Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Guest Post: The Pretend Mommy September 27, 2012

By Quasi-Momma

It’s been mentioned here before, but I want to reiterate that Facebook just may be one of the worst forums for a woman who is trying to come to terms with being childless.   It’s all been discussed before:  the deluge of sonograms and cute baby pictures, the over-sharing over every detail, and the annoying mommy memes are enough to drive any struggling woman to tears, pulling out her hair, or both.

Perhaps, the best revenge would be to flaunt a more desirable status update about lazy weekend mornings spent lingering over coffee without a child to cart around to practices and recitals.   But not me, I am in the middle – I am stepparent, which makes me childless, but not childfree.

The strange in-between status finds me posting what I refer to as “pretend mommy” posts.  Case in point, in the swing of “Back to School” season  Mommies everywhere were posting pictures of kids sporting brand new backpacks or commenting on first day milestones.  I was not immune.  “I can’t believe that [enter Skid’s name here] is entering high school tomorrow,” my post read.  It was met with a handful of “likes” and good luck messages from family members, but to be honest the whole thing rang false with me.  Not that I underestimate my role as a stepmom, but I thought to myself, “I’ve contributed very little to this deal, why am I claiming it?”

“Pretend mommy” behaviors typify for me the yearning I harbor inside for some connection to motherhood. While I do perform parental duties, I seldom get the recognition for this role. And since I will never be able to tell the story of how I choose my child’s name or participate in the Groom/mother dance, I grab these little moments even if they are not completely mine.  They’re like a costume – a way to quickly try on what it might be like to be the one called “Mom.”

I’m not sure if doing this is necessarily good or bad.  Like most things that just “give you a taste,” it is never 100% satisfying.  I suppose there will come a time when I will grow to the point where I won’t feel as compelled to say or do such things, my relationship with skid will progress to the point where the behavior feels more natural, or both.  For now, I’ll take these little moments for what they are until they no longer serve me or something more authentic takes it place.

How about you?  What behaviors are you finding or have you found doing to try to make it through your transition?

Quasi-Momma is living a childless, but not childfree, life as a stepmom.  Her blog,Quasi-Momma, is a collection of her reflections on pregnancy loss, childlessness not by choice, and not-so-blended family life sprinkled with a little gratitude and lot of heart.