Thursday, 30 September 2010

say my name, say my name...*

Whilst we are trying to sort out the venue situation I thought I might discuss the name situation. Tis truly a week of quandaries.

Since I was little I have always loved my name (well not my middle name but that's ok!). I loved that I wasn't just another Jane Doe and had a name people could not pronounce. It made me feel exotic.**

Here I am with but a couple of my Polish relations and my little bro, he be the tiny boy with the white blonde hair!

Like most of your I have had the same name all my life. 

So my name is Anna Biglongpolishname. 

This is further complicated that I am obviously professionally known as Dr Anna Biglongpolishname. A name which I am advised to keep throughout my professional life as I have won prizes and published things under said name. Also I find people think I am super clever with this name. Although I have never actually changed my title in the real world. Far too much hassle and I am not defined by my profession (also slightly worried about the fateful is their a doctor on the plane scenario - of course I would stand up but after waiting a couple of seconds for another!).

So really the title is a red herring issue. I think I will continue to be Dr Anna Biglongpolishname at work whatever happens. Also the GMC are a little weird, I do not want to enrage them.

The next complication is Bean's name. If I take his name I will be Anna Annason (well almost!). Which would be great if I were a crime writer or pop star (maybe one day) but it's not a real person name! I guess I could just suck it up but is it so bad I like my own name?

We are also assuming there may be babies one day and we would like them to have the same name. For me it just makes sense. For me it adds to the sense of family. It enforces the idea that we are a unit, together.

We discussed the idea of choosing another name but Bean no likey and to be honest, how on earth does one choose another name? 

So obviously the last choice*** is to double barrel, well without the hyphen (how gauche!) although I do admit the concept of the double barrel is rather bourgeoisie in itself. However I do rather like the sound of Anna Biglongpolishname Annason. (Also our children will be super intelligent and have no trouble spelling a slightly weird complicated name).**** Only that way works because otherwise I am my father/mother. Yes my father's forename is Bean's surname. 

So I am happy to take Bean's name with mine but should I encourage Bean to take mine? Is it discourteous towards him and his family, a family who I really admire and love with all my heart. Is it emasculating? For some men maybe, but Bean is a pretty wise and modern guy and I hope/almost sure he knows that me not wanting to become Anna Annason is disrespectful but a sign of how much my past is part of me. Something to be celebrated in our future life together rather than dismissed and forgotten for him to assume the role of Patriarch. (Not that I would say I have a foreboding dominating patriarchal influence now but...). That we will now be a partnership and allows us to define a family of our own?

I have tested the water and he does seem happy to take my name too, but I think this is still a work in progress. The next step, if I get my way, is to decide the best way in which to go about this process, ahh red tape.

What are you choosing to do and why?

*Man how I loved Destiny's Child!
**Yes Bean, exotic!
***Actually this probably isn't the last choice, he could take my name but that hardly seems fair either.
****As a complete aside I dreamt I had babies, older one was "normal" and the other was talking and eating normal adult food from day 1. Bean is now worried that rather than a evil mastermind I may incubate some sort of demonic child.


  1. two things:

    1) one of my favorite friends took his wife's last name so it's not completely unheard of

    2) my best friend's name is _____ _____ Mom's Last name, Dad's Last name. So, she has 4 names. It's complicated for her but i think she likes it.

    i like thinking about this.

  2. I struggled with this, but not for any professional reasons or anything, I just have attachments to both my middle and last names. My last name would make a TERRIBLE middle name, which is another reason I dislike the typical middle-name drop in favor of using one's maiden name there. So, I just added my husband's last name to mine and I legally have four names. I figure this way when we have kids I'll already be a Ross (his name), so that will be easy, but otherwise since I have all four names, I somehow feel that I have license to use them as I please.

    I'm still using Poe as my one and only surname at work because I didn't want the hassle of a new email/confusion. My emails come from K Poe Ross, not hyphenated. I don't really want to be known as Mrs. Poe Ross; it's more that I want people to be able to readily identify me with my family (the Poes) when they see or hear my name. (This may be more the case since I'm living in my hometown, where people are likely to know my family.) Using my maiden name regularly may be a transitional phase, as my sister thinks it will be, but I'm glad I've held onto all of my names!

    Did that make sense? I hope so. If y'all add one anothers' names to your current names you don't necessarily have to use them all day-to-day... It would be special just knowing that Bean legally has a part of your family, as you have taken on a part of his!

  3. I think the whole name thing is such a hard and personal decision, especially when you've established a career with your maiden name. I run a business under my name and like you have a reputation attached to it, so either way I'd have to keep it for business purposes. Our names are the kind that would sound truly horrible hyphenated, and his last name sort of rhymes with the last part of my first name and sounds almost comical (if you'd be Anna Annason, I'd be like... Chisa Bah). It would be a no-brainer for me to just keep my own name if it wasn't for the whole kids and feeling-like-a-family thing.

    At this stage I think I'm going to just keep my name, and if we have kids I'll make a decision about if I want to change it then. Not sure how our families will react though - I always thought they were pretty open minded and modern, but my mum seemed quite upset about us thinking about not having a wedding cake, so who knows O_o

  4. I think it would be great to hyphenate and I love the idea that he would take your name and add it to his and you would do the same.

    Whatever works for you guys. And I don't see how his parents could be offended when you are taking their name too.

    I took Mr B's last name. Always thought growing up I'd keep my name. Even told Mr B that at the start. But then he said he really wanted us to be the same and he would take my name. Made me want to take his after all.

  5. I like that you're thinking about this! There are a lot of women around me who just unblinkingly took their husband's last name. It is a personal choice, and I think a lot of people don't think about the fact that they have a CHOICE, that even though taking their husband's name is traditional it isn't necessary, and what works for one person may not be right for another.

    I am keeping mine and am not taking his. My full name has a really nice symmetry. My last name is short, it is easy to spell and pronounce, it is high up in the alphabet, and it is somewhat sassy. It took me twenty years to like my name, and now it really is a part of me. I mean, if someone told me that I MUST change my name for some good reason, I wouldn't be upset (I am not defined by my name!), but it is comfortable. My fiance was somewhat shocked when I told him I didn't want to change my name. He doesn't know ANYONE who has done this, and thinks it is very strange, and it took him a while to wrap his head around the idea. We decided the kids will have his last name because I don't like the bulkiness of a hyphenated name, and his name is SO LONG that I wouldn't want to burden anyone with MORE LETTERS.
    One idea that I really liked was using the letters of both names to create a new name, either something like Johnson + Stone = Johnstone or by simply mixing up the letters to create some kind of new word. New family, new name - very unifying. It's such a sweet idea - however, not for me!

  6. I kept my name – partly to do with professional reasons, partly because, like you, I'm rather fond of my surname, and partly out of pure stubborness. My husband wasn't prepared to entertain the notion of giving up his surname for mine ("my parents will think I'm snubbing them!") so my feeling was - why should I be prepared to give mine up if you aren't prepared to give yours up? Fortunately he's now hugely proud of me having kept my name, and fights my corner every time his mum addresses cards to Mr & Mrs W (unfortunately quite often).
    When we have kids, we're planning on them having my surname as one of their middle names - my surname isn't really very middle namey at all, but to be honest I don't care! I obviously don't know how I'll feel about having a different surname to our children until we actually have them, but the great thing about having kept my name is that I can always change it to his - imagine how it would look to take his and then go back to mine!
    We talked about the whole unifying surname thing that Amy mentions but we could only come up with ridiculous surnames like Goodcock and Woobs. I quite fancied the last one for laugh-value but that was overruled by the husband. Shame.
    Good luck, Anna - as long as you're happy with the decision, that's the main thing.

  7. With names I think that as with many family issues (how you feed and take care of your child, where it sleeps, how you balance work and childcare, etc...) there is no one answer which is acceptable to everyone. So you just have to do what you think is best and accept that people's reactions are more to do with their own prejudgements than you. I think you've come to a really good solution.

    I kept my name, it's part of my identity and *mine* dammit, but after the wedding everyone assumed that I'd be just thrilled to be addressed as Mrs Richard C.... even the people who knew I was keeping it! After the initial flustration that my choice was not respected I just let it go. And I know that in professional circles you may well get just as hard a time from other women for making the opposite choice and taking his name. Catch-22.

    As for Bean, I think it would be nice to take on your name too, no harm in suggesting it.

  8. I kept my name - not for any professional reasons, but out of attachment. I never thought I would change my name though so it wasn't a decision to make, if you see what I mean. My mother kept her own name, & in fact my brothers & I have our mother's surname rather than our father's, so families having different names is not unusual for me. In fact - detail over-kill - my great grandmother kept her own name, & hyphenated with her husband for my grandfather's name. He passed that hyphenated name down to his kids, but 2 out of the 4 have dropped half of it (thus reverting just to gr grandmother's name), & the other 2 have kept it but only passed half of it down to their children - so for me, even in the extended family, people have different names & different combinations. None of the women, apart from my grandmother, changed their name on marriage.

    My partner & I have a daughter, & she has his surname. I had a lot emotionally invested in her having my surname, but so did he, & in the end we agreed to go with his. She's only 2, but it hasn't been a problem having a different name to her (my surname is one of her middle names). In fact, we live in London & almost all the families we encounter through nursery, NCT, playgroups etc have the same set up as us i.e. parents with 2 different names & child with dad's name.

    Slightly OT, but 3 doctor friends (well, 1 friend & 2 Facebook friends!) have recently got married. They have all changed their names & gone from being Dr King to Mrs Shelton, or whatever. Am I the only person to find that weird? None of them have married doctors. I can't imagine a male Dr Shelton suddenly becoming Mr Shelton on marriage. I get keeping one name professionally & one name personally, but when you have previously used Dr in your personal life as your title, why do you suddenly lose it on marriage?! Drives me mad.

  9. Such a hard decision isnt it!

    I struggled for ages; originally I wanted to keep it then after seeing how my sis & best friend now hate having different names to their children, i started to reconsider as ultimately I would always want the whole family to have the same name.

    However, I didnt want to lose my surname totally so I just added Grahams surname on to the end so now I have 4 names; my original middle name is also a surname so it kind of looks like I have 3 surnames when you see it but really I now have my name, 2 middle names and Graham's as my new last name.

    I wasnt sure about what to do professionally either since I was registered as my old name but since I was starting a new job after the honeymoon I changed it. Had i beens staying at my old office I would prob have kept my old name professionaly but this way at least I am the same name everywhere (or at least will be when I get round to telling everyone!!!)

    p.s its quite a palava to change tho; none of this just send your marriage certificate as the dvla and passport people wont accept it! I had to officially change mine by deed poll first (which was easy online) so now I have a deed poll certificate to send to everyone. Have just send my passport away so hopefully its all fine! I will get round to writing a blog post about it at some point!

  10. p.s I know that some people would have dropped their original middle name and replaced it with their old surname but I didnt want to do that either as my middle name is my mums maiden name and i wanted to keep it; really I just didnt ever like the idea of getting rid of any part of my name so I just made it longer!

    p.p.s some people did think I was odd for doing this!

  11. I don't think it's emasculating to encourage him to take your last name if that's what you really want. For us, we choose to remain equal with everything, so name changing is no exception. Whatever one person does, the other does, if that's what feels right. If I hyphenate my name, so does he. If he keeps his last name as is, so do I. I'm not a fan of the fact that this whole topic is often centered on what the woman does, while the man is obviously going to keep his own name, as if any other kind of option would be total insanity.

    Even so, it's complicated. We've been married for 3 months and I still have no idea what we're doing. Taking his alone makes me feel like I'm abandoning part of my past. Hyphenation would be long, messy, and awkward. Keeping mine alone doesn't quite feel right either because I want to reinforce the idea that we are a new family. We both want to keep our own to keep a sense of history intact, but we want to do something that also emphasizes that we are our own, brand new family. So we're contemplating the idea of choosing an entirely new name while we each would keep our current last names as middle names. But like you said, how the heck does one go about picking a new one? We're not sure, haha.

  12. I have a friend called Libby Loveridge. She is truly named as a superhero if ever there was a real-life superhero (her birthday is even on February 14th!). Just so that, if you did decide to go the one-surname route, know that Anna Annason would in fact be a proper real-person name that you might grow to love :) x

  13. Not sure if you popped over to my recent post about our plan? I forget.

    Anyway, I have an established career, diplomas, publications, awards, etc., and I changed my name back to my maiden name after my divorce, so I am reluctant to change it again for purposes of work, but what I found when I started working and tried to use my maiden name is that I couldn't. My employer needed my official Name on My Driver's License, Social Security and Passport name for all of their tax forms, medical policies, etc., and no matter how I protested, that was the name that got put onto my door key, name plate, telephone directory, business cards, stationery, etc. Harumph.

    So anyway, I really want to be a part of Tony's family and him to be a part of mine, but we each didn't want to give up our identities in the doing of this. So, we're each taking each other's last name as a second middle name.

    I will be Sarah MyMiddle HisLast MyLast, and he will be Tony HisMiddle MyLast HisLast. That way, we don't have to change anything for our professional names, but we have each other tucked neatly inside. :D

  14. You could consider keeping your maiden name in your "career" (it would be kinda like a stage name...and since you are already established under that name it would be less confusing) but you could "officially" take your husbands last name. Kind of like the best of both worlds, no? That's what I did :) xo Cat

  15. It's not disrespectful or emasculating to ask him to add your last if you are adding his. This is what the Beagle and I are doing. Although my last will become his middle. I have not decided if my last will become a second middle for me or if I will just have two last names (no hyphen for me).

    I do not know how the name change system works over yonder, but in the United States, what we want to do requires you to go to court. It's not the quick last name change women get for free when they get married with proof of marriage license.

  16. i realize this is a name change post but:

    a- i was super excited the photos are back
    b- you're a doctor?! hooray for super smarty pants Anna! I am so impressed!*

    as for name changing, i like the idea of bean taking your name too. bean bigpolishlastname has a nice ring to it

    * for reals! i got nervous after reading it it might look sarcastic but it definitely isn't!

  17. I'm getting married this March. I've got a unique last name that I love and have never wanted to change. Let's make this short story long: my biological father and my mother had some disagreements before I was born, while my mother was pregnant. When I was born she officially named me Jessica Linck. I guess a few months later she had pretty much told him to stay out of the picture, so she changed my last name to her maiden name. So even though I was a baby, my name's already been changed once. My last name, which like I said is my mother's maiden name, is extremely important to me because I grew up living with my grandparents and aunts and uncles, all with my last name. I loved my granddad more than anything, and our family name isn't being carried on by his children/grandchildren, as one of his sons is a priest and his second son is not having children(or at least hasn't yet) and of course his daughters changed their names when they were married, including my mother who changed hers when she married my Dad (stepdad really but he raised me, he's my dad.) My last name is the only thing that keeps me a part of my family, I've felt like that's the only way I belonged to them for my whole life. I want my children to share my name as well--that's a battle for a few years though.

    So anyhow. In my dreams my fiance would just take my freaking name already, his isn't unique, it has two capital letters and an apostrophe, and it's quite common, easily misspelled. He's not going to do that, and I'm not changing mine either.

    I'm glad I found your blog today, this was the first post I read and it really resonates with me, and I say you should do exactly as you feel best suits you, and if your fiance wants to do both last names, at lease he's playing fair!

  18. i remember this destiny's child video! all the colors and sets! i think this whent hey transitioned from the original four members to the newer ones. oh hollywood drama. loves it!

    not to throw a wrench into the whole thing, but my friend and his wife took his mom's maiden name. i think it's a really nice way to honor his mom's family as well as feel like a family unit. there are so many ways we can honor our baby families, our in-laws, and each other. it's beautiful the choices we have, isn't it?

  19. Changing of the name is a huge decision that ultimately comes down to the couple and what they can both agree on. There are many different options. I chose to take my husband's name as I don't have any attachment to my own. My mom on the other hand added her husband's name to the end of hers so that it is first, middle, her last, his last. I have had friends that kept their name and when they named their children they included both last names in the child's name. I wish you luck in your decision. I think the most important thing for this is communication with your future husband and both of you agreeing with the decision.

  20. This has been on my mind too. It really is a personal choice. I don't like the idea of ditching the name that had been mine for 31 years, but it is not straight forward. I thought of just keeping my name as I am not keen on the idea of a double barrelled surname. Having said that I think what I will end up doing is just adding my other half's name to mine, I will technically be Mrs Newname but will still be Sarah Oldname. Oh this is taxing!

  21. I ultimately double barred, but it was a tough, tough choice. Admittedly, it's nice to see a British woman struggle with this-because most of what I received from my in-laws were sentiments to effect of "she's so american, why is she rocking the boat, and trying to re-invent the wheel". Uhg. So I'm glad to know those reactions weren't quite as distinctly British as I was lead to believe!

  22. I think Anna Annason sounds very nice. Very distinguished.

    That said, I prefer M's surname to my maiden name and it's easier to say. We also moved to Somerset and it was a good opportunity to have a new name as no-one here knows me as anything else.

    (I used to work for the GMC btw; were we really that awful?!)

  23. Well, you know how I feel about this issue. I was trying to have a serious convo with A.P. about this, but it went nowhere. So while I don't regret my decision, there are some things about my decision that bum me out (like my kids having a different last name). But, I figure that every decision has its slight downside, right?

  24. We made a deal. The reason is going to sound so stupid but I'll be changing my name when my passport expire. I've always wanted to travel and have my passport filled with stamps - a childhood dream so yea... Shallow eh?? Though, I don't really see why I have to adopt his name legally. I'm quite happy for people to address us, Mr and Mrs HisSurname but does it matter that our legal documents are in our own names?? *shrug* I have 9 years to come to terms with it. Hehe...


So, I really love all the sweet and/or informative comments that you lovelies leave. Yet if you feel the need to be unnecessarily rude or offensive I will delete your comment and not feel bad about it. So just be constructive alright! Hugs to all you wondrous others.


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