What's in a (sur)name?

"Since having two children my feelings have changed" ... Kiran Chug
"Since having two children my feelings have changed" ... Kiran Chug 

Before I met the man who later became my husband, I had strong views about surnames. I was determined not to change my name after marriage. It was something I had decided from a young age, and even after I was married I had no intention of changing my mind.

I didn't want my title to denote that I was somebody else's possession. I didn't want to be Mr's wife. The possessive apostrophe in Mrs might have been dropped years ago, but I still saw it there every time I thought of myself with that title.

And so, just over three years ago, we got married. I didn't change my name.

We had a conversation about it, but my husband has always known my feelings. He wanted me to adopt his surname, and his feelings were as strong as mine. He believed the act of changing names was just as symbolic as the act of marriage. It showed commitment and unity.

We agreed to disagree.

Since having two children, however, my feelings have changed.

Milin is not yet two and a half, but there have already been many occasions when I wished we had the same name. Signing him up for nursery, for football, at the doctors - all of these instances have made me feel somehow removed from him. I have often muttered to strangers that he has his dad's name when asked what my surname is. And it's always made me feel somehow less valuable in his life. I've hated doing it, but I've also often felt the need to justify myself or why our names are different.

We never considered giving the children my name. Perhaps we always knew I would give in finally. And I think that's what is going to happen.

I'm a little bit angry because I really do feel like I am giving in. I am letting go of my beliefs in a way, and succumbing to a tradition I have always felt undermines women. And I'm not just angry with the system, with tradition, with history - I'm angry with myself.

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Yet I don't feel I'm strong enough to do anything else.

The children already have Tony's name. It makes sense that I change mine to be the same.

I'm sad about what I'll be saying goodbye to. I am Kiran Chug. I know changing my name won't change who I am, but it will signify an ending.

My new name will, also, signify a new beginning. It will label me as one of four, and as a member of our little family. That's the side of all of this I need to focus on.

I'm still coming to terms with my decision, and I'm yet to embark on all the paperwork that will come with it. But one day soon, I'm going to finally change my name.

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