As new parents, we’re often told to trust our “mommy gut” or our “motherly instincts.” While this might seem like a far-too-faulty phenomenon to trust in, there’s a lot of power in a mother’s intuition.
The deep, unshakeable bond between a mother and her child begins long before that child enters the world. Mothers often report feeling a pull or tug, like a sixth sense, that warns them when their child is experiencing danger. While some people might want to ridicule mothers as being too cautious, anxious, or overprotective when it comes to their children, it’s important for moms to learn to pay attention to the natural forces that guide them. There have been reports of mothers unexplainably saving their children from harm just because they relied on their instincts - so it’s important for new mothers to learn to trust their gut feelings when it comes to their children.
You may not always want to fall down the slippery slope of worrying about hypothetical harm to your children, here are ten scenarios when you should always trust your mommy gut.1. A pregnancy with odd symptoms
Every pregnancy is different - and your doctor has probably told you that many times. Pregnancy symptoms run a huge range, and vary from woman to woman. However, no one is more in tune with your body than you - so don’t be afraid to speak up if you suddenly experience some frightening pregnancy symptoms. If you don’t feel your baby moving as often, if your bleeding becomes concerning, if you’re experiencing lightheadedness or severe cramping - call your doctor right away. A quick checkup and ultrasound can save you or your baby’s life!
2. A pediatrician’s opinion that doesn’t seem right
Just because someone has years of medical training and experience working with children doesn’t mean they’ll always be right when it comes to your child. If you’ve taken your child to a pediatric visit, only to be told there’s nothing wrong with your child, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. Ask to make a follow up appointment with another pediatrician, or if symptoms become very concerning, have your baby evaluated at a hospital. Many insurance providers also have 24-hour advice lines for parents to call in times of need, or when a second opinion is needed. No one knows your child better than you do!
3. Being picky when it comes to childcare
There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you’re picky when it comes to childcare. If something just doesn’t seem right about your nanny or babysitter, maybe it’s time to find a new one. If your little one’s childcare center or preschool seems “off” to you, it probably is. If you feel awkward around a certain family member and feel worried about them taking care of your child when you’re not around, trust your instinct. The safest environment for your child, and the only one you can truly control, is within your home, so be cautious when picking who else to trust with your child’s life.
4. Dangerous online presence
Cyberspace is a scary place for children these days. It’s easy for online predators to lure kids in with seemingly harmless emails, pictures, or chat rooms. Pay attention to what your child is doing online and who they are interacting with. Keep track of all the passwords to your child’s online accounts, games, and social media, and never let a child use the Internet unsupervised. Young children should not have unrestricted access to tablets, smartphones, or computers, and parental controls are important for online safety. Teach your children that not everyone on the Internet is who they say they are, and that dangerous criminals can target children easily in online gaming or on social media.
5. Untrustworthy family members
It can be so hard to put up boundaries, especially when it comes to family members. However, many instances of harm and abuse happen right in families’ own homes, by someone they know or are related to. If a certain family member makes you or your child uncomfortable, don’t feel guilty about refusing to let your child spend time with that person. Pay attention to how your children act around family members. Keep an open line of communication between you and your child when it comes to issues of concerns about other people. Just because a person is a family member, doesn’t mean they’re incapable of harming your child. Trust your gut when it comes to reading family situations.
As your child grows and enters school, he will probably begin to make lots of new friends. It’s important to let your child cherish their newfound sense of independence, but it is also important that you are involved in monitoring his friendships. Do your best to pay attention to who your child’s friends are, try to get to know the other parents, and never send your child to someone else’s house if you feel uncomfortable doing so.7. Strange animal behavior
If your family pet or a neighbor’s animal suddenly starts acting odd and aggressive, don’t hesitate to protect your child by keeping them away from the animal or rehoming your pet. Even beloved pets can become agitated, territorial, and aggressive when a child enters the picture. If you feel uncomfortable about your neighbor’s rambunctious dog, or if your once-docile cat suddenly becomes loud and territorial, trust your instincts. Animal attacks can be deadly to young children!8. Unexplained noises at night
Nighttime is full of odd noises and occurrences. Maybe you’ve just crawled into bed after a long day, and suddenly hear an odd noise coming from another part of the house. If you can’t easily identify the sound, or find the source of the noise on the baby monitor, it might not be such a bad idea to get out of bed and find out what caused the noise. There have been many cases when a mother has gotten out of bed, only to find an intruder in the house, a heavy object in the nursery has fallen on their child, or their little one has suddenly started breathing irregularly. Trust your gut on this one!9. The dangers around water
Pools, ponds, lakes, oceans, and even bathtubs can present a huge danger to children. A child can drown in just a few inches of water! Young children do not understand the dangers when it comes to water. Perhaps they run too close along the outer edge of a deep pool. Or they might submerge their head underwater during bathtime, just to feel the sensation of water surrounding them. Or they might run into the ocean, unaware of how quickly a current can sweep them away. Teach your little ones about water safety, and be vigilant when it comes to supervising your child around water.10. Anxiety about crowded spaces
Crowded situations can be tough on families. It can become easier to lose sight of your child, or just become more lax about keeping a close eye on your little one, especially when you’re at a family gathering. You might even be ridiculed for paying too much attention to your child’s whereabouts. However, there’s nothing wrong with being overly cautious when you’re in a crowded space, especially if your little one is prone to running! Don’t hesitate to use a leash or harness-style backpack with your toddler, and be sure to talk to older children about safety and what to do if they become lost. Children can wander off into dangerous situations in a matter of seconds, so never feel guilty about being extra cautious about your child in crowded spaces.
Parenthood is not an easy journey. While it can be easy to brush aside a mother’s anxiety as pregnancy mood swings, postpartum mood issues, racing thoughts stemming from sleep deprivation, or just simple helicopter parenting, it’s important for mothers to learn to trust their instincts! Chances are, they’re probably right.
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.