Pregnancy on the Autism Spectrum Part II

8:54 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

Pregnancy on the Autism Spectrum Part II

If you missed Part I you can head over here and read about how I perceived pregnancy and my thoughts on the stereotypes that are shared around the net. Today I will talk a little bit about things that I would have done differently in my pregnancy and other random thoughts.

My only pregnancy regrets are really my own fault, and the ones of my lazy self. Regrets might even be a strong word but it is things that I would do differently next time.

Work out as soon as you can!

I used to sort of work out before I got pregnant. It was this daily 10-15 minute ordeal trying to not be such a lazy bone all the time. Right after conception I was too sick to do it anymore so I took a break for three months. Yet instead of going straight back into my “workout” routine I somehow dilly dallied for two more months. Two months of muscle strength that I could really use right now. Basically at around months 7 or so my back started hurting and by month 8 it got quite bad. I have always had back problems so I was expecting it, but boy why did I not start doing my back exercises earlier? 

It just shows that not being depressed and more motivated than usual does not suddenly make me this super human but just a less depressed and more motivated lazy self. I have a wonderful physiotherapist that I sometimes see for relief but she is not free on a daily basis which is what my pain level dictates at the moment. I know I would have had back pain even with the extra two months work out but I simply feel like I could have done more and exercising while in pain is really not that fun. But I am happy to say that I have consistently done my exercises for a few months now! Semi success I call that.

Don’t wait until the last month to fix your place up

Unless you really have solid reasons, I recommend getting things ready before you are 9 months along. Why did I wait this long? Well maybe because impending parenthood is still very surreal to me and I’m still not even sure if there is a human in me or an Alien that will promptly beam itself into a space ship once it has exited my body.
Not only would I be semi screwed if it would come out now (the little monster came out a week after I wrote this article actually. The day after I finished fixing my apartment) since my place is a mess and I still need furniture, but my body is not happy with the level of activity I have right now. My pregnancy was quite wonderful and I didn't even feel pregnant until about 2 weeks ago. That is the exact moment I realized that it could come out any day now and I need to get going with the fixing.
Just before hitting 9 months my body decided to be really really pregnant without any warning. 
So now I have a lot of organising to do while feeling like a wobbly Totoro. I should have done it earlier, I really should have.

Me trying to turn around in the last few weeks

Don’t feel obligated to share the news

I am a very private person (even though it might not seem so here) and I didn’t really tell anyone I was pregnant until just now (now being 2 weeks before birth). In fact Johnny was the one who thought it was time to announce the pregnancy. And so was Mother. It took me 7 months to tell my best friend, so you see I am weird that way. Not that I am not happy to share, I mean I am super happy since this is one of the best things that has happened in a long time. But to me this is my pregnancy, my body and I neither want to share it nor let other people feel they have a right to it. 
So far the monster is not someones grand child, or niece, but my belly alien. 
Not even that. 
It isn't even my belly alien but I have a giant moving parasite inside of me that may or may not come out as a human (the humanity is yet to be confirmed)

Or not human
Then things might possibly be different, maybe it won't be mine anymore but ours (so far it feels like Johnny and mine only). But for now it is not mine but ME. 
I am very happy to have finally announced it but I am just as happy to have kept it a secret until now. 

So this is not really one of my regrets but more one of Mother's. The lesson is, don't feel obligated to share the news with people who either don't care or would be negative about it.
It is a fact that not everyone cares about people being pregnant, that is not horrible, just normal, some people just don't, but that doesn't mean they should drag you down if they can't be at least decent enough to faint some sort of happiness for you. Or maybe I should rephrase that to: Why would you tell someone you know doesn't care just so they drag you down? Because you probably feel obligated to do so. Why? Society I assume. 
Then there is the people you know will likely react negatively to your pregnancy and all they would do is make you feel bad about something you are possibly very happy about. 
Who the heck are these negative not caring people you ask? Probably family members I assume. Well, Mother did not heed my advice when I told her that certain people who may or may not share my DNA should not be let in on the news for her own sake. But as usual (my Mother is an oversharing kind of person in general) she couldn't hold it in anymore and told the not-carers and the ones that reacted quite negatively. The outcome was that everyone felt bad, Mother, me and possibly also those haters. Now she admits it wasn't worth it at all and I realize that telling those kind of people is not something I would do in the future. 
Now I have this picture in my head of people that are supposed to care about me (because society dictates it) saying things like “Was it planned?”, or  “Why would they get a baby in the first place?” to “Are they even capable of raising it?”.  Not a pretty picture, don't do it to yourself my dear people. Spectrum bias can be quite harsh and strangely enough usually from people who are pretty clueless about it. The people that really know us and my ASD specialists/therapist are super happy for us and all say we will be great parents and that being on the spectrum actually could give us some advantages. And in the end isn't it all about love? 
Well I got plenty of that to throw around!

Random Pregnancy Observations

Boy I was so pregnant in the first few months! I felt like the most pregnant person in the world the moment the sperm hit the egg. I was waddling, my boobs felt all kinds of odd, I couldn't lay on my stomach and I was very nauseous. I was prepared to get a very pregnant pregnancy and be the most stereotypical pregnant woman ever. My family was commenting on how pregnant I was and that I already had a bump before I finished month 3. And then it all went away once I entered the second trimester. Quite strange to be honest. Suddenly I didn't feel pregnant at all anymore, not even when my belly started getting bigger and bigger and was not hideable. ( I was still hiding my pregnancy in real life when I was 6 months pregnant. I got a kick out of that!) 

Pregnancy Timeline
As you can see I was very inconsistent with the pictures, even forgetting a few months

Then at the 8 and a half months mark the pregnancy hit me again. Between the back and the rib pain ( I don't know why this one took me by surprise), I also started to go to the bathroom quite often including during the night. Something I had avoided for most of the time. I am happy to announce that my body took only a few weeks to get used to the interrupted sleep pattern and I am now passing out right when hitting the mattress again. WOOOOO! 

The weirdest symptom I recently got is the way my body feels though. Internet told me that I would get loose joints (it has been telling me that I would get them by month 6) but when I got them I was not prepared for how odd that feeling is. I feel like a semi broken marionette. Or not very well made rag doll. It is the oddest feeling. Sometimes I think I will stand up, walk and just fall apart.

But the emotional side effects of pregnancy are still spared (and never came after all). Even those pesky nightmares. 
Pregnant women are suppose to have weird and very vivid strange dreams, often riddled with nightmares. The thing is that I always had very vivid and strange dreams so I have not seen a change in that. I have had some pregnancy/baby related ones but they were very rare. My dream to nightmare ratio hasn't changed either.

One thing I recommend though is that you might want to carefully select what kind of info you acquire when it comes to pregnancy, birth and parenthood. 
Being on the spectrum, I want to know every single detail so I can be prepared, but reading too much too fast was really hard on me. Pregnancy is the most human thing I have ever done. I have never felt this human and normal in my life. And it feels like birth and the weeks after might be some of the most humiliating experiences I will go through (yes and no. It was really not as bad as I feared)
I have noticed that many people with ASD have troubles with regular human things, like digestion and such. They have troubles letting go of a certain amount of control, and letting other people take over for them. I am not a prude person but I don't like strangers, especially don't like being touched by them. Just the thought of strangers touching my private parts makes me feel like I have given up a piece of me and my dignity. Not a nice feeling. These are some of the emotions that went through my head while reading all of this new info. Not that I was scared of the pain (more intrigued really) but I was scared about being human, and giving up some of my dignity that carries me through life. I am simply not the kind of person that accepts this kind of stuff as normal because I am just human (or am I?).
I have never been like this. I quickly realised that I needed the info but only in little bits and pieces with lots of time to work through it in between. At this point I have not gotten any new info for over a month and I feel strangely chill about it all. I am positive that birth is going to be fine and that even if the weeks after are hard and I might not get an emotional connection with the creature, that it is also normal and it will come with time. (the birth was fine, the weeks after too. I even connected with the monster straight away)

I think going to the hospital, asking lots of questions and making it clear to my midwife that since I am on the Spectrum, in order to have the most relaxed birth possible, having some requirements are sort of mandatory.  I feel super confident now and am not afraid at all anymore. Even though I am not of the hippy variety that thinks positivity fixes everything, I definitely believe that negativity is no good. And I worked hard to not have any in my surroundings. I am planning birth as best and vigorously as I would any other trip so I would feel the most comfortable possible. I want to know all the variations and situations that might ensue and my snack and goodies bag is bigger than expected (Internet said you won't need food during labour so I packed quite little. Big mistake. I was starving and needed much more food than what I had). But if it makes me feel better and more calm why not. Now I just hope I am not being completely naive about the whole situation (thankfully I wasn't).

I would love to hear some pregnancy/birth related experiences from my fellow Spectrum peeps.

How was it for you? Did you relate to the usual stuff you read and thought my experience was really foreign to you?