Using your Mama Instincts to Prevent Sexual Abuse

By Jennifer Hillman

Now that you have taken the time to write and cross out the word ‘denial’ on the front of your folder and written and crossed out the word ‘paranoid’ on the back, it’s finally time to open up that folder. The word that needs to be placed on the inside of your folder is: INSTINCTS. That’s right, it’s our bolded word, our go-to word, our powerhouse word that needs to be circled over and over again. It’s the word that will ultimately protect your children from sexual predators.

Speaking of instincts, I love watching nature shows. Watching the Animal Planet gently reminds me that all animals are given mighty instincts to protect their young. As humans, we are no different. The one thing that separates us from other animals is our higher cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, some times the one thing that separates us from our INSTINCTS is our higher cognitive abilities. In nature, you will never see a mama lioness asking around about an instinct she has about protecting her baby cubs. No, she will not text, or get on FB or make a Tweet to ask around when she smells danger. You will see her immediately remove her cubs from danger…no questions asked. So, as humans we must get back on track and listen to what has been given to us — our natural instincts.

I recall when my husband and I decided to start a family.  After several unsuccessful attempts we then decided to visit an infertility clinic. I vividly remember standing in the kitchen and telling my mom. I remember her immediately hugging me and we both sobbed a long and hard, painful cry. Infertility was going to be a struggle that, at first glance, tore my heart in half. But, infertility was also going to be a struggle that made me stronger and placed me at the heart of listening to my instincts.

The story goes something like this: I ended up at an incredible infertility clinic with amazing doctors and nurses. We tried a lot of different options, but ended up going the IVF route. We got pregnant, with twins. We lost a twin early on but were able to hold onto our other precious nugget for the time being. At 20 weeks, I found myself in a hospital in the middle of the night with contractions. It took them eight hours to stop the labor.  During those eight hours, I prayed over and over again, “Please let us keep this baby girl, please. I will love her, guide her, and I will always protect her.”  I know that I circled our baby girl in that prayer over 1000 times in my head. It was said at least 10,000 more times during the following 19 weeks of my being on bed rest, 3 more long hospital stays, and during her birth at 39 weeks. Not only were we blessed to have one healthy, baby girl, but, when she was eight weeks old, we found ourselves with another miracle on the way. That’s right…these sisters are only 10 months apart. We are in love with our Irish twins.

Mamas out there, whether it took two quick minutes to make a baby, 14 years, or whether you went the surrogacy route or blessed by adoption, I hope that you can recall the love and joy you felt knowing that a precious baby was on the way. I hope we can all step in the middle of our file folders and always listen to our instincts. It is a must to always err on the side of protecting our babies that were given to us to care for and to protect. Listening to our instincts is the first tool that we must utilize to prevent any type of sexual abuse.

Jennifer Hillman is a licensed speech-language pathologist, producer of the AWARD-WINNING educational DVD, “The Five B’s”, mother of two and an active advocate and speaker for sexual abuse prevention education in the home, churches and in schools.

For more information on this topic and the AWARD-WINNING educational DVD on empowering children about body safety in order to prevent sexual abuse, go to

Image by Gareth du Plessis