Although intuition is an innate capacity that is available
to everyone (and can be our greatest resource as
mothers and fathers), if we aren’t aware of it, we might
miss it altogether. The more we acknowledge and learn
to use our intuition, the stronger it becomes. As the
saying goes, “Use it or lose it.”
Recently, as I was reading comments made in an online
mothers’ group, I came upon a glaring example of
the consequences of not recognizing the power of intuition.
The mother began, “In my constant search for validation,
I once again need the approval of other mothers....”
and went on to ask a fairly simple question to
which there was no precise answer. The thoroughness
with which she was looking outside of herself for the
answers made me empathize with her. I thought about
how my job as a mother would
be so much harder if I was constantly
second guessing what
was right for my children or
looking to others for the best
way to raise them.
As mothers, we are faced
daily with new and uncharted
territory. From the moment we
become pregnant, we need to
make decisions we have never
had to make before. What are
the best foods to eat? Which
tests should I take? How do I
know if the doctor or midwife I
have chosen is the “right one”
for me? Actually, the questions
that arise when we are pregnant
are just the tip of the iceberg. After our baby is
born, the questions continue. How often should my
baby breastfeed? Where should my baby sleep? How
do I pick the best pediatrician? Should I take my child to
the doctor or is this just a typical cold? And, as our child
grows older, the questions relentlessly continue and
are often much more complex and challenging. What is
the most effective way to communicate with my toddler?
How can I help I instill confidence in my child?
Should I be worried if my teen feels distant? The
thought of not being able to look inward to find the answers
for what’s best for ourselves and our children
seems exhausting and frightening.
It is important to use our conscious, rational minds
to gather information and educate ourselves about our
bodies, our pregnancy, our birth, and the type of parents
we want to be. This is especially true today when
we are so detached from our extended families and
from the wisdom of our elders. If we don’t know our
options, we don’t have any; in order to know all our
we must do a significant amount of research.
However, the fact that we are constantly being reminded
to “ask the expert” or make sure every choice
we make has been cleared by our doctor does not serve
our children well. At some point, we have to tap into
and trust our own inner wisdom and truth. We know
our bodies and our babies better than a doctor, book,
family member, friend, or an article on a website.
Here are some tools to help a woman strengthen
her powerful mother’s intuition:
The more we trust ourselves as mothers, the
simpler and more joyful mothering becomes and the happier and
healthier our children are.
yourself! Stop always looking
to others for
the answers. How often do we
say to ourselves, “I knew that...I
should have listened to myself.”
If you are used to looking outside
for “expert” advice or to
what everyone else is doing,
this might be very challenging
and a little scary at first. The
best way to start tuning inward
is to stop looking outward. Recognize
when you don’t need
any more information. Limit
the number of questions you
will allow yourself to ask each
day or week. Learn to quiet
your mind and go with what
feels right in the moment.
Given how often we tend to
eat when we are pregnant, using our intuition when selecting
foods to eat will give us ample opportunity to
begin to flex this muscle. Food cravings are our body’s
way of calling out for specific nutrients. I was a
for years before becoming pregnant, but when I was
pregnant and nursing, I had an intense craving for eggs.
My body and my intuition were telling
me that I needed
this extra protein to optimally support the growth of
my developing baby. (Note: craving sweets and fatty
foods is often an indication that you may be getting too
little protein and healthy fats, which are essential for a
baby’s development.) Educate yourself about healthy
nutritional choices and then pay attention to what feels
best to you.
2) Meditate. Relax and breathe. If our
completely cluttered with information and incessant
thoughts and noise, then we will be unable to hear our intuition. A very simple step
to help quiet the mind is to focus on your breath. In the moment of checking and listening
to your breath, you are not thinking. Another tool to help develop powerful
intuition is to focus on your third eye point. With your eyes closed, draw both of your
eyes to the center of your forehead just above your eyebrows. If, or should I say
when, distracting thoughts come up, notice them, let them go, and continue concentrating
on this point and your breath. Begin with a realistic goal….simply committing
to sit in silence for short periods of time each day is a great place to start.
One of my favorite ways of meditating is listening to music and chanting along
to mantras. Mantras are words or phrases that are repeated in order to help you
achieve a thoughtless state. I often listened to mantras while I was pregnant and
then continued to play them to help soothe my babies once they were born.
3) Observe how you feel. The experience of intuition is different for everyone.
For some of us, the wisdom can be felt physically in the form of what we call “gut
feelings.” Notice if an idea gives you energy or leaves you feeling uninspired and
lethargic. Pay attention to ideas that jump into your head and synchronicities you
observe. Intuition is a place of great calm with little or no emotional charge. Be
careful not to mistake fear for intuition. Focus on what actions and thoughts
you feel love, joy, and peace.
Women are often torn between our intuition and the societal messages we receive
about how to care for our children. One example is the common recommendation
to let our babies “cry it out.” Every mother will tell you that her baby’s crying
invokes a physiological response in her. Nature designed us this way. Babies
who are crying are not spoiled, manipulative or bad; they are expressing their biological
needs. They are born in a helpless state with significantly immature brains
(only twenty-five percent of their final size) and nervous systems so
have an overwhelming desire to be close to their babies and to protect and
comfort them. Telling a mother to let her baby cry it out teaches her to ignore her
intuition while at the same time ignoring the needs of her baby. Remember, whatever
advice you get on this and similar issues from friends, family members, and
even doctors is simply their own personal opinion. Why not form and trust your
own opinion instead?
4) Move your body. Physical activity – walking, running, swimming, biking –
helps you go inward and shifts energy and focus from your head into your body.
When a physical activity requires your full attention, it brings you a deep sense of
peace and aliveness. The problem with treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical
machines is that, although they are beneficial for circulation, increasing energy
and cardiovascular fitness, they don’t require much focus. It is easy to find yourself
on one of these machines with your mind arguably working harder than your
body. Spending time exercising in Nature is a wonderful way to access your intuition.
One of the greatest gifts we can give
our children is teaching them to listen to their intuition by
learning to listen to our own.
Another great way is with yoga. When I was pregnant and practiced with various
prenatal yoga DVDs, the warning preceding the class was to check with a doctor
before beginning. I never understood why a healthy pregnant woman needs a
doctor’s approval to do a gentle, specifically designed, prenatal yoga class.
Wouldn’t I know better than my doctor if the exercises felt good to me, my body,
and my baby? And, if they didn’t, isn’t it likely that I would not continue to do
Some women feel great running throughout their entire pregnancies, some barely feel
like stretching, and then others, like myself, fall somewhere along this spectrum.
As we look at the example of exercise, we can see how difficult it is for someone else to tell us what is best.
5) Ask yourself for the answers. Be clear about your question and then let go. Be patient.
Whenever you feel stuck at a rational level and your emotions are too muddled to be of any help,
intuition can be your best friend. The more we listen to our intuition, the more confident we become
that the answers which come to us are the most appropriate and beneficial ones. Essentially, we are
learning to open up to a connection with our higher self.
Many women wrestle with the question of how and where their babies should sleep at night. Given the
multitude of reasons why a baby might wake up at night, it doesn’t make sense to think that
anyone other than a baby’s primary caregiver could have a true understanding of the most
appropriate way of dealing with a “night owl.” Sleeping soundly through the night can,
in fact, be dangerous; light stage sleep is more physiologically appropriate for young babies.
Perhaps your baby is waking several times at night because he has a fever, or he may be teething or
coming down with the flu; maybe he simply needs to be comforted; maybe he is hungry; maybe he is
reacting to tension caused by a fight between you and your partner; or maybe he is simply too cold or too hot.
Many mothers are not comfortable with the idea of their new babies sleeping far away from them or down
the hall in another room. A woman intuitively knows that the safest place for her new baby to be
is in close proximity. Studies show that babies need to be near their mothers in order to help
regulate their respiration, heart rates, temperatures, and stress hormones as well as their sleep
and arousal patterns. Data from the Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Infants Study, the largest study of
its kind yet conducted, found that babies sleeping alone in a room are twice as likely to die as
those who share a room with their parents.
You and your baby spent nine months of your life as one. No one will ever know your baby as well
as you do. It is important to be aware of shortcuts and parenting strategies based on convenience
as well as those that contribute to our anxieties and insecurities. Question any advice you are given
that doesn’t leave you feeling more positive and empowered and with a greater sense of peace.
When we follow our intuition, it may lead us to make choices different from those made by others,
even our friends and family. Every woman is unique, with a unique baby. The more we trust
ourselves as mothers, the more joyful and simple mothering becomes and the happier and healthier our
children are as a result. Using our intuition keeps us connected to our authentic selves and our children’s
true needs. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is teaching them to listen to their
intuition by learning to listen to our own.
Sarah Kamrath is a filmmaker who is producing a
series of DVDs, Happy Healthy Child: A Holistic Approach, due to be released
later this year. The series is designed to provide parents with insights to
help them connect with their most powerful tool, their intuition. The videos
compile the immense wisdom from over thirty of the most well-respected
experts in their fields. The DVDs are a definitive series on natural
parenting covering many crucial topics, from the importance of a mother’s
emotional well-being during pregnancy, understanding babies are conscious
within the womb, the numerous benefits of natural birth, early bonding,
breastfeeding, co-sleeping, circumcision, and supporting a child’s
developing immune system. Learn more at