We sat in the doctor’s office waiting to be seen. My youngest, Larkin, who had just turned one, was there for his routine check-up. I was bracing myself for the shots and the screaming that was to come, while hoping that I would be strong enough to fight the urge to comfort him by popping my boob in his mouth. We had successfully and completely (yet, sadly) weaned 13 days prior.
The pediatrician came in, happy to see us and offered the standard niceties. “Oh he’s gotten so big,” and “Are you sleeping for your Mama?” I felt like I deserved a gold star when I proudly responded, “Yes he is!” I mean damn, it took a lot of work and dedication to get this baby to sleep through the night.
She looked through the questionnaire that I had filled out in the waiting room, and then she asked,
“Okay, so he’s not standing independently yet?”
**Quick back story: When Larkin went in for his 9 month check up, he was barely crawling. He was army crawling as though his life depended on it, but crawling on his hands and knees and then pulling up on things just hadn’t happened yet. I remember she asked a lot of questions about this and then sat in thought for a moment. She seemed concerned, but I brushed it off. I remember thinking to myself, “Relax, lady. He’s fine.”
I was positive that she would see that everything was just as it should be once she saw that he was crawling and pulling himself up. Clearly, he was developing at a normal pace. So when she asked that question, “Okay so he’s not standing independently yet?” I got really annoyed really fast.
“I mean, he can stand,” I said.
“Oh yes of course. And he is developing. He’s just not developing as fast as I’d like him to.”
Well lucky for us it really doesn’t fucking matter how fast you want him to develop.
I didn’t say that. But I could have.
The doc then went on to say that she thought that we should have a specialist come check him out. “This group is really great! They come to your house and everything and they’ll work with him right there.”
Um. That sounds expensive.
“If he’s developing, why would he need a specialist?”
“It’s just much easier to catch him up at this age then it is to catch him up when he’s older.”
Catch him up? Catch him up to what? He’s one. Did they not teach you about bell curves in your doc program?
“I’ll send in a referral. Someone will probably call you within a week. If not, you can give them a call.”
I ain’t callin nobody.
I nodded along with a half smile that was fully fake. “Ooo-kay.”
But seriously. I just brought this doc a baby who’s crushing a (mostly) well-balanced diet, making leaps and bounds, and sleeping like a champ. Throw me a bone, would ya? Throw me a slimy bone covered in dirt and dog shit for all I care. But throw me something.
Okay, okay. This isn’t about me.
Now, fast forward to a few days ago when I went to see my nurse practitioner to change up my birth control. She’s been in the biz a long time, and the first time I met her she said to me, “Being a mother to boys is one big shit show, isn’t it?” I knew we would get along.
Anyway, I asked for her medical opinion on what the pediatrician had recommended.
“Is he pulling himself up? Then he’s doing great! And I’m actually floored your pediatrician would even say something so absurd.”
“Well, she’s young and she doesn’t have children of her own.”
“Ahh, so she knows absolutely nothing.”
I almost asked her if she’d adopt me.
My interaction with the seasoned nurse practitioner confirmed what I had already been thinking. The Baby Standing Specialist hasn’t called yet, but if they do, I’m prepared to say thanks, but no thanks.
I can’t help but acknowledge that if this had happened with my first, I probably would have lost my marbles a little bit. When you’re a mom for the very first time, everything is too new and too crazy for you to believe that you can trust your instincts. It’s all so confusing and overwhelming, and you live and breath off of the advice from doctors and grandparents and other moms because you just don’t have it in you to really know what’s going on.
So listen to me. Doctors aren’t gods. They know a lot, but they don’t know everything. In the same breath, even though this doctor pissed me off this one time, I’m not going to cast her off completely because I actually really like her. She’s great with my boys. I just really disagree with her on this. And maybe it’s my job to communicate with her on that.
Bottom line. It took me 4 years, two children, and a looooot of confidence building for me to learn that I don’t have to listen to everything I’m told in regards to my children. I can listen, take it in, and then still make my own decisions.
As mothers, we need to remember that we have these internal instincts that are downright supernatural. It’s those instincts that guide us into knowing what is best for our children. We can’t be afraid to tap in and use them. It’s so easy to question ourselves because we just want to do it right. And because we just want to do it right we listen to someone else who we might perceive to be more experienced than us. But no one is more experienced at being a mom to our babies than us.
So, listen to your instincts. Seek second opinions. Maybe even fight back a little harder than I did when you disagree with someone telling you what’s right for your little one. And don’t be afraid to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Ur a Mom Now.