Today, I had to take 2 to the eye doctor for a follow-up appointment. 2 has been wearing glasses for the last month in an attempt to correct esotropia in both eyes.
At the first appointment, the doctor laid out the plan of attack: try glasses at certain prescription level for a month to see if it corrects the problem; change prescription if not correcting problem; do this for several months to see if problem can be fixed; if problem cannot be fixed, may need surgery.
At today’s appointment, the doctor looked at 2′s eyes for 15 minutes and stated, “well, glasses aren’t working, it’s my opinion that we need to schedule surgery.”
Um…wait. What happened to try, try again and then MAYBE surgery? I left the appointment, went to my office and cried for a solid 30 minutes. 2 had just gone through surgery in December due to a staph infection and here we are contemplating surgery again?
So, I called 2′s pediatric optometrist. She had worked with us to fit 2 for his glasses and had given us good advice in the past. She suggested getting a second opinion with the disclaimer that I should, “trust my mother’s intuition.”
This is not the first time I have been told to trust my “mother’s intuition.” I have been told this by pediatricians, nurses, and other moms. Every time I’ve been told this, I go through the same experience: my stomach drops, I feel dizzy, and I look around for my magical mom crystal ball.
Today, I propose that being told to “trust my mother’s intuition” is a really cruel piece of advice. I may be a mom, but don’t downgrade my decisions with my child to merely “intuition.” I don’t just ho hum about situations for a bit and then shrug and say, “my intuition says go to the hospital!” (mostly because that would be one damn expensive intuition.) I’m not a magic 8 ball. I’m not an arcade genie. I take my son’s health seriously and I research and review my experiences with him before making serious calls affecting his life.
For instance, I decided to get a second opinion on my son’s eyes (appointment already set). I’ve monitored my kid’s fever and concluded that he needed to go to the hospital at 11 pm at night. And, I’ve taken him back to the doctor because his limp wasn’t going away. I made those choices as an informed care taker, or what I like to call myself: A PARENT. I googled the shit out of his symptoms. I called nurses. I looked at books. I consulted with my husband, my mom, my friends in medical positions. And then, I made a decision.
I’ve also been mistaken. I’ve called the fire department when 2 bumped his head and passed out. They came, examined him, gave him the okay and assured me that he would bump his head many many more times…Then they reviewed symptoms that actually justify calling the fire department (they were extremely nice and gave 2 a sticker. Probably why he is obsessed with fire trucks right now).
Mother’s Intuition is cruel because it suggests that a woman fails as a parent if she makes a bad judgment call. Somehow, the innate bond we share with our children that connects our magical spirit energy never formed if you as a mother make a bad choice.
It also puts a TON of pressure on moms to make the right call EVERY time. Which, unfortunately, we won’t do. And trust me, we are our own worst critic when we get it wrong. We don’t need others telling us how stupid we are for leaving the house without diapers “just this once” or waiting too long on an ear infection or letting our kids play with a slightly pointy object that concludes in a trip to the emergency room. We don’t need to be told, you should have trusted your intuition.
Parents do their best (hopefully) to take care of their kids. It’s a whole new ballpark for all of us with each kid we bring into our lives and none of us have a Harry Potter wand up our sleeve allowing us to fix everything the right way the first time. So no more “intuition”-based judgments. No more “here’s all the information I can give you, but trust your gut” advice. Instead, just find me a damn Harry Potter wand.