Bayo Ajibola

Don’t Ignore Your Gut Instinct

Being a parent comes with this extreme urge to protect your child from any kind of harm. It also allows you to connect with your child in a way that only you can and this gives you insight into some things that may seem baseless if you were to explain them to other people.

Most people will imagine that you are those extreme parents that think they know it all because they are the parents but what they don’t realize is that they are actually almost right. You may not know it all but you know your child better than anyone else since you spend the most time with them.

It is harder when the explaining is being done to medical personnel because they know medical conditions and you do not. All you know is that there is something not right somewhere but you can’t quite put a finger on it. That does not sit well with medical professionals unless you get someone who believes in the instinct of a parent.

As a mother of six I have encountered an overwhelming urge to check on my children quite often only to find that there was an actual need when I got there. At one time my second daughter (the third born) was playing near the kitchen stove and was about to touch the pot when I got there. In another incidence I got my younger son (I had two at the time) playing with a knife and wanted to see whether he would be able to cut his thigh. Every incident was terrifying in its own right but they taught me to believe in my instincts.

Sickly child

When I had my second child I was not yet certain that my instincts were always right because the older child was still young and I was still learning. I however noticed that my second born (a son) just would not put his legs down even when he was lying on his back. I didn’t know what to make of it but I felt that it was not normal. His responses were also very slow. I told my husband but being young parents in the 70s we were not sure what to think or what to tell the doctors.

I let it slide but later on I could not bear it so I called on a doctor. He said there was nothing wrong at first and it would pass. I waited but things were getting worse because he would not play like a regular two-year old boy. Tests and more tests finally confirmed that there was a problem with his brain and heart. At that time they would not operate on children that young so they asked me to wait until he was at least five.

Life became full of medications and hospital visits and everything happened so fast. One day he got really sick and we rushed him to hospital only for him to die in my arms on our way there. It hurt so badly but I resolved to fight harder if ever I doubt what someone is saying about my child.

A different scenario

Fast forward ten years later and my fifth child was born. She was a little slow and preferred to sit alone quietly. She could talk but would not and people were beginning to ask questions, reminding me of the last time I had a sick child.

Deep down I knew this was different because she looked healthy and strong, she ate well and once in a while she played by herself when the older children were not fussing about her. They urged me to go for tests early enough even though I knew she was fine. We eventually got her tested and nothing was wrong. This time I believed the doctors.

Turns out I was right and she turned out to be a healthy, beautiful and intelligent young lady who is currently 26 years old and a mother herself! This gut instinct is ingrained in both parents and not just the mother. Don’t ignore it because it may save your child’s life.


Bayo Ajibola

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