In the months, weeks and sometimes moments after you deliver a baby, a woman somehow comes to the determination that the pain was worth it. It’s not like they ‘forget’ they just minimize it until it was barely a thought. They certainly don’t focus on it or dwell on it. Holding a healthy newborn is an antidote to anything you just endured because of the rush of love you feel; the unparalleled joy of watching your precious child move outside of your womb.
The cost of a babies arrival, both physically and mentally on a woman, is mitigated by it’s presence in your life and as a species; most women can say that the pain is absolutely worth it and they’d do it all again, even knowing what they had to face. This temporary amnesia is convenient and necessary to the survival of humans as it allows us to have more than one child as the pain of childbirth is like having 20 bones broken in your body.
Unless a man has faced extensive trauma during combat, I am not sure he can ever truly appreciate how it feels to be ripped apart and beaten from the inside out and to be in so much pain, that it becomes the only thing inside of your mind. Pain and fear live side by side until even the fear goes away. You no longer care about the baby because you just want it out. You stop caring if it lives or dies because you know you are going to die if it doesn’t leave your body.
As a woman giving birth, when this happens, it’s like your soul leaves your body and you don’t care about anything else other than the pain you are rolling with. I think its why, once the baby is born and the pain immediately stops, that you are rushed with not just endorphins but with the slamming of your soul back into your body. It’s almost like a shockwave that radiates from you, pushing any negative thought or evil idea away from your vicinity so that the baby is cocooned with absolute joy and maternal protectiveness as if it were still inside her body. Giving birth can be brutal and this single moment wipes it all away with tears of perfect joy.
Then life happens. The world encroaches. Issues come up and have to be dealt with. If you think managing your own life can be hard and overwhelming, try doing it for another person; one completely helpless and dependent on you for their survival. Now do it for 18 years and then try and negotiate through the 4 or 5 years when teenagers are pushing for independence so they can function on their own in the world. And try coming through it unscathed and un-impacted by the normal processing experience from irrational child to self aware adult. Now add autism into the mix.
The transition period never ends. Ever. It’s like being stuck in some insane version of Groundhog Day where you expose yourself to the same person, day after day, so they can emotionally wreck you; batter you into the ground until you feel like you just can’t tolerate one more second of it. You fantasize about running away and never seeing them or having to deal with them again. You don’t care about being a good parent anymore because it gets to a point where it comes down to your own survival. Like if you don’t get away from your child then the emotional abuse is going to kill you. Because that is what living with autism is like for some parents who has a child with Aspergers. That’s what it’s like for me.
It’s almost impossible to reconcile this horrible person you have to deal with, to the beautiful baby you held in your arms and loved so very much. I suppose you still love them, it’s why the majority of parents don’t walk out on their children who end up having issues. But you can love them and not like them. You can love them and still hate them a majority of the time because of how they act and what they say and the things they do that are just mean and cruel. Of course all of that is nicely covered by the label of autism and so you are just supposed to forget it and move on but the reality is, you can’t and you don’t.
Being injected by toxins from your child, makes you numb to a lot of things and eventually it can kill you or make you want to leave. Yet what mother can leave their child? Especially one who has issues. So you feel trapped into staying and trying to help guide them through their world. Obligation weighs heavy on you. Fear about them and their future is always living inside your gut so that it makes you sick from it. You celebrate the smallest of things, like buying a new pair of shoes for them because that is ALL you have to be happy about. Buying shoes without a meltdown.
Part of me wishes I had my son’s brutal ability to just say what I wanted regardless of how it would impact people’s feelings. Feelings are not something he tends to care about. Does a storm care if you get wet and cold? No. It simply ‘is’. The same can be said with Aspergers. You only matter to them if you impact what they want to do or experience. And then you become a focal point to their rage over the change in their expected experience and you are the cause of their heightened anxiety and compulsive behaviors. It’s exhausting. And it never goes away. This is my experience with Aspergers. And it sucks.
You go from the highest of highs as a new mother to the lowest of lows as you come to realize that your life is so far removed from what you thought it would be when you started your parenting journey. You have moments of normal that become exceptional because they are juxtaposed against the harsh reality of living with someone who always has to be managed and who is basically not a very nice person by our expected comparisons with other people.
Your days are filled with nothing but battles over how to wear socks and brushing teeth, basic hygiene and food intake. At some point you come to the realization that you are living with an adult who is like a very angry, over tired 3 year old who is always being denied their hearts desire and you are to blame for everything that is wrong in their life. There is no reasoning, no negotiating, no awareness, no lessons learned. Just repetitive and exhaustive battles that continue until they move out and their horrible natures are focused on a partner who doesn’t understand that they can’t be changed.
It takes months for some and years for others, to establish a routine, so imagine the conflict when something changes. They have no flexibility. No ability to adapt to new information and different situations. They lose their minds and lash out. Your family life is an ever changing, constant plan for battles. You are always dealing with the fall out of past ones, in the middle of current ones and planning to avoid future ones by having strategies in place to help mitigate any possible outside influence that may happen which could alter everything in a blink of an eye.