Sensitive, The Untold Story – A beautiful documentary about a beautiful trait

Last night, my husband and I did something we don’t normally do.

Our nightly ritual normally consists of us putting the kids in bed, finishing up the housework, and then slumping down on the couch, mostly with a glass of red wine, to watch something that requires minimal brain activity and triggers little to no emotional response. Some might frown at the idea of two people shutting down that way when the day’s over. But at the end of an overwhelming day, that is how we unwind and empty our buckets.

Last night however, we decided to sit down with a glass of white (only because we’d run out of red) and watch the long-awaited and much anticipated documentary, ‘Sensitive, The Untold Story’. And it was beautiful, and moving, and deep, and I am still choked up thinking about it this morning.

Dr. Elaine Aron announced this project of hers on the 19th of June, 2014 in a wonderful email.

“I am nervous as I write this. This is a big leap for me, a cautious cheapskate,” she begins by saying, and almost fifteen months later, she presented her masterpiece to the world. People tuned in from all over the world to watch the live stream, while many others watched it over the next few days.

The movie was beautiful and informative, filled with interviews conducted with psychotherapists, scientists, parents, young adults, entrepreneurs, leaders, and more. I can’t even describe what it was like to watch all this on a screen, to hear things that I’ve been needing to hear my entire life, to see others going through what we went through as parents. For many, this movie will be self-validating after a lifetime of feeling different and a burden on others. For many others, it will be an eye-opener, shedding light on the reasons why some people seem to cry so easily, or retreat from crowds, or need so much time to recharge.

Throughout the whole movie last night I was teary-eyed. Every time someone said something I could relate to or make me go “ah-ha!” (which was basically everything that was said) I had to work very hard not to lose it completely. The fact that my husband was as excited as I was to see this movie, and sat through the whole thing, nodding in agreement and finally concluding that we need to send out the DVD to every school we know, made me all the more emotional.

Alanis Morissette with Elaine Aron Sensitive The Movie Highly Sensitive Person

“… ’cause without having read your book I would continue to feel like an insane person.”

As the mother of a highly sensitive child, this movie, or rather this movement fills my heart with joy. There is nothing like having to prove to others that there is nothing wrong with your child when they are so convinced that there is. Nothing can be as heartbreaking as seeing a child be so unfairly misjudged by friends, family and worst of all, teachers who have no idea what a highly sensitive child (HSC) is or that 20% of the population is actually highly sensitive. And to be able to witness the world start to change the way it is, and to see more and more people work so hard and with such passion to spread the word,  I am hopeful that one day we will all be better able to understand and work with one another, combining our strengths to make this world a better place.

Sensitive , The Untold Story documentary elaine aron alanis morissette highly sensitive person HSP

“1.4 Billion People are Highly Sensitive”

So last night we didn’t end up shutting down like we do on most nights. Even though we didn’t have much left to give, we watched something that made us think deeply about ourselves, our children, and the world; something that triggered so many emotions it was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time; something we desperately want to share with everyone we know in the hope that it might make them feel the way it made us feel.

And it was more than worth it.

Follow Sensitive The Movie to stay tuned for information the DVD release date and the second documentary on highly sensitive children! I am so exited about that one!

If you’ve seen the movie, please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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Do you ever envy parents with non-Highly Sensitive Children?

My toddler started attending daycare three time a week about a month ago. He cried the first three times I dropped him off. On the fourth day, he said good bye and didn’t look back.

That’s the way most “When My Kid Started Daycare” stories go, but it’s something I simply cannot take for granted. It’s not something I expected, and not something I can easily get used to, and that’s only because I know just how badly that same story can go. It’s actually all I’ve known, until now.

In an online forum last week, one mother (who clearly was having a bad day) asked:

“Do you ever envy parents with non-Highly Sensitive Children?”

Without hesitation, I clicked on the comment box and typed: “Never.”

And although that maybe true now that my son is five years old and has metamorphosed into someone much more resilient and flexible and carefree, it wasn’t always the case.

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#SoGladTheyToldMe: The campaign that is bringing moms together

I’m sure that by now, most people will have seen this parenting video that was put together by an infant formula company.

The Mother ‘Hood Official Video Similac, The Sisterhood of Motherhood

The Mother ‘Hood Video

And I’m sure that most of you will have giggled at some point, and then maybe even teared up towards the end. When I watched it the first time that’s just what I did. But the video stayed with me after that, and the more I thought about it, the worse it made me feel. Ironically, the same reasons that make it funny also make it incredibly sad, and of course that’s because it was meant to be a parody of the awful truth. It was meant to be an exaggeration of the notorious “mommy wars”, but the way I see it, it wasn’t an exaggeration at all. Those wars can be brutal; they can break you; they can make you question every little thing you do even if you thought you were doing okay. Those wars are so vicious, you wouldn’t believe how vicious they can be until you’ve actually witnessed them as a mother.

Now even though the video is well-meaning, its attempt at a comedic depiction of something ugly was, at least for me, just as ugly. It amazes me how fast we are as moms, or rather as parents, to jump at each other and rip each other apart when we’re in the same boat, doing our best to achieve one common goal: to raise happy and healthy children. And no matter how hard you try and how much you love, you will be put down in a second if you couldn’t breastfeed, if you didn’t have a “Hollywood” transition into motherhood, if you co-slept, if you didn’t co-sleep, if you gave your kids juice, or if you turned on the television to give yourself a break.

It’s unbelievable really. The other day, around the time I saw the video, I decided to seek advice on what milk to give my toddler now that he’s almost two. I posted my question in a Facebook parenting group I joined, and I must have received over seventy messages. Less than 20% of them were directed at me. The rest of them involved moms lashing out at each other for using one type of milk over another (and according to the discussion there seems to be over three thousand types!), or for for giving their kids milk at all. You go to a supposedly safe place to get support from other people who are all doing the best they can to achieve the same thing you are, and instead you get to witness mothers humiliating each other for the choices they made or didn’t make.

So if we can’t even be there for each other over our choice of milk, what happens when things get serious? Why are we made to feel so alone in this when in fact we’re all in it together? Why are we so quick to point our fingers at each other, confidently and passionately claiming that our way is the only way, when we all know there has never been just one way of doing anything? I don’t expect us to agree on everything, but you know something is very wrong when a discussion about Goldfish and Bunnies, or in other words, crackers, results in a bloodbath.

A few months ago, The HerStories Project announced an open call for submissions for their next book which will focus on postpartum depression. That was the first time I’d realized how rarely we openly discuss these truly difficult topics. I went through an awful time for months after I had my first baby and never once thought I should ask for help. I blamed myself for what I was going through; I was ashamed of the way I was feeling; I hated myself for having fallen apart. I did my best to hide from the world until I managed to pull myself back together. And why? Well because if I can’t discuss going back to work after having had a baby without being criticized, if I can’t consider stopping breastfeeding because it’s making me miserable for fear of being shot down, if I can’t complain about being completely exhausted because my baby still won’t sleep through the night at ten months without being blamed for having spoiled him, how on earth am I supposed to say things like “I can’t enjoy my baby because I’m miserable” or “I’m not sure I’m cut out for this”? I have never personally known anyone who suffered from postpartum depression and asked for help. I have never personally known anyone who admitted that her transition into motherhood was rough. And I am certain most people I know and love have no clue I had suffered in silence.

Stephanie Sprenger, writer at Mommy, for Real and The HerStories Project, put together a beautiful piece a couple of weeks ago, calling for moms to come together in the spirit of support and understanding, and change the way we talk about motherhood by being more open and honest with one another. Her #SoGladTheyToldMe media campaign has been a huge success and has had mothers everywhere sharing advice they were given, or wished they were given, that helped them in their struggle.

This is not an easy time to be a mom. Maybe having a child has always been the ultimate invite for unsolicited advice and criticism, but back in the day it was limited to family, friends, maybe even our neighbors or the occasional mean mom at the playground. Today, the internet has made it possible for a mother to have hundreds and thousands of strangers judge and point their fingers at her, often making sure they let her know they’ve got her “all figured out” while they throw their destructive comments at her, ripping away whatever confidence she had left when she made her transition into motherhood.

Needless to say, not everyone is like this, quite the contrary. In my online experience, most people have been kind and understanding and supportive. In fact some of the online private groups I belong to have offered invaluable advice and help without which I would have surely fallen apart. But I think we all know firsthand that it takes one negative comment to break you. No matter how much support and love you receive from other people who get what you’re going through, it takes one judgmental comment to wipe it all out.

It’s time we started to really talk about motherhood, not just the good stuff, the stuff you see on Facebook walls, but the real stuff, the hard stuff. It’s not always smooth. It’s not always easy. It’s not always love at first sight. Sometimes it is. For many women it is. But for many women it isn’t.

And that’s okay.


Join the #SoGladTheyToldMe campaign! Take a picture or use the hashtag to share the best advice you got as a new mother. Let’s make a big deal out of this!

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The Very Inspiring Blogger Award and Nominations

A couple of days ago, I was nominated by Andy Mulberry from Something Smells Fishy Here for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. When I received her message, I had to read it over and over again to make sure I got it right, even though it was pretty straight forward. So, a HUGE thank you to Andy for the nomination! It means so much to me when someone, somewhere, finds what I do worthy of recognition. And coming from a great writer like Andy, I couldn’t help but do a little dance of joy.

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The different forms of creativity

The Different Forms of Creativitiy - The Highly Sensitive Child and Creativity

While reading about other Highly Sensitive Children in online forums and other blogs, I very often find moms and dads who talk about how creative their children are; how they love to draw and paint; how good they are with building blocks; how they can make incredible works of art out of almost nothing. And every time I read these wonderful stories of other kids, it made me observe mine all the more closely.

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One Boy, Five Birthdays

No matter how hard I try – and I have tried, very, very hard – I can’t seem to remember how exactly I found out about Elaine Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Child. But I will never forget the words that led me to check it out.

My child hates birthday parties,  said someone on the internet.

What? A child, other than mine, hates birthday parties? I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I read it over and over again assuming I may have misunderstood. But I hadn’t. There it was, a real comment from a real mother of a child who hated parties. Continue reading

SURVIVOR STORIES: Changing The World (Or Believing That You Can) On Two Hours Sleep A Night

I discovered Emily-Jane’s blog, Surviving a Sleep Thief, a few months ago, and it has been one of my favorite blogs ever since. Emily-Jane’s writing is incredible, her stories inspiring, and her take on something as horrible as chronic sleep deprivation absolutely hilarious!

So imagine my surprise when I found an email from her in my inbox asking me – ME! – to contribute with my survivor story! It felt like Christmas and a promotion at the same time: I had made it to the Sleep Survivor Hall of Fame!
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It’s what kids do: The Highly Sensitive Child and disappointment

It's what kids do - The Highly Sensitive Child and disappointment

I have a confession to make. I got mad at my five year old because he failed to properly rip a piece of paper.

On the occasion of the Saint Martin’s Day celebrations this year, I volunteered to make lanterns with the children in my son’s class. Being a lover of crafts, I got busy looking up lantern-making tutorials that would be easy enough for the kids to make, yet fun and as creative as can be when making something with a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds in under 30 minutes. After what seemed to be hours of searching online, I finally found the perfect one.

Or at least I thought it was.
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5 Outdoor activities our Highly Sensitive Child loves

A few years ago, when my 5 year old was just an infant, I didn’t know many things. I knew some, but not many. One of the things I was sure of from the very beginning was the fact that my baby loved being outside. Whenever he got restless and cranky after I had tried everything to comfort him, taking him outside for some fresh air always did the trick.

Another thing I was certain of was that my son didn’t like to be around too many people at once, and he became inconsolable if there was too much noise where we were.

To make matters worse, for the first 3 years of his life, we lived in a country where parks were extremely scarce and public green spaces virtually did not exist. The infrastructure did not support biking, or even walking, let alone with a stroller. Sidewalks were difficult to find, and if you did find them, you’d either have trees sticking out right the middle or more typically, cars parked along the whole stretch.

So what do you do with a small child who needs to get out and can’t stand noise and crowds, when the only kid-friendly places we could go to were malls and indoor playgrounds? I’ll never forget how my son fought and cried when he realized we were about to walk into a mall. He always enjoyed spending time in the parking lot watching cars go by that he did the actual mall.
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Facing fear to enjoy the thrill of life

Dr. Elaine Aron recently wrote about her experience white water rafting in the Grand Canyon. In a beautiful post, she tells the world about how this experience was both incredible, and incredibly scary. She shares with us the fears she had to face on this trip, and not just the fear of the risks that come with white water rafting, but also the social fear of spending 13 days with a bunch of people who are nothing like you, who might make you feel like you don’t belong there, and who wear t-shirts that say things like “The best things in life are dangerous”. While reading about her experience facing her fear to enjoy the thrill of life, I got to thinking about my own fears.
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