Having doubted before, this year, I’m trusting my intuition as a mother

Intuition plays an important role in caregiving, says this CF parent

Jennifer Chamberlain avatar

by Jennifer Chamberlain |

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It started when I was pregnant. Halfway through my pregnancy, we were faced with the possibility that our daughter Claire would be born with cystic fibrosis. This news brought a physical and emotional sensation like I’ve never felt before.

I didn’t just feel that she would be born with the disease — I knew. Call it maternal instinct or intuition. My entire body felt it. At the time, doctors, our families, and our friends were all optimistic that our baby would be born healthy. Maybe their optimism was based on the odds being in our favor or the fact that I had multiple healthy ultrasounds.

Yet, I couldn’t deny the overwhelming intuition that I was right. I felt alone and confused. Because no one else believed our daughter would be affected by the disease, I hid my certainty almost with a sense of shame. I started to feel like I was crazy and imagining things rather than listening to my own mind and body.

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A promise

Years later, I discovered a paper tucked away in my desk that I had filled out with my reproductive psychiatrist during my pregnancy. She was conducting a session with me utilizing cognitive behavior therapy, and she asked me to write down the percentage of certainty with which I believed my unborn baby had cystic fibrosis. I wrote 100%.

When I saw this paper again, I vowed to trust my gut moving forward. I hadn’t been able to do that during my pregnancy, which I regret to this day. I still wonder if my daughter’s birth complications would’ve been so severe had I been more vocal about my intuition.

Less time would’ve lapsed between transferring hospitals, and more things would’ve been done to prepare for her arrival. I felt like I had failed her and myself by not trusting my gut. I had questioned myself because of how others felt. I vowed never to let it happen again.

Pushing for answers

Yet, last summer, I let self-doubt creep in again as Claire faced a mysterious chronic cough. It took months and multiple tests and procedures to figure out the culprit. During that period, I knew something deeper was going on. But I questioned myself when others were dismissive or optimistic that the cough was nothing alarming.

Still, I kept pushing for answers and advocating for different plans of care to solve the mystery. Four months into the cough, she was diagnosed with asthma, secondary to her cystic fibrosis. I know many cystic fibrosis parents have faced similar situations when they knew something was wrong and had to trust their instincts to find answers.

My experience has taught me that following your intuition is an exercise in trusting yourself. Trusting your gut is a cornerstone to being a caregiver. We watch our children fighting this disease day in and day out. It’s natural that we intuitively feel things and know when something’s wrong.

Although many of us aren’t doctors, our intuition is a valuable tool that, in my opinion, shouldn’t be ignored. We should all learn to trust ourselves, even when others don’t.

Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.


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