26 answers

Should Baby (Of a Single Mom) Take Surname of Mother/father?


I have a dilemma and I honestly can't decide what to do. I need your opinions and/or advice. My ex-fiance and I are expecting a baby in October. We have attempted reconciling, but it proves to be futile. He is planning on being active involved. Being that we are not married, we have different last names. (And we each have a child from a past relationship who bears our respective last names...i.e. my son has my last name.)

I have discussed with my ex the possibility and my desire to use both our last names, in either order, when naming the baby. He is STRONGLY opposed as he thinks that it should be his, and only his, name given to the baby. He has said that giving the child both names or just mine (which I have not suggested) will "ruin his/her life" and he/she will "struggle in his/her identity."

I cannot tell you how much I disagree with this. So, for many reasons (including that we are not married, that my son and I have my last name, and that my family name is incredibly important to me) I want it included either as the last name or second middle name.

Mamas, what do you think? Have any of you gone through this? What is your honest to God opinion? Am I way out in left field?

Keep in mind, I have in no way suggested combining our names to make a new last name or even hyphenating it. I just want my family name represented.

Thank you!


P.S. Our last names are Swan (mine) and Reed (his). Thus, nothing too crazy. One of his arguments is that my name, Swan, is not a proper first or middle name and would thus be absurd as a middle name.

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More Answers

If I could do it again, my son would have my name or both names but not his dad's name only. As much as I wanted my son to have my last name, I thought if I ever got married again or it turned out to work btw us it would make more sense for him to have his dad's last name. Boy was I wrong! My son is now stuck with a name to a dad that is hardly in the picture. Plus once school starts, you will be constantly correcting teachers and parents about your last name being different from his. Last week my son was correcting his friends when they called me by his last name. People will want to know if you got divorced or what happened to the dad. Honestly though, unless you know you two will get back together, I would do what is best for you and your child. Go with your heart. Our instincts are wonderful and too many times we don't listen to them. I would give anything to go back and listen to mine. If your child will be with you full time, it makes more sense for them to have your name. Life will be a lot less complicated this way. Plus your son already has your name and it will make it easier as they grow older together.

Hello M.,

My sister is a single mom with two kids. The last name dilema also came up. In the end she gave them their father's last name even though he left her and to this day provides no support to the children. She now regrets not giving them our last name. After all, it is ONLY our family that provides all the support. His family couldn't care less.


ok I can honestly say I feel you...I have 3 children 2 boys and a girl I was a single mother for all 3. I gave my boys my last name as I figured they are going to be with me anyways and I kinda wanted my last name carried on since its rare and judging by my brothers having girls its not going very far once they get married and well my sisters changed their last name when they got married...anyways my daughters dad was in the picture when I had her and although we werent married I gave her his last name well 2 years later he left me for another female but thats another story...so now my daughter is almost 11 and since she was about 7 or 8 and figured out she was the only one with a different last name she hates it and feels left out she says she is always being asked why she has a different last name then her brothers and although she know they have different fathers she doesnt see her brothers as half brothers. I am trying to change her last name to mine but its not the easies thing in the world....so my opinion give him yours!

If I found myself in your shoes I would probably give the child my last name. It is my opinion that you and both your children having the same last name will make all your lives much less complicated.

It is really up to you in the end, there is no right or wrong answer, this is the 21st century. I will tell you this, if your children end up with different last names you will be called Ms. Swan and Ms. Reed; if that is okay with you anyway... This is my opinion, it really makes me mad when guys are so demanding on having their child carry their name but don't step up to the plate and be the Dad. This will mess with a child's identity; not having both of your last names. I'm not sure about Texas, but in Illinois, when you give birth the baby tag will have the mother's last name so the baby will be "Baby Swan", even if you do use his last name...
I don't know, maybe I'm reading something that isn't there, it sounds like you want approval to name your son after your family and there is nothing wrong with that. My middle son has my maiden name because my husband and I weren't married. And my son is proud to have my dad's last name, heck he pretty much has all of my dad's name. My husband was upset at first, but he knows our son wants this...Our son has a very close relationship with my dad but he also has a good one with his dad.

Wow, after reading some responses, I guess this really is the "Good Ole Boys" state, wow, I know in Illinois they do not by law make a mother give her son or daughter the father's name, it's up to the mother if she's not married. And you can even get child support without having the father's last name...

God bless your family!

It's up to you! You will be the one signing the certificate! His reasoning does not make total sense, but I can see that he just won't budge on the subject! If your other son has your name, I think it would make the most sense to continue w/that! You are the one that he will most likely live w/90% of the time. You will most likely be dealing w/his teachers, dr's, coaches etc. Make it less confusing for you! He's obviously not willing to make your life easier, so make things easier on yourself!....Maybe baby SWAN can take Daddy's last name as his middle name...good luck!!

To be honest, I think it would be more confusing for your son to have a different last name than you (since you will probably be the primary care-giver). I would give him your Ex's last name as a middle name or hyphenate it Reed-Swan. My cousin just had a baby after her husband of 10 years divorced her while she was pregnant and left her with no support. She is naming him with her maiden name alone. Best wishes to you and your future baby.

I agree with the moms who have said your last name because of insurance, schooling, etc. since you will be the primary caregiver and he will live with you. Re. identity, it'll be confusing if the child has a different last name than the people he/she's growing up with. Honestly, it's all about him and he's wrong. I like the middle name of Reed - I think it works really well for a boy, and just fine for a girl. Baby Reed Swan - and Swann is a football player's last name - Lynn Swann (so, there, nyah!) LOL

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