One day, when I was a little girl, my mom sensed I was in danger. We lived in the country outside of the big city, a special area that seemed to stand still through time. Every day I walked to school — a three-room school house — with my friends, their older siblings, and my collie, Lassie by my side. Most of my kindergarten years were uneventful, except for this one. My life would be at risk and my mom knew it hours before it happened. Her intuition saved my life.
Like most days, I was supposed to walk home with the same friends I walked to school with, including my beloved dog Lassie, who would sit outside until noon when I was released to go home. But on this particular day, my mom felt startled by a sense of urgency to take the short drive to pick me up. She didn’t know why, she just knew it had to be done.
She called the school and my teacher told me not to walk home that day, as my mom would be waiting for me. This news excited me because I had drawn her a picture and couldn’t wait to show it to her.
As the school bell rang, I gathered my things and started to walk outside among the other children, looking for my mom. She was parked across the street, and when she saw me, she got out of the car and waved. I began to walk towards her with my drawing held proudly in my hands, my friends not far behind me, ready to walk home without me. I looked up and met my mom’s eyes and instantly noticed they were filled with fear.
Before I could register the alarm, she sprinted towards me, lunged, and pushed me backwards. I fell, stunned, confused, and a little mad. Just then a large truck came barreling by me, striking my mom and rolling over her body. I heard screaming, and then another classmate’s mother swooped me into her arms and ran me back into the building. I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. I just remember telling my classmate’s mother that I had dropped my picture for my mommy. Please go back, and get my picture for my mommy.
And then another miracle happened. Not only did my mother survive the hit, but she sustained only minor injuries. The road was gravel and the area she landed on had a lot of sand, so she was able to sink into the ground without serious injury or broken bones. Her entire body was covered from head to toe in bruises, but she was fine. I was fine. Her intuition wasn’t a fluke, a paranoid thought, or a coincidental moment of fear. It was a calling, an unexplainable force that said, “Go.” So she did. And here I am.
What is a mother’s intuition? We hear the stories of a mother sensing or knowing when her child is in imminent danger. A pull that strikes just before the phone rings. It’s almost telepathic, the inherent sense of knowing that our baby needs us. It seems impossible, certainly not something a scientist would give much credence to. There is no proof, just anecdotal evidence often disregarded as coincidence, hearsay, hunches, or old wives tales.
But many of us who are mothers know this feeling — the hit in our gut that something is not right. The doctor’s diagnosis just doesn’t ring true. We feel the need to call our older child, only to discover they’re in some type of trouble. We just know — despite all odds, logical explanations, or assurances from others. We know, we act, and miraculously, we’re often right.
Psychology Today described a mother’s intuition as “a rapid pulling together of what we know into a ‘feeling’ about what’s going on or what we should do.” Meaning, all the “data” we’ve collected about our children through our experiences, builds up in our subconscious and can emerge all together in a moment to give us a feeling or sense of what to do. Like when our child seems “off” after school and we have an inherent sense of knowing they need to cuddle and rest. This certainly seems plausible for many situations in which we follow our gut instincts, but what about anticipating bad news just before the phone rings? Or, in my mom’s case, following an urgent sense that said “go,” without any information that would make her logically stop what she was doing and jump into her car?
Some would say it’s a higher power. Perhaps providence. Others may say it’s coincidence, a lucky fluke.
I think our minds are brilliant, and I certainly believe that they can gather information to accurately anticipate things. Most of the time, helping us navigate unknown situations with our children. I also think that sometimes we confuse intuition with fear. But there are also some things that just can’t be explained. That we are emotionally and spiritually connected to our children in a way that doesn’t make logical sense. That sometimes when we are told to “go,” we are given a gift to run and save our baby and her picture, that we’ll proudly display on our refrigerator with arms covered in bruises.
Whatever it is, it’s a gift, a blessing, maybe even a calling. And for the women who have experienced it — it’s very real. We don’t have to explain it to listen to it. We don’t have to have tangible evidence to be thankful for it. We just need to know what we know and do what we have to do. Amen.