This Pregnant Woman Wants To Give Her Last Name To The Baby, But Her Boyfriend Disagrees — And I Want To Know What You Think

    "To heck with tradition!"

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    Whenever I'm feeling especially spicy and in the mood to argue, I like to treat myself to a scroll through the internet's primary moral arbiter, the "Am I The Asshole?" subreddit. During my journey through this week's tales of woe, I found a particular debate surrounding an outdated tradition that immediately sent me into a tizzy...but I'm curious to know where everyone else falls in this argument.

    Our story begins with Reddit user u/bugsbunny208, who posted, "I am giving my daughter my last name instead of my boyfriend's."

    Silhouettes of a man and pregnant woman standing apart, looking upset, in a room with closed curtains behind them

    "We've only been together for six months, and this was in no way planned — but it happened. We aren’t married and I haven’t been with him long enough to know if it could land in marriage. He and his family are pressuring me and making me second guess myself. It’s a pride and tradition thing, but none of this is traditional."

    "Also, I’m not a traditional person and I don’t agree that a women should change her name when getting married if she doesn’t want to, but my boyfriend does. I respect his views, but they aren’t mine."

    Two fingers with faces drawn on them, one with a bow tie and the other with a veil, portraying a bride and groom with unhappy expressions

    Many chimed in to (enthusiastically) support the mother's choice in giving the baby her last name:

    "Give your baby your last name. You’re nowhere near married, and you’re the one taking the physical and emotional toll (and risk) to make this baby. If anything happens, he could very well just walk away and leave you as a single mom. If that happens, then it will be easier to manage childcare and travel if you have the same last name."


    "I am so tired of this male bullshit.  The dad has an orgasm. The mom spends a hard nine months making a child. The child is born. The mom does most of the work caring for them...but the dad gets to put his name on the child? Nope. Stand your ground."


    Some people spoke up in passionate support of the father:

    "If you still expect him to step up and be an equal parent to the child emotionally, financially, etc. — then yes, you do owe him some level of authority and decision making. You’re in a relationship with this man. He wasn’t a little one night stand who fled after he found out you were pregnant. You’re being selfish."


    "You are essentially telling the father that the baby isn’t really his, and you are telling your unborn child that she should consider her father less her parent than you are. You are committing a huge betrayal against your daughter."


    Others had a Hannah Montana approach to the situation by suggesting compromises that could be the best of both worlds:

    "You could hyphenate the names so then you're both recognized as her parents."


    "It’s perfectly reasonable to give YOUR baby YOUR last name. If you end up getting married or otherwise staying together as a family, then you can change the baby’s last name if you want to."


    There were some interesting viewpoints from people who had personal experience in a similar situation:

    "I'm a product of unwed parents that split up not long after I was born. I really wish I had gotten my mom’s last name, or even a hyphenated name."


    "My biggest regret is not giving my baby my last name and we were engaged at the time of birth. He’s now a long distance dad that contributes almost nothing and saw her once in an entire year. I have sole custody of her and she doesn’t even share my last name. I'm gutted that I was conned into traditionalism by the patriarchy."


    "To heck with tradition! I wish I would have given my kid my last name instead of their dad’s considering how everything has turned out over the years."


    I also have personal experience with this that I'd like to share. My mom had two daughters (including me — hello!) with a man who she was married to but divorced soon after I was born. He went off to start his own life apart from us while we still carried on his last name. What a great legacy! My mom decided to keep his last name rather than return to her maiden name after the divorce because it was the last name her children already had. She explained, "It made it much less of a hassle for things like doctor's appointments and picking you girls up from school. I decided to keep a deadbeat's last name so I could stay connected to my kids."

    She later married my step-dad who eventually adopted us and changed our last names to his, but in the meantime, my mom did run into struggles during the time she had a different last name than her children. It's worth noting that my sister and I both look much more like the sperm donor — I mean, uh, birth father — than my mom, so there were some eyebrow raises when she walked in with a different last name but claimed she was our mom. It was never a simple process. She told me, "I had to make sure to keep my marriage certificate on me at all times to prove I'm your mom."

    Long story short — if the woman in this story isn't sure the boyfriend will stick around, then I think it's best to exercise caution and save herself the stress by carrying on her own last name.

    The last point I'd like to mention is the most glaring contradiction in this situation — the selective traditionalism:

    "He cannot be a traditional man and have children out of wedlock."


    "The (pretended) tradition is that couples don't have sex until they're married. So we already know he's only 'traditional' when it suits him."


    Historically, the reason wives had to take their husbands' last name in the first place was for control, not love. The very foundation of this system was built based on stripping women of their identity and rights. A woman taking a man's last name meant she was legally seen as his property. Is that really a tradition worth fighting for? Women have much more of a reason to deny it than men have to defend it.

    "The tradition comes from ownership of women. It's not one to be respected."


    "Even if they were married, there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to give her own children her own last name. Especially when this tradition is extremely rooted in sexism. It makes you wonder why more men don’t take their wife's last name."


    Personally, my take on the situation can be summarized by this specific quote from Rachel from Friends:

    rachel from Friends saying, "no uterus, no opinon"

    What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.