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There Will Be More Than Just A Dead Name At This Rate

, , , , , , | Related | December 17, 2019

(My husband and I have the same, gender-neutral, first name; however, mine is spelled in a more feminine way. His family is EXTREMELY traditional Southern while my husband and I are more progressive. We decided early on that we would not take each other’s last names as it would be too confusing, and if we have any children, their last name will be hyphenated. This story occurs while I am six months pregnant with our first child, visiting his extended family in Mississippi. His aunt is asking us about names for the baby and we tell her a few of our ideas.)

Aunt: “Hmm… [First Name] [Husband’s Last Name] sounds really good! I like that a lot!”

Husband: “Actually, it would be [My Last Name]-[His Last Name].”

Aunt: “Well, why would it be like that? That seems silly to have her dead name on the baby!”

Me: “Um, my dead name? You realize I didn’t change my last name, right? Also, I’m putting in over half of the work on this kid; there is no reason why he shouldn’t have my last name. And it is extremely rude to call my maiden name my ‘dead name.’”

Mother-In-Law: “YOU DIDN’T CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME?! DO YOU NOT LOVE YOUR HUSBAND? When we get back, I’ll find the paperwork to get your name changed.”

Me: “No, I didn’t, and yes, I clearly love him. However, logistically, it did not make sense for me to change my name. And no, you don’t need to do that, because I am not changing my name.”

Aunt: “Regardless of your ‘feelings,’ it is disrespectful to his family if you choose to completely disregard our name! It is the one thing we have keeping us together!”

Me: “If your name is the ‘only thing you have keeping you together,’ that is your problem, not mine. Besides, this is our decision, and it does not mean that we love each other any less.”

Aunt: “Well, fine. But I’ll have you know that kids with hyphenated last names grow up to be drug dealers and in jail! You should be arrested for child abuse for putting your child at risk like that!”

Husband: “Aaaand now we are leaving. Until you can get past whatever this is, you will not be seeing our child.”

(Three years later, the aunt has still never met our child and still refuses to speak to me or my husband. She sends my mother-in-law links on how to change a baby’s name about once a month.)

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