I am about 5 months along and, although we've talked about last names before we got pregnant and have talked about first names during the pregnancy, my partner and I have never talked about what last name we're going to give this child. I'm a bit anxious to bring it up without knowing for sure what I want, because I feel like it could be a powderkeg.
So, I am looking for advice from people who have been there or thought hard about how to surname their kids when both partners intend to keep different last names.
I would love to hear from any folks who have tried the options below, why they worked or didn't work or how you came to a decision, and how it has worked out in practice (school, doctor, family reaction, etc.) to go with an unconventional choice.
1. Combining our last names into something unique that has elements of each, or picking a new last name just for our family. I love this idea because part of what I want in a last name is a sort of clan identity, something where you can say "the Xs," and have it mean our family. However it would mean breaking to some degree with the traditions of both our family names. I think I could be happy with this if my partner could, but my partner is southern and cares about his family name.
2. Alternately surnaming successive kids with just one of our last names. This seemed like such a smart idea in the abstract, but now I see the obvious flaw-- we may not have more than one kid! Also, would each child feel like s/he was more the child of the parent whose last name s/he shared?
3. One partner taking the other partner's surname as our family name. It has the appeal of creating a family name, but not the parity that I would like to have between partners. Partner has previously expressed a lack of desire to take my last name, so it would really just be me taking his. I'm not sure I can bring myself to it, and I would probably always resent it.
4. Combining both our full last names. Good god, a five syllable last name, what an ugly compromise. I'm not sure I can do that to my child, plus it offends my sense of inheritable design because it is obviously not something my child can repeat for her own family; at some point those names will become godawful long.
5. Giving any & all our children just one partner's last name, the same for all the kids. This option makes me sad/anxious. I would hate to be the partner who didn't share a name with the children, but I would equally dislike for my partner to be "outside" the family name.
6. Making up a new last name for our child, different from both of our names, that she would share with any siblings that came along. I haven't thought about this one as much, and would be very curious to hear from people who have tried it.
Edited by nmouse - 7/1/11 at 11:11pm