How My Gut Instinct Made Me A Better Mum

Today’s post goes out to all the mummies (and daddies) who are second-guessing themselves… Stop! Your gut instinct could be the best parenting tool you have.

Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey

I don’t mind telling you that I’m not a spontaneous person – I make calculated decisions after analysing all possible options!

I worry about making the wrong decision. I worry what will happen if I make a bad choice. I’m great at imagining how ALL my decisions will eventually end up being a disaster. I overthink all the time.

But there are times when there is no logical choice; times when the options are limited or unpredictable; times when there is no obvious answer.

That’s when you have to go with your gut instinct.

My gut instinct

On my 20 week pregnancy scan, we discovered that my daughter had a problem with her spine. It was heart-wrenching news. We had further scans but we could do very little until she was born.

So we waited…

When she was born, it didn’t seem as bad as expected. After 6 days of intensive tests and scans, we were released from hospital and told to expect follow-up appointments in the next few months.

But something wasn’t right.

I’m not sure when we first noticed… but tiny Jenny was in pain.

gut instinct mother holding baby

I was a young, first time mother. I had no other mummy friends to turn to. I lived over 100 hundred miles from my own mum. I had no way to verify my concerns.

But I KNEW something was wrong.

Jenny would screech in pain; sometimes for over an hour. It wasn’t the usual baby cry – it was agonising, full-throttle screaming.

I visited the GP who looked dubious, but dutifully hurried through our appointment with the paediatrician.

I was so relieved on the morning of the appointment – finally I was going to be able to talk to someone. They would know what was wrong. They would help me. They would make it all better for my precious little girl.

At the hospital

The paediatrician examined Jenny. He questioned me and I tried my best to explain it all. He asked about her medical history. And then he uttered the 3 words that still flood my nightmares:

“All babies cry.”

That was his conclusion.

He didn’t believe there was anything more to this case than an overprotective mother and a grouchy baby. He even told me to go home and calm myself down.

I was devastated. I was confused. I lost all confidence in my arguments. I felt ashamed – was I really just another paranoid mother?

I wanted to sob. I wanted to disappear. I had read my baby’s cues all wrong. I was an idiot. I was overreacting. I was the worst mother in the world. I would never get a hang of this mothering business.

I don’t remember much about those next few days. I tried desperately to believe the doctor – to trust that he knew what he was talking about. After all, he seemed so confident…

5 days later, Jenny was rushed into A&E!

Gut instinct medical equipment

I wasn’t taking no for an answer this time!

My little 3 month old baby was admitted to hospital. The rigorous testing was horrendous. We had to pin her down while they slashed her feet to squeeze the blood into testing vials. We had to starve her for hours at a time so that she could be anaesthetised. She had wires and monitors and tubes and alarms.

And at the end of it all, she underwent a 9 hour operation.

Trust yourself

I was right. My gut instinct had been correct the whole time.

Despite my usually quiet, compliant nature, this time, I needed to stand up. My little girl needed me to stand up. She needed me to trust myself – to believe that I was the person who knew her best and that I was right.

Jenny’s operation was a success.

Sadly, it was the first of many complications that we have had. This will be a life-long battle for us.

But that’s not the aim of this piece.

What I really want to do is encourage you to trust your gut instinct. Nobody knows your kid like you do. Nobody knows what interests them or what frightens them.

You might not be making decisions about medical care, but, as parents, we make decisions every day:

  • How much TV should they be allowed to watch?
  • Should they join a sports team?
  • Do I need to put more pressure on them to do school work?
  • Should I intervene in their friendship group disputes?

The truth is, only you can make that decision. You are the best placed. By all means take advice. But at the end of the day, you know your child. You know what’s best for them. Trust yourself.


So what about you? Have you ever had to trust your gut instinct? Are you good at trusting yourself or do you doubt what you’re doing? Have you ever been told there was nothing wrong when you sensed there was?

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Add yours
  1. 1

    What a heartfelt post. *wipes tears* A mother’s instinct is rarely wrong. Too many of the medical profession have that doctors attitude. I’m happy that they sorted little Jenny out in the end but a 9 hour operation!!!
    Thanks for the reminder that we should all trust our gut.

  2. 3
    Rainbows are too beautiful

    Oh Lucy. Thank you so much for sharing this and I’m so sorry you and your precious bundle had to go through this.
    A mum in my first antenatal group went through something similar. Was told that some babies ‘just look a bit yellow’ and ‘crying is normal’. Before 2 weeks was up her baby had been rushed in for an emergency kidney transplant. The mum knew something wasn’t right and it was her taking her baby to A&E that saved her baby’s life.

    Thank goodness you and Jenny started to get the care you needed.
    I wish I went with my gut more often – if fact today’s post is about asking when I should have listened to it sooner. With my boys having poor communication I find that my gut if often all I have to go on. It’s more than often right. And I say it so often to other parents too. Which school? Go with your gut. Which therapy? Go with your gut. Will they cope? Go with your gut.

    You are an amazing mum and I’m so pleased to have come across your blog today. xxx

    • 4
      Lucy At Home

      Oh what a lovely, lovely comment. Thank you so much. I know I’m the sort of person that often questions myself – I’m so desperate to do the right thing for my kids. But as, you say, your gut instinct is often right. I’m glad that your friend’s baby was okay in the end, but what a frightening thing to have to go through!

  3. 8

    Oh crikey stories like this scare the hell out of me. I’m so glad you preservered and got the help she Needed. You are so right about instinct, it’s a non tangible skill that goes a long way!

  4. 9

    It sounds like an awful thing to go through, I’m in awe of you as I don’t know how you coped. Henry had squint surgery earlier this week, we were home the same day but I was a wreck! Instinct is a very strong parental tool and you did an amazing job of persevering!
    P.S thank you so much for choosing me as your first blog crush, I feel very honoured! X

    • 10
      Lucy At Home

      Ah yes I read your post about it – I hope he is feeling better now. I think, as mums, we cope because we have to. It’s horrible and terrifying, but there is a little one depending on us and needing us to be brave and strong for them.

      P.S. You’re very welcome – I think your blog is fab!

  5. 11
    Alison (MadHouseMum)

    Yes! I am a huge believer in gut instinct. I can’t tell you how many times it has highlighted something with my girls. I too have been turned away by professionals and I know exactly how you felt – embarrassed, like a fraud, like an idiot, yet at the same time incensed, angry and frustrated. I wish you well with your little girl. Alison x #BlogCrush

  6. 13

    Instinct is vital. I don’t even think I’d have made it this far without it. I think becoming a mum has definitely taught me to trust my own judgement more. My sister called me recently and said that she felt like something was wrong when she’d dropped my nephew at nursery, that afternoon she was in A&E with him and a temperature 40+. You just know. xxx #Blogcrush

  7. 16

    Best advice ever, on the big and the small things. I’ve been in a similar position where I knew something was wrong with my daughter but kept on getting ‘fobbed’ off by drs. She too ended up having lots of major surgery once I got them to listen to me. Everyone should listen to their gut instincts x #BlogCrush

  8. 18

    This is so true, regardless, us parents know best. My daughter has had a cough for as long as I can remember, it’s just a virus we’re told and made to feel like we’re wasting the Drs time. Then my son got a cough, I was worried but was sure the Dr would put it down to the same virus and didn’t want to waste the Drs time anymore. I had to attend an appointment for me and, long story short, my son was in hospital an hour later! I felt terrible for not listening to instinct. #blogcrush

  9. 20
    Angela Watling

    That’s so upsetting that you were made to feel that way when you knew something was wrong. It makes me so cross how those in the medical profession inadvertently disregard the instinct of a parent. I’m sure they are trying to reassure but they actually belittled. I think they need to take a few moments longer to really assess the mum they are talking to and work out if they are nervous or genuinely scared. Never dismiss the latter.

    You’re so right about trusting your gut! The times I have gone against mine and things have never worked out. These days I give my instinct the credit it deserves. Thanks for an awesome post! #BlogCrush

  10. 22

    I agree. I trusted my gut about my daughter’s hip issues and when the dr said nothing is wrong, I got a second opinion. Turns out I was correct and they managed to catch issues early. #blogcrush

  11. 24
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    Oh my goodness, what an awful ordeal to go through. That is one of my worst nightmares, knowing that something is wrong, but the doctors won’t listen. Well done on going with your gut instinct! You are so right about how important this is. #blogcrush xx

  12. 25
    Selena, The Rambler

    Omgosh, my heart was just pumping reading this. My mother spidey senses as I like to call them, go off on the daily. From big things to very little. I’m glad that you took a stand for your daughter and she will know you’ll always have her back. Here’s to #MomsCrushingIt! xo

  13. 27
    Daddy Poppins

    Totally agree. Your gut is always right. We’ve recently had an issue with our school going child and started to second guess ourselves but it’s come to light that our gut feeling was right from the start. As humans we’ve been trusting our gut since the dawn of time. Why change this now.

    • 28
      Lucy At Home

      Yes this is true. And I think our senses and brains pick up on a lot more than we have time to actively process, and that’s often where our gut instincts come from – something has registered

  14. 29
    Nicole - Tales from Mamaville

    You are one amazing and brave mum – to have survived this ordeal and also to share it with the world. I agree with you a 100 per cent – a mother’s gut instinct (regarding anything, really) is rarely ever wrong. If it doesn’t feel right, just don’t go with it!!! I’m glad Jenny’s operation was successful and wish her the best.

  15. 31

    Ahh Lucy this sounds terrifying..thank God you trusted your gut! I can’t believe that doctor said that to you, there have been times with Leo where doctors have made me feel like I’ve been wasting their time but then he’s ended up back there the next day even more poorly because I just knew there was something wrong. Gut instinct is very powerful and should be taken seriously xx #BlogCrush

  16. 32
    Peachy and her Mommy

    i too am a calculating kind of person who likes to overthink things. I used to have a lot of trouble trusting those inexplicable times when you just know. But not any more. When that feeling comes over me I know I’m right. I can’t force it to happen but when it does, it’s always right. #BlogCrush

  17. 33
    The Aloha Mummy

    It’s incredible how we find this inner primal fight mechanism once we become a parent where in the past we wouldn’t have said boo to a goose. Gut instinct is incredible amd there is alot to be said to listening to it. So sorry though that we all have to fight like that for our babies when people could just listen and thoroughly investigate instead of palming off age old quotes. Yes all back it’s cry but this isn’t right. We know and they should know we know! #blogcrush

  18. 35
    Sinead (

    Oh my goodness, how awful that you and your poor little baba had to go through all of this. You’re opening line says it all – never underestimate the power of a parent’s gut instinct as a parenting tool! I’m so glad it worked out and I’m soooo mad at that doctor. Grrrr… my blood is boiling. #blogcrush

  19. 37

    Your post has touched a nerve with me. I’m sorry to read of your poor little child going through what they have. Thank goodness they have you. I too have a decision to make and I feel one way while others feel another. It’s so hard sometimes but we really do need to trust our instinct. #blogcrush

  20. 39
    Turning Up In Devon

    A brilliant post, well written and moving. It really sends the message home. I totally agree, gut instinct is so powerful. We all underestimate just how much we instinctively know and understand about our babies and children. #blogcrush

  21. 40
    Debbie Roberts

    Hi Lucy, the best advice ever! We are after all just animals, maybe a touch more advanced than the ones we see in zoos or roaming the wilds in a TV documentary. The problem is we have been ‘trained’ not to trust our gut instinct, often being made to believe that we are wrong or overreacting by some knob is a suit. We must have the strength to follow our instincts, something I do try to do.


  22. 41
    Alana - Burnished Chaos

    Oh this is awful. The way some GPs brush off first time mothers is horrendous. We have one at our local surgery who did the same with me when my son was a baby and actually made me out to be a bad mother for bringing him out in the cold and rain for no reason, a week later his eardrum burst as he had an untreated ear infection. I know a lot of mothers in the area have had the same treatment from him and filed numerous complaints but he’s still there. I generally refuse to see him but if you want a same day appointment you have to take who you can get and the last time I saw him he was actually really good. Whether this is because he has changed, had a warning or because I was a ‘more experienced mother’ with a 7 and 2yr old this time I don’t know. As a mother, our gut instincts are the most important tool we have x

  23. 44

    what a heartfelt post, you are so right that our gut instincts are rarely wrong and its up to us to keep pushing and pushing until we get the answers we need.
    Hope all goes smoother in the future for you all x


  24. 45
    Becca Farrelly

    Oh bless you, what a horrendous start to motherhood but your completely right, gut instinct is normally right! As a first time mum myself, when Mia came along, I hadn’t got a clue what I was doing but what we did find was that our gut instincts were really important and a lot of the things we did in those early days we judged with just gut instinct 🙂


  25. 46
    Lucy At Home

    Oh no! This doesn’t sound nice at all. It’s awful when your kids are in pain, especially when you can’t do much to help them. I hope your little girl was sorted out quickly once you found the problem

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