“Trust  your instincts. What’s your gut tell you?”

I am a massive believer in the above but I do also believe that it is not a guide post currently within the reach of many parents. Particularly when they are at their most vulnerable.

I say this with first hand experience.

I remember declaring that I didn’t think I had any motherly instincts at all with my first baby.

I was so very lost at the time.

I had a supremely wakeful and unsettled baby and the conventional advice served to exacerbate this  further.

I still felt twangs of what I would later discover were my instincts and gut …

  • The urge to pick him up when he cried and do whatever I could to help calm him.
  • The feeling of disorientation when we were apart.
  • The nagging desire to snatch him back from someone else if he was distressed with them.

They were there.

But because of many, many layers of life before him, they were twinges I experienced with distrust.

I did not trust them because I did not truly trust myself.

I trusted others more.

So when those other voices explained my twinges with an alternate spin, I believed their interpretation over my internal voice.

  • I needed to stop rushing to pick him up.
  • He needed space to grow separate to me.
  • I needed to stop being so responsive to his cry.
  • I needed to get him used to others.

And that all played in to how I responded and interacted with my baby.

I pushed back hard against those urges that I honestly believed were holding me and my baby back.


Why couldn’t I trust myself? Why can’t so many of us, trust ourselves?

I think there are many layers to unpack with this and the truth will be unique and complex.

But, I also think if we are honest, for many of us it comes back at least partially to how we were taught, honoured and encouraged to trust our body, our feelings and instincts from birth and through life. Or not.

If we’ve never been safe to fully experience and process our true feelings and sensations, how on earth can we tune into them in times when we are deeply vulnerable like in postpartum?


You’re okay. It’s not that bad. Stop crying. Don’t be a sook. Don’t be upset. Trust me. I'm the adult, do as you’re told. Stop asking questions. I don’t care if you like it, eat it. I don’t care if you’re full, eat it. I don’t care if you’re hungry, it’s time to eat. I don’t care if you don’t like it, you’re going. You be polite. Give so-and-so a hug/ kiss. Sit down and shut up.


In each and every one of those, we are taught to go outward and shutdown our inward messaging.

And for the vast majority of us, this is not some one-off or very occasional experience. And with repeated practice, over and over of switching off from ourselves, it becomes harder and harder to hear anything from the inside-out, anymore.

But it is still there.

Even if it is buried DEEP down in our soul.

It’s there.

Because it is written into our humanity.

And we can bring our inner voice back out.

And we must.

Because it is within our core that we can find our best selves. Not perfect, not infallible but OUR selves.

And that’s who our babes need.

Us, in all of our roaring instinctive glory.

Some of us will need support to bring this back to the surface. It’s not an overnight evolution for most of us.

But the power of finding YOU is something that grows more strongly every day that you realise you have it all and it is YOURS to call on any time.

It was only through a complete mental breakdown where I was stripped completely and utterly bare that I was able to find and articulate what my instincts and gut told me my baby needed.

It was only after I’d completely come apart that I could say with perfect clarity that he just wanted me. He just wanted me to feed him and hold him and keep him close.

And I wish that on no other parent out there.

Read/ hear my story

But I do wish the relief and soul affirming experience of surrendering to what FELT right all along with my baby.

It healed my heart while I was weary to my bones.

While everything was still hard, nothing ever felt as hard as it did before.

Because we were thoroughly in tune when I learned I could trust my heart.

I could trust me.

I could trust my baby.

I could trust us.

Carly Grubb, 2021

Banner image: Sarah Conlan Lifestyle Photography