. It felt like I was giving up more of me by changing my birth certificate though, which is the only way that kind of change would’ve been allowed in Canada.

      • Interesting. We made our decision when we filled out our marriage certificate; I don’t recall whether there was an option to change middle names as well but it didn’t affect either of our birth certificates. The name change via court option definitely allows any of the names to change, but again, not sure if birth certificates are involved. I think they are when gender/sex is changed, though. But the US may also be different than Canada (understatement?). I’m sure someone out there in blog land knows better than I.

      • In Canada, you can only alter your last name. If you mess with your middle name, it’s a different process and you have to apply for a new birth certificate too.

  8. Congrats on taking the leap! It’s a hard decision to make! We had decided before we got pregnant or married that we wanted our children to have my DW’s last name to reflect their Asian heritage, but I also wanted my last name in the mix in case (god forbid) we ever got divorced. We decided to go with the Filipino naming convention, where they will have my family last name as a middle name and DW’s last name as their surname. Then once we were able to get married in our state, I added DW’s last name to the end of mine without the hyphen (luckily both of our surnames are pretty short). It’s sort of a pain in the butt to make your name longer, but I like the flexibility – sometimes people use just my old name, the double name, or just the new name and they all still feel correct. And then for medical, travel, or educational purposes, the family connection is still clear.

    • That’s a great idea- just adding both names to the last name. My mother’s side is also from the Philippines, so the convention of maiden name to middle name is what we will do with Dumplin’s name.

      I didn’t know your DW was Filipino! That’s awesome. More hapa babies!

  9. My wife and I were married a few months ago, and I’ve taken her last name… although with all this baby making I haven’t actually legally changed anything over yet. I did contact my HR though, since that was the easiest thing to do. I guess I feel like I’ve already legally changed it over because I sign and initial my name 100-200 times a day at work. I never thought about my bank though, and gym memberships, and car insurance though. My plan was DL, MSP, Passport….. lol. Fail. Thanks for the post! Reminds me I have a lot more to do!

    • Congrats on your marriage! It’s taken me 5 years to finally take the last name plunge, so don’t feel so bad about not changing the other stuff over. You got the important things done, and have time to do the others . Just make sure you change over your passport well before any travel plans. That’s an annoying one to wait for!

  10. I’ve long said I wouldn’t change my name when I get married (I’ve been married before and we both kept our names, but we didn’t have children). But I see the importance of sharing a last name as a family. I think Dumplin’ will appreciate this, too, as he gets older. I HATED that my mom had a different last name from me as a kid (she remarried after my dad died). I mean, hated it! So he’ll have both of his mamas sharing his name, and I think that brings kids a lot of comfort.

  11. I’d always thought I might do the new name out of old names solution that friend of mine have. But our last names are so similar in spelling that it wouldn’t work. We both really like our last names and have professional careers with them. Neither of us was willing to change. So we have each kept our own and hyphenated AJs. Since both names are fairly short, it works without being too cumbersome but I do think about what he’ll do if he has kids and faces a similar struggle! Hyphens are one generation solutions.

    • I agree. I love the idea of hyphenated last names. It just seems so equitable! But if he gets married, I guess there will have to be some creative decision making! I like the sound of your last names hyphenated. It works well.

  12. Congratulations on makeing this big decision! I like that you can still keep your name for your business. Hopefully the US will make things easier on you for travel soon. We should know by the end of the summer…

    I have been thinking about this lately with the whole amazing relationship going on. I am pretty attached to my last name and the fact I made a kid all on my own. But, I also want family unity. I am probably the only person in my generation in my family who will be passing it on. The boy cousins all have their dad’s last name and there is one girl cousin with mine. My brother has it too but I am still hoping he doesn’t reproduce… Oh! Just remembered an estranged uncle has a son. My name is French and different but not long or really weird. It does get mispronounced and stupid jokes but I don’t mind most days. I don’t know how L feels about all of this yet. I do know she is an only child and I am thinking only has girl cousins. Her last name isn’t complicated though I could see people not knowing which A sound it has in it. It wouldn’t work to hyphenate. I could see W and I taking her last name and putting mine as our second middle. Unless she would rather take ours. Hmm.

    • I’m so glad things are going well! These types of decisions are so tough…. And semi-permanent. Our names are so tied into who we are, but it doesn’t make us who we are, which is why I feel okay with keeping my last name for Dumplin’ (and forgoing it in my name). So many women before us have made the change without batting an eye. I wonder why it’s so hard for us to give up? In a lesbian union too! The psychology of it is so interesting to me.

  13. Aw! I think that’s lovely and will be great for you all as a family. I kept my maiden name when I married and my husband took mine (he legally changed it in the weeks before the wedding). He hated his surname so it made sense. Name change is a big thing, but as you say – your roots will always be traceable and I was fascinated that my mother had a maiden name before she was married, when I was growing up 🙂

    • Yes- I agree with your fascination with your mother’s maiden name. It’s like she had a completely different secret identity! I felt the same way. How wonderful that your husband took your last name. I love it!

  14. When wife and I got married I took her last name. It just worked best for our family. We already had our now 3 year old before marriage was legal in CA and he had her last name so for us all to be similar I followed suit. The going to the social security office and DMV and bank were a royal pain! It is like opening your life to strangers and you always have to explain it and hope people get it and don’t ask 100 questions. I love it now because we are always #team”smith”

  15. I took Lauren’s name, for many of the same reasons. I wanted us all to have the same name, and knowing that I was going to have the biological relationship, I felt strongly that she should have the naming relationship. And honestly, I wasn’t especially attached to mine. Changing documents was surprisingly easy with the exception of the Ministry of Transportation – do yourself a favour and go to one of the actual government offices, not the Service Ontario counters that get contracted out (our local one is at Canadian Tire). They insisted that my marriage certificate was not, in fact, a marriage certificate and it took forever to sort out by phone.

    We’ve also found it a good idea to travel with the long form birth certificate. The thing that we get asked the most often when we travel is whether or not we are sisters! Having a document with all of our names on it makes it much easier.

  16. DW is Chinese, but grew up in a very Filipino community 🙂 I love the idea that the kiddo gets to carry the names from both of their parents! Can’t wait to see your lil hapa boy – so much fun to see what characteristics mixed babies get!

  17. Kind of a big deal!?! Dude! That’s a super big deal! Good for you! We were both super excited about a name change. It was a fairly easy decision for us actually. Callie’s maiden last name is pretty much impossible to pronounce (Reichelt – i dare you to try it), unless you’re in Germany, which obviously, we are not! She was using her ex-husbands last name for over 12 years since their divorce because it’s such a pain in the ass to change all of your stuff back (you already know the drama as listed about, lets add a will, 401K, passport, boat title, and a bunch of other crap!), so that wasn’t an option for me to change my name to, because i was NOT gonna carry her ex-husbands last name. The truth is, I am so incredibly tied to my last name, my heritage, my roots and my family (did you know that the Mendez {actually Mendes} family was nobility in Portugal and Spain and had quite the dynasty?! Now you do!), so it was super important for me to keep my last name, and since Callie really has no ties to her last name, she as all for changing it. Excited to change it actually. We Mendez are a pretty awesome bunch! That’s a big step to take, and one that will seriously tie your family together…i didn’t realize how much i would like the sound of The Mendez Family…

  18. Given that we share our first name, there have been many jokes about the possibilities of taking the other’s or even each other’s last names too. But there’s just the two of us so no need to go further than our humourous hypothetical scenarios! I do, however, empathize with your family name experiences. Ive been told I pronounce my first name incorrectly, and my family name seems to confuse both french and non french speakers. It also seems to trigger dyslexia for many, as they reorder the letters to create an easier name to pronouce. It is an interesting question- how to both recognize the families we come from and the ones we create. I played with my first name to recognize, and be recognized for both where i come from and who i evolved to be. It makes sense to do the same with a last name. I think its awesome that you chose the name that recognizes and celebrates your unity as a family, and allows you to be who you are and do what you love more easily. In the end, the name has to make sense for you, and those who know us best and love us, know there’s so much more that came before and more that is still to come too.

    • I love the last sentence of your comment. It’s so beautiful. Yes, it’s also fun to imagine the hypotheticals, especially when you and D have the same first name (though different spelling). I love French pronunciations of names, and sometimes say J’s last name with a French accent for fun, just because it sounds lovely. I like how you reinvented your first name, and while I always thought it was an artist alter ego, I’ve come to know it as simply you. It’s beautiful and unique, and one of a kind.

  19. I went through the same process as you! I waited over a year to finally make the decision but I knew I wanted my kids to have parents that had the same last name. I still feel awkward and uncomfortable when I say my maiden name and it’s always butchered when said or spelled. My dad was pretty heartbroken about me changing it but it made more sense for me. I like DW’s last name and I’m happy to have it as my own now. We cross the border 3-5 times a year and have never had an issue. We have my maiden name as a middle name for both of them, we travel with their long form birth certificates as well as our wedding certificate (my US passport is still in my maiden name).

    • Good to know- long form BC is the way to go! Glad to hear you guys haven’t had any problems travelling across the border. Yeah I like the maiden name as a middle name for the kidlets. A string of their history in their names.

  20. We each kept our own last names and hyphenated the kids. It’s a little long and I’m sure will be a bit of a PITA for them from time to time, but it seemed like the best solution for us.

    • Yeah I love the hyphenation too- in that both families are represented. It’s actually what we were initially going to do, and we even had the dogs’ tags redone with the hyphenation. I guess I was kinda put off it when my MIL made a big stink about hyphenated last names, and other people also commented on how much of a PITA it would be. I still think it’s the nicest way to share a last name though.

    • I guess it depends on the surname too! Sometimes it’s a no-brainer, and other times, when the last name is not so nice or easy to pronounce, it’s a little more difficult haha. I’m happy with my decision, though it will take a while to get used to the new name!

  21. We’ve considered this as well! I think I might end up taking my wife’s name, since we want to give our future child her last name also. We’ve had a few bumps while traveling with different last names, but those were also in countries that don’t have the best equality track record. In Costa Rica, when we asked for the family customs card, the flight attendant asked for our names. When we said them (each with our own last names) she stated, “if you don’t have the same last name, you’re not a family.” (!!!) I competely lost it on the airplane. My wife had to hold my arm to keep me from standing up and yelling at the attendant. I imagine it would be nice to skip that step and just make things simpler.

    • Wow, I can’t believe what the flight attendant said to you! We’ve always filled out separate customs cards despite being married and living in the same household- mostly for simplicity. I agree that a common last name might make it easier, though we’re interracial, so there’s that element too!

  22. I did change my last name. I also wanted that family unit feel. I have an Aunt who didn’t change hers and it was always confusing at her children’s school. My husband’s last name is shorter than my maiden name and bumped me from the almost bottom of the Alphabet to the almost top. To commemorate the change, I got a spontaneous tattoo of my maiden name in script on my foot. It will always be a part of me. I also timed the name change with a change in employment. Assuming my new identity at my new job made the transition a bit easier.

    • Oh the tattoo idea is brilliant! I love it. Smart too, to time the name change with starting a new job. I’ve heard difficulties like your aunt experienced, and as a kid, I remember friends of mine being upset that their parents didn’t share a last name. Silly, but I still remember it.

  23. Big decision for you by the sounds of it. Will you and DW give Dumplin your surname as a middle name? Our kids have 2 middle names with the second being my surname. I didn’t want hyphenated last names either particularly because both of ours are longish. I’m

  24. Nice, congrats! I did change my last name to his after we got married, for the most part! SSN, drivers license, etc. But the one thing I never got around to was changing my passport! So when we travel I use my maiden name. I plan on changing it when I have to renew in a few years. LO will have DH’s last name.

  25. A lot of those reasons are the same reasons I decided to take her last name: using that assumption that same name = same family to make everything simpler. Because same sex marriage wasn’t legal when we got married, I changed my name through our court system, which meant I could be more flexible in what I chose. So I took her last name and made mine a second middle name. It’s kind of fun having four names and so far there’s been no hassle. Well, except the time a lawyer made me sign all. four. names. But that was just annoying.

      • Yeah in Canada it does require you to change your birth certificate if you change anything other than your last name. It’s kinda weird because I think it’s common for people to just move their maiden name to their middle name after marriage.

  26. That is huge! I’ve been debating taking my spouse’s last name since I was pregnant, and I thought maybe I would by the time the boy turned one, but I have 3 weeks so that’s not happening. I love my last name, it’s the only Italian thing about me (I’m so pale I’m ghostly). If I take my spouse’s last name everyone will think I’m Irish, which is fine, but the only one in the family with known Irish ancestry is the baby via the donor. The spouse’s last name fits her, and she is a writer so my last name wouldn’t look/sound as good of a combination. She also very much identifies with male social norms so I don’t think she ever gave a single thought of changing her last name. And lastly I’m now professionally known with my last name. It would be a pain to change e-mails and all that jazz. I’ve thought about hypenating, but that is sooo long I don’t want to say it or write it all the time. It’s not easy.

    • No, it’s not easy, and each person is in a different position to do or not to do it. I can see why it would be better for both of you to keep your original last names.

  27. Congrats on that big decision.

    We did it similarly, for most of the same reasons. I hyphenated my last name with DW’s, she kept hers and our son has her last name after the second-parent-adoption now. I felt like she really deserved having him carry her name as the non-gestational-mom as a tangible connection. We had to add in a middle name to make her last name and our son’s first name sound nice (both are short, with harsh s and k sounds, so without the middle name to soften it, it sounds like parseltongue.)
    For work purposes I also just use my shorter old name, which was especially important since I published stuff and nothing is worse in the scientific community than people unable to find and cite what you published because of a name change.
    I have to admit, that I didn’t bother changing my name everywhere. I got new IDs and drivers license and changed my bank account, tax, health insurance and work info but never got around to changing household stuff like our appartment lease, gas, water, any subscriptions, paypal, amazon and so on. As long as both names are on our mailbox, we don’t experience any troubles.But I never realized before how many people all over the place have your name and address.

    • Yes, it’s so true- you forget how your name and address are everywhere! It definitely makes sense to keep your maiden name professionally, which is why I’ve read many women who settle down after they establish their careers keep their name.

  28. It took me almost two years, but I took my spouse’s last name. We were legally married in DC almost 4 years ago. I always wanted to take her last name, but we lived in NC where our marriage wasn’t recognized. In order to do that, I would have to go the legal name change route through the courts. When I looked into it at first, it was very costly (Court fees, background checks to prove you’re not on a sexual offender list, fingerprint fees, etc.) PLUS- then you had to pay for a new passport, SS card, driver’s license. I was overwhelmed. But as we got closer to wanting to start a family, I decided I wanted all of us to have the same last name. I always knew I would take hers since I don’t have a relationship with my immediate biological family (long story). So, in the summer of 2013 I saved up enough money to get it all done, and it was finally process in October of 2013. 1 year later, nearly to the date, our marriage became legal in NC. But, I’m still glad I did it- because I wanted our name to be on the deed for the house, my college degree, business cards when I started a new job in August, 2014. I actually did go back and have my birth certificate changed as well- which was actually sort of cathartic for me anyway. For me, it was worth every penny.

    • I’m glad it all worked out for you, and that the timing worked out so that you were all set for your new job. In some ways, I wish I had taken her last name earlier, but I’m just gonna take my time with changing everything over so that I don’t get overwhelmed.

  29. I noticed that you had changed it on fb this week! I hyphenated my surname with Toku’s when we got married the first time (the Civil Union), but only for fb, personal stuff etc. that’s because I legally couldn’t use her surname as when we had the civil union her name was se thing different! Ahh such a long complicated story – but basically the name that we share now is her proper name, but when she went as a teen to get a copy of her birth certificate, it had been recorded incorrectly as ‘Yoyo’! So she had to use that as her surname! I wanted us to share a surname and our babies to just have her surname – but the proper one! (Didn’t want to inflict Yoyo on them.) We hadn’t got around to legally changing her name when we had our CU so I couldn’t ‘assume’ the new one. Just before she went home to the Caribbean this year she legally changed her name here and all her documents. Then we got married, so now I can legally hyphenate my name with hers. And the boy will take her name 🙂 By the way, I liked your old surname!!

  30. I, too, resisted the name change for the first few years. It was having a child that convinced me to change mine as well. We considered the hubs changing his name, but Sarah South was just too catchy and simple (yet uncommon) for me to pass up. My maiden name was insanely common, and I like to be different, hehe. 🙂

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