Thursday, October 25, 2018

Follow Your Gut

As a doula, I tell clients constantly to follow their intuition, instinct, and gut feeling. But what does that mean? How do you know what to do? This is a personal story of when I followed my intuition as a mother.
About a year ago, I was at work on a Saturday morning. My mom called and asked to take my boys out for the day. Since they were just sitting at home, bored, I told her that was perfectly fine. I called my boys to tell them to get ready. My teenager begged to stay at home. Normally I would have made him go, as I think it is super important for kids to spend time with family. But I had this nagging feeling in my gut and told him it was ok for him to stay home that day and that just his younger brother would go.
A few hours later, I received a few missed calls from my mom and then my sister. Before I picked up the phone I knew something was wrong (another gut feeling). My mom along with my youngest son and my sister's son had been in a bad car accident. They all walked away. The kids were in booster seats in the back seat, which was untouched. They came out with just seat belt burns on their necks. My mom had injuries from her seat belt as well, which after some time, we discovered were more serious and required surgery.
The other driver, involved in the accident, t-boned my mom's SUV while my mom was traveling 60 mph. The impact was so hard the SUV flipped on its side and skidded down the side of the highway. My mom and the kids walked away because the other driver hit the passenger side seat. There was absolutely nothing left of the seat. That seat would have been where my oldest son would have been sitting had he gone with my mom that day. I am sure that my oldest son would not have walked away from that accident or possibly would not have even survived. That strong feeling I had earlier that morning, to not let my oldest son go with my mom, saved his life.
You are given your children for a reason. Only you know what choices are best for them. We live in a society where we are told to constantly second guess ourselves. We hire others to make decisions for us and for our family based on their education and expertise. But these professionals do not have the most important factor, your intuition.
What does intuition feel like? It is a feeling that starts in your belly, it can feel like butterflies. Many times, it is a decision that you make without thinking; the knee jerk reaction you have to a situation. It is a feeling that you just cannot explain.
There is never a need to explain your gut feeling. It is yours alone. Others may never understand why you do what you do. And that is because they are not you. They do not know what you have experienced in your life, they do not know your children as intimately as you do. No one can ever judge another because no one has ever walked in your shoes.
Intuition is provided to everyone. We just have to be quiet enough to listen. And we also have to be brave enough to follow it. Some times the decisions we make, based on intuition, are not popular; they are not what everyone else is doing. It can be hard to stand up to family members, paid professionals, and even your own partner. But that nagging feeling will not go away easily. It can only be suppressed.
This story is one of many I have experienced in my fifteen years of being a mother. Some are not quite so shocking. Some of these decisions have completely changed our lives. There are times I have chosen not to listen to it and then regretted it. Hindsight has proven to me that I need to follow the gut feeling every time. Mothering can be difficult. Intuition is your God-given tool to make it a bit easier.