“Always, always trust your first gut instincts.
If you genuinely feel in your heart and soul that something is wrong, it usually is” (Ilovemylsi.com)
Many of you will have watched the explosive and controversial documentary ‘Leaving Netherland’, about the late singer Michael Jackson’s close relationship with then two very young boys, who spent most of their childhood at his exclusive private residence, Netherland.
It is both confronting and shocking but for me, the over-riding fact weaved throughout the four hours of the show, is that two mothers didn’t listen to their mama gut.
They had concerns but they both quickly snuffed them out.
Because, you know, he was famous. An absolute superstar, which in the end superseded any gut instincts they might have had.
Time after time we read of the incredible strong feelings of discernment that mothers possess when it comes to their children.
Pregnant mothers who know the exact time their unborn child has passed whilst in the womb.
Mothers who feel deep in their soul that their children are very unwell when the majority of the medical profession say otherwise, to later find out if they hadn’t of pushed and pushed for the correct diagnosis their child would have passed away.
Mothers who ‘feel’ pregnant the moment of conception. To find out months later they were spot on.
And guess what? A mother’s instinct is still, to this day, scoffed at by some. Many in fact.
Quite a few years ago when our second born (our son) was five, he became very poorly with a cold which turned nasty.
We saw the doctor two times in a week and twice I spoke to health professionals on the phone. And I was told time and time again that it was just a viral infection and would pass.
Didn’t I know that viruses can stay in the body for weeks, causing general low malaise, poor concentration, lack of appetite etc? It’s normal I was informed repeatedly.
But my son just wasn’t himself.
He was even quieter than his usual sweet, placid self, very, very pale and after a week and a half, became floppy and unresponsive.
I knew in my gut that this was more than a virus and phoned my husband in a panic for him to rush home from work so we could take our son to the emergency GP.
I will never forget the GP taking one look at George and the colour literally draining from his face. “Mrs Irwin we need to get him to hospital as quickly as we can. Your son has pneumonia which can turn to sepsis, if it hasn’t already”.
I remember going cold all over and relaying over and over in my mind the past few days. My son’s limp form becoming more and more unresponsive.
I knew he wasn’t right but I didn’t want to appear to be a paranoid/helicopter mum who panicked at the first sign of sickness.
Why didn’t I listen to my heart?
Well, I was in my early 20’s and still a young mum. I didn’t have the confidence to act upon my discernment. Nowadays, I listen every single time. And if I am wrong, so be it. I would rather be wrong than regret not protecting my children.
George, thankfully, didn’t develop sepsis.
However, the doctor told us there was a high probability, given how poorly he was, that he could have been fighting (and lost) this life-threatening disease if we had left it much longer.
He ended up spending a whole week in hospital on IV antibiotics, fluids and oxygen. It took him many months to regain his full strength.
Mama, don’t ignore your feelings because you’re probably onto something.
Make that phone call, send an email, chase up your doctor, have that awkward conversation. Don’t leave your child with that care-giver if you have a strange reaction to them deep down.
Be persistent and insistent if you have that icky feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is off – because it possibly is.
As Lord Byron says, “There is no instinct like that of the heart”.
Listen to that deep, quietly relentless sense and act on it. Be the voice that our children can’t vocalise. They quite literally depend upon it.