I never updated everyone on the resolution of The Last Name Debate. And just today, it came up when I brought baby with me to CrossFit Rittenhouse. The coach was asking me for my last name to send an email. A fellow CrossFitter overheard and said “Wow, what a last name. What was your maiden name?” I replied that we aren’t married, that’s my last name. Somehow we got into baby having dad’s last name because it’s easier. As we were walking out she inquired as to why we weren’t married (don’t worry, she politely prefaced it with don’t feel the need to answer if the question is too personal). I thought to myself, “Good question,” but instead mumbled something about baby’s dad being divorced with a daughter, we were thinking of it but when we found out baby was on her way, didn’t want to do everything at once…blah blah blah. One of many similar situations I had conjured up in my mind when we were discussing what baby’s last name should be.
So yes, baby took his last name. I know, it came as a surprise to even the people closest to me. I was adamant about baby sharing my last name. The thought of having to explain myself at the doctor’s office or when picking her up from school…it was difficult to swallow. But a hyphen wouldn’t work because my last name is ridiculously long. He wasn’t okay with only my last name and honestly, it’s a tongue-twister so aesthetically I like his better anyway. But what it really came down to was our discussion the morning we had her.
“It’s our family name,” he said.
“But it’s not my last name,” I said.
“Someday it will be.”
For me ‘someday’ couldn’t mean five to ten years from now. It needed to be someday soon. And sure enough, we were on the same page.
It still stung a little bit when filling out her health insurance information on the line that said “if last name does not match mother’s, please explain.” As if one line was enough. Sending out her birth announcements, I hesitated putting her last name for fear of having to explain not just on a form but to my family and friends. Ultimately, I am proud she shares his last name. Someday I will be proud to call it my last name, too.
But hopefully there will be another update on this one.
Note for other unmarried parents: Any child born to a married couple is legally presumed to be the child of the husband, so for unmarried couples, naming both unmarried parents on the birth certificate ensures that they are both the legal parents. You will also fill out an Acknowledgement of Paternity form in your hospital discharge paperwork.