When trying to think of a title for this post, my first thought was “Mom Gut.” However, I realized that title gave the idea that I was going to be writing about that squishy, stretch mark-filled area where you used to have your bellybutton pierced but now just have a bad scar and loose skin (what? just me?). While I definitely could write a post about the physical changes with my gut, I want to focus on the metaphorical gut. Some may refer to it as instinct, intuition, or a sixth sense… but for this post, let’s just go with gut.
My motherly gut instincts began even before my son was born. There are some things that we just know. For instance, I had a gut feeling that I was carrying a boy (true). I had a gut feeling that my epidural would mess up (true). I had a gut feeling that I should have demanded the hospital stop force feeding my son formula in the NICU (regretfully, I didn’t act upon this one). Anyway, you get the point.
The problem with these motherly instincts is that we run into resistance. While I will agree that sometimes my intuitions are incorrect, more often than not, my gut is spot-on. A few weeks ago my son woke up with a fever of 103F. This was the beginning of April so although the “flu season” had technically ended, my gut just told me that he had the flu. He had been exposed at daycare but it was two weeks prior to his fever occurring.
My first step was to head over to WebMD (yes, I know that this really is a bad habit as it regularly convinces me that I am dying) and check off his symptoms. He had every single flu symptom! We headed in to the doctor and he did the physical exam… looked in his eyes, ears, mouth, etc. After doing this he exclaimed that he thought he had some blahblah virus that I can’t pronounce. He said he would draw blood to get a blood count to confirm. My husband (who disagreed with my flu diagnosis — and he is a nurse, by the way) looked at me smugly when the doctor didn’t even mention the flu. Before the doctor left the room, I requested a flu test. The doctor listed off a list of reasons as to why he didn’t think it was the flu but agreed to the test to appease me. A few minutes later the doctor came back in, turned to my husband and said, “You know what man, moms just have this instinct. They just know… it’s a gift that we just don’t have.”
When I first became a mom, I would often disregard my gut feelings or I would try to convince myself that I was overreacting. I didn’t want to be that mom who wiped off the paci every time it hit the floor. As time has progressed, I have realized that I am my son’s biggest advocate. While I may not always be right, and I definitely overreact sometimes, I am proud to err on the side of caution when it comes to my son. So, instead of feeling shame for voicing my intuitions, opinions, and thoughts, I am going to stick by my gut!