Earlier this year, soon after Babyman’s birth & before handing in his birth registration forms, we changed our surnames so we all had the same surname. Wilde is a chosen name, not the surname either Liam or I were given by our parents at birth.
We talked about it a lot before we did it. Initially I suggested I take on his birth surname, without getting married. I decided against this because I felt less affinity with the name of his family of origin than I did with my own & I didn’t like the idea of “settling” for a name.
We had been talking about changing my name only vs choosing a family name for at least a year before we decided to choose something new (to us) & not connected in any way to either of our families of origin.
We discussed a lot of issues, including:
What will other people think?
Buuut, we can’t spend our lives worrying about what others think & ignoring the desire to do what makes us feel fulfilled. Right?
We can’t just choose to change the girlchild’s birth name, it’s not our right.
Yes, I actually thought this. Silly! Silly because we gave her birth name to her, we chose it in the first place. This was the biggest road block for me, Liam was into it, I was really getting stuck on changing a name she’d carried for 2.5yrs even though it wasn’t a name we’d chosen for her.
The idea that we deviate from what is the dominant culture surrounding family names in a patriarchy. By choosing a family name for ourselves we avoid the sense of man owning, & therefore naming, woman. (I understand this is not the way everyone sees it, yet it was something that came up for us)
It’s not like our children won’t be able to track their ancestral heritage if they choose too. They’ll know their father’s “maiden name” (hehehe) & mine also, so they can just go looking it up using that information if they want to, same way I’d have to filter through many name changes if I were to trace my maternal lineage.
Funnily enough, the reason it took about a year from first floating the idea to actually following through with the act of renaming ourselves is because I was the one blocking it. It was my (half serious) suggestion originally, after discussing it for a whileLiam accepted it completely & wanted to do it immediately. I didn’t expect that, I expected resistance & I think I freaked out a bit when I didn’t meet it.
So we toyed with some names, we chose the one we liked the most went to the registry of births, deaths & marriages to hand in Babyman’s birth certificate registration complete with our new family name & a form for me, Liam & The Bubble.
As yet, we haven’t had a ritual to mark it for ourselves. It’s been a while now & we may not have a ritual at all. We don’t know how to go about it, what we want to include, whether we want to celebrate it ourselves or whether we want to make it a community celebration.
At the end of the day, ritual or not, we chose our family name & that in itself is a powerful enough ritual & acknowledgement of our committment to our family.
We chose the name Wilde because it felt like freedom. Names can carry a lot of power.