What’s in a name…?

I have been married for two weeks now! 16 whole days.

So far it has been great I am very much in love with my sweet husband despite the ups and downs and practicalities of real life. Since I have been back to work many people have been asking me what is my new name. However I have had to break the news to them that I am still  Dr and not a Mrs!

It is something that just is, for two main reasons.

Firstly my husband is Spanish and in Spain men and women do not change their names when they get married. In Spain people have two surnames – one from the father (paternal grandfather) and one from the mother (maternal grandfather). So it would not culturally be expected for me to change my surname. If for some reason that I decided to stray from the beaten track – I am not even sure how I could take my husband’s name. Would I take both surnames or just one? And if we had children what would we call them? I would have subverted the Spanish tradition! The Nigerian tradition is of course to take your husbands name. My younger sister has done this and it is in my opinion quite frankly very lovely. I love the fact that she is part of that family and that she is a ‘Mrs….’. I love the fact that my siblings and I refer to her and her husband as the ‘xxxx’s’. It’s sweet and reminds us that she has moved onto another stage in her life. This of course does not mean that I have not experienced and feel the same thing – it’s just different.

Secondly – I am a doctor and over the years – before I there was even a man in sight – I had always thought that if I married I would still keep my professional name and remain being known as Dr….. It is is because this is the name that I started my professional life with – the name that my  family, friends and colleagues know. All of my female friends  and many of my female colleagues who are doctors are married have also kept their names. In fact one of my friends who recently got married, had commented that she saw no reason to change her name and title but would be happy if her husband took her name.

Below is a conservation that I had with my now mother-in-law, then she was the mother of my boyfriend, about names and marriage. I had written a post on my other blog about my sister changing her name. At that time my mother and I were still fresh with grief about the recent passing of my father.

Perhaps that is for me another influence. My father is no longer here and I all have remaining are my memories and his name, which I can now pass on to my children, if I have any. Yes, it is curious and complex…

And yes – I was and still am seduced by the idea of being a Mrs – of belonging and being part of a team, being part of a ‘club’. But I fear that is all romantic, old-fashioned and outdated nonsense. I did briefly wonder if I could be a Mrs and keep my surname, therefore not having to go through the hassle of legal changing my name but it seems that is not possible or logical. It would be as if I had married myself!

And what does my husband think? He thinks I should keep my name. He says it is unique and he likes it. I guess that just about sums it up then!

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