I’ve never forgotten it. The first time I took my first born, infant daughter for a walk.
She was in a stroller and as I was pushing it, I felt as if all eyes were on me. There was no one around me, yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that if anyone saw me they would know I was an impostor.
They would know that there was no way THIS baby was mine. No way I was a mother. They would know just upon seeing me that I was only pretending. This wasn’t real.
I was suffering from impostor syndrome. Impostor syndrome happens when someone doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and worries about being exposed as a fraud. They can feel this way despite evidence that they are indeed competent.
This feeling continued for the first few weeks after my daughter was born. And then one day, it was gone. The odd thing about this was I only felt this way when I was outside with her in her stroller. The experience seemed so foreign that it felt unreal.
I haven’t thought about that too much over the decades since. But it strongly came to mind the other day. I was out with my grandson. We were going for a walk and he was seated in a stroller. We had walked for quite a while before I remembered that old feeling. It dawned on me that even though this too is a new situation, and I am still a newly minted grandmother, I have no feelings of being an impostor.
I expect that people look at me and see a grandmother out for a walk with her grandbaby. He is real. He is mine and I have no doubts about my competence. I have trained for this for decades.
I am most assuredly, an impostor no more.