Trusting your “Mom” Instincts

What are mom instincts? Do you have them? Do you learn them? Do they magically appear during pregnancy?

M & T share the same pediatrician (who also treated T when she was younger!). He loves to say “what does your heart tell you?” WELL I DON’T KNOW THAT’S WHY I’M ON THE PHONE WITH YOU! It’s hard to know what the right thing is. If only your babies could talk to you!

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He does address a valid point though. Nobody knows your child better than you do. So you are in the best position to evaluate the situation. The problem here is that babies don’t come with instruction manuals, and you are thrown straight into the deep end the second you leave the hospital doors. Most of us aren’t medical professionals either, so how do we know when something is wrong? How do I recognize these supposed “instincts” I have? Does my baby have a cold or is it an ear infection? Is baby motrin enough or does he need a prescription? He’s not eating, am I starving my baby? Navigating the waters of a happy healthy baby, and worse the waters of a sick, grumpy, angry baby, is H-A-R-D.

You hear stories of moms who knew something was wrong with her baby even when doctors kept telling her everything was fine. THOSE mom’s had strong instincts and fought for their babies. (M says – or do they always think something is wrong and they just happened to be right this time?) So where are my instincts? Will they come if that situation presents itself? Those moms always seem like super heroes, am I a super hero somewhere deep down?

From T’s perspective she’s parenting in a new world of technology and helicopter parents. It can be hard to find, and then trust, these instincts. With the onslaught of information available to her and the constant “shaming” from other moms, it is easy to lose sight of her gut feeling and start second guessing herself. To be fair most everyone has the babies best interests at heart, but with several people giving you advice (often unsolicited) it can be hard to trust yourself or to know what is right for you and your baby.

M has this to say: Just wait until they get big and then you REALLY doubt yourself! I have been close to tears when a child was falling apart because I just wanted to know what to do. I wanted a child psychologist in the car with me to tell me tough love was the way, or a big hug was the way, or a day off of school was the way.  The truth is there is no one way and we are all messing up all the time. You just hope your mistakes aren’t the giant ones. Kids are resilient – even little bitty babies. I think most everyone has an instinct, but in the age of information, it’s hard to trust yourself.  So, ask around, gather information, and then do what YOU feel is right.  Generally a decision does not have to be made on the spot, so don’t worry about taking some time. (NOTE – there are some decisions where time is of the essence, but that is a conversation for another day.)

Really, for T it’s going to come down to practice and getting it wrong and, at times, even getting it right. She’ll learn from the failures and be emboldened as a mom by her successes. She’s not sure she fully trusts her instincts, but they are there and she’s learning. Most importantly she needs to trust herself and not apologize for disagreeing with family and friends who think she should care for her son differently. You have to do right by you and your child because it is the only way you will be happy at the end of the day. GET THE ADVICE! It never hurts to hear other perspectives, and it helps you learn. But, at the end of the day you make your OWN decision and stand strong.

After 5 kids M doesn’t worry as much about the health issues, it’s more the parenting struggles and decisions. Luckily, M is generally not a worrier, which helps a lot. Of course, having 5 kids helps because who has time to worry?! 

Both of us (and ALL parents) are really just making it up as we go. You’ll learn to trust yourself along the way, and find what’s right for you! Until then, we will continue sharing what we’ve learned and hopefully putting you at ease knowing you aren’t alone in this. EVERYONE is struggling with parenting in some way ( or all ways 😉 ).

xoxo, T & M

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