I’ve spent a significant amount of time in my life doubting myself. I have analyzed my choices and actions over and over again wondering if I have made the right decision, if I should have done things differently.
My mothering has not been safe from these anxious worries. Should I feed them differently, am I hovering, is there a better way to discipline? I question myself. This is the first time I’ve done this. Babies don’t come with a manual that explains their inner workings.
This past weekend I learned a lesson. I learned that a mother’s instincts can actually mean more than anything else. Mr. T. was off all day, in fact, for a couple of days he had been off. Everyone had theories, thoughts, opinions on what could be causing the different symptoms he was experiencing. My instincts told me something was wrong. This wasn’t just a common cold, his tummy aches were not something to be ignored and when he seemed to have pain walking my gut told me he wasn’t making it up.
After a long day of ignoring my gut feelings and thinking I couldn’t possibly know the right thing to do, I went to change Mr. T. into his jammies and noticed an odd rash on his legs. That’s when I decided to stop ignoring my gut and take him to an ER. I even listened to that voice inside my head that was telling me which hospital to take him to. Turns out my inner voice was right! On all counts. The pediatrician diagnosed him with an actual condition, yet another condition that requires an acronym. As a simple basic explanation he had a reaction to a virus.
The whole ordeal turned out to be a lesson for me. A lesson that I actually know what I”m doing. Well not so much that I always know exactly what I’m doing but that I have instincts. I guess these are what they call motherly instincts.
My own anxieties have a tendency to tell me that I’m not good enough and they have transcended into questioning my ability to mother my kids. The constant doubt is draining and exhausting.
With only 4 1/2 years of experience I know that I don’t have the answers. I have alot to learn about being a parent. What I’ve learned is that I know my children. I know them better than anybody. When my child has a tummy ache my gut tells me when it’s real and when it’s not. I know my child is not a complainer so if he says he’s hurting he really is hurting. I know my child is tough, the things that he’s gone through in his short 4 1/2 years have made him strong. I know when he’s unwell and most of the time I know how to help him get better.
I guess I had a lightbulb moment. That was to listen to my inner voice. Feel what my gut is telling me. Don’t let anyone make me doubt myself. To trust that I know my children. I grew them inside me. They rested right underneath my heart. I know them. I will question myself again. It’s a part of being a parent. To be so afraid of making mistakes with your kids yet knowing deep down that you will make them. But I have to trust that I know my babies. That when something is wrong those instincts will kick in and if I listen to myself I will know what to do.
I guess my life lesson is that although I may not have the answers and I never will, I do have something much more important; my maternal instincts. With all the doubts and fears that life is going to throw at me, I have a feeling it’s those instincts that are going to help me get through alot situations in my journey through motherhood.