Trusting our instinct and doing whats right for ourselves and our family

With constant access to a never ending stream of information, it has never been so easy to get caught up in a world ‘googling’ all of life’s answers. But how far should we go in trusting all that we read and hear at the expense of listening to ourselves, to our hearts, to our own bodies and to our instinct.

This week I had a timely reminder about the importance of relying on that ‘feeling’ that something wasn’t right.  On walking to the football with my dad, my brother and I were concerned about the breathlessness my dad was feeling. This wasn’t the first time and despite having been to the doctor the previous week, having had it investigated and having been told it could be a virus or maybe a touch of asthma he had been sent home. As I watched my dad throughout that football match, something wasn’t quite right. As our team was losing I was concerned that he may start getting frustrated and stressed. But he wasn’t. That was the biggest telltale sign. (Yes footy is pretty big in our household). When we returned home my brother insisted to my mum that he go to hospital. Whilst dads feeble attempts to convince us that the doctors had said he was fine were drowned out by our insistence, he was whisked away to emergency. On investigation he had an artery that was 90% blocked, requiring 2 stents. A lifesaving operation…and an incredible sigh of relief.

We are so lucky to have so much access to information and support networks via the advancements in technology, but we must remember that we also have access to the greatest source of information…ourselves.

As we parent in these modern times we are plied with so many instructions, so much advice, so many ‘how to’s’ and ‘how not to’s’ and we are privy to so many comparisons that it can often be a little overwhelming. We are told why our baby is crying and how to fix it, what they should be watching, and how they should be spending their every waking moment. This in turn can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy and even leaves us making decisions that don’t feel right or work well within the circumstances of our particular situation. When we have a new baby the amount of information is mind boggling and the number of products we simply must have to parent effectively, can be seen to be out of control. Some advice is helpful, timely, warranted and even essential. Some products are equally effective, helpful and do make life easier. And certainly the support that many parents gain from access to so much information has proven to provide wonderful resources and online communities and networks. But what is true, relevant, helpful or necessary for one person is not going to be so for every individual or family.

So lets not forget to take what we need from other sources but trust in ourselves to make the final judgement. When it comes to our children and ourselves we must remember to rely on doing what feels right, what works for us and what is a good fit for ourselves and our family.

Do you ever go against popular or expert opinion in order to make a decision based on gut feeling or instinct?

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Susan, the Book Chook

    I actually wish I could look back at my life and have done just that much more. And I believe we need to teach our kids to trust their instincts too. There are situations when those instincts will be trying to save them from disaster.

    1. Martine

      We also have tried to instil this in our kids as well. Particularly when it comes to making decisions they are not comfortable with, we have spoken to them about listening to that voice inside them or that feeling they get…particularly when it doesn’t feel right. And when in doubt we have urged them to “do what you think mum would want you to do!”

  2. Bronnie

    You probably saved your Dad’s life! Well done!
    We must always go with our instincts.
    My son had pneumococcal at 14 months old. Our family doctor told me I was a neurotic first time Mum who had never seen a sick child before. (But I had of course. Son had had bronchiolitis, RSV and bad gastro before this). I told him my instinct as his mother was that this was serious and asked him straight out if he had pneumococcal or meningococcal and doctor actually laughed at me. He said it was just a cold and to come back in the morning if he wasn’t any better. Thank God I took him to the hospital ER, where he got worse very quickly, and they saved his life.
    Never doubt your instincts!

    1. Martine

      Thanks Bronnie for sharing. And good on you for not only being so in tune with your child and your instinct but for having the strength to do something about it despite what others were saying. I am sure you (and your son) will be eternally grateful for that faith in your instinct.

  3. Posie Patchwork

    Oh great work with your father, you can’t google that hands on observation & experience, or instinct.
    As for parenting, i so rarely read books/ blogs/ websites/ magazines/ forums as i truly believe so much comes from your heart, instinct & just listening, as if you are clued in, you know best!! I certainly don’t have difficult, sickly or problem children, so not much to look into, all we could wrangle from 4 of them was one mild asthmatic & a bit of seasonal eczema (with her twin). I think my advantage was having children before all this excess & overload of information, so i had to work it out for myself in the late 1990s. We also had our babies 4500km from the nearest family member & that kind of independence has left us very good at judging our own children, family & ways of doing things. Love Posie

    1. Martine

      That is so true Posie, if you don’t have the access to the help or information you do have to work it out for yourself and that is probably something we were better at in times gone by.

  4. katepickle

    Wow! Such an important lesson to trust your instincts more…. I bet you and your family are so glad you did!
    I’m a planner so I attempted to plan everything about parenting, even before I was pregnant. Then I was told I was having twins and all my plans went out the window…. I learnt the hard way ( prem twins first time around) that you can’t plan children you just have get up every day and work out the best way to cope with whatever the day throws at you.
    I still like to read about parenting and having a degree in early childhood ed helps with some background knowledge, but nothing really prepares you, there is no book that has all the right answers for you…. there is not choice to go with your instincts on occasion and sometimes against the mainstream. At times I’ve found that hard… but somewhere deep down is the knowing that this is important stuff, too important to compromise because I am feeling a bit shy or picked on!

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