Is there anything more sensory overload than becoming a mom for the first time? Even spending that first 40 weeks learning to give your body over to another HUMAN that is growing INSIDE you: it does not prepare you for the transition to parenthood. Labour, Caesarean, Epidural, Med-free, Adoption- however you went through the process, you suddenly are in a whole new ballgame.
Snuggles in the car, because they are needed everywhere, all the time.
An infant depends on you for touch, food, warmth, affection, soothing, experience. And there aren’t time-outs. Especially with my first. She had higher needs for being touched or held and could not sleep without that connection. This was quite a change for someone who likes to cuddle on her own terms and then sleep on the edge on the bed.
It was daunting to realize that I would never be completely alone. Even when the baby was with daddy, or I left the house, or eventually went to work or on a ladies trip, weaned.. I always have one line in my brain on her. She is not to be shut off.
Actually. Maybe becoming a mom to a second was the most sensory overlap! Now I had a 2 year old pulling my body in one direction, trying to communicate her needs, while the Wiggles played in the background and a fussing baby in my arms grabbing at my nipples, and the smell of diaper wafting my way. I was about to say that the only thing that was missing was heat. But, I had both my babes in the summer months, and I swear 2.5 years later, I’m still experiencing an elevated body temperature. (Of course, that could also be medication side effects.) I digress. I’m talking sounds, touches, smells, emotional needs, body temperatures, combatting demands, all while “Wake up Lachy!” is happening in the background and my mind just wants to place all the faces of the Wiggles in relation to the original cast.
I am very certain that no parenting book or pre-natal class in the world can prepare you for the sensory changes that come with newborns and new parenthood. Especially if you are at all neurodiverse and perceive input to a different degree that the average writer of those books.
So, it can feel like there is no where to turn. I know there are others out there. I know the 4:1 male:female Autism ratios are bogus. I know a lot of us are struggling in adulthood to determine why we feel so different, why life is so exhausting, why “oh you have Depression” never paints enough of a picture… And, we find ourselves in parenthood with little-to-no resources to support our unique needs. I’d like to create a space of that. Because even if there’s connection with one other parent, that’s a connection. That’s shared support.
I am a mom. I have two amazing children. I would not trade watching them play or sleep or laugh or tackle daddy for anything in the world. But, wow, it can be hard when they both want to win for getting the most mommy contact above the shoulders! There’s only so much of me up there, kids, and much of it is precious for survival!