Where Everybody Knows Your Name by Mary Matoula Webb

I was a painfully shy kid. To the point that elementary school teachers would always bring it up at parent-teacher conferences, “She’s so bright but she never speaks in class.”  I eventually lost the “painfully” part and, as thousands of other shy kids have done, mastered the introvert-defying tricks to fit into society. 

I still get a little bashful at times when the spotlight is brightly shining on me. Not the me that can teach a birth class, that’s the nurse version of me. Or the me that acts on stage, that’s the actor version of me. But the me version of me? Well, she’s been known to still shrug and give a quite smile when all eyes are firmly fixed upon her. 

My husband and I have recently relocated to the other side of the country to live with my mother-in-law. She is well liked, well established, and well known in the community. And now so are we. 

“Oh! You’re Mary, the one with the miracle baby!”

I’ve heard this so many times, exclaimed with the spirit of joy and celebration, from people I hardly know. I say thank you and nod and agree that my husband and I have been blessed. And answer their questions, usually the same ones. Yes, we tried different medications. Yes, we tested him. Yes, I aggressively exercised and lost forty pounds. Yes, we did those things that you read about on the internet. And I’m happy to share our path, whether it’s to celebrate or educate. But there is this shadow of the bashful kid that floats there with me. 

It’s not that I’m ashamed of our infertility journey. I’ll sit and talk about it for as long as you like. Although, I kept quiet about it for years. We told a few people, but even with all the information available on infertility there were a lot of misconceptions to have to wade through. And what would people think? Most people in my circles equated infertility with endometriosis. It seemed everyone I spoke with had a sister/cousin/aunt/friend who had endometriosis. “And they all got pregnant.” 

But there is a wide, vast range of experiences and diagnosis that encompass infertility, and my experience is, well, personal. That makes it special to me, and I’m quite protective of it. 

So, what’s a formally shy IVF mother to do? I figure I can either shut people out or let people in. And for now I’m the mother of the “miracle baby.” Before long people will forget about how she got here and I’ll be the mother of “the soccer kid”, then the mother of “newly licensed teenager” , then the mother of “the college graduate.”

And yet, throughout it all, I’ll be the mother, cheering her on, fighting against my tendency to remain anonymous, standing right next to her for all to see. 

Throughout it all, I’ll be the mother. 

Mary Matoula Webb is a “later” mom and San Francisco Bay Area native.  She has studied playwriting at ESPA Primary Stages and Foothill College. Her work has been produced for the New York International Fringe Festival, the SF Fringe Festival, the EstroGenius Festival, the Incoming Tide Festival, Home Brewed One Act Festival, and Boomerang Theater Company. Her latest web series (“Alex vs Alex”) is in preproduction. Other writing credits include “Los Angeles” (short film) and “Mix Matched” (web series). She is also a Registered Nurse. 

  1. 2 Responses to “Where Everybody Knows Your Name by Mary Matoula Webb”

  2. Mary and her husband are two of the most loving and kind people in the world. I’m happy they were blessed with their daughter, but I really feel that their daughter is the one to be blessed with them. I know that they are great parents.

    By Mo Cheung on Aug 4, 2017

  3. You have shared an absolutely interesting story! And thank you for that! A golf friend of mine used to be so shy when he was little and it took lots of couragement to overcome his shyness and be more confident and open. I believe that you will not be only a mother, but a great one! Wish you all the best!

    By Paul Durante on Aug 17, 2017