Imposter Momplex

I started writing this post at 04:40 in the kitchen, under the eclipse, hobbling with my rickety pelvis, making lunches and writing exhaustive to-do lists. I couldn’t sleep because I was overcome by feelings of aintshitness. 

I was awake being unnecessarily busy because I felt I had to do something useful while my family was asleep so I could achieve something other than self-doubt and feeling trapped in failure, by the time they woke up. Why? Because my life is too nice, I can’t possibly deserve it, I must toil for it. Bereka mosadi. How did I get here?I’ve been sick, and when I get sick I need to rest, and when I am not “doing anything”, sometimes I get stressed, and when I get stressed I get anxious…

There’s something about my experience of anxiety as a mother that, when it hits, makes me question how deserving I am of the life I have – children, husband, home. So then I work. I overwork. Then I get tired, then I get sick…

Anyway, as part of my ongoing personal work, I am facing past traumas, identifying triggers and buried pain that resurface during times of stress and dis-ease. This is what I’ve recently come to confront:

Something horrible happened to me in 2010. Long story, but it made me question everything I’d achieved up until that point and lost all confidence in my creativity, work ethic, abilities and ambition. I even stopped taking clients in my sangoma practice which I’d been building for 2 years because I began doubting my healing gifts and I was afraid someone would “expose” me for not even having gone to thwasa at all. While it was resolved, on paper, the stigma and implications remained and on the inside it left me like this:

For the past 7 years, I’ve started new ventures, but abandoned them when they started being successful, because I am still actually afraid that I’m this fraud stealing money/shine/opportunities. I thought “let me just focus on my healing work” but my practice grew in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and I started feeling afraid of that too…ok, let me just stay at home, keep my head down and be a mum. Woah, healthy children, solid marriage, comfort and security…am I stealing again?! Wow Nokulinda, who do you think you are… 
And that, members, is how this trauma turned anxiety crossed over from my professional life into my personal life and went platinum with no features.

I’m unlearning perfectionism and being too hard on myself. It’s a rocky road. Our therapist is always like “be a gentle spring rain” and I’m trying, but I always end up like KZN in September 1987…

I have an Imposter Momplex. It’s imposter syndrome but for motherhood, in my case, nice life motherhood. When I’m feeling low, I become terrified by the love and relative ease of my life. 

Angithi womanhood, especially black womanhood and motherhood are positioned as that Roosevelt teabag, chin-crown-queen-meme, bekezela nyovadam of UmGowisho. Otherwise are you really slaying? Excellent? Deserving? Suka. 

This is the sunken place of iMbokodo. 

 I don’t want to eat my life through pipes, I want to eat my life with a teaspoon. 

4 thoughts on “Imposter Momplex

  1. Kelebogile says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this gogo.As a mother of 3 I find myself struggling with feelIng that I don’t deserve my husband,kids and my life.Infact I struggle with anxiety because for a long time I felt that I don’t deserve anything positive happening to me.We are harsh on ouseless and my husband said to me you just need to do what you can don’t break yourself,a little goes a long way and we all need you to be healthy and happy.It’s a constant struggle but I whisper that I deserve happiness too when I fall back into feeling like I don’t deserve anything I have.


  2. mamgcina83za says:

    If I’m being honest, this is why I keep insisting on packing a lunch for the 10yr old (or doing some other “at least I’m Mom-ing” thing). Therapist says – repeatedly – that I’m a great Mom. Kid says he’s happy that I’m his Mama…but I still don’t know it in my knowers. I still feel inadequate & as though I’m not doing enough. That (& my love of sleep and single income) is why I won’t even entertain the idea of another child. I have “signs of life” in the form of my 10yr old. Also, I’m barely dealing with the guilt, so ivaliwe leyo nkonzo Bazalwane.


  3. Nomcebo Sithole says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m currently going through the most. I don’t know if I’m currently coming or going. same routine day in and out all in hope that someday soon ill get it right. I’m so afraid of change that I have endured the suffering and smiling all too well. I’m mother of one, in a relationship with my long time fiancé. I feel trapped in my life. I feel like I was never meant to be a mother. I am not deserving of love. not deserving of my career. This year I turned 30 and also obtained a Masters degree. I didn’t celebrate both these success, because in my head and heart I don’t even feel worthy of being celebrated. I’m in daily misery. I have no friends. I’ve lost myself and I don’t even know how to get back at being me.


  4. Coslin says:

    Thank you for this post, now I know it has a name momplex, two days before my daughter was due i kept dragging myself to work even when I was given strict doctor’s orders not to work, I got such anxiety cause I was promoted a month before I was due for maternity leave, i tried to prove over and over why I was deserving to the detriment of my health, I find myself still offering to work from home even though baby is only a month old, I woke up so angry and all over the place today I did laundry bathed the kids before school cause how dare I have it so easy, how dare I just breeze through it, how dare I have a husband that wants and does these things 😭😭😭


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