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Why I'll Never Regret Changing My Last Name

I remember weeks before my wedding day, sitting at a coffee shop and ignoring the paper I was supposed to be writing for school in favor of practicing—over and over—my new signature that I would use after I got married. It felt foreign to me, and I struggled with trying to make what was going to become my new last name familiar. I was going from one of the most popular last names to a surname that people could hardly pronounce, much less one they've ever heard of.

I have recently read some articles on the topic of women who opposed changing their last name when they got married. Damn the man! Girls, keep your last name! You are strong and independent! I'm so glad I kept mine because I didn't have to change it back after the divorce!

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Almost seven years ago, those thoughts couldn't have been further from my mind. I wasn't changing my last name because it's what you were just supposed to do, or that I was old-fashioned. I was changing my last name to match my best friend's. I was changing it because we were two people, becoming one. He was my life-partner, my soul mate, the man I wanted to sleep next to every night until we left this earth. When I stooped over that certificate in the cramped church office, and printed my new husband's last name under my own line, I had no idea what that act was truly going to symbolize years down the road.

See, the man I share a last name with held me when I collapsed onto the kitchen floor sobbing after telling him we lost our baby. He gripped my hand on the downstairs couch when I told him the IVF cycle didn't work. I saw him cry after a horrible fight where I screamed at him that I wanted to leave him. The man I share a last name with has sucked up his fear of needles and has executed intramuscular injections of progesterone into my body every night with the expertise of a seasoned nurse during the last four embryo transfers. To date, he has watched me pee on several of my 42 pregnancy tests, and never batted an eye when I lined them up and made him analyze them with me. He has grown into the man that my daddy knew I deserved.

When life is getting to hard, I don't have to look around for him, because he's already come up and grabbed my hand, ready to face any sort of challenge alongside me.

The day I changed my name, I wasn't just filling in the space in the marriage certificate. I was making a commitment, that for better or for worse (and six years of infertility is by far "for worse") we were partners. We were joined up together to face the most devastating of losses and we were going to come out stronger.

The day I changed my name, I made a commitment to him. That I would love him, back him, and be on his side no matter what we faced. I made a commitment to never leave no matter how bad things get. I made a commitment to fight like hell for him, for our marriage.

The day I changed my name, I chose us over myself.

When infertility hit, harder than we could ever imagine, it was in remembering why I chose to take his name, that told me I could get through this. That I could bear losing my babies, the loss of my own eggs, the anxiety of treating a gene mutation while very newly pregnant, as long as I had him.

RELATED: How Infertility Has Made My Marriage Stronger

I'm proud that I share his last name, because I couldn't ask for anyone better to spend my life or my checking account with. When life is getting to hard, I don't have to look around for him, because he's already come up and grabbed my hand, ready to face any sort of challenge alongside me.

I want to go back to that girl in the coffee shop seven years ago, frantically writing her new last name over and over, put my hand over hers and tell her it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how the signature looks. It's who shares that last name that will be important. It's the man behind that last name that will not only hold her hand, kiss her and make it better, but get her through things she could never fathom and do it never leaving her side.

Image via Risa Kerslake

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