Maternal Instinct

Ximena Pregnant the day we know it's a boy
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It took me a long time to understand the whole “maternal instinct” concept.  It wasn’t until I became a mother that I even paid much attention or gave credit to niggling feelings/doubts/etc.  As someone with both Chronic Major Depression and Anxiety Disorder, I carry doubts with me constantly, so I’ve learned to ignore many of the little thoughts in my head.

The concept of instinct has been hard for me to accept.  I’m not a person of faith and I try to base decisions on evidence; however, it feels like being a parent has changed my perceptions.  Half of my awareness is constantly honed in on my child to such a degree that I often know what he wants before he has even found the words to ask for something.  I do this with the people around me, too, and it can come in handy.  With my kid it’s in hyper drive.  I actually have to step back sometimes so that I don’t take care of him TOO much.

Some of you may remember that I agonized over a daycare provider a couple of years ago.  There were numerous signs that things weren’t right but I was told by Jack’s dad that I was overreacting.  Because his reaction varied so much from my own, I questioned myself rather than questioning him.  (This seemed to be a common theme in our marriage.)  Once I was out of the relationship, I had more opportunities to listen to myself and it became clear to me that my instincts are strong.  These days I find myself giving more credence to my instincts than my intellectual reasoning.  The reasoning is always there, of course, but when it comes to my kid – I now trust that there is something in me that just knows what there is something off whether I can explain it or not.

I think maternal instinct should be something talked about more with new parents.  I clearly remember being  pregnant and wondering how I would know XYZ when it came to my kid.  I tried to map out every scenario and plan for anything that might come up.  Once Jack was born, some invisible force filled in many of the blanks and I somehow knew.  It’s still taking some getting used to but when that little bell goes off in my head, I pay more attention now.  And even if I *am* overreacting in a particular instance, I know that my instincts are there for a reason and they protect my child.  Nature is full of wisdom that can’t quite be explained.

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