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Oct 21, 2010


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.



portraitsinsepia said...

I will concede that parents have experienced something that I haven't and that parenting is one of those things you have to experience to truly get certain aspects of it. But like you, I don't feel like my experiences should count for nothing. I am a human being and as such I can relate to other human beings. I was also a child once who related to adults in different ways depending on their role in my life and not a single one of those relationships or interactions was better or worse because the adult had or didn't have children. And really, since when does parenting make someone an expert? If that were the case there would be no need for foster care, CPS or Guardians Ad Litem. YOu don't have to look far to see that carrying a baby in your womb or even raising a kid qualifies one as an expert on the matter.
thanks for stopping by my blog! I am glad to have met you here in the blogosphere!

rebecca said...

It is very difficult isn't it? We live in this world where those who aren't parents are some type of second class citizens. I too have been working very hard at trying to believe I am enough. Sending love and hope for strength your way!

daega99 said...

I think you're amazing doing what you do. I intentionally avoided kids during my IF journey. When I did interact with them, I often felt like a fraud because I couldn't allow myself to connect with them. I hope you have the strength and drive to continue on your journey!


Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

You are much nicer than I am...I probably would have made some rude comment to the moms questioning me. Hang in there!

Conceptionally Challenged said...

I'm sorry you feel not recognized. I don't think anyone can (or should) judge your parenting experience from this -- they cannot know whether you regularly spend time with little ones or whether you're out with them for the first time. Hang in there. I admire your strength for spending so much time with kids -- there are very few around here in my social circle, and I'm kind of glad about it because they would make me so acutely aware of what I don't have.

Krissi said...

You are not a fraud!! You are an essential part of those children's lives and your experience does count for a lot! Believe me when I tell you that being on the other side-a mother myself (after going through infertility) I hold my caregiver in very high regard. And whether it be a family member, nanny or babysitter, they all help in making it possible for any mom to function throughout her day. And that says a LOT! I just added your link on my blog. ICLW (#72 & 106)

JenM said...

I am sorry that this is a struggle for you. I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been to care for other small children when we were still TTC. Best of luck to you on your journey, I hope that your dreams come true soon.

Calmly Chaotic said...

I just read your "about me" section and wow you have been through so much. To have gone through all of that and to now be battling infertility seems so unfair. I look forward to following along and hopefully seeing some good news soon!


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