• Denise Engelbrecht

Is this an Identity Crisis...

Updated: 4 days ago

WHAT is behind the name change from Denise Mall to Denise Engelbrecht... and is it important...


This is a question that I have been fielding since I changed my name on social media...

Did I get married or did I get divorced?


Well neither really... it is a little more complicated than that...


In most young women's life there will come that moment in time when they will be expected to assume the surname of their spouse... the day they get married, they choose to stop being the person they were born to be and form a new identity as a wife and later a mother.


That day was the 6th March 1993 for me, and I formally became known as Denise Mall... then I became a mother on 23rd June 1994... and it never really occurred to me that it could one day change, but it did.... on the 11th October 1996 I became a widow, and that is when the real dilemma begins for most mothers in this position or following on from a divorce...


We want to retain the same surname as our children, if only to avoid long awkward conversations and explanations of why they differ. For me it was a choice as I was widowed, but for many divorced mothers, they are legally forced to resume their maiden names.


So why after almost 30 years of being Denise Mall have I decided to resume my maiden surname? That is also a little complicated because my daughter is all grown up now and has assumed her own identity and the surname Mall no longer binds us together and has become a little redundant...


This is also a new chapter in my life and after a lot of consideration, since founding the non-profit, I have decided to resume my maiden name. I feel that my role and identity has shifted yet again and I would like to finish off my life's work with the name that I was born with, which is Denise Engelbrecht...


and yes, I believe it does matter... and no, if I ever re-married I would not assume the surname of my spouse...

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