On August 20, 2015 I married the love of my life and my college sweetheart. Of course we were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Hall at the ceremony, but technically I wasn’t Mrs. Hall until I completed the necessary paperwork with the Social Security Office. And in all transparency this took me some months to get done, 9 months exactly (Don’t judge me).
As ecstatic as I was to join him on this new journey, I secretly dealt with an inner conflict. I knew how important it was to him for me to proudly take his last name. And trust me I get it. It’s a sense of pride for a man’s new wife to take on his last name as they begin the new journey as husband and wife. But I was struggling within myself to let my maiden name go.
I am the youngest of three girls, which means that with all of us becoming wives to amazing men, our family last name ends with us. I absolutely love my maiden name. Its unique and has always been so special to me. People loved my last name and I loved how it left my ethnic/cultural background ambiguous and unknown to many (I’m not a fan of people trying to figure me out by prejudging me). I think my last name meant more to me because I knew that it ended with my sisters and I because my parents never had a biological son to carry on the last name. I secretly wondered if not having boys to keep our last name alive meant anything to my dad, but he often said no as he was proud to have fathered three amazing ladies.
I recently realized, within the last year, how much it bothered me. I’ve had this conversation with one of my sisters a few times to pick her brain and see if she shared my sentiment. To no surprise, because we all often had three very opposing views, my sisters didn’t seem bothered by not keeping their maiden name. My oldest sister embraced her married name with pride, and my other sister always shared that she will hyphenate her last name to infuse her maiden and married name together. I must admit that I considered the latter option that my sister presented but I knew that wouldn’t work for my husband and I, especially once we decided to plan to have our children.
Besides the fact that I have no biological brothers to keep my maiden last name alive, I believe I worked so hard to build myself professionally under my maiden name. Was I ready to change it that easily, and did that mean I was leaving my accomplishments and a bit of my identity behind? I completed two degrees with my maiden name and I believe I did great work launching my professional career as Deborah Jasanya. Was I ready to give up that last name that was so familiar, secure and comforting to now carry his?
I know that keeping my maiden name, and my husband and I having 2 different last names was going to be problematic. I also knew that hyphenating my maiden name and his last name was simply not an option. It didn’t feel right for me. I played out a realistic scenario in my head. One day I will go to pick up our children from day care, and once I am signing them out or even completing important documentation, I will see the difference between my last name and the last name of my children jumping right out at me. It didn’t seem like the best decision for our family, not to mention how annoyed I would be to feel excluded from my husband and the children with my different last name
It’s important for me to note that there are so many different ways to go about this. And not each option is the right choice for everyone, but it is imperative, I think, for an individual to evaluate the choices in front of them and make the best decision for themselves.
I toiled back and forth with this and evaluated all possible options and outcomes. I guess it took so long for me to finally change my last name because I simply wasn’t sure of what was best for me. Glad I finally figured it out before we hit our 1 year anniversary.
I love the fact that this decision to change your last name, or to not change it at all, has no limits or constrictions. Imagine the added pressure that will bring to a new wife. This was enough pressure for me but I came to making the decision, finally, and I am proud of it. Part of improving ourselves is being comfortable with the decisions we make, and not ever regretting them. But if you regret the decisions you make, remain sure in the fact that it was your decision to regret and not the decision of anybody else.
Glad I finally did it. Glad to reveal this level of transparency. You can now (legally) call me Mrs. Hall.