Hunches. Suspicion. Intuition. Premonitions. Gut instincts. Most people, even the most logical, fact-seeking lot of us, admit to sensing the occasional inexplicable sixth sense.
For my “hard science-inclined” husband, it appears in the form of a lottery ticket on our kitchen counter — evidence that he had a lucky inkling on his drive home from work.
My best friend and I have our own little arrangement when it comes to mysterious hunches. If one of us has a strange dream or a fleeting wave of concern, we text: “All good?” and the other knows to respond right away.
Meanwhile, I’ve always thought of myself as a sort of intuitive good witch, blessed (and occasionally cursed) with a sharper, stronger intuitive muscle than the average human. (Or maybe I’m just more aware of it? Maybe I listen to mine more closely? Or maybe it’s all bullsh*t?!) Truth is, it never really mattered to me if others acknowledged it, but now, approaching motherhood, I’m thinking it could become more important than ever, and maybe I’m off to a decent start?
First, I absolutely knew when we conceived. Weeks before a pregnancy test confirmed it, I stopped pouring espresso down my throat and instead put on the tea kettle, rubbing my flat tummy, increasingly aware that something new was a-brew. Then, despite virtually all of my inner circle and a few chatty strangers saying they “really, really think it’s a girl!” I continued compulsively saying “he” and “him” when referencing the baby. Once, when I found the cat curled up in the will-be nursery, I summoned her out with, “This will be his room soon. You’ll have to stay out, but you can play with him in other rooms, okay?” (Yes, not only am I a self-proclaimed intuitive good witch, but also a crazy cat lady. Maybe these go hand in hand?)
And then, a few days ago, we discovered we’re having a BOY! (And, more importantly, all looks healthy, thank goodness. Also, he has what appears to be a very sweet little face, too. I think it’s safe to say, I’m already in love.)
Okay. Back to this intuition stuff.
Several years ago, Victor Shamas, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Arizona, conducted a study of over a hundred women during their first trimesters. He asked each of them to guess, relying purely on instinct, if they believed they were having a boy or a girl. The results? Seventy percent of the women predicted their baby’s sex correctly, often attributing their answer to a dream or gut feeling.
What can we make of this? Let’s stay grounded and acknowledge that the boy/girl mystery prompts a 50/50 guess. (Seriously great odds!) Though maternal intuition is extraordinary, it is not uncommon.
More compelling than accurate gender-guessing are those instances when moms “just knew something was off,” prompting them — often just in time — to rush back to the day care or swimming pool or school to find their little one in danger. (Moving stories like this one of a Michigan mom who detected a near-fatal illness, or this one where a Utah mother’s intuition is attributed to preventing a kidnapping….)
Inspired by the findings of his baby gender study, Shamas goes on to elaborate on intuition in general. “Many psychologists believe that there are a whole lot of things happening unconsciously,” he said. “The ancient Romans believed that human beings have some sort of guiding mechanism built into you, and I agree that as humans, there is some sort of self-protective mechanism that guides us through life.”
Whether you wholeheartedly believe this or not, isn’t it a beautiful thought?
Have you — or your mother, or grandmother, or girlfriend, or sister — ever experienced mom’s intuition?