Hi! I'm getting married in a few months & I've decided to take his last name, but I'm going to have academic articles/chapters published & I don't know whether I should change my name on those as well, or keep maiden name for professional stuff. Then there's also the awkward in between work that's not academic but I'm known by maiden name... What things did you consider when keeping your maiden name? Is it relatively easy to keep your maiden name professionally at least?
It’s a really personal decision, I can’t advise you on this. Best I can do is tell you my experience.
I got married at 32. I’d had my name for a long time and I was attached to it. I couldn’t conceive of changing it. [It didn’t hurt that Kelly means warrior and DeConnick is a derivative of the king, so my name roughly translates to Warrior King… you don’t change your name when your name means WARRIOR KING.] And, frankly, the history behind the tradition offended me. I wasn’t going from my father’s house to my husband’s. I was an independent woman and I’d been supporting myself for many years before I chose to wed.
It was an awkward conversation when we had it. Though he said he understood, Fraction confessed to a certain amount of disappointment — mostly because he loved the symbolism of sharing a name. We’re both writers — we believe in the power of language — so I got that. I offered that he could either change his name to mine, or we could both change our names to something entirely new.
I think he entertained the idea for less than a minute…? Once he thought about changing his own name and what that would feel like he completely understood where I was coming from and that was pretty much that. He says he’s never thought about it since.
I’ve never once had any problem related to not changing my name.
Now, I’m not an asshole — his grandmother and a few other relatives write to me as “Mrs. Matthew Fritchman” and I don’t correct them or refuse to answer or anything. But I know that’s not my name.
Your mileage my vary. I would certainly never judge another woman for the choice she made. I get that it’s romantic to share a name** and I get that people often don’t like the names they were born to, or the families they were born in. It’s a very personal decision and it’s yours to make.
** Oddly enough, we started to use “DeFraction” as a joke, but it’s caught on enough that our kids sometimes think it’s their real last name.