Wool is itchy and uncomfortable. I hate it, I can’t wear it, but it makes the perfect metaphor for life. Life is uncomfortable. The difference? You can take off a wool sweater, but you cannot escape life. The world will not change and be any less uncomfortable. You can choose to not do certain things in your life because of how uncomfortable you are with them, but a lot of things are going to be unavoidable. We have to learn to deal with being uncomfortable. Otherwise, something will get in the way of your success and your dreams if you let them.
The wool sweater that almost got me was pregnancy. I’m thinking it can be linked to my Asperger’s, my hatred of pregnancy.
Some women genuinely enjoy it. I don’t understand these women. I hate just about everything about it. I hate being uncomfortable. Hate it. And just about everything in and around pregnancy is uncomfortable. The morning sickness, the nausea, the stretching and itching skin, the punches and kicks to my stomach and ribs and lungs and bladder, not being able to bend down or reach things, etc.
People on the autism spectrum very often have a hard time putting up with any level of discomfort. From a very young age, I could not wear specific types of fabrics because they were stiff or itchy or rough. As soon as I could, I would undress myself if something was bothering my sensitive skin. I think my mother described it best in the guest post she did a few years back Glow in the Dark Sticks:
‘When the family is all dressed and ready to go, loaded in the van, arriving in the church parking lot, you get out and open the slider door to unload the kids and discover your 18 month old is now completely naked AND still strapped into her car seat, so you ask, “What…why? You’re naked…why are you naked?” To which she replies, “I don’t wike my socks!” You say, “But, you took it all off, Houdini! Why?” And she states, “Itchy!” as she pulls her hair out of the tidy little pig-tails you had so precisely done half an hour ago.’
Things have only changed a little. I learned, with age, to tolerate certain fabrics and fix things that aren’t aligned. I’m no nudist, but I still prefer less or more comfortable clothing. It’s very rare that I will wear high heels or makeup. Uncomfortable just isn’t my style.
And pregnancy, well, this is my second go at it and I still hate it. It is the epitome of uncomfortable. You can take off a wool sweater, but you can’t take off pregnancy. It is there, uncomfortable all day, every day for forty weeks.
As I write this, I feel a large amount of pressure on my lower belly. Mateo is settling low. He likes to press his head and shoulders into my right hip and kick my ribs. Marc just liked to stick his feet in my ribs and keep them there. I haven’t decided which is worse.
Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the moment when they hand me my baby and it’s all over. It is more than worth everything in that moment when my baby looks back at me for the first time. I will gladly do this for every baby I will have. Hahahaha. I just won’t enjoy it! Ever. I will hate being pregnant every single time.
I guess it also goes to show how misunderstood people on the spectrum are. It is often assumed that, because they have a hard time expressing emotions, they are unfeeling. It is assumed that, because they pull away when things get intense, that they are uncaring. It is assumed that, because they are unable to express it, they lack empathy. It may also be assumed that I, or other people on the spectrum, don’t want kids because of the discomfort of pregnancy or infancy or the terrible twos. It’s just the opposite. I want more. It actually hurts my heart every time I question whether or not I want to do this again. I want more kids than I could possibly stand being pregnant for. My heart is made to love and care for so many kids, but I considered stopping after Marc because I hated pregnancy so much. I came so close to allowing my AS to put a damper on my dream.
Even if it’s hard, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it may seem unbearable, we cannot allow ASD or HFA to keep us from the lives, the dreams, the careers that we deserve. You must determine to reach your dreams no matter what. You must tough it out when things get hard or uncomfortable. You must keep striving for the life you deserve. ASD and HFA are just hurtles. They are not immovable mountains, incapable of being triumphed over. You can do it. I do it every day.