MENTAL HEALTH

Once We’re Divorced, I’ll Take His Last Name

It might be my only option

Claire Franky
5 min readFeb 29, 2024

--

Photo by ErnAn Solozábal on Unsplash

My hand moved quickly, tapping my pen on the table as I stared at the paper in front of me. The empty boxes waiting to be filled screamed at me with impatience.

Across the room, my phone buzzed. Welcoming the distraction, I stood and walked over to the hospital bed. My phone lay between the sheets. It must have shifted when I got up to greet the clerk who handed me the paperwork.

“Congratulations!!” The text read. “She’s beautiful! Mommy and Daddy must be so excited!”

Another text plastered across my phone screen. “Baby makes three! Congrats!”

I inhaled as my eyes danced over the words, held my breath for a few seconds, and then exhaled as I threw my phone back onto the bed. Raising my hands to my face, I rubbed my cheeks and forehead, hiding myself behind my fingers. As they fell away, I turned and looked at my one-day-old sleeping daughter in her hospital bassinet.

She looked so peaceful and content. I smiled as I placed my hand on her belly and hoped she would always feel that way.

I knew what I needed to do. I walked back to the table, picked up my pen, and began writing in the boxes.

A few weeks later, I tiptoed out of the bedroom where I had just laid my daughter down to sleep. I let out a sigh of relief as I managed to close the door softly without her waking. My eyes tried to close from exhaustion as I walked through the house.

As I passed the kitchen table, I noticed the mail was scattered across it. With my husband nowhere to be seen, I assumed he had dumped it there before going out again.

One envelope caught my eye and I reached for it, carefully opening it at the seam. I unfolded the thick paper inside to find several copies of my daughter’s birth certificate. My eyes scanned the information and I felt my first twinge of regret.

Her name was printed in bold on the first line. The name I had written into the boxes on the paperwork at the hospital — her first and middle name, followed by my husband’s last name.

--

--