Mahsa A. Lindeman, MS, MFT
Call: (925) 289-9733
Andrew Lindeman, MS, MFT
Call: (925) 322-0793
Location: 190 N Wiget Lane Suite 275 Walnut Creek CA 94598
As people we are given an extraordinary ability to sense when something is “off”. We feel it in our bodies as well as our minds. Its called your internal sense, gut reaction, instinct, sixth sense, intuition. Whatever you call it, it is there for a reason and one of the most valuable gifts we have as a human being. This instinct takes on even more meaning when we become a mother. We suddenly extend this sense for not only ourselves, but our little ones as well. We “just know” when something is wrong.
So what happens when you doubt those instincts? Why do we deny them, ignore them or just simply go against them?
Your internal sense, especially as a mother, is undervalued and unrecognized in our society. We tend to encourage people to use logic and reason to make decisions. Weigh the pros and cons. Use your head to analyze or assess a situation. Although these have tremendous value, there is something inside that is also a vital tool: your intuition.
Your internal sense is a tool there to navigate situations more successfully. It is something immensely helpful to use in your journey as a mother. Use it to choose a caregiver for when you can’t be there, when receiving well-intentioned advice that may not align with your personal beliefs, during play dates, school functions, when your child visits family or friends, or making any important decision involving your child. It is one of the most important gifts you can give to your child. Here are some tips to help this vital tool come to the foreground:
When you have a gut reaction, it often uses your body senses as an indicator. This can mean a tingly feeling, a knot in your stomach, sweaty palms, a rapid heartbeat, an uneasy feeling, goosebumps, or tension in your muscles. These are all ways your body tells you that something is wrong. Start to become aware of what your body is telling you. This takes practice but over time you will get better and better at learning to listen to your body.
This is where most of us get tripped up. Especially mothers. When we have a bad sense about something we tend to dismiss it or override it with excuses, justification, and minimizations. Maybe your child wants to go to a friend’s home or some kind of event. Of course you want your child to go and enjoy themselves but something is nagging at you. You can’t shake the feeling that it doesn’t quite feel comfortable but you dismiss it with thoughts like “well what can go wrong? My child has gone here before and nothing happened. I’m not going to be one of “those” parents.” These are all thoughts that override that internal sense and devalue it. That sense is just as important, if not more important, then thoughts and feelings you have. Acknowledge that your internal sense is a valuable part of who you are and give it the credit it deserves.
Acting on your intuition can be difficult initially. You have no actual evidence for your decision. When someone questions why you chose what you chose, you have no justifications or logic you can present. All you have is your gut. This is where value clashes happen. In a society where an internal sense is not valued, you will often get negative feedback when you use it. But if you have taken your own step to value it (above), then acting on it will become much easier.
Let’s say you are looking for a babysitter or daycare for your child. Maybe you receive recommendations from a friend. You check it out and although everything seems to check out logically, you get a strong feeling in your stomach and a general uneasiness. You can’t explain it, its just there. So you decide to follow it. When your friend questions your decision, you simply explain as “it just didn’t feel right”. Maybe your friend will understand. Maybe she won’t. But feel confident in your decision and allow that internal sense to shine.
Some mothers, particularly first time mothers, feel worry in their decisions regarding their little one. This is normal. You want to be a good mother and want to make sure that your decisions don’t cause your child harm or distress. So you take into account every recommendation, research study, book, and advice out there. Sometimes this can make your decision clear and sometimes it causes you more worry and fear. Fear and worry can also cause physical reactions in your body so how do you know the difference? How do you know when you are just worried or when its your gut trying to telling you something?
Your intuition is a strong feeling often centered in your stomach. It feels much stronger than worry and it easily resolves itself once you listen to it. It is very clear and matter-of-fact. It is a tool that helps guide you to make healthier decisions and should not be presenting itself often, so it definitely draws your attention when it shows up. The more you pay attention to it, the more easily you will recognize it when it comes.
So mommies learn to trust that powerful intuition you have! Listening to it can take away many of the mommy jitters and help you to focus on the areas that matter most to you and your family. It is one of the greatest and most powerful gifts we have and your little ones will thank you for it one day!