Hello, my name is ? … To keep or not to keep your maiden name

Recently, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page that she finally changed her name on her social security card after 11 years of marriage.  She questioned why she felt like she lost part of her identity.  I giggled to myself as I read her post!  Well, obviously, I get it!

What is it about a woman changing her name after marriage?  Every woman I have spoken to about this has a different take.  Some are eager to change their name!  It’s practically done before the wedding.  Some do it out of complete obligation.  Yet, they don’t mind one bit.  Some procrastinate.  Some hyphenate.  (that’s my group!)  And some flat out refuse!

Maiden Names - To Keep or Not to Keep QueMeansWhat.com

Recently, a woman saw my name on a name tag I was wearing and said “oh, you must have a great relationship with your dad”. It made me wonder how many people believed that would be a reason to keep your maiden name.  I love my dad but that had nothing to do with why I hyphenated my last name.

It didn’t take me 11 years to change my social security card.  It was about one year.  I wanted to be sure that my first-born and I would have the same name on his birth certificate so after going in to “false” labor, I changed my name.

I do remember sitting in the lobby of the social security office and debating on what exactly I would change my name to … up until the last minute!  Did I want to drop my last name and completely take on his? Or did I want to hyphenate?  I couldn’t decide!  To make it worse, the woman at the desk suggested I drop my middle name and replace it with my maiden name and add his name as my last name.  What?!  Are you crazy?!  Excuse me if I never use my middle name but I couldn’t just drop it!  It’s a part of me.

But would my husband is a part of me too … the issue at question was my name as an identity. What do I keep and what do I drop?

So I decided – to hyphentate.  I knew Mendez-Gonzales was going to be a mouthful.  Deep in my heart, I knew I was and I am both names.

Really, it’s me married to him.  It represents my marriage, my family, my childhood, my present and my future.

Does it matter to you if you keep or change your name for marriage? 

Melanie Mendez-Gonzales

Original content creator for ¿Qué Means What? Texas Latina mom blogger celebrating culture in education, entertainment and family life.

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