How to choose which last name

If your partner and you are having a baby, but are not together, how would you choose the last name?
I am a feminist, and I am struggling with what to do in this circumstance.

[name_f]Do[/name_f] you follow tradition and use the father’s last name, use both last names, or use the mother’s last name?

The described situation assumes both parents are actively involved in parenting.

I would use both last names!

Most people that I know of in this situation use both last names, which I would suggest as well.

I would use both names. Maybe flip a coin for which name comes first/second.

If I end up having children when married, I intend to keep my name, but I really don’t care too much regarding which last name the children get, what’s important (for me) is that all the kids have the same last name. I would be bothered if my SO expected the child to have his last name, but ultimately, it doesn’t really matter that much, to ME, anyway.

And as a feminist, it’s not my obligation to make a stink about things just because they’re deemed patriarchal by some feminists. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you want to give your kid your name because you want to? Or do you want to because you think that’s what a ‘good’ feminist would do? Because a good feminist would support a woman in any decision.

I gave my daughter her father’s last name because we were engaged at the time. I think it depends whether you think the two of you will be staying together. It really depends on your situation. I wanted the three of us to all have the same last name. And I like my husband’s last name more than my really common maiden name ([name_m]Brown[/name_m]).

Of the people that I know who are/have been in this situation, it’s pretty evenly split on what the parents decide to do (give the baby mom’s surname or give the baby dad’s surname). My sister gave her daughter her last name…then again, it was known that my niece’s biological father was not going to be in the picture. I think that, which ever name you were to choose, sticking with one or the other would be best, [name_f]IMO[/name_f]. Dealing with hyphenated surnames or two surnames can suck, especially if it involves long surnames. Honestly, I do have to say that the baby’s father’s wishes should be explored and honored, as well as yours. If he doesn’t care, then go ahead and make whatever decision you like. If he does care, an agreement needs to be reached to where you both are satisfied. I don’t personally identify as a feminist, and I don’t think that should give you too much of a hold up when it comes to your child’s last name. You aren’t a “bad” feminist if you include the father’s last name and you aren’t a “good” feminist because you don’t. I like that you are putting a lot of thought into this, because it isn’t a simple situation, but please don’t feel trapped into making a certain choice. I wish you all the best and good luck :slight_smile:

When my son was born we hyphenated his last name. We were only 19 when having him and I was very clear with his father that my ln would be there whether his was or not. We decided the order of the names simply by going with what flowed best with the fn chosen.

We haven’t seen my ex in almost five years, and [name_m]Kaleb[/name_m] now goes exclusively by my last name, though I haven’t had it legally changed yet. He didn’t want to be known by his fathers ln anymore…we chose a second middle name for him together, so that he could honor his great-grandfather (truly the man in his life), and [name_m]Kaleb[/name_m] now loves his full name and is proud of the part he played in it.

While I know my family is the exception to the norm with how things worked out for us, I am a huge supporter of hyphenating. Both of you feel equally included and the child is comfortable with both names if something drastic does happen.

Good luck!

I personally chose to take my husband’s name in marriage (which surprised me) because I want my future children and me to have the same name. Our LNs don’t hyphenate well because of the length of his LN.

I have a friend who goes by her name and her partner goes by his. Their children go by both without a hyphen. So their names are (made up example) [name_f]Katie[/name_f] and [name_m]Kevin[/name_m] [name_m]Smith[/name_m] [name_m]Jones[/name_m]. It works for them.

There are a lot of ways to make things work and whatever works for your family is best. Good for you for taking the time to consider it. Good luck!

I would definitely use your name or use both names.

I’m going to give an opinion that probably won’t be very popular, but here goes.

I would only choose one name. Whichever one sounds best. If it’s his… you can always say you wanted his name on there. If it’s yours… you can always say you wanted it to be easier when registering for school and whatnot. People agonize so much over middle names, but here you have a CHOICE of surnames. [name_m]How[/name_m] lucky can you get? I think the surname is the most important componet of any name and you actually get to CHOOSE.

In the event that you like both names equally, another consideration is who has the largest family in the vicinity. I think there is a slight benefit to sharing a surname with extended family members.

I wouldn’t allow feminism to make this decision for me. Women won’t gain any more rights because you choose the father’s name. Let us know! :slight_smile:

I’m a fairly radical feminist, and I gave my daughter her father’s LN for a few reasons (we are not married so it was presumed she’d have mine):

His is far easier to spell and pronounce.
He has a large family who shares his last name, only my brother shares mine and he plans on taking his future wife’s or switching to our mom’s maiden name.
I have little to no connection to my LN, and will change it if I ever get married based on the fact I have no other family with mine.
My daughter is biracial, and I figured her dad would have a harder time traveling with her or picking her up from school, etc. If they didn’t share a LN, especially if my daughter “looked white”.

I think if I had a strong connection to my LN, felt inclined to keep it forever, etc, I probably would have hyphenated, or more likely put one in the middle/second middle spot. Tbh, I don’t think giving a kid their mother’s last name is making any kind of great stand in feminism.

I mean it depends on how you feel about the last names…

My dad has a very common last name (where we live) and when he and my mom got married my mom decided to keep her more unusual last name. My mother is a feminist (as am I), but I got my dad’s last name based on the fact that they thought it sounded better with the first name they picked out.

There’s really no real answer to this question, just do whatever feels the most right. You’re not a bad feminist for not passing on your last name, remember, feminism is about letting women make choices :slight_smile:

I also consider myself a feminist, but I think it’s about having the choice, not necessarily about going against tradition. If you choose to give your baby their father’s name, that is fine, because it was an informed choice - you’re not being a bad feminist.
If you really can’t decide, why not flip a coin and leave it to fate? That’s what I did when I got married, because I couldn’t choose between taking his name and keeping mine, and it made it a lot easier.

I really like my surname so I will use mine regardless (I don’t want to get married either), but I would use both names if they sound fine together. My surname also doesn’t work well with other surnames because it’s an actual everyday word.

I would use both names in this situation. Like someone said, toss a coin to see which goes first or have them so that it flows the best.