In high school softball, in order to build teamwork skills, we had to attend a skill-building workshop that featured - among other activities like a high tightrope walk and rock climbing - the "Trust" game.
If you've never played, the concept is very simple. (So simple, in fact, that a caveman could do it. Or a gecko. It was the idea behind a recent Geico commercial. . . . . )
Person A stands in front of Person B, crosses their arms, and falls backwards, not faltering, not flinching, and trusting (hence the name) that Person B will catch them.
Sounds crazy, right?
Well, that's what Motherhood is. (Yes, I have about fifty different ideas of what Motherhood is. What do you think it is?)
Motherhood is trusting your instincts. Trusting that you can fall back, not on another person, but on your own know-how, your instinct, your gut.
Might be the hardest part of Mothering. Besides all the puking and pooping, of course.
It's hard for me to trust my instincts, but I'm working to do better. After 9 months I feel that I know Bjorn. I know his moods, his needs and how to get him to stop crying. (Put him in front of The Dog.) I also know that sometimes a temperature is just a temperature.
Sometimes it is a reaction to teething. Or fighting off a small infection. Or just that he got a little hot during the day.
And sometimes no fever at all can be an ear infection. Or, as my pediatrician called it, a "wicked" ear infection. Sometimes a clingy kiddo who doesn't cry, doesn't get a fever and doesn't throw up can still be sick. And the only way I can know is through my gut.
Mothers have to learn to trust their instincts - to rely on something other than books, WebMD or their own mother. To rely on themselves.