Intuitive Parenting

A Sick Child Brought Into The Temple Of Aesculapius
by John William Waterhouse

Before I was a young mother, I worked for a pediatrician.  He was the quintessential Norman Rockwell physician, complete with messy desk and rotund figure.  He "knew" his patients in a way doctors today never do.  If he needed to spend an hour with a family, he did.  Everyone else waited, understanding that when it was their time, he would do the same for them.

I learned a great deal from this man.  The most important thing I learned was to trust my own instincts, as a health professional as well as a mother.

When my girls were school age, I knew intuitively when there were issues that needed to be dealt with concerning their health.  For instance, when one of the girls was struggling with reading and writing, I knew she had a learning disability.  Also, when one of my girls kept having difficulty keeping up with class or conversations, I intuitively knew she had some sort of neurological problem.  

In both instances, I was correct.  

My daughter did have a learning disability, which, once recognized she was able to master.  

My other daughter did indeed have a neurological problem, petit mal seizures.  Once on medication, she was able to keep from staring off into space and loosing time.  She eventually outgrew the problem, as is the case with most children who have petit mal. 

Petit mal causes the brain simply to shut down for a few seconds to a few minutes, much like a computer that is trying to download something but has to pause because it isn't streaming correctly. Usually, it is not even noticeable, which is why it often goes undiagnosed.

I bring this all up, because I want to share the story of another mother who has struggled with the medical establishment to find help for her daughter. I first became acquainted with Chynna Laird through Women on Writing.  Today, I am part of a Women on Writing blanket tour for Chynna.  
Chynna has written a book about her journey - Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey with Sensory Processing Disorder. The book is a memoir of Chynna's fighting for a diagnosis when countless doctors told her that her daughter was just "spirited". 

Chynna shares the heartbreaking reality of mothering a child with a severe "No touch" rule. She calls it "Mothering without touch." Although Not Just Spirited is the perfect match for parents of children with SPD, the determination and victories shown in the book will encourage anyone parenting a child with special needs or working to overcome an obstacle in their own life.

When I first read about Chynna and her struggles, my heart went out to her.  I understood her frustration with a medical system that didn't listen to what a parent was telling them.  I also, cheered on her tenacity to keep looking for answers so that she could help her daughter grow to her fullest.

One of the times I had become very angry at the inability of doctors to listen was when my daughter was in high school.  She was on the cross-country team, and a cheerleader.  She kept complaining of pain in her leg.  When the doctor finally x-rayed her leg, he told me she only had a muscle strain.  Looking at the x-ray, I pointed out what looked to me like a tiny fracture in her femur.  He told me I didn't know what I was looking at; that it was a growth plate.
Two days later, my daughter jumped up on a trampoline, fracturing her femur in a horrid break that required a steel rod to be placed in her leg.

The following year, she began complaining that she had the same discomfort in the other leg.  Again, I fought to have her leg x-rayed, "knowing" that her other femur was fractured.  When I, once again, pointed out the fracture on the x-ray, the doctor turned, saying, "What do you expect.  If she is going to do sports, she'll have stress fractures."  

Needless to say, that was the last time I took her to him.

The point I am trying to make here is that parents should be listened to with respect.  Yes, doctors go to school for many years to become experts in their fields, but parents are experts, too.  They are experts in parenting.  Most parents know their child in ways that no one else does.  Rather than discredit what the parents is saying, medical professionals need to add it to their list of considerations before making a final diagnosis.

Not only would this form of medical care save time and money, it would also save needless pain and suffering by both the child and the parents as they struggle to get solutions to the questions for which they intuitively know the answers.


Chynna has also written a children's book, I'm Not Weird, and resource book about SPD , At-Home Strategies for Managing Sensory Processing Disorder: A Guide for Parents . She is now working on another book White Elephants. When not writing, Chynna is a mom to her three young children and a student working on her BA in Psychology.

If you comment on today's post you'll be entered to win a copy of Not Just Spirited. To read Chynna's post about parenting and a list of other blogs participating in Chynna's Blanket Tour visit The Muffin at -


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P-A-McGoldrick said…
So glad you shared your experience in this blanket tour post, Linda.
Similarly, had a parental intuition when one of our children was born.
I am participating in this blog sharing on the weekend.
Linda said…
Thanks your comment, Patricia! I look forward to reading your post this weekend.
Parenting can be magical, especially when we listen to our intuition. Parents do not get enough credit for what they do. There always seems to be an "expert" who knows better...however, if you check, most of the experts never had children, or if they did, someone else raised them.
Peace! Linda
Karyn Climans said…
What you've written is exactly the same as my experience with the medical community when my eldest son was young. It was implied that I was an overly anxious mother and my son was just fine. Fast forward a few years when my son was diagnosed with Bipolar and Tourettes. Do you know how much anguish could have been saved if the medical professionals had really LISTENED to me? Since then, I've learned that a mother's inner voice will never steer her wrong!
Linda said…
Dear Karyn,
I am so sorry to hear of the difficulties you had. I keep praying that things will change. I do believe they are.
Recently, I met a nursing student. One of the textbooks she was carrying was had a chapter "Spirituality and Medicine," which talked about intuition, among other things.
Blessings to you and your son.
Chynna said…
Hi Linda! What a beautiful post. Thank you. Patricia, I look forward to seeing your post too. And Linda is so right--there are always 'experts' who have opinions of what is and isn't 'right' but only we caregivers know for sure. True, these professionals have insight that we don't have but we know our child and THAT needs to be respected and considered in the grand scheme of things.

Karyn, I feel for you. I have had the same thoughts looking at my Jaimie, wondering if things would have been different. But talking about it...telling our stories NOW...will help those currently going through what we did years ago. And that's very powerful.

ALWAYS trust your gut, or 'Mama's Intuition'. It's usually right.

Thanks to all of you for your comments and for sharing your pearls.


Linda said…
Thank YOU, Chynna for your courage to share your story with all of us. It does make a difference.

Blessings to you and your daughter.

Alv0808 said…
I really love read a books about the authors own experiences. Its inspired me and give me a different view about life. That show how God's work
Linda said…
Yes, we can learn a great deal from reading the stories of others. It is a gift to give that shines a light for others.

Peace, Linda

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