Follow your mama gut

What is my mama gut? For me, it’s the feeling of knowing just what to do with my daughters in a given situation. My mama gut has grown stronger every minute of the day since my oldest daughter was born. My gut’s guidance is strong now, but it started out as just a little tickle.

The very moment I laid eyes on my first baby, I felt a very delicate little tap-tap-tap. Now my mama gut pretty much guides every interaction I have with my daughters or decision I make regarding them. On the rare occasion my gut is confused, I am thankful to have a devoted husband and father to step in and give the appropriate advice and guidance (like the time my daughter tried to punch her father in the face. Yep, I was stumped).

My mama gut is often challenged by a number of outside forces like well-meaning peers and family members, or even the old lady at the grocery store… pretty much anyone questioning what we do. I think every mom falls prey to being questioned. It’s very easy to second guess yourself.

For me, the pediatrician is the one force of science, reason and medicine I will most definitely pause and listen to.  Otherwise, it’s really just me and my husband running the show, and I think we do a darn good job.

Babies enjoying a ride.
Babies enjoying a ride.

Scene I: Our twins’ 12 month well-child visit

We are meeting with a pediatrician new to the practice. We have never seen her before, but she seems knowledgeable and nice enough. She questioned us on the usual things, like the girls eating and sleeping habits, and their gross and fine motor skills. With each response, her reactions were not necessarily complimentary, but they were not alarming either. My mama gut was saying – “Yeah, I just don’t like this visit.”

For example, I typically get some sort of response for breastfeeding my twin babies for 13 months, especially after returning to working full-time outside of the home. I’m not looking for a parade, but acknowledgment or a “nice job” would have been nice, especially since I was in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics policy on breastfeeding.

Bottom line: The doctor made some general comments about their development, which sent me into a spiral of self-doubt and concern. I followed my mama gut and addressed what I felt was necessary.

Scene II: 3 months later at the twins 15 month well-child visit

We are meeting with our usual pediatrician. Flipping through their file he remarks, “So I see the girls are pretty healthy. They are crawling and progressing?” I reply emphatically with a “Yes!” Then launch into a series of examples of how they are developing. Nonplussed he says, “Great!” We’ll see you in a few months.

Even two pediatricians in the same practice have different approaches to evaluating the growth and development of my children!

What did I learn? I should always just follow my mama gut.

My husband and I know our girls better than anyone in the world. There is always someone ready to make a comment on their development or behavior, or question me and my husband on a decision we have made as their parents together. I do not care what others have to say, but there is nothing I can do to keep them from talking. In response, I can control what I do, and my mama gut is what I listen to more than anything else and what I trust more than anyone else (excluding my husband of course). When it comes to raising children, everyone has an opinion, but my mama gut trumps all.

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