Impostor

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sometimes I feel like an impostor....like a woman pretending to be a mother.  And, I've noticed that people treat me like a first time mother.  Must be because they don't believe that I did a good job "last time", or they know that I am feeling insecure.  I am almost embarrassed to say this but, I really thought....I mean, I really, really thought, that I was a good mother.  In fact, and I actually thought that being a mother was the very first thing in my whole life that I was truly good at.

Being Maxie's mommy made me very happy and secure.  I felt like my very best me when I was mothering him.  I heard about other parents dropping their kids at daycare on Mondays and saying how grateful they were to get back to work because their kid was driving them crazy all weekend.  I didn't feel like that.  The truth is that I felt more in my element at home with Max than I ever have, doing anything else, ever before.  And, I didn't need a girls night out or feel deprived that I didn't have a booming social life anymore.  In fact, getting out socially felt like more of an obligation than being home with my baby even though my friendships are so important to me.  I tried to find low key ways of connecting with friends so that I wouldn't interrupt naps or be out at night without Max.

That doesn't mean that I didn't have questions or insecurities.  I did.  Every new mother does.  But, I truly believed that I was good at finding the answers to my questions and that I was doing a good job.  And now I feel like an impostor.  I can't convince anyone that I was (am) a good mom..and why would anyone believe me anyway?  My son died.  And I am afraid of even thinking of myself as a mother yet.  I have allowed myself to get very emotionally attached to Mo (and it scares me to death) but I don't want to let myself get too attached to my new (old) role as a mommy.  This time, I am second guessing everything.  A few nights ago, Mo fell asleep on Ted's lap on top of my Boppy pillow and I got nervous.  Boppys are not for sleeping...it says it right there on the tag.  Mo often falls asleep while breastfeeding or on my shoulder after I burp him.  I won't let him stay there for too long because I am too nervous.  I worry about everything that I do with Mo...the same things I did with Max that I felt so secure about.  I thought I had motherhood down.  It felt so natural to me.

Here I am with my second little boy and I can't make any mistakes.  I could never live through it again.  I am hardly living through it now.  Losing a child is unlike any terrible nightmare you could ever imagine.  It will have you questioning everything you thought you once knew.  You will question your choices, your relationships, your priorities...everything.  The worst questions I have are of myself.  They bring me to my knees as I question myself relentlessly.  As a mother you need to trust your instincts - something that was taken from me when my Maxie died.  Now, I need to learn to trust myself again and it is so hard.  But, I need to figure out how to do it.  Mo is depending on me.    

7 comments:

Pjf_tex said...

I only know you from this blog... but i can feel how much you truly loved Maxie and now Mo. There is no way on earth that you are an imposter. All you have to do is look at the pictures of Maxie and you can see it written all over his face... he feels so safe and secure in his family. Trust your instincts. you did a wonderful job with the painfully short time you had with Maxie.

jessica said...

You are not an impostor. You are an incredible Mama...to both of your boys. What happened to Maxie is tragic and heartbreaking but it was not your fault. Having to question yourself and your instincts is also tragic and heartbreaking. I wish that there was something that I could do to help you trust yourself again, to put your mind at ease and push the questions away. I can tell you this, I have seen you in action with both of your boys and you are a phenomenal Mommy. You are sweet, caring, thoughtful, fun, doting, careful and thorough. One only needs to look at the pictures on here to see what an incredible job you were doing with Maxie, and now with Mo. Maxie's huge smile and beautiful disposition were a result of the love and care that you and Teddy poured in to him from the day you found out you were pregnant. You are both total naturals. There is NO question in my mind that you were both born to do this -- you are a wonderful Mommy and Teddy is a wonderful Daddy. I love your family very much, all four of you. xo

Susan Ireland said...

I think I'm a good mother. Having a dead child is nothing to do with whether you were a good mother or not. It just isn't.

Being anxious and afraid is part of the script for bereaved mothers I'm afraid. xx

Rachael said...

Abby, you are as authentic and legitimate a mother as anyone could ever be. NOT AN IMPOSTOR!!! You have been a mom (and a terrific one) since the day you conceived Maxie and no life or death or judgement or any other external factor should ever take that away from you. The loss of Max should never be attributed to your qualifications and success as a mom. Your love for him is clearly never-ending.

maxiesmommy said...

I KNOW you are a wonderful mother. I guess it is the circumstances of my situation to some extent...not having any idea what happened. I just feel like perhaps there was something I did wrong. I have gone over everything and I get lots of (solicited and unsolicited) advise. People have suggested that it was vaccinations or that I sent Max to daycare (instead of keeping him home with a nanny? I am not sure I understand the difference) or that it was because of other stuff in our environment. I keep going over it and over it and I don't come up with anything - neither do doctors. I can't explain why I feel the way I do (because I don't feel this way about other mothers) but I do often feel this way about myself.

Ofir said...

Hi Abby, it has taken me a very long time to bring myself to write to you through this blog, since I'm very closed myself by nature (scorpios are like icebergs...one third above water...yatta yatta), so after reading your latest entries I hope I have an idea of how to relate to them...and you.
Your opening sentence, to me, is a place I've been at myself at times and will continue to visit every once in a while. I get to it mostly when I look at myself from the outside, overlaying myself with who I was years ago...incomprehensible! So from somewhere inside you, I suppose that from a certain view, it's possible to see yourself as an imposter mom and it's fine because it's still you who's doing the judging. In the end you come back to yourself, your point of equilibrium so to speak, and it's natural, even essential for us to go roaming the borders of our psyche looking at ourselves from the side.
With regard to the people around you, I suppose you'll always have all the variations of criticism, whether good or bad, from the people who are closest to you which will affect their behaviour towards you - so be it. From what I read in you entries, you keep on going, flow with the tide...roll with the punches...
I've become a very hysterical father due to my history and latest turn of events with Ido, my son. I suppose driving to the hospital at 110mph with my 5 year old son on the verge of passing out in the back seat, in critical condition due to acute dehydration from Diabetes onset over a two week period, in which I had no clue, has severely impaired my ability to not overreact hysterically from that day forward. What I'm trying to say is that I wholly understand your feelings of nervousness and given the circumstances they are normal so stress all you want because I don't see how you're overdoing it.
Like my dear father always says (You remember Ezi...) "There are no rules for being parents, anybody can be one, so you make the rules up as you go along and try to learn from others mistakes". You're learning something new every day while implementing and perfecting what you already know so just keep going one step at a time.
Maxi's death was a shock to us and I have to be honest that just to be able to go through such an ordeal, you'd have to be an amazingly strong willed human being - tragically unique. I'm not saying it's over - far from it, like you said it's with you for life - but life here has taught me that you need to keep going regardless and that's exactly what you're doing. The how of it is yours and yours alone and I'm just glad you guys are there with Mo to prove it .

I miss you very much, we all do, Orit and the kids, Yarden, Dodo and little Lia...you guys are family, close to my heart, so keep your head up and live life well, as hard as it gets, it's still the only life we have.
I hope to see you guys soon - I have a conference in San Diego in October, so dropping by won't be a problem - rather a must on my part.
Take care Abby and hug Ted and Mo for me...

Eowyn said...

You were, are and always will be the most amazing, loving and very real mother to both your boys! Some of what you've shared with us here in your blog has taught me more abouth the true meaning of motherhood then I had ever understood before. I know it's impossible to believe because you don't have any answers about what happened to Maxie but it is not your fault he is not here!! So many of us have compete faith in you and will be here to remind you that you are a great mom even when you doubt yourself. Love you, E

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