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Parenting as a Highly Sensitive Person

Parenting as a Highly Sensitive Person

"Mommy, do you want to play with me?"

My eyes won't focus. They are too tired, for no good reason. I haven't left the house yet today. Or yesterday. Or possibly the day before; I can't remember. Sometimes outside is too much. I want so badly to be able to enjoy the sunshine, the clouds, the caterpillars, the blades of grass, the flowers my sons pick for me. The chirping birds, the possibly illegal rooster down the street, the big trucks driving by, my children's singing.

But each of these things brings a pang of overstimulation, like a fuzz-covered knife to the sensory processing mechanism in my brain. 

For the first time today, I get down on the floor to play with my oldest son. The other two are napping, and this one is bored without his playmates. Yes, he should be able to entertain himself for a little while, but he also just needs his momma sometimes. The thought of playing with him fills me with dread, and a wave of guilt flows through me. I know we will have fun, if just for the 10 minutes my brain can handle it. But I also know that afterwards I will need to hole up in a dark and quiet room in an attempt to recover from the stimulation. By then, though, someone else will need me. So I make this small sacrifice. Not every day, but today, I say yes to his bid for playful interaction.  

I tend to view my sensitivity as a negative aspect of my parenting: a disability of some sort. I'm afraid that I pull back too much, or shush them too much, or don't play with them enough, or don't take them to enough parties. I get irritated too easily. I don't do enough crafts with them. I let them watch too much Netflix. I wince when they tackle me with morning hugs and kisses. I don't enjoy them enough.

But lately, I've been intentional to notice the ways that my hyper-sensitivity is actually an asset in my parenting. 

Part of the reason that highly sensitive parents are so easily overstimulated is because we notice more and feel more deeply. We understand them in ways no one else can. We can read their emotions and proactively prevent many frustration-based breakdowns with a few words of explanation. Before they become verbal, we intuitively know why they are crying (most of the time) and can show them that we will meet their needs, which leads to an abundance of trust. We fully see and honor their uniqueness and autonomy, and recognize that their feelings are as big as an adult's. We let our love flow freely. 

So if you find yourself beating yourself up because of the negative aspects of your parenting, become more aware of the ways those "negative" traits are actually beneficial. Look at the other side of the coin and realize that you are a gift to your children. 

FAQ Series Part 4: Can Hypnobabies Help me with Anxiety?

FAQ Series Part 4: Can Hypnobabies Help me with Anxiety?

I am often asked about how to deal with anxiety during pregnancy. Sometimes, the person has already been dealing with anxiety when she becomes pregnant, and is wondering how to manage it. Other times, the person has never really had anxiety, but it presents itself for the first time as perinatal anxiety (anxiety occurring during pregnancy or the first year postpartum). Even planned pregnancy is considered a stressful life event and can trigger negative emotions, especially when paired with other stressful life events like changing jobs, moving, remodeling, and changing lifestyle habits. (Or a flood.)

Some first-time moms are anxious about the unknowns of birth. They may wonder, "Will I get gestational diabetes? Will I tear while pushing? How can I avoid an episiotomy? Will I poop while I'm pushing? Will I have to be induced? How can I avoid a Cesarean?"

Mothers who have already experienced birth may have anxiety based on their past birth experiences, especially if they were particularly challenging or didn't go as planned. They might think, "That was too hard; I can't go through labor again." Or, "I'm scared that my birth will not turn out like I planned...again." Or even, "My first birth went so well, there's no way I'll be lucky enough to have another birth exactly the way I want." Sometimes mothers experience new anxieties and fears about birth that they didn't know they needed to process through until they become pregnant again.

One of the best-kept secrets about my Hypnobabies classes in Baton Rouge is that they teach lifelong skills that are applicable even after pregnancy. In Hypnobabies, you will learn SO many helpful tools for dealing with anxiety and fear about pregnancy and birth, including:

Joyful pregnancy affirmations

This is a unique and wonderful asset to your pregnancy. You can listen to this track throughout the day, as often as you like. It keeps you in a positive frame of mind and helps you to enjoy your pregnancy. You don't even have to "consciously" listen to it; you can play it in the background while you go about your day, and just watch how your anxieties melt away!

Mindfulness

This practice is lauded by positive psychologists, neuroscientists, spiritual leaders, and yoga instructors as one of the most effective ways to change your thinking. In Hypnobabies, we learn how to apply the benefits of mindfulness to pregnancy and birthing. Mindfulness has been life-changing for many of my students!

Hypnosis practice for deep relaxation

The core of Hypnobabies is the hypnosis techniques. Practicing the hypnosis techniques is relaxing and extremely enjoyable. It helps students to fall into a restful sleep, and can help them get back to sleep after middle-of-the-night bathroom trips. It also includes many, many post-hypnotic suggestions for an easy and comfortable pregnancy and birth experience.

I'm not a mental health professional or therapist, but I have first-hand experience with anxiety, and I have taught a good number of Hypnobabies students who have anxiety, with amazing results! Of course, please speak with your doctor, midwife, or mental health care provider and seek further treatment if necessary.

FAQ Series Part 1: When Should I Take Hypnobabies?

FAQ Series Part 2: Does My Partner Need to Come to Class?

FAQ Series Part 3: Is Hypnosis Compatible with my Faith?