I have a confession to make: I’m a chronic over-thinker.
While on vacation, Nathan and I watched ‘The Switch’, with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. At one point during the movie, Jennifer’s character tells Jason’s character, Wally, that he’s about to ‘Wally’ the situation. She turned his name into a verb to succinctly say that he was about to do something that’s typical Wally. Immediately, I paused the movie and asked Nathan what ‘to Jaclyn it’ would represent. In a matter of seconds, he answered confidently. According to him, my Webster entry might look something like this…Jaclyn (v.): to over-research a topic, form a strong opinion about it, then defend that opinion when it’s challenged
True story, I rarely make a decision without first reading books (I’ve been know to leave the library with a stack of books 10-high), performing tons of Google searches, and picking the brains of other people who’ve been there. I’m not talking about what to have for dinner; more along the lines of big decisions. I often feel uneasy about blindly believing and/or following something without knowing why I’ve chosen to do so.
This has become more and more evident as we venture into the world of parenthood. Who, aside from actual parents, knew there were so many decisions to make?! I thought being a bride was rough; that’s nothing compared to preparing to raise another human being.
There’s the ‘simpler’ decisions to make:
- Which crib will we buy?
- Cloth or disposable diapers?
- What color will we paint the nursery?
Those sound pretty straightforward, but, for some of us, even answering questions similar to those above prove tougher than anticipated. For example, I knew pretty quickly we wanted to cloth-diaper. But then you open that door and several more questions pop up.
And then there’s decisions that, for many, prove challenging from the outset. Questions pertaining to:
- The type of birth you want
- At home, a birth center, or the hospital?
- Drug-free or with medication?
- Doctor or midwife?
- Parenting Styles and Approaches
- Attachment Parenting
- And on and on…
- Not to mention the multitude of questions we have yet to encounter
Yes, as parents, there’s much to be decided. This proves easy for many (at this point, I envy you people), but very difficult for others. For this overanalyzing mama-to-be, I received a huge blessing/piece of advice just yesterday that’s began to shift my perspective (and ease my concern) as we face these questions.
At the recommendation of our Bradley class instructor, I attended my first La Leche League meeting yesterday morning to learn more about breastfeeding. As an aside, I’d highly recommend this to any moms-to-be (and don’t wait until baby’s here to attend). Throughout the hour and a half there, the leaders and moms, sharing from their experiences, responded to several questions I had.
At one point, the conversation shifted from supply issues to parenting styles. The younger leader encouraged us (okay, this was mainly directed to me, the only mom-to-be in the group) to follow our intuitions when it comes to, in this case, caring for baby. Sure, you’re bound to take tidbits of advice from here and there, this book, that person, but overall, respond in the way that feels natural and right to you.
One mom shared her personal experience with responding to her crying baby. Early in motherhood, because some book told her not to pick baby up until x amount of time passed, she walked out of the nursery as baby wailed. Pained that baby was distressed, mom herself cried. By her own admission, she failed to follow her intuition that said ‘go console your kid’ and, from that experience, learned a huge lesson that altered her parenting.unconscious reasoning that propels us to do something without telling us why or how; a knowing without knowing
For whatever reason, I’ve failed to transfer that thinking to becoming a mom. Instead of tuning inward as we prepare for parenthood (if you can even truly be prepared for such a thing), I find myself relying much more on ‘research’ (which often leaves me with more questions than answers) and less on my God-given intuition. This is probably due to the fact that intuition doesn’t fit my verb, what it means to ‘Jaclyn’ something. When relying on intuition, there’s no over-researching nor concretely knowing (and thus being able to say) why. Even though I’ve heard tons about ‘mother’s intuition’, because this parenting thing is brand-spanking new to me, I admittedly don’t quite trust that I’ll intuitively know what to do when the time comes.
At this stage in the game, I have
little no advice to offer about following your intuition when making decisions. I believe God sometimes uses our intuition to lead us, and I’m learning there’s room for both research and intuition in the decision-making process (whether that has anything to do with parenting or not). It’s not either-or. As Francis Cholle, author of The Intuitive Compass, puts it:
So far, I’ve concluded that I need to know myself (my personality, inclinations, quirks, etc.), seek the Lord’s guidance, and make room for what my intuition says will work best for me (and my family, baby, or whomever else will be affected by any decision made). Yes, I need to be informed, but, at the same time, not let the overabundance of opinions and information (so much of which conflicts with other material and research anyways) paralyze me. We all have different personalities, life situations, and more that factor in to our decision-making. In general, after consideration, we must roll with what seems best to us.
Believe me, I’ll be taking my own advice and reminding myself of this regularly from here on out.
If you’re anything like me, read this article that offers insight into what intuitive people do differently. Check it out and have a fabulous weekend! I’m off to return some of the large stack of books about baby sleep I picked up from the library the other day
Overall, do you tend towards over-thinking or trusting your intuition?
If your name were a verb, what would it mean?