What's in a name?
It's amazing how in 2008 you can shock by something as simple as a name. When Ed and I found out we were going to be parents we discussed names, and then surnames. We aren't married (not that, that would make any difference) and in the interests of fairness we agreed that if we had a boy, he would have Ed's name and if it was a girl she would have mine. I was inspired by the example of my lovely friend Hanna whose parents had done a similar thing, and then diplomatically produced a girl followed by a boy so each name could get a run. In our case we had a girl so she got my name.
Older people we told were perplexed, some claimed that it wasn't "fair" to Ed while others said it would be "confusing" for Ivy. What I don't understand is that hundreds of women keep their name but dutifully give their baby their male partners name and no-one seems to think that's unfair or confusing. I kind of expected this attitude from older people but I'm amazed how many people my age or younger think it's so strange. To me it seems a total case of double standards.
In other countries it doesn't seem to be such a big deal. My German friends made the decision to choose a single family name and then decided to take Dot's surname. Apparently it's quite common to take the woman's name, other couples I've heard of have ditched their names and chosen a new name for everyone, others go down the path of double barrelled names (which personally scares me a little) but here in Sydney 99.9 percent of the parents I know tread the traditional route of naming their kids after their husband or partner.
While I'm quite proud that Ivy shares my name, I do have to wonder somedays why I bothered. Recently my brother had a new baby and there was great excitement from my family that the "Family name would now continue" despite the fact both Ivy and her cousin Jospehine already have this surname. The reason? This new baby is a boy. It seems despite claims that today there is equality between the sexes the name thing implies that, at the end of the day, boys are still more important than girls.