Yes Chloe, I do understand your sensitivity.

December 20, 2013

 

chloe 2008(Photo 2008, those ferns in the back, most definitlely have died.)

“My own mother doesn’t understand my sensitive nature!!!”

When my daughter screamed at me the other night that I didn’t understand her sensitivity, I locked myself in the bedroom with a cup of tea, and my computer, and let her father deal with it.

The next morning he said, “Hey, so I have an idea for you to have a really good day today. Just tell Chloe you are sorry.”

I didn’t want to say sorry. I wanted to tell her::

When you were a baby you cried 8-9 hours a day. Everything about becoming a parent was shattered in my heart. I loved you but I couldn’t understand what I had done to create a baby so sad, so hurt, so wanting, so lost, so hurt.

And I held you as you cried and I cried. We spent the next 6 months this way. I never thought it would end. Somehow it did.

But then you continunued to need to nurse all night long to stay asleep. If I even moved my body you would wake. You would nurse so many times a night that I thought I would dry up and fade away. The women in my life told me to let you cry it out. But I knew that you needed me in a way I couldn’t explain. Something inside of me knew I had to do this for you.

Then you turned 2 and I knew you were ready. I told you that we would be having our last nurse before you fell asleep and then nurse again in the morning. We spent two nights with you hitting me, screaming at me, punching my back because I had to turn away and cry while you worked out your pain.

My relationship with the man I fell in love with at 19 suffered because I had nothing in me to give him. I was used up. Neither of us blame kids, but we both know that we lost each other.

I protected you with a fierceness that only a mama bear, or a mama with a child with highly sensitive needs understands. You became my world. I no longer recognized myself. You were my reality.

We would go to story time, you were almost three years old, me pregnant with your brother, and you would have to nurse 4 times to make it through. Thank God for my friends who I met when we moved, who also nursed toddlers. I’m not sure I would have made it through that time without them.

I loved your sensitivity. I nurtured it. I lived it. I became it. I am it.

Now you are 11. Sensitive. Beautiful. Smarter than I may ever have been. Not obesessed with boys (can’t relate!). An artist that somehow grew from my belly.

Yes Chloe, I do understand your sensitivity.

Inside of my own sensitivity I didn’t know how to just let you be seen and understood. Then your father told me to say sorry. And when I did you looked at me with such joy and said, “Thank you.” It was that simple.

You healed my own child’s heart showing me how easy it can be. That I don’t have to lecture you, or be right. That I can just say sorry and make your eyes sparkle and your love for me shine.

So I will say sorry over and over and over when I make you feel wrong. Because well, I’m kind of senstitive too.

I kind of really truly love us this way.

 

 

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Mara December 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Oh my goodness… Tears.

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Hannah December 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I love you. I can’t wait to be able to be there for you when you become a mother. I promise I’ll only make tea, I won’t say anything else!!!

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Dillan DiGiovanni December 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Hannah, this post reminded me of a letter my mother would write to me. Know of the profound beauty of your honesty and the respect you modeled for Chloe. Know that she probably respects and admires you so much and 11 is the beginning of hell on earth for “tween”agers. The more you can hold the space for her, as you do for so many women, the more she will lean into the serenity you were born to provide. Hold the space for her, know she needs to carve it out for herself, and that she DOES trust you–even if it doesn’t look or feel that way. XO

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Hannah December 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Dillan, thank you, this is huge. Thank you.

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kolleen December 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

mmmmmm.

thank you.
oxo

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Hannah December 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm

xo

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Kelly Ann December 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

She is very fortunate to have you as a mom. And visa versa. A new generation is emerging and those of us who came before, as sensitives, are at least a little more aware of the needs, behaviors, and emotions of an hsp. Hugs to you both.

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Hannah December 20, 2013 at 5:01 pm

It is a slow emergence, I have to say. Really really hard. To be sensitive and to treat someone with sensitivity are such different things. I think my husband who is not hsp knows more about how to approach the sensitive than I have. But he has 20 years practice ;)

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Amy Hendrickson December 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Oh loving mama, I felt like you wrote about my firstborn, my highly sensitive 10 year old. This brings it all back and grounds my reality of now. These babies, these amazing babies, knew what they were doing when they picked us – even if sometimes I don’t. Xo

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Hannah December 20, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Yes, i think they did. And she loves her drops Amy, so much. xo

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Heather Plett December 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

My own sensitive child, who lived many of those same stories and challenged me in profound ways, is now an incredible, deeply grounded, wise 17 year old. Yes, she is still sensitive (and is currently in the other room listening to Enya), and sometimes we still hurt each other, but we have a bond beyond anything I knew to be possible in a mother-daughter. She would rather spend her Friday nights watching Downton Abbey re-runs or Love Actually with her mother than go out with friends. It’s quite beautiful to see them blossom into themselves. And it’s beautiful to see, when they come into themselves, that all that hard work of making them feel safe and loved matters.

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Hannah December 20, 2013 at 7:02 pm

17!!! I can’t believe how close that really is.

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erica December 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm

thank you. <3

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Hannah December 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

xo

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brooke December 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

oh, hannah. such sweetness.

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Lisa December 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Wow. This is my almost 6 year old son and I to a T. It’s amazing to “see” your experience through someone else’s words. Having a highly sensitive child, and being a HSP myself, is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever lived through. I’ve learned an incredible amount about myself over the past 6 years and am completely different than I was before he was born. Thank you a million times over for writing this. You and Chloe are so incredibly lucky to have each other. xoxo

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Hannah December 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

xo

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Holly December 20, 2013 at 6:49 pm

OMG did I need this! Crying my eyes out now….I have that same sensitive 11 year old, and I am soooo struggling to find a way to blend our over sensitive souls without hurting each other. Thank you, thank you Hannah!

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Hannah December 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

So it isn’t easy. Not at all. xo

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Indigomoon December 20, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Wow, this touched me deeply. Thank you so much.

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Sudie December 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Beautiful…sometimes for me, I think being sensitive means I have to analyze and overthink and talk about everything. When really sometimes the best thing is just acknowledging and releasing it….xoox

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Hannah December 21, 2013 at 9:35 am

I couldn’t have said that better. Yes, so much thinking and talking and to just slow down and stop for a moment… yes!

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Laura December 20, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Tears, so touching. Chloe is so lucky to have you as her mother. My 7yr old daughter is so sensitive and I often wonder how I am going to make it through preteens and teens when the hormones kick in. I too am sensitive and just realized that is why we may clash so much already. Thanks for the lessons Hannah.

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Hannah December 21, 2013 at 9:34 am

Laura, I wonder too! Haha

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Lisa Marie Tsering December 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Oh woman, this one has hit me fiercely. Thank you for walking this path ahead of me and lighting the way with your truth.

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Rozanne Henry December 21, 2013 at 7:39 am

Hannah this post touched me so because all my life as a child, teenager and adult I kept begging my mother to “Just tell me you are sorry.”

I always got a blank look and a stubborn response as I sobbed. I felt lost and painfully not heard.

I was always told that I was too sensitive and should not `get upset ‘ but I did and still do feel things deeply. Slowly I am accepting that actually this is a gift not a curse because I can now honour myself as a deeply caring, compassionate, intuitive woman who has much to offer others.

So it is okay if she cannot and will not say sorry after so many years. Ive come to understand that for her, saying sorry means she is imperfect and not in control anymore. I, on the other hand easily say sorry to my boys because I KNOW this example gives my children the permission to be less than perfect too and to be okay with `slipping up ‘

Thank you Hannah.

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Izabela December 23, 2013 at 10:03 am

Rozanne, bless you.
Couple weekends ago, my mom brought my kids back over after they visited with her for a couple days. She was telling me about my 4-year old, nothing bad, but she made the comment “she apologized, but it was hard for her, just like you, you still owe me apologizies from years ago.” I almost threw up!
All of my teenage and adult life, all I’ve wanted to hear from my mom was “I’m sorry for drinking, yelling, fighting, making you feel not good enough, not supporting you, not holding you, not talking to you as mother and daughter ought to.” I didn’t say it, but it hit me…if my mom said “I’m sorry,” she would be admitting that she is imperfefct and not in control…just as you wrote. Thank you for sharing. This has helped me release something.

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Rozanne Henry December 24, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Izabela my heart is with you. Know that.

I am so pleased that my sharing helped release something in you. That makes me feel that the courage it took to write what I did, was worth it. You see, we are not supposed to speak like that about our mother, I get told this by my sister all the time.

BUT by acknowledging what in my mother wounded me, I can be conscious to never repeat that with others.

I love saying sorry to my boys…it immediately softens the air and I know they are heard in a way that I never was. So then this becomes a release of healing for me then too. xoxo

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Renee December 21, 2013 at 9:19 am

Hannah,

That was beautifully poetic. I understand more than you know what you went through and I send you a high-five from my heart to yours. My son Sevren, who is now 5, is also highly sensitive and my hubby and I lost our way from each other for a few years when he was really little. I tell my story on my website should you like to hear about it sometime. We see our boy’s sensitivity as such a blessing today as he has the biggest heart of anyone we know and we learn from him every day. He is a glorious big brother to his little sister who is 4 years younger. I thank mother universe everyday for the blessing of my “sensitive” little soul as he teaches me to honor my feelings more often and pause daily in the name of…well, just pausing. :-) Thanks for sharing.

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Hannah December 21, 2013 at 9:34 am

Thank you for Renee!!!

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Sherry Smyth December 21, 2013 at 9:46 am

Beautiful Hannah. I have always said that our children have much to teach us…I have learned so much about life, about myself, about the world through my sons. It’s a blessing we are given. xo

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barbara Young December 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Your words are so beautiful and so true. I so needed to hear this today, of all days. My 15 year old is unbelievably sensitive and always has been. My stories could fill a book. sadly, she has struggled through her teen years and has yet to come out the other side. I know we will connect again, as we did up until she was a teen, but the teen hormones and my menopause hormones, have not mixed well. I love that you share on this page, and that others share. Not only does reading your words touch my heart and bring tears to my eyes, it reminds me that to feel is good and to acknowledge those feelings is even better but to release is the best! I was given this child for a reason, sometimes I forget that. Only I could have listened to her over analysis of everything, or her wondering if I was mad at her because she heard me sigh or her questioning of whether or not she should have cut her hair, over and over again. She is my angel and both her and I being sensitive is always a challenge but reading this today reminds me, we are sent what we need, and this child has opened my heart and my patience in ways no one else in my life has. Thank you as always for sharing hannah!

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Lisa Byrne December 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Oh Hannah…this is just beyond words…thank you for this. Just letting it sink deep into my own mama heart. Thank you xoxo

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Kelly December 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Words fail me. That is tough and beautiful and true. Thank you for sharing.

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Kellye Kimmel-Fondren December 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm

This brought me to tears Hannah. I was and still am very sensitive at times, however my mother was very far from being such a mother as you. Thank you for being who you are.

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Izabela December 23, 2013 at 9:54 am

Wow, I think I held my breath the whole time I read this. It reminded me of my daughter, who is only 4 now, and I remember how I had no idea what to do with her when she wailed and wailed as a babe. I know now that she is sensitive. I know now that when she throws a tantrum, yelling, threatening, going “nuts” is not the way to calm her down. Holding her, soothing her, talking it out is the way to get her to calm down. I have a highly sensitive child, and I kind of love it too. She speaks my language.

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Angelina December 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Beautiful. Tears. Xoxo

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