Upon giving birth, I found that I had all these mothering instincts I never knew I had. They certainly hadn’t come from any extensive experience with babies, for I am the youngest child and didn’t really babysit much, especially not for babies. Yes, I have nephews and nieces, but I only rarely babysat, and never for a long time. I also didn’t have to make any decisions, really, for their parents had left clear instructions for every contingency. Even so, when my own child was born, I found I simply knew what to do for the most part.
But there is another thing that comes with being a mother: fear. Fear of something being wrong. Fear that I’m doing the wrong thing. Even when my instincts tell me something and how to act, I find myself fighting against that fear. This is especially the case if it is someone in a position of perceived authority telling me something that goes against my instincts.
On more than one occasion I’ve found myself challenged on something and have found myself caving because of the fear. Yet later when I looked at it objectively, I wished I’d followed my instincts, for my instincts were correct. While I know that it is never a good idea to act in fear, the fear that comes with being a mother is hard to overcome at times. All this isn’t to say to ignore what others say, for sometimes we do need their input and expertise, but all should be weighed against what we know as mothers. No one knows our children like we do, and so our instincts are invaluable. Maybe someday I can learn to ignore the fear all the time when it comes to making decisions, though.