Choosing a last name for a baby is not as easy as most would think. Although most parents used to give their child his or her father's surname, that is not the case anymore and many are not happy about it.
A recent Stuff article caused outraged when it questioned the tradition of giving a baby the father's last name. As times change and many women choose to keep their last names, or at the very least hyphenate, the tide is also changing surrounding a baby's surname.
In the Mosuo culture of Tibet, babies have their mother's last name. Many Spanish-speaking countries choose to use both parents surnames. However, the majority of the world still automatically gives the father's last name to a child.
But recently, more and more couples have opened the dialogue to decide what last name their little one should have.
I also have a friend who, like me, kept her maiden name. Her oldest child has the dad's last name; her youngest has her last name. She didn't want her last name to die with her (which, as I get older and see happening to my name, I can appreciate!)— Allyson (@ReachTeachDream) June 27, 2018
The Stuff article referenced women who regretted giving their babies their father's last name, as well as those who were just fine with it. For many of the women, the desire to keep their family name alive was important but did not always win out. In the end, the majority of the women admitted that their own surname became their baby's middle name, but this did not have the same effect as making that name the child's legal surname.
What was interesting were the many reasons for choosing to stick with the father's surname. In some cases, it was the father being insistent on carrying on his family name. In others, the mother's last name was too hard to pronounce, or the father's name was more unique. But the most common reason for choosing the father's surname was that mothers did not want people to assume that their child's father was not actually the father, because the child did not share his last name.
A few of the women in the article did end up giving their children their surname. They were lucky to have partners who agreed. It is unconventional, but change is in the air, and what used to be "unconventional" is becoming the norm. One woman and her husband actually created new last names for their kids, combining both of their surnames.
Single mothers, how did you decide on whose last name you gave your child?— Take Control Podcast (@TakeControlPod) June 27, 2018
There is no longer the assumption a child will have his or her father's name. It may still be the most common, but conversations are now being had between couples. Plus, many single moms choose to give their child their last name because the father is not in the picture. It is not black and white anymore, and that is perfectly okay!