Defining Moments- Joleen

Have you ever had a moment in your life that seemed like a breakthrough to you better understanding yourself and something important in your life?  Maybe it was an aspect of your personality that you came to realize as an important part of who you are.  Or, perhaps it was a moment where you felt a shift in the direction of your life.  This week, Imagine Hope is discussing some our "defining moments" in life.

When our son was first born, I remember holding him only hours after his birth and recognizing a smell on his breath that was like acetone fingernail polish.  I immediately felt panicked, and upon asking the nurses and doctors, was told that it was "nothing".  This smell persisted off and on over the next year of his life, and was always accompanied by a refusal to eat.  Every pediatric appointment I would take him to resulted in the same answer... "It's nothing.  He is gaining weight and doing fine".  It wasn't until he was a year old, when we noticed feeding issues and a definite pattern to the smell, that I realized how unheard and dismissed I truly was feeling with his medical care.  As a first time parent, I was underestimating myself as a parent, and allowing a "doctor" to override my own feelings and intuitions as a parent.  Something was wrong.  I felt like I was too busy being rushed out of the pediatrician's office to get any good answers to what was potentially going on, and was trying to do my own research, instead.  

I remember the exact moment when I realized, "I am the parent.  I am his mother.  I may not be a doctor, but I know when something isn't right with my child.  I am ENTITLED to pay attention to my intuition and do what feels like the right thing to do, despite what someone in a superior position of knowledge is telling me.  I am NOT allowing this to happen."  We immediately fired his pediatrician (for other reasons, as well), and found an amazing pediatrician that spent a great amount of time with us in helping to figure out what was going on.  We got a referral from her for Occupational Therapy to address the feeding issues that were otherwise being dismissed, and our journey of healing began.

How was this a defining moment for me?  I realized that despite being a first time parent, I can absolutely trust my instincts and intuition as a person.  This includes all aspects of my life.  How often do we allow someone else power over something we know internally to be wrong?  We are not passive players in our own lives.  It is up to us all to take ownership over the course and direction of our lives.  We know ourselves, our relationships, and our children better than any expert.  Not only has this helped me in my personal life, it has helped me in my work with clients, as well.  Everyone brings their own story to counseling, and it is imperative that, as a helping professional, we truly hear what our clients are telling us they are struggling with and needing.  After all, we are the experts in our own lives.

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counselingrelationship counselingcouples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.