Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Down Syndrome Awareness -- Your 6th Sense

I recently read this quote somewhere and it just stuck in my head.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

Albert Einstein

More than fifteen years ago, an old friend of mine held her then 6-month-old baby in her arms and knew there was something different about him. It took three years from that point before her son was diagnosed with Autism. Her pediatrician kept telling her not to worry. Everything was fine. But, she continued to tell every one that would listen, and many who did not listen -- at least not early on -- that something was not the same with this baby as it was with her two older children. He was her third... and she just KNEW.

I am a big believer in the intuitive mind. I often suggest that my fellow mothers/friends follow their gut when they're worried about something. I think the old television show had it wrong.... I think "Mother knows best", at least when it comes to her children and their development. Besides, there's certainly no harm in following the axiom, "when in doubt, check it out".

We have all had those 6th sense moments when we questioned, pursued and had our suspicions confirmed. Oncoming illness, fear of injury, avoidance of disaster, postponement of an event... until it feels right. As a SCUBA Dive Master, our mantra to students was, "when in doubt, sit it out" and "live to dive another day". God knows SCUBA diving can be a dangerous and even fatal sport if you're not feeling good and/or diving in optimal conditions. Childhood can be a dangerous sport too. For the safety of your children, if it doesn't feel right, why risk it? When Brian and Michael had their tonsillectomies/adenoidectomies, on day 4, I had to decide for myself whether to bring them in to the ER for rehydration or "wait and see". I was on the fence, the MD said it was up to me, my husband stood looking at me stunned that I honestly didn't know what to do. Finally, something told me to go... To err on the side of caution. As it turns out, both boys benefited from the rehydration -- one was dehydrated and the other was borderline. But, it was "the other", borderline-dehydrated guy -- Brian -- who, to our surprise, was diagnosed with pneumonia while we were there and ended up hospitalized for 3 days. Good thing I followed my gut!

Pursue, avoid, postpone until it feels right. As mothers, we need to heed whatever is dictated by that gut feeling -- like the one my friend had -- that tells us something is just not quite as it should be. Our 6th sense fields all kinds of stimulus that our conscious minds may ignore.

Albert Einstein might not have been a mother, but he sure was smart! So, go with your gut. Follow up on your intuition. And, honor the gift. It's there for a reason and early detection means early intervention means the best outcome possible in every scenario.

UPCOMING: I'm putting together instructions for a grass roots advocacy effort that each of us can easily pursue if/as we choose. It's a great way to think globally and act locally. Look for my Down Syndrome Awareness Series on "Back To School - Grass Roots Advocacy".


  1. Great advice to all moms out there. My husband calls me "the baby whisperer" to be funny, but it's because I am more "in tune" with my children than anyone else and can sense when things aren't right. Thanks for sharing. Although it's not proven, many speculate that Einstein may have had autism or Asperger's. And, yes, he was very smart :-)

  2. Hello.

    Just wanted to reach out and say hi. Love your blog and passion for Happiness Projects!

    I'm helping Gretchen Rubin get local Happiness Project Groups started around the world and thought I'd reach out to see if that's something you'd like to do.

    We have a Facebook page for leaders of Happiness Project Groups around the world, so if you'd like to connect with them and get some ideas, feel free to join us!



  3. Hey! What a great post! Mothers do know that something is going wrong even when others say it's not so. I remember clearly when my middle child was only 3 months old and one day he just seemed different. His cough was different and his breathing was off. I took him to acute care and the doctor (who btw was his primary ped.) said there was nothing wrong with him, that he was only teething.

    However, I knew better. Because I took him on a Saturday, I knew he wasn't getting any better on Sunday, and brought him in again on Monday. Sure enough, he was diagnosed with RSV! We were rushed to the hospital via ambulance.

    Sorry, for the long comment...short of it is. Your post is right on!


  4. Absolutely! No one child is alike so I think God gives us Moms that gift of intuition with our children. I am a HUGE proponent of following your gut, had I, I feel my son would've gotten his Autism diagnosis much earlier because I knew something was off. Instead I listened to everyone and waited it out. Lesson learned for me, great post.

  5. You hit the nail on the head. Great advice...and a great reminder for all moms. I'm looking forward to your upcoming post.

  6. By the way, my husband thinks it's very cool that you are a scuba dive master. We scuba dive too, well I don't anymore since we had Matthew, but my husband still does sometimes. We're limited to quarries though, where the viz isn't anything like in the ocean.