Regular readers may have noticed that my initials recently changed from CAD to CAE. Yes, I did the unfashionable thing in scientific circles and changed my name when I got married.
I did weigh up the pros and cons of the change before I made my decision. Neither my husband nor my parents were going to be terribly offended either way. My hubby and I are from very similar genetic and cultural backgrounds, despite being born thousands of miles apart, and my new name has the same Anglo-Celtic roots as the old one, which is nice. As I’m no longer in research, I don’t have to contend with the issue of publication – although I know a few people who continue to publish under their maiden names while using their married name for everything else. I suppose if I somehow end up being an author (or maybe even just acknowledged) on a published paper again I will use my maiden name.
I like my new name. (Is it bad that my choice between my father’s name and my husband’s name was swayed by the trade-up from 4 to 5 letters, and from 1 to 2 syllables?) I like that people refer to my husband and me as “the Es”. It has been a little inconvenient, especially since my wallet was stolen on my honeymoon and I’ve been trying to get replacement cards in a new name – everything except for immigration is more or less taken care of now. The only weird moments have been practising my new signature, and starting a new job where no-one has ever known me under any other name. I have caught myself introducing myself as my maiden name a few times, but I’m getting used to it gradually!
I recently read another blog post on this subject by Dr Brazen Hussy. She went the other way, but I wholeheartedly agree on a couple of points. First, and most importantly, respect a woman’s decision once she’s made it and only ever refer to her by her chosen name. And second, please do not address letters to us as Mr and Mrs (his first name) (our last name). Times have changed; I may have a new name but I still have the same old identity!