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The Journalist Formerly Known As Del Conte

Maybe I am more famous than I thought because I keep getting this response when I tell people that I am changing my last name:

"Oh but you're keeping Del Conte on air, right?"

Who am I, Madonna? Do I need a stage name and a real name? I'm not an entertainer, I'm just a reporter. If people want to follow my career, they will hopefully remember my name, right?

I never thought I would change my name but I surprised myself when I married a wonderful man four weeks ago and actually wanted to take his name. We became a family this summer when our little boy was born. He was an unexpected surprise and I did not want to get married just because I was pregnant. There are many ways to raise a child in these modern times and I felt strongly that a forced, unhappy marriage would not be the best environment for my baby. I wanted us to wait and decide to get married if and when the time was right because we loved each other. Not because we are forever bound to one another's lives due to the child. In the end, we married because we wanted to solidify to one another that we are a committed team and a family.

I have accomplished a lot under the surname Del Conte so I was hesitant to change my name. I felt like it was my brand. My identity. I was afraid that I would have to start all over again with a new name and I'm sure there will be some confusion.

I considered keeping Del Conte for professional use and Morris for personal use but that started to get confusing. Will my paychecks go to Morris but my email address will be Del Conte? Will my driver's license say Del Conte-Morris? What about registering for conferences? Will my badge say Morris but publicly I am Del Conte? It all was a little too much to manage and in the end, I decided that I am just not important enough for two names. And if I kept my name professionally, who would I be keeping it for? TV producers? Viewers? Twitter followers? I don't think those are the right reasons. 

So I am now legally and professionally Natali Morris. It isn't as "romance language" as my maiden name but it is romantic in a different way. It says that I am part of the family called Morris, which includes my husband and my baby boy. It is meaningful to me and that is saying something because I usually hate ceremony, ritual, tradition, pomp, and circumstance of any kind. Weddings embarrass me. I revolt against diamonds. And I really don't want to lie to my child about Santa Clause's nonexistence. Yet I wanted to have the same name as my husband and son.

I feel myself justifying the name change a little when people show surprise that I would leave behind a beautiful name like Del Conte. Why am I explaining myself? Why can't I just say, "It's Morris now" - end of story? Has women's liberation made us ashamed of old world tradition?

I am not advocating that married women change their name. To each her own. I think it is a beautiful thing to take on your husband's name and I think it is a beautiful thing to keep the name of the family you were born into. I am only sharing my choice so that I can stand up for it once and for all. It's Morris now. I am proud of that. 

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Reader Comments (79)

Mrs Morris; You are awesome irregardless of your surname and I'm sure he would have taken you no matter what your name. God Bless and be well; all three of you!

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimT Reno

Congratulations! It's great that you had the confidence and determination to make the name change. I also agree very much with waiting to get married instead of letting it be forced upon you because of circumstances.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterblogger

Thanks for sharing and congratulations

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Nelson

Hmmm, couple comments here......

First, good for you for taking a common last name. Makes life easier.

Second, for the few of you that have a problem with her doing so, grow up. It's just a name.

Third, am I to understand that you are NOT going to let you son believe in Santa? Why? The belief in Santa is one of the wonders of childhood, and is too short as it is. I saw one poster say they didn't want their child to have "trust issues" because of it? Really? You honestly believe that? Possibly one of the most absurd things I've ever heard. Robbing your children of that wonder is criminal IMO.

Hopefully, your hubby is Jewish, and that's why no Santa. Otherwise, I can assure you that it's something you will regret. My son is 4, and last year was the first year he "got" who Santa is, and it was the best Christmas of my life.

Please think about it, you have time.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave K.

I think it's classy that you took your husband's last name. But, I was saddened to learn you had a husband. Contratulations to you and your new family.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Congratulation! I wish you only happiness in all your endeavors professional and personal.
Kudos for being liberated enough not to be reflexively anti-traditional, that is superficial. You think things through and for that you have my respect.

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGrifiN

Hey Dave,

If people who don't like the idea of a woman taking her husband's last name need to "grow up" because it's "just a name", show us all how easy it is and change your name to your wife/husband's name now or in the future if you have one.

The minute I read grow up and its just a name, I didn't even need to look down at the name of the poster to know that it was a man who wrote that.

And go, Mike, for being brave enough to express your contrarian view in such a thoughtful, gracious way. I feel as you do and was really heartened to see that a male wrote that post. I would never change my last name if I got married and I don't think that having the same last name creates a united family but I agree with Natali- if you change your last name, fine, if you don't, fine. I like how they do it in Europe and other countries where both the woman and man's names are honored. And I wish this weren't just a decision that women still had to make. I wish that both partners shared the responsibility for making this decision. But that just isn't how it goes. We've come a long way, baby, but clearly not far enough.

Congratulations, Natali! Wishing you all good things in your exciting new life and family!

November 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFordo


Thanks for stereotyping me! I can make a pretty good guess on who you are, based on your response. Not sure you'll ever need to make the last name decision. ;-D

If you had read what I said, and not assumed what I meant, maybe the chip on your shoulder would fall off, or at least decrease in size. I said a common last name is smart. Whether it was hers, his, or another they choose together.

And I said nothing about it making a "united" family. Being a family does that. Given the bureaucracy we live in, having the same last name makes sense. It does socially as well. Surely you can understand this?

My "grow up" remark was, well, I guess aimed at you. If you think the last name thing is that important, I can see that you do, in fact, need to grow up, or grow wiser, to be more accurate. Having a loving, caring, supporting spouse is important. Everything else is just a name.

November 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave K.

Congratulations to you and your loving family!

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris (Amateur Traveler)

Here's a take on the name change from another "romance language named" person, Camille Minichino:

December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Hey! Congratulations!! When I saw the name change, I kinda instinctively knew what happened. And I think you are definitely right to think of marriage as a team. Remember that team is a growing team. From two to three to how many more you want it. Take care of the new members, it'll take a couple of years of nurturing before they become actually productive. One more thing, as a team, emotions are not a critical component of the group, moving the team forward is.

December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Congratulations on the birth of your son and your marriage! I have been watching your "Loaded" podcast for a few years and continue enjoy the brief synopsis it provides. I have children older than you and grew up when it was almost universal that women took their husbands name. You have always struck me as a very level headed and intelligent young woman. A number of years ago a younger co-worker expressed her internal conflict whether to marry her long time partner. In this case there were no children. I am a strong believer in marriage and the commitment required to make them last. A marriage is much more than than a ceremonial action between two people. It is about creating and extending family. It gives the children of that family a legacy by which they gain identity and history. The name used to signify that identity is important. When my daughter asked me whether she should take her husbands last name, I said absolutely. Her children will be no less my grandchildren because they do not have my last name.

December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGordon A Wilson

Thank you Gordon. What a sweet story. I really appreciate the sentiment.

December 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterNatali Morris

Actually somebody in the control room doesn't like the change because the cyron never seems to change, its at least 3 times now had Del Conte on it instead of what you said during the update - lol

I myself think for TV think you should have kept your Del Conte name and in personal live changed it to Morris

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndyW

I was listening to you on Buzz Out Load talking about maternity leave and was a bit confused. It seems like yesterday you were talking about how hard it is to find dates, so how did this all happen so fast. Congrats on the new family! I think your blog post is very thoughtful and well reasoned on the choice you made which is right for you. I happen to agree with it, but you also made it clear that others may differ in what is right for them, good for you.

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

You go girl,

December 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSdk

Congratulations, of course! But can't quite see why he couldn't take YOUR name??? WomLib!

December 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEva

To the new Mrs. Morris,

As a recent newlywed and person with a semi-public life online, I can totally relate to all that you wrote about here.

I've been going through the name change process as well, and it has been rough. I too thought a lot about my name, what it meant, and who I should become. In my husbands' tradition, the newly married woman not only takes her husbands last name, but his first name as her middle name. Often times, the boy's parents also select a new first name for the bride. I wasn't entirely comfortable with completely changing my name [and his parents are not that traditional], but I do think there is something very sweet about taking the person you love's last name. Since I don't have a middle name, I've decided to go with the happy medium- Neha Tiwari Joshi.

I think it's wonderful that you've changed your name offline and on--it's not an easy process! Luckily, many of my online handles just involve my first name so I can imagine how much tougher it has been for you.

I don't think it makes you old-fashioned to drop your maiden name, and conversely, in this day of hyphenated, bastardized names, it's almost refreshing.

Kudos Natali Morris, and congrats on tying the knot and your beautiful baby!

:)Neha Joshi formerly Tiwari

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNeha Tiwari


Dang! How did I get so far behind? I didn't even know that two of my favorite media stars were dating! I really need to get out of the office more often!

Congratulations! You make a great couple. Clayton is one lucky guy!

And now y'all have the little guy to bring even more joy into your lives. Best wishes to you guys going forward.

Happy New Year,
- Mike

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMojaMike

Natali! This is inspiring. I wish all the "real women" would do the same. Haha. I've been a fan since your early Loaded days. I appreciate how you always try to respond to your followers. All the best to you!

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReev

Congrats on your little bundle of joy! Although it's sad to see such a "maverick" conform. Wouldn't the real trailblazing solution have been for your husband and child to take your beautiful last name?

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShanghai gal

Holy sh-t Natali. You're so freaking hot. I would like it it I you were the mother of my kids (I got 5)...just kidding. I got none.

January 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Congrats on the new little one! I enjoy watching your reports. Kind of hoped your guy was a poop - but too old for you anyway! Darn. Keep up the good work, yet spoil the kid they grow up to quick. See you online

January 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterToOld

Congrats on the new little one! I enjoy watching your reports. Kind of hoped your guy was a poop - but too old for you anyway! Darn. Keep up the good work, yet spoil the kid they grow up to quick. See you online

January 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterToOld

what a lovely way of looking at things
that already is a special start to your marriage !
all best wishes to you and the family

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternir

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