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Where Can I Find a Mother Mentor?

February 23, 2009

My last post detailed my minor freak out and fallout. I got over it, life was hunky dory, until this morning. It’s hard to say exactly what triggers a panic attack, but they are most unsettling when it’s the first thing you wake up to in the morning. I could go over the potential triggers, but when it comes down to it, it really has to do with my mother. I’ve been thinking this past week that people who have neglectful or crazy mothers do not come out of it unscathed.

I’m have second doubts on the eve of starting my Lu.pron shots for my FET. Make that third, fourth, fifth, and sixths doubts. We could count all the way up to a million if you like, or a billion trillion kajillion. I don’t think I’ll ever feel ok with being a mother on some level. I never had that base in my life. Perhaps the terror of being abandoned at an early age is what is being triggered. I don’t know. I know I’m not crazy because when I don’t think about being a mother, I’m fine.

Someone in my support group had a brilliant idea. There have to be mothers out there who would like to be a support to women like me. My idea is of a woman who’s children have grown and is the motherly type who would really enjoy mentoring a future-mother-to-be. Kinda like a Big-Mother program, modeled off the Big-Sister program. I don’t have any friends or relatives in my life who could fill this role for me, at least none that I can think of. My mother is out, for both emotional and physical reasons. My aunt could have worked, but since she’s dead and I’m not very good at communicationg with spirits, then she’s not an option either. I think a doula or mid-wife could fit this role, but I’d rather it be someone who isn’t charging me money. I want to know that this person is going to be with me thick or thin, check or no check. Does anyone know of a mother-mentoring program like this?

Yeah, I’ve been on BCPs for four weeks, but I could just bail on it all right now. As it is, I feel like I’m on auto-pilot, and that is not how I want to be a mother. I’ve been a step-mother, so I know I can handle the logistical parts of being a mother. The whole everything-will-be-fine-when-I-get-pregnant thing does not work for me. Been there, done that, and it just intensifies these fears for me. I know that when it comes down to it, I will have to go through this alone, but I just don’t know if I can.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Retro Girl permalink
    February 23, 2009 12:52 pm

    Oh Phoebe! I hope all my FET cocktail talk via email this morning wasn’t the trigger…my deepest apologies if it was.This idea of a “Big-Mother” program sounds delightful. Sign me up. The fear, panic, and everything else associated with the FET is very valid. It’s a big deal…a BIG DEAL. I think it is actually very insightful to realize that this idea of “everything will be fine when I’m pregnant” is not really the case. On so many occasions I have said to myself “if *this* happens, I will be so happy and at peace”…then that thing happens, I’m happy for a little bit, but then that temporary happiness wears off and all my pre-existing issues and angst remain. Why would I think pregnancy would be any different? You’re so right – pregnancy is not a “solution” to that. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Mo and Will permalink
    February 23, 2009 1:59 pm

    This is a good idea…Hmmm…might be worth brainstorming where you could come into contact with some motherly types – maybe a shared volunteer activity could put you in the path of such a person? not a formalized program (have never heard of one), but someone who could model for you that you are ok – and that it is ok and normal to be scared and a little awed about the responsibility of mothering (a sign of health, actually). the other thing that can really help is some CBT (maybe with a good female psychologist – but a male could be just as good if he were understanding). This could help #1 with the panic – in approx. 12 weeks, the panic attacks can be history, and #2 with exploring some of your anxious thoughts about parenting and learning to check them out and respond to them.The Academy of Cognitive Therapy certifies some of the best cognitive therapists in the country. They have a website – here is the long link:{53570D7E-5AF8-4D0C-8A21-51025A714B98}&SP=2someone certified by them would certainly know how to deal well with the issues you're facing, whether they are a prenatal depression specialist or not.Hope i'm not overstepping but really want to see you start to feel some mastery over your thoughts and feelings and get some relief. It can happen. You can do this!Mo

  3. The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) permalink
    February 23, 2009 2:54 pm

    Oh, I can so relate to this–the fear, the sense of being alone and abandoned, wanting a mentor. I don’t know of any programs…maybe you and I should start one? I really think there’s a huge need. Maybe I’ll see if I can find any good resources for this. If you find a program let me know! My counselor actually suggested the same thing to me and I asked a woman I knew in Tucson to do this for me. We talked for awhile–and it definitely helped–but then she got super-busy and kind of disappeared. I’ve just recently asked someone I knew in college to do this for me. We’ll have to do it by phone, but it’s something. Thinking of you, holding you in my heart, in my prayers, Phoebe. And I think you’re really wise not to just think all will be well once you’re pregnant…in my book it’s always better to bow to your own self-knowledge and limitations and seek to care for yourself in the midst of that rather than go blindly into something. Also, is the trauma-therapy helping at all? My DNMS stuff has really directly helped with my mom stuff and has made it so much easier for me…helped me to grow a solid little mother inside me…

  4. Duck permalink
    February 23, 2009 5:56 pm

    Great idea, but, i don’t know where you could go to get your mother mentor.

  5. Cara permalink
    February 23, 2009 7:15 pm

    Oooo – your very own “Big Mentor Mama” would be just perfect. I hope and pray that she appears in your life soon.I want you to know how much I appreciate your descriptions of panic attacks. My little girl has them and I just don’t know how to help her. I mean – she’s only 6 and those feeling must be overwhelming and scary!So – you wanna play Big Mama for a moment and tell me how to best support her anxieties, now, when she is most pliable?email me if you have any ideas –

  6. DAVs permalink
    February 23, 2009 9:04 pm

    This is such a heartfelt post, I feel bad saying that I chuckled at your Big Mother comment (this because I was the Big Sister half of a Big Couple for seven years!). I’m sorry that you have to have these panicking feelings, I wish nothing but happiness and peace for you on this journey.

  7. the misfit permalink
    February 23, 2009 9:33 pm

    This makes a lot of sense to me…my mother is mentally ill. She’s never really KNOWN any of us, her children, and I remember hearing stories from friends in college about how it was so comforting to talk to their mothers sometimes, and I could almost but not quite imagine what that might mean. But I’ve been able to lean on some wonderful women every now and again and I hope I’ll have one to show me the ropes if and when I’m expecting one of my own. Anyway, my answer to your question was going to be, “That depends on what city you live in.” But in your decision not to relive your suffering, you’ve not provided any information about yourself at all! So, anyway, if you can share your location, maybe one of your blog friends will know an empty-nester Mommy such as you describe.

  8. geeksinrome permalink
    February 24, 2009 6:28 am

    love this idea!! call my mom. honestly!also, do take into account that older moms do forget the sharp edges that come with motherhood/pregnancy. my mom is good in that she doesn’t put a rosy glow on her past/memories. but do watch out for it with others. that’s why it is good to talk to new moms, too, because they are living in the throes of a very hard phase and can be very understanding of all the tumultuous feelings and fears.

  9. Clio permalink
    February 24, 2009 10:34 am

    Phoebe, I understand you fear. I also have many issues with the way my parents raised me. The abandonment, the neglect… I guess they really did a bad job, because I was 7 when i started to watch shows on cable about how to raise children. It did strike me at some point that maybe I would be unfit to be a mother since my personal experience being a daughter was so traumatic. Or the worry that I would not be able to do a better job no matter how hard I’d try. I’m feeling better about this now. Your idea of finding a mother menthor is fabulous. I dearly hope you find one. I don’t know what religious path you are on, but maybe you could be open to people who are on a more earth-centered, nature religions, they tend to be really motherly. So it would be easy to find some counseling (and great hugs) from someone that connects to the divine feminine. I really don’t mean to offend or upset you in case you have strong reservations against alternative spirituality. I’m very sorry in case I’m overstepping boundaries. anyway, I hope you find what you seek. And also, maybe you’ll find it in your heart, the certainty that because you know what hurts, you won’t do that to another human being. Bear in mind, that we can evolve from what we were given, and you sure have come a long way. especially, because you have these questions. It already shows that you can be a very caring mother. 🙂

  10. Phoebe permalink
    February 24, 2009 2:04 pm

    Retro Girl: no worries! Your e-mail was very welcome!Great comments everyone! Keep um comin’!

  11. onwardandsideways permalink
    February 24, 2009 11:34 pm

    Hello Phoebe… I will confess to not having read a ton of your posts… but this one alone makes me want to blogroll you and keep following along. I, too, need a mother mentor. My therapist told me to keep and eye out and she would show up. But she hasn’t and that was 7 years ago. I am very interested in connecting with women who are going through infertility without a good mother figure present. I will email you to request access to your private blog, I am interested in your story and what has happened to you. I am currently going through an IVF/DE cycle. You can follow along with my story at if you’d like.

  12. February 25, 2009 11:00 am

    I come by LAFC. I’d second one of the previous comments about either a church type place or a volunteer organization. I have found that people who do those activities seem to be inherently nice and loving- which is what you’re looking for!I hope you find what you seek.

  13. Bridget permalink
    February 25, 2009 7:17 pm

    Phoebe:Not sure where you live. I live in the Boston area. Our local Jewish Children and Family Services organization has a mother mentor program. Here is the link to their web page: are other JCFS’s across the country, maybe they have something similar? I had a visiting mom when my daughter was a baby and it was a huge help.

  14. Lost in Space permalink
    February 25, 2009 10:23 pm

    Crap, sweetie, I’m sorry things have been so rough. I so wished you lived in my neighborhood (for more reasons than 1). I, of course, wouldn’t be a good choice for a mentor, but there are 4 ladies on my street alone that could fill this role so perfectly and I am planning to look to them for guidance some day…….any chance there is someone like this where you live, work, etc.? They are most definitely out there and I hope you are able to find a perfect match.You aren’t alone, Phoebe. We are here every step of the way…….

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