- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Aspergers Moms, Autism mom's and Autism Spectrum Disorder moms
Rudy Simone on women with Aspergers
Dr Tony Attwood on girls with Aspergers
Mom with Aspergers Syndrome
Young mom with Aspergers
Information on characteristics of Aspergers girls
Aspergers Moms, Autism mom's and Autism Spectrum Disorder moms.
Firstly I would like to say a special Happy Mothers Day to all of life’s quirkier moms. The 10th of March is officially Mother’s Day here in Ireland so wherever you are why not take a few minutes now to reflect and celebrate the achievement of being a mom and of having survived the experience to now tell the tale.
The first time that I really realized that women with Aspergers Syndrome could even be mothers was when I read Liane Holiday Wiley’s first book, ‘Pretending to be Normal: Living with Aspergers Syndrome.’ It was also from this book and the next one that she wrote i.e. Aspergers Syndrome in the family,’ that I also realized it is already accepted that Asperger’s Syndrome can and does run in families
Straight away I got this woman’s writing and understood instantly what she meant when she talked about how her mind whirred by in a state of constant activity. Also I totally understood how she felt about being a mom to her children who she described as being a delightful mix of neurotypical and autistic individuals and some of them being a mixture of both. That was part of the catalyst that made me think, ‘Could I have Aspergers Syndrome too?’
All the articles and research that I had read up to that point about people with Aspergers Syndrome or Autism seemed to indicate that these were a group of people who were unlikely to be able to hold down a relationship for long enough to ever have children.
Yet now that I have delved deeper into the Aspergers world I discovered that it is now actually a well established fact now that Asperger’s Syndrome can and often does run in families. There is also a growing body of evidence that indicates that hereditary Autism can sometimes be caused by a genetic condition known as Fragile X Syndrome. Especially in families where the severity of Autistic characteristics increases down through the generations of a family or the autistic characteristics can even become more pronounced among the different siblings of the same family.
This really has dispelled the notion that Autism or Aspergers Syndrome is a condition that just happens out of the blue for no known reason. No Professional in the Autism world now disputes that genetics definitely must play some part in both Autism and Aspergers Syndrome the only question now is how much exactly?
Also it has now been established too that autism within a family does not mean that before long this family's lineage will end because of the fact that autistic people cannot love, nurture and create families of their own. Not true folks, I am the living proof of that. Autistic people most certainly do have children and they love them just as much as anybody else loves their kids too.
This is an excerpt form my recently completed Novel, ‘Raindrop Window,’ in which my main character Sarah McLoughlin who suspects she has Aspergers Syndrome describes how she felt about motherhood..
Raindrop Window - excerpt about Motherhood and Aspergers charcteristics
...Deep down inside of me I just always knew I was different. During my darker moments I feared I really was all alone on this planet just some strange freak of nature. That was the main reason why I didn’t want to be a mom.
Then of course that plan got thrown on its head completely the day the pregnancy test kit showed two glaring blue lines. At once I was filled with a terrible fear but also a small faint glow of hope ignited in the pit of my stomach.
After that the endless arguing within my frazzled brain began. This was closely followed by months of talking to God while my head hung over my new best friend i.e. toilet bowl. I concluded that I was obviously allergic to motherhood. That was why I was so sick for the whole nine months. Then as the impending birth drew ever closer I felt like running again.
It seemed like a surreal miracle when a perfect baby girl was born. My better half Aaron named her Naomi. Did I really give birth to such a beautiful perfectly healthy baby? Deep down inside I was still paralysed by fear waiting for myself to fail. Then panic set in and I became so terrified of doing the wrong thing that I became totally unsure of my mothering skills.
For some strange reason though in spite of my incompetence this baby loved me anyway. Until eventually the fear subsided and I realized that I could do this motherhood thing after all.
Six years later I had a baby boy. From very early on I just felt that something wasn’t quite right. This time when I watched my son it was always there emanating back at me through his hazel eyes. My indefinable difference all over again….
Please Note: The content of this article is my own but for my research for this article I read some articles from the Blog Page ‘Musings of an Aspie Mom,’ )i.e. another blogging mom who also has Aspergers Syndrome). Link to her writing can be found at the end of this article.
Maternal Instinct is often not obvious in the Aspergers Female:
Before I became a mom I could never understand how other women could see a baby and suddenly a huge wave of maternal love would just seemingly wash over them. Instantly at the sight of a miniature person they were cooing and admiring. Then they just couldn’t wait to take this baby up into their arms and soothe the maternal aching that they obviously felt.
I on the other hand just felt an intense fear and I just didn’t get it at all. This was a small human life and I as a person with no experience in that area had no clue what I would do with one of these so called, ‘babies.’
Of course I didn’t know it then but that was because as a person with Aspergers Syndrome I just hadn’t been born with any pre-programmed manual on how to be a mother. So for a long time I confused this lack of knowledge on what to do with a baby (which also made me terrified of them) with me just being a person who had no maternal instincts whatsoever.
As it turned out though I did have maternal instincts neatly buried away in there somewhere but it was just because of my total feelings of inadequacy on the subject that made me think I wasn’t mother material. Mostly for Aspergers women it’s the panic of the unknown that makes motherhood seem so daunting i.e. there is no set plan you can rely on. There is no way of predicting the situation or controlling it and that is just hugely frightening.
You are handed a miniature screaming human being and are then told, ‘here you go now off you go. It’s a breeze really and its all just going to come to you so don’t worry.’ Jesus I thought. What the hell do I do now? There is nothing coming naturally to me except, fear, panic and the worst anxiety attack I have ever had. Where is the manual? What do you mean it’s in my head I can assure you it bloody well isn’t. Aaaaaghhh, now I am heading towards a severe panic attack.
Physical issues for the Aspergers Mom:
This can be a huge problem area for new Aspie moms. Especially if you have the added problem of sensory issues that you also have to cope that can include things like a total aversion to noise, a sensitivity to touch not to mention an intolerance of strong smells which definitely include dirty nappies, regurgitated milk and baby puke. This then makes being a new Aspergers mom to a baby very hard work indeed.
Professor Tony Attwood has written extensively on the area of the Aspergers female and he has this to say about the pitfalls of being a parent with Asperger’s Syndrome.
..the imposition of inflexible routines and expectations . . . the intolerance of noise, mess and any intrusion into the parent’s solitary activities, the perceived invasion of the home by the children’s friends, and a black and white analysis of people….
Pregnancy issues for the Aspergers Mom:
In fact this total lack of your own sense of space when being an Aspergers mom can often first be felt during pregnancy i.e. you don’t have your own space anymore because there is another little person growing inside of your womb. A whole new life that you are absolutely clueless what you are actually going to do with. This can seem just too much pressure sometimes for the Aspergers mom to be.
Also I personally suffered greatly from nausea during both of my pregnancies and I was told that this was due to the fact that my hormone levels were extremely high at the time. This is another area of additional discomfort for the Aspergers female i.e. they often suffer from very high or very low hormone levels which can make you extremely emotional and sick during your entire pregnancy. Often this is then confounded by your body being overtly sensitive to your hormones anyway before they even start going out of control.
Depression and Anxiety for the Aspergers Mom:
This bombardment of hormones can often lead to depression and anxiety setting in before the baby is even born. This is certainly an area that needs to be closely monitored so as not to add additional stress to a woman who is going to need all the support she can get in the early months of motherhood. There is no shame in having feelings of severe depression before or after the birth of your baby. As any mom to be will tell you Aspergers female or not this is just not something you can control as it is often due to hormonal imbalances. That unfortunately too are often much more severe in an Autistic/Fragile X Syndrome female because of the different brain structures of people on the autistic spectrum which affects some of the bodies normal activities.
Among the other concerns for the Aspergers mom is the fact that babies are noisy, messy, unpredictable certain to upset every routine you have and you cannot predict what they will do from one day to the next. All of this is going to lead to every routine that a person with Aspergers Syndrome holds dear being tossed out the window for a long time. That can be very difficult to cope with.
An hour a day keeps the insanity away:
It is so important to seek help at this stage. For many this will involve temporary anti-depressants and counselling. If the depression is less severe (you will not be able to ascertain this yourself though and you will need to seek the advice of a medical professional at this stage), you may be able to find other ways to cope with the ensuing anxiety that all this upheaval is certain to bring.
Coping strategies for Aspergers Mom’s (well all mom’s really)
Just getting your partner to take over for one hour in the evening while you have a bath, read a chapter of a book, take a nap or if you have the energy get outside and go for a gentle walk or maybe if possible a quick swim. The fresh air and solitude can do wonders in revitalizing a harassed and stressed brain. If this little snippet of time to yourself keeps you sane and allows you to go back with a new strength then it is a very worthwhile interlude for everyone especially for your baby as you will be more tolerant and refreshed when you return.
Aspergers Moms have just as much love to give:
Never fear you will love your child just as much as any other mother and once you get your head around this whole maternal instinct thing and adjust to your new role you will love your baby to bits. Remember too that there are is no difference at the end of the day if you care for your baby, love them and keep them safe they won’t care if you have two heads or if you are a mother with Aspergers Syndrome, Autism or Fragile X Syndrome.
Finally I would like to say Happy Mother’s day to all whenever it may be in your country. Every mom should now take a bow because it’s a tough job for us all and we all deserve lots of Tender Loving Care today and everyday.
Musings of an Aspie Mom
- Asperger’s and Motherhood (Part 2) | Musings of an Aspie
one woman's thoughts about life on the spectrum