When our second child was born with severe hemophilia, all the confidence I had gained with our eldest child seemed to vanish with a moment's notice. What was I to do with this child? I was completely clueless. Once again, I dove head-long into reading. RAISING A CHILD WITH HEMOPHILIA was and remains the go-to book for those with a new diagnosis. When I wasn't nursing or changing our son, I was devouring this volume. It was frightening. Because of all of the anecdotes shared by parents in the book, including that of a mother whose baby's throat had swelled from crying too long, I made erroneous decisions. I wouldn't let our son cry for long. I struggled with knowing when to accept the doctors' words as gospel, and when to assert myself, taking charge of our son's health care. I had to develop instincts over time, learning what this disorder looked like in our son, and how to address some challenges in his daily life.
God wasn't through with me yet. Once we began to adjust, learn how to infuse at home, and adapt to life with a son who has hemophilia, our youngest child came along as a game changer. From the time she could walk, it was apparent that something was a bit different about her. In fact, we have an entire scrapbook of photos with her toddler antics... fully clothed in a running bath, standing on the keys of the piano, on the kitchen counter completely smeared from head to toe with triple paste as she holds a meat thermometer in her hand. While I can laugh now, I certainly wasn't giggling at the fact that I couldn't use a bathroom without her taking off through the neighborhood when she was younger. Although I knew about children like this from my job, I struggled with serious self-doubt under the heavy judgment of neighbors, family and friends.
When her 1st grade teacher insisted that I get her tested for ADHD, it was a solid message to doubt my doubts. I learned that trusting those instincts God had installed and grown in me was the beginning of motherly wisdom. While I cried at the teacher's calling this out in our daughter, I realized that I should have listened to myself when I sensed there was something "not quite right" about our youngest.
Since that time, I have given the Lord much larger sway to work on me and use those motherly instincts. When I have a situation where that alarm is going off in me, I first go to God, pray about the situation and seek His guidance. As He speaks to my heart about what to do, I step out in faith, making decisions that may be controversial with medical personnel or school staff. I am always polite, yet still assert myself. And when I operate in this way, God blesses it.
Trusting my God-given motherly instinct has served my children well and actually given them a better life. Because of it, I have been able to accurately detect and aggressively treat a life-threatening gastro-intestinal bleed in my son, save my youngest daughter's life through early detection of numerous allergic reactions, identify that there was a physical bullying situation going on with my son at school before he ever uttered a word about it, get my youngest daughter in for a series of testing at school that lead to a diagnosis of sensory processing disorder with social deficits, work as a team with the staff of two schools to develop effective 504 and IEP plans for my children, and detect an iliopsoas bleed in my son very early on, which lead to a better-than-expected recovery. I apologize if this sounds like bragging, but these are only a few of the important situations I can think of where doubting my doubts lead to a vibrant life for my children.
I have heard it said so many times before, where God calls, God equips. That is surely true in parents of children with special needs. My friend, Shannon, frequently professed to me at one point in my parenting journey, "God gave my children to ME. I know what's best for my kids. And God gave those children to you, Barb. Trust yourself with them!" Her confidence and encouragement spurred me on, making all the difference in my parenting. My Maker and the Maker of my children has put us together and equipped us for the things that He is allowing in our lives.
My friend, if you find yourself questioning the right thing to do with your child when it comes to school or medical treatments or discipline, be teachable, but trust what God has shown you. Doubt your doubts, not yourself! Spend some time getting quiet, praying, and reflecting on what the Lord has taught you in your life up to this point, as well as what you have learned thusfar in your parenting journey. I have learned that every time I ignore my instincts, I make wrong decisions. My prayer today is that you don't make that same mistake.
PRAY: Father God, thank You for making me a parent. I trust that where You call me, You equip me. Help me to listen to that voice you have placed inside my heart, that motherly instinct, so I can be the best parent possible to the treasure(s) You have given me.