25 September 2016
Instinct is a curious thing: it can often sidle up to you, planting all manner of worrying thoughts in your mind leaving you feeling uneasy. The voice of instinct that clamours in your head is frequently at odds with everything and everyone around you. Family, friends, experts, professionals might well be telling you quite the opposite of what that persistent voice keeps whispering in your ear.
My advice: listen to it.
I am probably one of the least “woo woo”, fluffy people in the world but when it comes to a mother’s instinct I’m a great believer.
The truth of the matter is that a mum-to-be and mother’s instinct is incredibly powerful and can often be more accurate than a battery of tests, medical examinations and expert opinions.
What’s the worst that can happen if you take heed of that nagging little voice?
You might be seen as a bit of a fusspot, I guess, but so what?
I’d rather be branded as “that persistent mum who asks loads of questions, says she’s worried about X Y and Z and insists on ruling them out… just in case” than kicking myself and wishing I’d been that little bit more pushy.
So listen to and act on your instinct.
I know that’s not always easy because we are not all universally outspoken – many of us are shy, reserved, easily embarrassed or quiet and find it hard to rock the boat, especially when confronted by “expert opinion”.
But the fact of the matter is that experts are human and whatever field of expertise any one of us has – you, me, your GP or even the hospital consultant - we are never infallible.
So never brush aside your instinct.
Voice those niggling worries.
Ask – or even insist - to have them followed up.
So why do I tell you this?
It is, of course, because I am a mother of three and have, over the years, noticed a pattern when it comes to my instinct, mainly regarding the health and well-being of my boys.
Instinct has usually been right.
The other reason is because of the field I work in: I am in almost daily contact with mums and mums-to-be and over the years I have gathered a veritable War and Peace of pregnancy and mummy-related health stories.
I don’t share them.
There’s nothing worse than hearing about other people’s horror stories when you’re expecting or when you have little ones.
But I’ll tell you this: there’s a pattern in these tales..
… and it’s a mother’s instinct.
And the moral of these sagas with their sad, sometimes tragic and often happy endings?
Never ever ignore instinct.
Because instinct can save lives.
PS This piece was written beside my son's hospital bed. Late last Thursday evening I got back from teaching my classes and instinct told me that despite two reassuring trips to the doctor's in the previous 2 days, things weren't right. I said to my husband "I'm not happy. I'm worried there's more to this". The hospital agreed; we are now waiting for the results of tests and my son is being treated and is improving. I'm glad I went along with my gut feeling.
PPS The power of instinct is just as powerful in pregnancy when it comes to you and your unborn child.