The Mommy Instinct

Tonight I was babysitting a dear friend’s son, while she and her husband went out for his annual staff party. When little N was dropped off, they commented that he was out of sorts, feeling a little sick, and hadn’t eaten today. N did look a bit horrible, and I packed him off to bed 1/2 hour later. I checked his temperature ever 1/2 hour, and it was steadily climbing, despite the ibuprofen I gave him. So I called my friends, got their cell phone voice mail, and left a message. But then what to do?

Unfortunately, I’ve had some experience with a very sick kid in the last year. But every time Sugar or Spice has been sick, I’ve known what to do. Sure, I call my best friend, who is a doc, and ask for her unofficial advice. But most of the time, she concludes that I should follow my instincts. And you know what? My intuition has never been wrong. Every time I’ve rushed the kids to the hospital, it’s been a good decision. I’ve sometimes even had to fight against the powers-of-medicine-that-be and advocate for care, when they had a “wait and see” approach. My mother’s intuition usually feels like a sort of foreboding and premonition… but I can’t say this is some kind of super power. It’s just that very heightened awareness of my child, fueled by Mommy Bear adrenalin. It’s the Mommy Instinct.

The weird thing, though, was I didn’t have that instinct with N tonight. I really had no idea. Should I take him to the hospital? Force water down him? Leave him be?

I called 811, which is the provincial government health line to speak to a nurse, but even the nurse was waffly. She told me he was in the grey area of taking to the hospital or not. And that it was my call. I still didn’t know what to do!

Luckily, as soon as I got off the phone with the nurse, I got through to my friend, who was already on her way to pick N up. When she arrived, his temperature had come down a degree, and she decided to take him home for monitoring. Her Mommy Instinct knew what to do.

I just find that so curious. Does your Mommy Instinct work for other kids? Or is it just yours, because you know them so well? I can vouch for it having nothing to do with biology; it must be love? familiarity? connection?

The one thing I am sure of, is that the Mommy Instinct is real. I’ve never been wrong yet. Maybe I’ll be wrong one day, but as far as my kids go, I follow my gut.

2 thoughts on “The Mommy Instinct

  1. I think you are correct about mommy instinct coming from love and familiarity. I have great mommy instinct with Owen, but have also developed a lesser mommy instinct for the 2 boys that I look after part-time, as they’ve now been with me for over 1 year. It took a while to get to the point though where I knew what they needed, or when something was “off”, etc – and it’s definitely not as strong as my instinct for Owen – if I am able to reach their mom for her advice, I prefer that approach to going with my gut because no matter how well I know them, she knows them better.

    Hope N feels better soon!

    • My own little Sugar was feeling pain with a tooth ache (molars coming through) tonight… And I knew exactly what to do for her! Lol

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