Monday 16 December 2013

I for Intuition

When I was small, I thought that my mother was magic. If I was hurt, she could make it all better with a kiss and she seemed to have eyes in the back of her head… she just knew when I was up to no good! Now that I'm a mother myself, I realise that my mother was probably just as scared as I was half the time. That she couldn't magically make things better but the simple act of her acknowledging my hurt usually took most of the sting away. That I wasn't half as good as lying to her as I thought I was and she didn't even need a second set of eyes to catch me out.

Ellie often thinks she is being discrete when she does something, but discretion couldn't be further from the truth. I'm teaching her to play hide and seek at the moment, and sometimes her idea of hiding is to turn her back on me. I guess the old "if she can't see me, I can't see her" trick!

Anyway, the point of this post is intuition. Strange as it may seem, mamas just have it. I don't know when it turns up, probably about the same time as the hormones. When I was still pregnant, I just knew I was having a girl. Mr Fork was certain it was a boy, but I knew my Ellie bean was in there.

When she was just a few days old, we had been home from hospital for two days. I still didn't have the feeding down yet, and she was so new that she didn't have a routine, so nothing stood out, but I just knew something wasn't right. We ended up in hospital. She had very bad jaundice and they ended up having to intubate her and feed her through her nose. It was heartbreaking to see her looking so tiny and helpless and attached to machines under that blue light. We spent several nights back in the children's hospital but I'm so glad I followed my gut and took her there. She's been to hospital since then, but that first time was especially wrenching.

Mr Fork and I have a fairly relaxed parenting style. We basically follow Ellie's cues – if she's hungry, thirsty, tired, wants affection or help, she lets us know. Some things though, she can't cue us into, because she doesn't understand yet. And that's also where the intuition kicks in. Maybe it's because she and I shared a body for 9 months that it happens. When she was small, I just knew when she needed feeding, or comfort. If she was about to wake up, often I could be there just as she was wriggling around to look for me. Mr Fork sometimes says I'm coddling her, but I don't think of it like that. I think of it as giving her support until she's confident to do things her own way.

Sometimes, I think parents can get into the mindset that doctors, daycare people, teachers and other people know best because they deal with children all the time/had children before/speak loudest. I say, no one knows your baby better than you do. Especially when they can't talk yet, we need to listen to them (however they communicate) as well as to our intuition.

I'm happy for people to give me advice, but I will choose which of that advice I listen to. The person who counts, the person who knows best, is Ellie. She tells me what she needs to be a cheerful, thriving and confident person. I think she's doing it fabulously!

Do you trust your intuition?

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