Although I consider myself rather liberal and progressive on many counts, taking my husband's name seemed like the thing I should do. I was so thrilled to see my new name on my business cards at work.
So, why did I feel like I was betraying the progress of women in the U.S. as I signed my name away at the Social Security Office? Why did I actually, for real, cry a few tears in the SS office's parking lot that spring day. Why did I feel a little resentment as I typed up those "Due to my recent marriage, please change the name on this account" letters?
I remember Googling for the topic, trying to find other women juggling the same dilemma: to hypenate or not to hyphenate, to make my maiden name my middle name or not, to go by my new name at work or not, etc.
While there were no forums talking about the difficult decision, I did find several name-change service sites. Now, some of these I think are kind of silly. The process of writing letters and calling banks and such is, definitely, annoying, but I didn't need to pay a service to tell me to send a letter. If you do, go for it. The one that was most helpful for me was newlastname.org.
I think the name-change thing is an example of how it can be a little confusing to be entering womanhood these days. I've really debated with my brain on being a woman and what that means. I won't blame the "media" or "society" for this confusion and I won't whine that the plethora of choices feel like a burden. Women before us worked hard to make these choices available.
Name changing has been happening for ages. It's the nature of a family tree. It's a symbolic change that makes it hard to be isolated from your spouse and makes life easier for your kids. But I think women should talk more about how this change makes us feel and how we coped with it. And maybe instead of presenting 25 versions of colored fondant-covered cakes, wedding magazines and blogs should be more candid about this complicated decision, too?
What do you think?