Are you a highly sensitive person and wondering if getting and raising children is the right choice for you? Maybe this article will help you to decide!
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
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Raising Children: Is It Something For Me?
When you’re highly sensitive, you are aware of subtleties that others seem to miss. Moreover, your perception for sensory input is strong and as a result, you tend to feel exhausted more easily. Hence, the need to recharge your energy is big. In those moments, you ask yourself how you possibly could take care of anyone else than yourself. I know I do.
In fact, when you’re female and the big 3-0 comes closer and closer, you start to wonder what you should do with your life. Should you focus on your career? Should you travel the world? Should you focus on raising children? For me, the first two questions don’t feel that overwhelming, but the last one… Oh lord! In fact, this is an important decision that has to be made within now and a few years, as there’s this clock inside me ticking… the biological clock.
I’ve digged further into the topic of being a highly sensitive parent and asked a few questions to the members of the our community about the topic ‘raising children’. I got answers from four different perspectives:
- Highly sensitive people who don’t want children
- Highly sensitive people who doubt about getting children
- Highly sensitive people who currently have children living in their home
- Highly sensitive people who are empty nesters
Below, I summarized each perspective and at the end, you’ll find a list with tips on how to be a happy HSP parent!
Highly Sensitive People Who Don’t Want Children
Not having children is a choice that more and more people seem to make. According to a poll from the Morning Consult for the New York Times, 36% of survey respondents did not want children or were not sure about becoming parents. One of the main reasons? They want more leisure time. For highly sensitive people, this might feel like a logical reason to not want children. Since we have strong need for time to recharge and relax and children might result in significantly less time for yourself, choosing not to have children might feel right for some HSP’s.
Sarah, who is highly sensitive and one of the members of our community, stated that she did not have the desire of raising children, because she had a tough childhood and this has impacted her greatly. Moreover, she thinks that managing children AND taking care of yourself can be a challenging task. Finally, the worry that her children would suffer when they grow up due to her own issues is one of the reasons why she doesn’t want kids.
Another member of our tribe, Shannon, does not want children because she feels we aren’t living in a kind world. Also, her fear of not being able to care for them due to depression and trauma are a reason for not raising children:
As you can see, the fear of not having time for yourself, to not be able to care for the child properly and the thoughts about birthing a child into an unkind world are some of the reasons for HSP’s to not have children.
Highly Sensitive People Who Doubt About Raising Children
I am sure that the people who doubt if they want children share some of the worries with the people who chose to not have kids. Raising children is an incredibly timeconsuming and intense task. In fact, it requires much energy, money and time to bring up kids. Therefore, it is logical that this is a decision you think about before going for it. In our HiSensitives tribe, there were some young HSP’s doubting if they want children:
Ana and her boyfriend both are highly sensitive and struggle with depression and anxiety. Also, her boyfriend struggles with epilepsy. As a result, she worries that her children will inherit this from them. Illnesses such as depression and epilepsy and disorders such as anxiety are tough and it is understandable that you wouldn’t want your children to experience the same.
Besides the fear to pass on certain illnesses or disorders, one of our members, explained that a steady foundation is important before putting kids into the world:
Raising children properly, requires a steady foundation. A stable income, room to take care of yourself and grow personally and a solid relationship are some of the important things to have in place before getting and raising children. Rome wasn’t built in a day and so aren’t these factors. Therefore, it is logical that many young people doubt when it’s the right time to get kids.
Highly Sensitive People Who Currently Have Young Children Living At Home
In our tribe, one of the members who replied, currently has children living at home. She stated that it is way more busier at home and that you cannot control all sensory input anymore. Therefore, moments such as being on the toilet or in the shower on your own have become holy to her. Nevertheless, the overwhelming feeling of love, warmth and nurture are overruling the negatives. Also, she stated that raising children has become easier since she has a steady relationship. Her partner takes care of her child sometimes, which makes it easier for her to take care of herself before burning out.
This emphasizes the importance of a good foundation in order to be a happy HSP parent. When you have a stable home, income and partner, parenting becomes much easier, as you can share the effort.
Highly Sensitive People Who Are Empty Nesters
Then there are the empty nesters, the people whose children have left home. They have been through it all and have inspiring advice to share. For example, Ellie emphasizes the importance of a good social support system and to have a steady self-care routine in place:
As you can see, empty nester Ellie has no regrets for choosing to have children. Her useful advice has helped her to raise two amazing daughters and to enjoy their existence every single day.
Tips On How To Be A Happy Highly Sensitive Parent
Based upon the answers from the HiSensitives Community members, I created a list of tips for highly sensitive parents to be happy:
- Create a steady foundation; a stable home, income and relationship make parenting so much easier
- Find a good self-care routine and stick to it; self-care helps you to recharge and a good self-care routine should be in place before getting children.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help; you are not a bad parent if you ask someone to watch your children every now and then. You need time for yourself.
And tips for those still doubting if they want children:
- Try not to worry too much; HSP’s have a tendency to overthink. Therefore, worrying is an inevitable consequence. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, start thinking about what could go right.
- Listen to your intuition; Your intuition always has the answer. If your intuition tells you that you should be a parent, go for it! If it doesn’t, that’s perfectly fine too!
Don’t Stress And Take Your Time
After reading this article, I hope that you feel somewhat wiser about the issue of raising children or not. I certainly do. For me, the most important takeaway from these opinions is to not stress and worry too much about everything, to continue working on establishing a good self-care routine and to take my time to make this decision.
Also, reading the book ‘The Highly Sensitive Parent’ by Dr. Elaine N. Aron helped me to make my decision. You can find my book review here.