In Quebec, you can legally choose to be able to use family names made up of the name of the mother and the name of the father. Some support this, others do not and the camps seem to be firmly rooted in their positions… everything is a matter of choice for parents. I have spoken at length with many friends who are pregnant and opinions were totally divided. Already, those who had only one last name often tend not to feel the need to give their name to their child since they did not have that of their mother either. On the other hand, for the girls who grew up with a compound last name, some liked it, others saw several disadvantages either for the official paperwork or the length of the latter. Finally, some had not yet made a choice.
My boyfriend and I each have two last names: Desrosiers-Gaudette and Noël-Corriveau. Thus, we were faced with a beautiful puzzle for the last name of our future child. One or two names… and which ones?
Two last names, is it really that complicated?
I grew up with two last names and it never bothered me. I never saw it as fairness between my dad and my mom. From elementary school, the other children started calling me Dg for my initials and it stuck. When I started my career in media, I kept the CEO. Looks like I thought it was important to have both names, not to leave my mother’s whole side apart. However, I know that for other people, like our collaborator Genevieve AD, having two last names is something she hated all her life. What bothered her a lot: it was always long to write, that often the full name did not fit in the boxes of official government forms, she felt that it slowed her down in elementary school in front of other children during exams, some people mix in the order of its name, you never know if you should put a hyphen or not, etc. So, when she had her daughters, she chose to only give them the name of the father.
Two surnames: a feminist choice
I see the choice of giving two last names as a feminist choice. For me, it’s equality between father and mother. We created this child together, we are going to raise him together, I should be able to name him as much as he does. Historically, women disappeared and so did the surname. Besides, if we only had to choose one name, why not that of the mother? It is she who carried this child and whose link is the only one which is really certain without any test. I am kidding. But I find it important not to have my child’s name erased by a tradition that once again reduces women.
And what does the man say? And the length of the first name?
My boyfriend didn’t think it was important that our child had both names. I understand, for him, it was certain that our son would bear his name whether it was one of the names or both. However, he understood my points well and I did not have to express my opinion for long to agree to our giving him two surnames. However, he immediately told me that we should give only one first name and that it should not be too long. We agreed.
Desrosiers-Gaudette-Noël-Corriveau is impossible according to the law, which combination to choose?
First of all, we wanted to find a nice sound, either in the choice or in the order of the names. We found it very funny to put Gaudette-Corriveau together, we joked that it’s a perfect name for a hockey player, I advise you to try saying it out loud “Gaudette-Corriveau shoot and score! ”. It really works.
With our choice of names, we also wanted to create a layout that was not too long. I can tell you that I remember my years in elementary school when my name took a lot longer to write than other children. Thus, Christmas became an easy choice since it is the shortest of the four.
Then, we wanted a nice sound like I said above. We found that Desrosiers suited Christmas better than Gaudette.
Finally, the order of the names had to be chosen. My boyfriend hated it with Christmas first. Why? Several people think and have thought that his name was Marc-Noël Corriveau and not Marc Noël-Corriveau. Not wanting our little boy to go through the same thing, we chose to leave Christmas at the end.