I was shoving my water bottle and purse in one of the cubbyholes at bootcamp when a tall woman approached me.
“Are you Mallory?” she asked.
I had been asked many questions I didn’t know how to answer right away, but this one was a new one. Before I blogged here, I would on rare occasion guest blog at SemiProper. I have had the pleasure of attending Roo during the birth of all three of her children and I have been fortunate to benefit from a friendship that grew beyond the exam room. She has seen my debut as the Naked Cowboy and I have joined her in listening to her husband rock out at our local coffee shop. She blogs about all sorts of random stuff, but some of my (totally unbiased) favorites are her public service messages like, promoting pap smears and breast exams. I’ll chime every now and then from the midwife perspective. She’s even linked me up here (*warning for the babyloss- that last link has birth/newborn stuff, but you’ll also see me at work*) and I know some of you found me through her (hi and thanks for coming).
Anyhoo, when she first started, she had pseudonyms for all the main characters in her life- nicknames for her kids and husband. When she wrote about me, she asked if I wanted my real name used or a nickname. I didn’t want to miss out on a cool alter ego, so I begged for a cool new moniker. After a brief joke about calling me Bertha (get in?), she dubbed me Mallory, a name I had once told her I really liked. Though she dropped the pseudonyms for her family, I am still Mallory to her readers.
So when this woman questioned me before bootcamp, I was at a loss for words. I figured she was an SemiProper reader
“Well, er… sort of,” I stumbled. “Actually I’m Meghan. But I, uh, sometimes go by Mallory… online.” I sounded like someone who lived a second life as an avatar.
I explained how I went by Mallory on Roo’s blog and told her about the pseudonyms.
She told me about how she read my blog and it was helpful to her because she had recently had a baby who had some health concerns.
I left the interaction feeling both amazed (look at me, I was recognized! I’m a celebrity!) and frustrated with myself for being awkward and not asking about her baby.
Then this morning I had my chance. In bootcamp we often have to pair up or make small groups to rotate through the intervals together. Today we had to make groups of three. I found myself next to the tall woman with the sick baby. It took half of the work out for me to get the words out.
“How’s your baby?” I asked.
She told me and asked how I was. I gave a little shrug “you know…” I didn’t say I just hit the six month mark and it’s harder than I thought it would be. I didn’t thank her for asking. I didn’t say anything I should have.
Again my reaction was mixed. I was pleased I was able to ask about someone else’s baby. This was kind of a huge deal for me, a real milestone. There are so many feelings I run from – baby showers, kids with friends, holding newborns. I was proud I faced one little one head on… Baby steps…. But I was frustrated I wasn’t able open up and be a real person either. Still not the old me. Someday I’ll be the Meghan or even the Mallory I want to be.