Motherhood…Parte the Firste

I’m thinking about motherhood & what it all means. If I’m giving a devotional at a shower for a first-time mom, what are the ideas I really want to get across? I guess my first bit of advice would be “Trust Your Instincts”. I believe that God has imbued each mother with instincts about her babies. No one – not even the father – knows more about that baby than mommy. There’s just a feeling deep in our guts about our children. We know when something’s wrong, we know what’s best for them, we know what parenting style best suits them & us. The only thing that gets in our way is the advice or disapproval of other people. I can remember when Maggie was born and I was certain that she would just sleep in that little bassinet thing at the hospital. I was SO INCREDIBLY tired & just wanted to sleep, but she wouldn’t sleep. She just cried. Finally, after many false sleeps, in my desperation, I picked her up & put her next to me in the bed. She fell asleep immediately & I discovered the joy of cosleeping. To the horror of many, we continued to let her sleep with us for quite a while and, contrary to popular belief, she didn’t smother, freak out, demand our bed forever, or any of those horror stories you hear. She became a normal girl who sleeps in her own bed and only comes to join us when she has a bad dream. I think instead of creating need, it created in her a sense that we’re there for her when she truly needs us, but she doesn’t need us all the time. Self-confidence combined with trust in those you love. That said, I know that wouldn’t work for every parent/child combination. That’s what I mean about instinct. Every mother needs to determine what works best for HER situation & trust that it is exactly that. There will always be people who feel a need to stick their noses in & give unsolicited advice, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it. The best thing a new mother can learn is how to smile politely & give a noncommittal nod. “Yes…thank you for the idea.” Then walk away and do what feels right. Take what fits & throw the rest away. That applies to everyone – doctors, your parents, his parents, your best friend, the so-called experts – whomever. If something they tell you doesn’t sit right – work it out. For example – last year Henry was very, very sick. He had been running a high fever overnight, was lethargic, wouldn’t eat – he was horribly sick. I took him to the practice where our doctors are & the DOC wasn’t really listening to what I was telling him. He just insisted that Henry needed breast milk & I should go home & contact LLL to see if I could get my hands on some (I had to quit nursing at 3 months because his mouth muscles weren’t strong enough to do it & I just couldn’t pump anymore). As I started dressing him, something in my gut told me NO. NO. NO. NO. My baby wasn’t right & he needed more than breastmilk. So…..I said, “Y’know, he’s just not right – he’s COMPLETELY lethargic & with the high fever….” Dr. Quack-a-lot then says, “Fever?? He has a fever??” I wanted to scream “OMGWTFPOLARBEAR**!!!!ELEVENTY-ONE!!!!! YES. HE HAS A FEVER. HAS HAD A FEVER FOR 2 DAYS NOW. 103. YES. I MENTIONED IT MANY TIMES.”
“Oh. Right then. You should immediately take him downtown to Children’s Memorial. Yes. Immediately. Right.” Dr. I’m-too-important-to-listen-to-you replies. When we got to CMH an hour later his fever was 104 & his oxygen saturation was down in the low 60s. In the aftermath of all of it we discovered how very, very serious it was. Had I listened to the doctor instead of my instincts, we probably would have lost him. Yes. He would have DIED. And I KNEW it. It’s about trusting the little voice inside, that little feeling in your gut that God has put there.
I think that’s good for the 1st part. If you read this, let me know what you think.

**(copyright Cleolinda Jones 2004 All Rights Reserved)