Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Feeling Too Much

My astrological sign is Cancer. Actually, Sun, Moon and Mercury are in Cancer in my chart and, as those of you familiar with astrology will know, this means that I am what I like to refer to as a "Super Cancer". That is, the attributes assigned to Cancerians are more pronounced for me. I feel a lot. I am super sensitive, not just in the I-get-my-feelings-hurt-easily kind of way (which I do), but also that I feel other people's emotions very easily; I am very sensitive to how others are treated or to how something might affect another person. I've always been this way, but since I've had children this attribute of mine has been in overdrive.

Do I wish someone had tried to prepare me for how much children would change me? Even if I had wanted to know, I don't know if anyone could have really explained it so I could grasp it. And what would I have done with the information anyway? What would I do with the knowledge that I would have to leave a theater, mid-show, when I realized that it was about a couple dealing with the death of a child? Or that a children's book called "Someday", about a mother's wish for her child, would leave me with tears streaming down my face every time I try to read it to my kids. What if I had known ahead of time that I would no longer be able to watch the evening news or read the newspaper? Would I have ever imagined that once I was a mother, even something as indirectly related to children as Hurricane Katrina would now be sending my mind spinning as I imagined the horrors of surviving something like that with your children in tow?

I ache when my children cry. I literally leap over things to get to them if they are in danger. I struggle with knowing they need their independence yet wanting to baby them forever. I live for the moments when my daughter throws her arms around my neck, hugs me and whispers "I always, always, always love you" or when our son dances with joy and says "oh thank you mommy!" when he gets to spend time alone with me. Those little things melt me completely. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night just to look at them sleeping; I bend down to their warm, little faces, kiss them and whisper "I love you" in their ears. And sometimes, when I have had a day where I have not been the type of mother I want to be, I look down at them and say "I promise, tomorrow I will do better". Then the thought of being frustrated or angry at these two peacefully sleeping babies floods me with guilt and shame.  

There is real pain for me when a friend tells me of overhearing a teacher (a teacher!) berating a young boy on a field trip for being "stupid" and an "embarrassment". Before having children I might have thought that teacher to be obnoxious or out of line, but now I can't stop thinking about that little boy and wondering what he must think of himself because now I really know how powerful our words are to these little people we care for. Now I know how something like that teacher's abusive language could affect that boy his whole life. And even as I write this, that makes me cry. I can't help but imagine my own child suffering this way.

This hyper sensitivity started when our twins were born, but it really kicked into gear when we had a terrible incident with our first nanny. In that instant I so clearly felt how much I had come so close to losing; I felt so fully both intense love and blinding hatred. And through that experience I became exponentially more connected and empathic toward our children; as if by being that way I could save them from any future suffering. 

The crab is the symbol given to the zodiac sign of Cancer; it is said that people born under this sign are just like that crab: a hard outer shell protecting the tender, soft and vulnerable inside. Ever since my children were born I feel as though my shell has gone missing and my insides are simply exposed and reactive. I'm not sure how much more of this emotion I can take.....

In our house we have a statue of the Quan Yin Buddha. Our daughter has loved it since she was a tiny baby. "Boo-dah" was actually one of her early words. I'm surprised I bought this particular one because it's not your typical Buddha, but something about it spoke to me. Only afterwards did I learn that Quan Yin is the Goddess of Compassion and the literal translation of Quan Yin is "one who hears the cries of the world". As I pass her in the hallway it makes me smile to know there's someone out there who understands me. :-)

Thanks for reading!
The Twin Coach

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2 Great Comments Made By Clicking Here!:

Heatherella said...

I completely relate to this. Thanks!

Rebecca Erlewein said...

I've always been told I'm "too sensitive", and there have been times when I felt like living without a skin.
In her book "The Mood Cure" Julia Ross identifies a "False Mood Type" called "Oversensitive Feelings
If you’re high in endorphins – you’re full of cozy feelings of comfort, pleasure, and euphoria.
If you’re near the end of your endorphins – you’ll be crying during commercials and overly sensitive to hurt."
I certainly found that replenishing my endorphins (with supplements at first and a diet change in the long run) helped me to be able to switch gears with my sensitivity as the situations needed.
More info on www.moodcure.com - and no, I don't get any commission. :)

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