Last time I posted, I shared my complete and utter feeling of being a fraud. I didn't however, share why I felt that way.
All my work lately has been with children, and caring for them. Or taking photos of them. Because I have been caring on a more scheduled basis, and because more of my friends have children, I have been going to a lot more mummy/baby based events, and meeting mummies outside my circle of friends.
At first, nearly every single person has mistaken the child (or children) for my own and asks 'the questions' about the kids. I usually answer them politely, and mention that this child is not my own - that I am indeed babysitting and have no children of my own. The conversation is then usually ended fairly quickly. It often seems like that unless you have physically carried a child in your womb, your years of experience do not matter, and are not worth very much.
And trust me, I recognise that I am missing that vital ingredient - painfully aware of it. But I can definitely relate to what it is like to have screaming baby that won't settle, or a fractious toddler, or an excessively talkative 6 yr old. Certainly, I didn't experience labour or birth, but that does not, and should not, cancel out my experiences.
And yet, that feeling of being a fraud remains. I will freely admit that as I sit there caring for a child not my own, I do wish I was caring for a baby of my own instead of someone else's. And then I feel guilty, because I should be able to hold and care for that child without thinking that. So I strive to be the "perfect" carer, even though I know that I will fail - because no one can ever be that perfect. But yet I try, because if I cannot "perfectly" look after these kids that are borrowed, how will I ever care for those that are my own? So I love, pamper and cherish these kids in the vain hope that I will somehow erase my own body's failings, and erase anything horrible I may have done.
"IF thinking" is everywhere, now, trapping me in a never-ending cycle of seeking perfection and failure - a cycle of being fake.