The best advice is the advice you want to share. Let me pass on to you what someone said to me once. Someone said, “you got this, momma. Trust your momma gut!” I don’t think I was even barely a mother at that point. I, like so many other parents, was looking around for help to a problem. Let me tell you why trusting your gut is the best advice you can be given, even when you feel they aren’t giving you any advice at all.
Trusting your gut means that when you feel like there truly is an issue that needs addressing, you make the calls, see the specialists and ask for the services – regardless of the fight.
For me, getting my son speech and occupational therapy was a struggle. At first, denied both of these services, we were informed we could re-evaluate at age 18 months. At age 18 months to the day, he was re-evaluated thanks to a calendar reminder and scheduled in advance.
Trusting your gut means when you are told, “there is no more we can do,” you find someone else who can do more.
When a therapist said he would always walk on his toes no matter what, I found a new physical therapist.
Trusting your gut means, when someone tells you about a possible therapy, method, doctor, alternative treatment, you think about it, research it, but you don’t always do it.
People tell me about diets, prescription medications, therapies old and new, I listen. Some I try on myself – keto anyone? – but that doesn’t mean I try them on my son. Maybe one day, but for today I would say we have a conservative approach to traditional therapies.
Trusting your gut means being the best parent to your child – no matter what that looks like to an outsider.
My kid doesn’t wear shoes at times in public. It means I don’t “let him” walk. I push him in a medical stroller, and some people think he should walk. I agree. Unfortunately, the world is not safe for him, so judge away.
Trusting your gut means that you will make mistakes, but that you don’t stop trying.
At times I have tried things that doctors, therapists, educators have suggested. My son has suffered through uncomfortable medical tests for doctors, eaten Playdoh thanks to therapists, and eaten paper thanks to teachers, to name just a few things. That doesn’t mean we don’t try.
Most importantly of all, trusting your gut means you will do things, say things, act ways you never thought you were capable of, impressing yourself with your strength.
I have stood up to doctors, educators, strangers. I have asked people for their support that I barely know. I have talked to reporters. I have asked to help be an advocate for my son and others like him. But mostly, I didn’t give up even when my son didn’t know I was his mother and wouldn’t hug me, look at me, or hold my hand.
See, our gut is something that evolution has given us. The ability to sense danger, embrace and feel fear, but also weigh the consequences. It helps us be thoughtful and take our time to research as many options as possible – which can mean hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. Our gut also pushes us to change therapy, a doctor, course of treatment, IEP, or even our home life schedule.
It is so easy at times to feel like the experts have all the answers. The reality is that this isn’t true at all. There is only one of your child. Chances are, they aren’t as much of an expert in your child as you.
When you feel like something isn’t right, and the doctor, teacher, babysitter, whomever, tries to convince you that it is, you don’t always have to listen. At times, trusting your gut might be the only reason you make a choice, and that’s fine too.
Life is a strength and stamina test. To that, I say, believe in yourself. You may have more questions than answers somedays, but at times a feeling is enough. So, if you want to give a friend some advice today because they are struggling as a parent, caregiver, teacher, possibly even yourself, tell them – trust your gut.