Trust Your Intuition

I have been at the La Leche League of Georgia conference listening to the very talented Diane Wiessinger speak (see her informative website here:  www.normalfed.com).  She was speaking about the fact that breastfeeding is something that we have turned into a sometimes complicated act that undermines a mother’s feeling that she can own this experience without a professional telling her what to do.  One example she gave was about the times mothers call her and want her to help them learn to nurse lying down, when really mothers could lay down on their bed with some pillows and experiment!  Some things in life are really just up to you to figure out!

Sometimes it is easy to forget that you really are the expert on your own family and children.  Many of you know I come from a background of working in  Neonatal Intensive Care Units.  I have worked with  some very fragile premature infants and their families, and the families often felt as if the medical team knew their infant and what their infant needed better than they did.  They often felt the medical team could read their infant’s stress signs better than they did, and the team, not them, knew what their infant needed.  How discouraging and challenging!  I always tried to encourage the families I was working with, that whilst they didn’t have a medical background, that their  infants certainly knew THEM and their smell and the taste of thier mothers’  milk and how no one in the world could mother this baby the way that family could.

Here is a different sort of scenario, but with similarities: how about the  family with their first child, and then when that child hits about three or four years and is so “challenging” and different from before?  The child’s own will is emerging, and it can be so difficult to support that child where they are.  Every book may hold an answer, every expert may know better than the parent.  But at the end of the day, the family knows that child best.  It may take trial and error, it may take experimentation, but instead of viewing this as a failure and that an ‘expert’ could have figured ‘it’ out faster, perhaps a more productive attitude toward this would be to note that the journey is in the striving, and this striving must come from within. 

It is popular to say these days that, “Well, this works for that family and this works for that family” and almost everything is deemed okay if it works for that family.  I am here to say that there are essential truths to work with in childhood, (you can see this blog post for some of the things I consider essential in parenting:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/23/carries-laws-of-childhood/       ) but thankfully one of the essential truths is that you learn to trust your own intuition, if you can remain calm long enough to discover what your intuition is telling you. Build up your confidence and surround yourself with people who will encourage you!

You are the best mother for your child, your child loves you and you are doing your best.  Even if you are making different choices now than what you made in the past, you made the best decisions you could at the time with the information you had.   

Mothering is also a process of growing and developing and maturing. Your own inner work to be a calm parent, your own ordering of your home, your own rhythm to the day, and most of all, your own love for your child is there.

Many blessings to you today!

Carrie

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14 thoughts on “Trust Your Intuition

  1. Carrie, thank you so much for being so confident and clear that there are essential truths to work with in childhood. I think we’ve lost some of our intuition due to the fact that we’ve believed that there are so many “right” ways to approach child rearing that parents are overwhelmed with where to begin to find the “right fit” for their family. If we were all approaching parenthood with a common understanding of child development and understanding, parents would feel more confident about how to bring out the best in their children given that foundation of knowledge. Be sure to put the link to the blog post you mention where you’ve stated these essential truths! I want to see them as I am sure I agree with them ;)

  2. Carrie, what a wonderful post. Intuition is the key when it comes to successful parenting. I can relate to what you shared about breastfeeding. Once I stopped listening to everyone else, and did what the baby needed, life was so easy! We ended up co-sleeping with our children and also gave birth unassisted at home. Trusting ourselves can be so hard when we rely heavily on medical professionals. Thanks for sharing this and inspiring parents to remember what is important. :)

  3. I love this and try to remind myself of this whenever I feel overwhelmed by all of the amazing mothers who seem to have this mothering thing wrapped up. I love the phrase, “your child is the book” whenever I am looking to a book for help and can’t seem to fit myself, my children, or my specific family dynamics into the mold of the book. thanks for the reminder:)
    Stephanie

  4. Carrie, thank you for reminding us and inspiring us to be strong and confident in our decisions that we make as a parent. I am a mother whom delivered at 27 weeks and had my child in the NICU for 2 months. I was one of those mothers who thought the medical team knew my daughter best. It was a very trying and challenging time in our lives but once I got past the fear and understood her, it was magical!

  5. carrie – i am so excited to have found your blog! i was homeschooled, not waldorf style though somewhat, and wanted to do waldorf preschool for my 4 year old, but chose not to in the end. i love reading about bringing that into our day “homeschooling” as it were :)
    also your blog is a breath of fresh air in the midst of a parenting doldrum (crabby whiney four year old, teething 18month old kind of doldrum…) so many of your posts have resonated, and hit hard. who am i becoming? how am i improving myself? how am i bringing this calm and peace and joy to my home?
    (and if its ok i am posting more of these thoughts on my own blog about my motherhood journey)
    thank you! thank you!

  6. What a great post, Carrie. I am definitely listening more to my intuition as a parent these days. I just feel more confident. I think a big part of that is because I no longer work full time and I am now able to slow down and be more focused on my children. Just by paying attention, I can sense that my daughter is subconsciously resisting turning 5 in December. She can feel herself growing up, but wants to be a baby like her brother. I am now thinking about how to help her through this transition. I don’t know if I would have picked up on this if my life was more hectic.

    Any advice on that one, btw?

    • Ola — THere is a post on here called something like “Embracing and Uplifting”..I think that post would be a good re-read at this time in dealing with your daughter!
      Many blessings, thank you for reading
      Carrie

  7. I had recently told my hubs to buy me 4 or 5 books on parenting which I found interesting reads. However a few weeks later I changed my mind. I felt that I needed to develop my instinct more as reading books was not giving me space to feel my son and told him not to in the end. I have 3 months left before baby is due and decided to use them to understand more my son and so help him better inh this transition :) it was a great post which really resonated

  8. Dear Carrie,
    I’ve subscribed to your blog a while ago, and I am so grateful! for this post especially! it is so true that it is often very hard to listen to yourself and not some kind of ‘expert’ especially in challenging situations. it is difficult to make your own way because there will always be mistakes and there will always be dozens of people who ‘had known better’ what to do. and i strongly agree that if you keep trying and keep searching for your own parenting path with love in your heart, then sooner or later your intuition will bring you to the best possible ‘recipe’ in any difficult situation – the best for your own child of course.
    Anna
    Moscow Russia

  9. Hi Carrie,

    Thank you, it is so important to trust ourselves in times of stess and trauma. I had a baby in the NICU and I stayed with him for six weeks.I had spent years in hospital as a midwife and was pretty comfortable and knowledgable about how things work. Given that and that it was not my first baby, It was still hard. The staff was not always keen on my presence and it took alot of work to build a relationship with the nursing staff. There there were rounds and students jockeying for attention wuth the do something. I had to ward off supplementing my milk with concentrated formula every day. I spent time researching groth rates for premies on breastmilk. My heart goes out to all the new moms wih babies in the NICU. How do we support moms in the NICU? It is so isolating and confusing to be in there. I remeber all the kind gestures, warm soup and home made meals, knitted caps for my son, premie clothes which was HUGE to dress him for the first time (which might seem weird~ but it was like a step towards survuval and normalcy. Some IBCLCs were great and brought me the Breastfeeding Answer Book and I used that as a launching point to look up abstracts and research with the help of medical students who had access to PubMed in the NICU. It was work and I was experienced and knowledgable yet with the emotional piece it is hard. I’m all for Womb rooms:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/29/health/29baby.html

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  12. Best advice!:::::

    one of the essential truths is that you learn to trust your own intuition, if you can remain calm long enough to discover what your intuition is telling you. Build up your confidence and surround yourself with people who will encourage you!

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