Reflections

Life Before Autism. There Wasn’t One.

Life as a single woman with ASD was quieter, but family life offers a deeper softer place.

Life Now and Then

I’m not really sure how much of my parental stress is due to having 2 kids under 8, or that they are both autistic? Or it is all of this bumping into my own autistic traits.

I guess it’s just a glorious mix of it all, and it’s a riddle that is worth slowly teasing out to enable me to learn more about us all.

When they were younger, there were moments when I wasn’t sure if I had enough in me to get through a day managing us all.  I would reminisce about the time when life was lighter, quieter and more still. The constant frenetic energy of young kids does not always suit my need for regular quiet and calm. The continual chorus of snatching squeals and declarations of ‘its mine, mine, mine,’ compounded the noise of their normal glorious loud enthusiasm. Their energy bopped on throughout the day.

In a quiet facilitated moment of space for a cuppa, read or ponder; I reflective on our day and my contribution to it. I think of my own rigidities, sensory needs and desire to engage in my own special interests. How the single years before kids were about work, study and my own connections and curiosities. Yet with little ones, I knew to what I had with them is so much more rewarding, fun and lovely. I was more deeply fulfilled, connected and happy than I had ever been.  I still am.  I knew that in time I would better understand and attend to our needs, and I did.  They also just developed and regulated and just got more and more fun, brave and inspiring.  The have become my heroes.

My training in nursing and naturopathy has helped us manage our kids autism diagnosis and the medical marathon that has been our lives with them. I feel that all I learned was purposed to guide their care, and I am so grateful that these skills have worked so well for them and our family.

One of the best things about learning about their traits was learning about mine. I realised that autism was never far from my life, I just didn’t know it. It was a revelation to realise why my life has panned out as it did, and why I have always felt very different.

Their diagnosis has not only enabled us to tailor our life to meet their needs and gifts, but has allowed me to re-write my past. To give reasons for my challenges and strengths, and to now answer the question of what was ‘wrong’ with me. So nothing was or is wrong with me, I am just different. I’m just wired differently.

My Female Autistic Traits.  Thats why…

I am not designed for mass socialisation, multi-tasking or high stress or noisy environments.  I know get Why choosing alone time felt and feels so critical, but then finding others to share meaningful time with was so hard. Why I hated driving, loved anything spiritual and hated small talk. Why my eye for detail was always for aesthetics not planning or organisation.

Why as a kid I hated sports, and couldn’t adapt to group changes quickly or with grace. Why at work I struggled with the many unspoken rules, and why my speaking voice was flat. Not was not helpful for the bubbly persona required by my telephone service bosses, or the scathing way they let me know.

Why earnestly offering my thoughts seemed so right, but generally went so wrong. Why predator type personalities always seemed to find me. Why my thoughtful and simple approach was often deemed as naïve or incapable. Then when I read people so well, I didn’t have the words or connection to share this with them.

Why watching movies with English subtitle gives me a better understanding of the plot, and I decided long ago to stay with positive light films. That I always like having a single best friend, and why I felt I had to study people as though I had landed on the wrong planet. That many interactions often left me anxious and confused, and my mood has suffered as a result. I liked myself, but not when I was around other people.

Why people said I was too serious or worked too hard. Why my handwriting is terrible, but I seemed to have a flare for design. That more then three people in a conversation sounds like white fuzzy noise, and I struggle to follow.

All these why’s, had just one answer.

Best to Come

I have never known a life without autism, so now I can understand our kid’s ways too. That I am quiet, they are noisy. I like the calm, he likes the fast and she likes the adventure.

Being a girl then woman with these traits means I understand their needs, even if they are different to mine. I feel a much better parent for them, than I would have been otherwise.

Being a single autistic woman had it’s challenges, and I did love the eons of quiet time. But, as I would have then, and do now – I choose the life of an autistic woman with 2 kids with all its noise and pace. My husband was the partner worth waiting for, and so is this life with our family.

I have my new empowered autistic life. More peace, laughter and importantly more understanding and acceptance of my family, myself and others.

Best & Blessings, Gabrielle. xo.

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