Mothers have incredible radar for their children," says Judith Orloff.
A psychiatrist and intuitive healer, she has written several books including The New York Times best-seller "Emotional Freedom."
Her latest, "Second Sight: An Intuitive Psychiatrist Tells Her Story and Shows You How to Tap Your Own Inner Wisdom" (Three Rivers Press, 2010), chronicles the discovery of her own gift of intuition and her mother's deathbed confession.
"A mother carries a child for nine months and the bond begins at the moment of conception," she explains. It's the initial physical closeness she believes that forms the basis for mother's intuition. Over the years she has heard many stories about it.
"I had one patient who started getting terrific stomach pain and a sense that her daughter wasn't all right. Her daughter lived on the East Coast -- she lived in L.A. She called her daughter and found out she was in the emergency room with appendicitis."
Intuition can come in a physical manifestation such as stomach pain or a persistent thought and often in dreams.
"When you dream, you are not using your thinking mind. You are using your intuitive mind and so much information goes on during sleep. We dream every 120 minutes. In 'Second Sight' I want to teach people how to remember their dreams and use the information, by keeping a dream journal," says Dr. Orloff, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at University of California, Los Angeles.
By doing this, she says, you can program your subconscious to access that intuitive information.
One of the things she advises mothers to do is list their top five anxieties. Often they are actually fears for their children. If these anxieties come out in dreams, she says, "I would be skeptical of those as intuitions."
Dr. Orloff says too many mothers today are ignoring their instincts and gut feelings when it comes to their children.
"Our society doesn't encourage people or women to trust their deep intuitions so they will talk themselves out of it rather than follow through."
Also interfering with our ability to trust our feelings is our growing use -- and reliance -- on electronics. The Internet, cell phones, television and iPads and iPods have created a barrier to those telepathic brainwaves, according to Dr. Orloff, who says she integrates science and psychiatry with intuition. "It stops the very basic interconnections between mother and child."
Born in Philadelphia, she didn't always have a particularly easy relationship with her own mother when growing up.
"My mother never encouraged my intuition as a little girl and I grew up thinking there was something wrong with it," she said. "She never told anyone about it and she did not encourage mine. She didn't want me to be different."
Her mother thought she was protecting her daughter from people who would not appreciate or believe. But as Dr. Orloff got older, she embraced it.
"It made me feel more whole as a woman and a doctor," she says. "Today people are getting more in touch with their body's energies and intuition and it's becoming more socially acceptable.
"My mother and I worked very hard to grow closer in the last 10 years before she died," she recalls.
Her mother had been hiding her own special gift for intuition, which she quietly used in her practice as a doctor. "On her death bed she told me her secret and the secret of our family coming from a whole line of intuitive healers."
Intuition can run both ways. "I did get warnings about my mother's health and her moods and I would call her at those times," she recalls. "She had feelings of depression and anger that she dealt with a lot. I could feel that. Our bond was too close because sometimes I could feel too much what was going on with my mother."
If you want to hone your intuition, she suggests holding onto another person's keys or an object they own and see what impressions come to you. Then get feedback from the person as to whether or not it is accurate.
Anyone can develop intuition at any age, she says.
"Mothers know quite a bit, so when your mother says 'I don't have a good feeling about that,' I would listen," says Dr. Orloff, laughing.
You can read more about Dr. Orloff at www.drjudithorloff.com.
Patricia Sheridan: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2613.