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You: An Autistic Pregnancy Diary - Part 1

A heartfelt personal reflection on Autistic motherhood, written by one of our peer supporters. Pregnancy can be a time of great joy and excitement as well anxiety and worry for any parent, and being Autistic brings a unique perspective to this experience.

It’s 1.36am.

Wide awake and tuned in to what I imagine what might be happening in my womb right now.

I’ve been getting faint lines on tests for 4 days now. 5am morning wee has been my ritual. Log it in the app. Hold this possible, potential, perhaps embryo in my mind’s eye.

Today would be the day blood is expected to come, according to the app.

But if there is an absence of this, and a presence of two parallel lines, I will believe it.

I will believe you may be here.

Almost in secret I found a baby hat in a charity shop, almost as if you were waiting to say, ‘that’s my hat.’ I imagine you will wear it. I imagine the photos I will take. I imagine you and hold the hat to my belly in those 5am rituals. It is soft and fleecy and has a smiley animal face. It is for you.

A white fleecy baby hat in a teddy bear style, with ears at the top and two black eyes, nose and mouth

The wind storms round the house outside but in here there is warmth and peace. Your older brother sleeps beside me. I woke to see him there, an appearance half way through the night, his own bed abandoned.

I hear your older sister cry out, and pad across the landing to her, cradle her in her tiny bed where sleep quickly claims her. It wasn’t always so. Until a few short months ago it would have been tears and howls and Peppa Pig for hours, before sleep would ease her.

I think of both of these children, and all the responsibilities that lay heavy on my mind. The what ifs, the anxiety about anxiety, the thoughts swirling around.

I know how this could go, a whirlpool I am too easily sucked into, a cacophony of voices saying, how will I cope, how will they cope, what has to change, all the change, the shift that life may be taking, it feels like terror and hope in a potent brew.

This is the loop I fear, the constant questioning that collapses into despair. I need to keep out of this. It’s a cognitive system that doesn’t account for love. Or am I being naive?

It comes back to you. You. A possibility. A hoped for, feared for, tiny life, that may be unfolding.

There is stillness here, but is there movement within?

This would be my first experience of carrying another life while knowing I am autistic. Only one year and two months before, I was reading those words on that diagnostic report that tilted my world on its axis. A path my son led me to, he also having that diagnostic report nearly 3 years ago now.

It is full of words and language that categorise and state so factually the pattern imprinted within us.

Before, I didn’t know what lay beneath all those years of being on the outside looking in. The profound sense of separation that drove me to places and people, and situations that I pray my children will never experience.

Since then a deep dive into all things autistic, a culture, a way of being, a learning, a massive unlearning, a re-evaluation of all I thought I knew.

And now. Potentially You.

It’s 2.39am.

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