Choice · General parenting · Motherhood · Mum · Personal development

Trust me, I’m your Instinct

Decision making is not one of my talents. Big ones, small ones – you name it, resolute decisions are just not my bag. And when it comes to having to actually make them, I can usually be found perched on the fence, dithering between the varying shades of green on either side. Decisive I am not.

For with decision making, comes risk taking. Big balls, small balls – it doesn’t matter what you’re blessed with, all balls [regardless of size] will be sky high, up in the air and out of reach. So when it comes to taking risks, I can usually be found pacing the middle ground, cogitating and deliberating the for’s and against’s. All the while stalling for time, hedging my bets. You see, gambler I am not.

For with risk, comes fear. A cold hard fear that stabs you in the back, reminding you that nothing in life is predictable.  An apprehension that breathes down the nape of your neck, releasing spine-chilling ripples of stress and uncertainty.  An anxiety whose roots are so deeply embedded in the ambiguity of your predicament, that whilst you can feel it tingling through every extremity, it still manages to paralyse you with the possibility of getting it wrong.

And that’s at the crux of it all. Getting it wrong. Who wants to make gross errors of judgement? Imagine the years of resentment after you finally concede to the cat above baby argument, or the slow onset of uncertainty and worry following a triumphant resignation? Remember the earth-swallowing regret following your rash decision to message an old flame, or the tummy-curdling tremors following your choice of spicy vindaloo over creamy korma the night before? Such consequences just don’t bear thinking about. Is it any wonder that I don’t do decisions? Decidophobic I must be.

So when faced with a decision of significant consequence last week, I was on the brink of going under. Now, under normal circumstances, making minor decisions for and about myself are just about bearable. I can cope with the pain of choosing stilettos over flats or the dilemma of what to cook for tonight’s supper. I can suffer the ramifications of a poor judgement call at work or the vulnerability of bearing my soul to the wrong person. But when it comes to making major, fundamentally life-changing decisions about others – important, special, precious others, then I fall to pieces.

For after 35 years of getting to know myself, I can comfortably rely on some predictability of response when making my own self-choices. But when making decisions about the future of my five year old child, sadly the benefit of hindsight does not stretch back far enough to form the foundations of any well-considered, value judgements. There’s little point in listing the pro’s and cons. The responsibility of making a decision whose possible outcomes are so unknown and whose repercussions could simply make or break your child, is just downright scary.

But something was telling me it had to be done. There was no time for “what if’s” or the complacency of indecision. It had to be done now.

There was only one thing for it.

Instinct.

I felt the fear, took the risk and trusted it.

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