8 months pregnant and Autistic
I am just under 5 weeks from delivering Baby #3, Olivia. As an out autistic mother, I’ve been asked from time to time about my pregnancy experiences by autistic women who have wanted information on this life changing event. For the most part, I try to give honest answers. Well, today, for those who continue to be curious about this, I’m going to explain what’s going on that I think holds a unique challenge for autistic women.
I’m on day 5 of baby-movement-induced insomnia. This does not mean I haven’t been getting any sleep. I’m getting roughly 4 hours per night. Sometimes, I get 1-2 hours during the day to supplement.Everything I’ve read says not to worry about it. Some go so far as to say that you may not even need the amount of sleep you think you do.
So, I don’t know about all of you, but if I consistently get less than 7-8 hrs of sleep, I struggle. My body’s sensory system is currently completely off. My already bobbing emotions from the pregnancy are getting far worse. I couldn’t even fake a friendly disposition when asked how I was with the cashier at the store this morning.
So then the question is, “Why aren’t you sleeping now?” No one is home. I have over an hour before I go to pick up the boys from school. It’s really simple… As I write this, the entire time I’ve been writing this, Olivia has been pushing down hard on my cervix. It hurts. It shoots a pain through my body since my sensory system is off. I can tell where it originates from, luckily. Sometimes I can’t, and I think it’s a contraction until I realize how constant it is. And Olivia is a strong little girl. While she’s pushing there, she’s still able to move around her other limbs. Her arms, her legs. They are free to kick around and hit other things, some of which are my organs.
In short, I am never in full control of my body. Unlike pain from a migraine or a stomach ache, I can’t take anything that will make it subside or go away. This is another life that happens to be growing inside me. That means her mind is controlling her actions and not mine. Her body has it’s own responses that are different than mine.
It’s the hardest part about pregnancy. You are no longer in control of your body. Giving up that control could be difficult. And while I’m excited to see my little girl in a mere month, I’m just as excited to get my body back. I will be able to control my body much better once she’s out of it. And yes, there will likely be sleep deprivation then too. However, at least I’ll be able to sync to her.