Am I a Real Mum? by Maressa Mortimer We’re all familiar with ‘Imposter syndrome’, where we might downplay our achievements, our job or our hobby. When people ask us what we do, we say, “Oh, I’m a full-time mum, I homeschool my children. Oh, and in the evening I like to write, you know, just for fun...” There are other times where some of us mums can feel like that. It’s Mother’s Day this month, and for adoptive and foster families, it can be very difficult. It’s the month for awkward questions, like “What about their real mother?” I know, I could do with losing some weight and getting fitter, but last time I checked, I was still real, not imagined... I’m also the one dealing with tears, preparing meals, soothing, sticking on plasters (wish we had shares in some plaster factory!), and cleaning up after four little darlings. I’m the one consoling my children after nightmares, hugging them better when heartbreaking sadness overwhelms them or when their early years’ trauma causes misunderstandings. Does that make me a real mother? Or am I only a real mother because a piece of paper from the Courts says so?
Then there is the more tricky one. “They’re so lucky to have you.” Not really. You see, there is nothing lucky for my children in their loss, grief and hurt. I’m beyond blessed, of course, at being allowed to love and care for these precious little beings! (Also, I can honestly say my kids are the best; after all, I got to choose them!) My children are maybe fortunate that they have been given a second chance at life, but that isn’t lucky. There is nothing lucky about missing out on formative years, nothing lucky about being harmed or anything else that necessitates Social Services to -8-