My husband sat across the room watching me tenderly and ever so gently swaddle and rock my six-month-old son. Distress turned to smiles. The question all over his face before he finally spoke, “How did you know?”

I knew because I’m his mom.

I knew because I know.

There’s this magical thing that happens when a woman gives birth for the first time. 

No matter how many weeks leading up to delivery she spent wondering how she is qualified to take on this young life. No matter how much doubt she’s filled herself with about her ability to navigate all the intricate details that are newborn babies. There’s not a class or any amount of reading to fully prepare for first-time motherhood but there’s also not a class or any amount of reading that can teach this magic. 

Because the magic just happens. When a woman gives birth for the first time, she just knows.

It’s like Spidey-sense, but for mothers.


Every instinct ramped up on high.

A knowing, sometimes without even understanding how she knows.

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When my son was six months old, he required an operation to correct a birth defect. The procedure itself, while detailed, complicated, and a lot to make sense of was supposed to be relatively routine. Though I’d never heard of the condition, one in 200 is born with this particular defect which almost always requires surgery to correct.

Relatively routine, an outpatient procedure and lots of medical data to suggest proactive approaches to keep kiddos comfortable while the healing takes place.

It seemed both complicated but simple enough . . . until it wasn’t.

While in recovery, complications ensued. Complications causing the specialized nursing team enough concern to grab the surgeon just outside the door from stepping into his next procedure. Complications enough to require a second, emergency surgery the same day and admittance into the hospital for the night.

My son was a disaster. Screaming and crying that left medical professionals scrambling to figure out what was wrong and do anything in their power to make him comfortable. Conversations about this medication and that and how it might help. Confusion about how he could still possibly be in pain with all the medications he currently had on board.

But I knew. His discomfort had nothing to do with the actual surgery or pain. 

I knew in the deepest reaches of every fiber of my being that my son’s discomfort was coming from his stomach. Not that he was hungry but rather that his stomach was a wreck. 

It took a little convincing, but I finally got someone to give him a suppository and a short time laterrelief! 

Smiles. Giggles. Cuddles and cooing.

My husband marveled at how I knew because no one (himself included) knew.

It’s in the magic, my friends. 

It’s this magical thing that happens when a woman brings life into this world for the first timea magic that builds with each subsequent birth.

A connection and knowing that she alone possesses for that little bundle of joy.

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This isn’t to say she will have every answer for every little detail, that some things won’t take some trial and error, and that she won’t misstep from time to time. 

But when push comes to shove and the knowing is essential, a mother knows.

It’s in the magic.

Hilary Doyle

Hilary is a wife and mother of three living in Colorado. She enjoys projects (especially with her young kiddos), gardening, writing, reading and swinging a club on the golf course. Her education and work experience fall in the category of mental health but her heart is in her home - just as God intended. Follow her at