Monday, December 12, 2011

motherhood

Earlier this term, we learned about the "imposter syndrome" in class.  "Imposter syndrome" refers to the feeling that you're not actually qualified to be doing whatever it is that you're doing; that you're somehow inadvertently fooling everyone around you and that you're just a fraud {apparently this is a common sentiment among new grad nurses--dang}.  Implied along with this is that you think you are alone in feeling this way.

Something got me thinking about this last night and I realized that this describes to a "T" how I felt as a new mom.  I was over the moon, elated and in love with my little guy, but I somehow felt unqualified for the role.  I'd read the books, attended the classes, and scoured the parenting websites.  I could tell you all about attachment theories, breastfeeding, SIDS, the pros and cons of co-sleeping, you name it, yet I found myself feeling totally unprepared.

I felt like I was the only mama that didn't know to pack an extra outfit in case he peed through his diaper and clothes while we were on our way to dinner.  The only one who initially had such difficulty with breastfeeding.  The only one who wasn't sure if it was possible to give him his pacifier too much.  The only one who was incapable of getting out the door within half an hour of the time I was supposed to leave.  The only one who was unsure of how to assert my authority when other people offered their opinions on caring for my child.

I thought I was the only one.

I've since come into my own as a mother and feel confident in this role.  I've learned much through trial and error, and just good ol' time and experience.  But it dawned on me the other night that all these feelings of inadequacy I had experienced were most likely not unique to me.  Many new mothers {& fathers} probably go through a similar experience as well.

That was my first experience with the "imposter syndrome" and I lived to tell the tale.  I think its only natural for those feelings to arise when you are suddenly entrusted with a great deal of responsibility, whether it's out in the workforce or within your own home.  I'll probably feel like an imposter many more times throughout my life {the next time being upon graduation apparently}, and while its not the most pleasant of experiences at least now I'll know I'm not alone.

5 comments:

  1. This is a true way to explain what it felt like to be an new mom. Thinking back to this time last year, I was scared, confused disaster, playing the role of Mom in my body - someone who was completely not a mom. This year is the complete opposite - I'm so glad I don't feel like I'm faking someone elses' life anymore!

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  2. I've never heard of Imposter Syndrome, but it sounds really interesting, and true! Thanks for sharing =)

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  3. Imposter syndrome.... yes... I feel that way often, especially at work! But, it goes away with time. And soon, you become the expert!

    You are such a great mom Christine! It's easy to tell just with a few moments of seeing you and Jon with Sam. You are a great example to the rest of us kid-less women. :)

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  4. Posts like this are the reason I love reading blogs. I am a new mom to a wonderful 6 week old boy. Before I had him I was convinced that being a mother would come easy to me... after all, I have 8 sisters and 20 nieces/nephews from which to gain experience. All that confidence went out the window the day I brought him home. I feel clueless and scared to death that I am going to mess something up. I still feel this way, but just like you said, it isn't unique to me. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Ashley, thanks so much, you just made my day :). It truly does get easier though, promise.

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