I didn’t know I was a highly sensitive person until I became a mother.
We were living in a small city with a lot of noise. Regular, everyday noise didn’t bother me.
Loud, thumping base, however, was the first thing to start setting my sensitivities into high gear.
And then factor in the intense, often psychotic-feeling of serious sleep deprivation that goes along with taking care of twin infants.
That’s around the time I started feeling the effects of being highly sensitive.
Every high pitch or low pitch noise made me cringe. Too many things happening at once in the same moment can also bring on a sense of overwhelm.
And, some of my sensitivities have only gotten worse over time rather than better.
The sounds don’t go away. The intense feelings don’t just evaporate into thin air.
But, creating all of the tools in The Abundant Mama Project help immensely.
In fact, without practicing my own daily tools, I quickly end up in Land of Bitter and Sour.
That’s when I started rising early to take time for myself before my day began.
That’s when I started creating my own self-care plan that involved writing and other life exercises to keep me grounded and centered each day so I could be strong and calm as a mom — even when I faced sensory overload.
Recently — upon realizing that both of my daughters are also highly sensitive beings — I began really reading about this phenomenon and how it impacts ME, as a mother.
Are you a highly sensitive mom? How do you know?
It’s pretty simple. Here are some of the common traits of a highly sensitive person:
- Overwhelmed easily
- Aware of subtle changes in environment
- Sensitive to pain, noise, smells and touch
- Desire to withdraw into solitude often
- Overwhelmed by light and sounds
- Extremely conscientious to the point of being insecure
- Easily annoyed and frustrated
- Avoid violence and confrontation, including on TV and news
- Changes and transitions are very challenging and anxiety-inducing
- Easily overwhelmed by too many options or choices
If any of these traits stand out for you and you’re realizing you are highly sensitive … congratulations!
You’ve been given a gift. A gift of being able to see, hear, taste, smell and feel at a heightened state.
And this also means you may feel more overwhelmed in your life as a mother than you wish.
Children are filled with chaos, disorder, loud noises and the constant barrage of too many requests, demands and ideas. Children naturally bring conflict and challenges. When your child cries, you feel so much more than sadness. You may feel their pain in your skin or in your stomach. You long to ease their sadness.
And when you cannot you may feel like the world is caving in on you and you feel dizzy, overwhelmed and even angry.
Being a highly sensitive mom can disrupt your inner compass to being peaceful, playful and present as a mother and a woman.
Many of the mothers who have gone through my online program over the last two years have been highly sensitive mothers. I know from the way they confess why they are taking the course. They’ll say things like … I yell a lot, or I want to be more present or I want to feel more connected to my child.
Feeling overwhelmed by the sensory overload of motherhood keeps us disconnected, lost and wanting to crawl back into bed if we are not mindful of how we handle our sensitive nature.
A highly sensitive mom cares so much it hurts. She feels so much she often can’t make decisions. She stands in emotional gridlock.
And yet she often doesn’t even know that it’s her true nature to be sensitive and that she can slow down and make appropriate changes to cope with the sensory explosions happening on a daily basis.
As a highly sensitive mom myself — and I’ve known this for years — I have to take really good care of myself so I can care for my family well.
That begins with understanding my own sensitivities and how they are playing out in my relationships.
This is the first in a series of blog posts I’m writing on this topic of being a highly sensitive mom.
Discuss: Are you a highly sensitive mother? How do you know?