Tuesday, June 5, 2007

by any other name . . .

My bloggie friend Alfredsmom recently asked me how Mr. Hubby feels about my plans to give our baby my maiden name.

First, I'll offer an explanation as to why I chose to keep my maiden name.

1) My father immigrated here from England as a young man, leaving his birth family behind. His older brother has two sons and three daughters, so the family name (ahem, one VERY common to England) is continuing on that side of the pond with no problem. I foresee my (handsome) male cousins' (handsome) male offspring having _no_ problem starting their own families.
Meanwhile, my father has two daughters, and my sister chose to take her husband's name when they got married. If I took on my husband's name, the "stateside" lineage of my father's family would lost, name-wise. And that would be a bummer.

2) Ever since I was introduced to the concept in my first anthropology textbook, I've been enthralled with the concept of matrilineal descent. It makes more sense: in this topsy-turvey world, when a child is born, one can always be certain of the mother's identity but not the father's. From a less clinical standpoint, it honors women's unique role in society, and I'm all about keeping women from under the collective male thumb.

3) I wasn't comfortable with changing my name in response to marriage. I really like my name, I find it melodic, and am comforted by the history attached to it. My official legal and spiritual union with Mr. Hubby changed many things about my life, but I really feel that as a woman, sharing the rest of your natural life with someone does not require that you change your name. Genetically, he "belongs" to his family, and I to mine.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

On to tackling "what last name does the baby get"

I can't offer as organized a solution, I've come to my conclusion through my own bizarre logic and by carefully sorting my emotions. THANKFULLY, Mr. Hubby is completely comfortable with his progeny having my last name, and is honoring my wishes. Our offspring are no less "his" by having "my" name, and I'm the person putting myself in physical peril in order to bring our offspring into the world. (So nyeeeeeh)

(Besides, anyone who has ever met Mr. Hubby will likely recognize his (even newborn) child in an instant; between the two of us, we're in for an atypically cute kid with a big forehead, big eyes, a pointy nose, a goofy grin and probable lack of shyness.)

PROBLEM: If I were really diligent about swaying western tradition towards a matriarchy, (or at least help the concept seem more common) I would do a metric ton of research and sort though all documents possible to trace back to my earliest female ancestor possible. Except that most of those gals have their father's last names, and then you fall into the "are you really my daddy" quagmire all over again. What if my search takes a wrong turn because great grandma somebody had a thing for hunters?

POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Legally change my last name to "Eve".

I don't feel _that_ radical about it. I figure I'll see if I can start something with this generation and let my son or daughter come to their own conclusion. Perhaps I'll just piss off genealogists, perhaps I'm contributing to honoring women in our society. Who knows.

I've played a HUGE part in naming all of our collective pets, and struck gold every single time. I'm very pleased to introduce you to my girls, Suki and Lydia.
(Please excuse my crappy camera)

Suki is "guarding" her kitty-sister from thunder. Lydia is terrified enough of storms to put up with being subservient to the dog - later that evening chaos resumed.


nikki said...

I only changed my maiden name because it was 12 letters long and I got tired of people botching it up. Good for you for keeping your maiden name.

AM said...

Well, its not something I would do myself, but I like your answers. Very well thought out. And I can certainly see where you are coming from.

And, LOVE seeing your pet pictures! Now show us a belly pic. :)