Asperger’s and Motherhood

This is a series of posts about being a mom with Asperger’s– a combination of reflections on how Asperger’s affected my parenting experience and advice that I wish someone has given me when I was struggling to make sense of being an unconventional mom. Hopefully some of what I learned the hard way will be useful to other moms in the same situation.

My daughter at 17 months

Asperger’s and Motherhood (Part 1):  How being a mom with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome impacted my parenting skills

Asperger’s and Motherhood (Part 2): The challenges of caring for an infant when you struggle to take care of yourself

Asperger’s and Motherhood (Part 3): The joys and terrors of toddlerhood

Asperger’s and Motherhood (Part 4): How am I supposed to get this kid through middle school when I barely survived it myself?

Asperger’s and Motherhood (Part 5): Lurching Toward Adulthood

Asperger’s and Motherhood (Part 6): Am I contagious?

22 thoughts on “Asperger’s and Motherhood”

      1. Do you have many stories to share to help communicate to new children when you’ve become a step parent? My own children have some sort of grasp on the quirks & needs my daily life insists I see happen to function smoothly in my home but a recent addition to the family of a 13 yr old girl with a new partnership is challenging in so many new ways. I get so saddened seeing her feel her efforts or ways as wrong or not good enough but concomitant to that is frustration at insisting that a lot of these ‘ways’ are not negotiable and to be ignored or overlooked. I remain extremely conscious of not ‘moving the goal-posts’- for everyone in my close day to day life but for this girl who I adore, my quirks continue to be a source of conflict or misunderstanding. I feel ‘entitled’ that in my home my quirks that I’ve expressed clearly are at least accommodated if not understood. My challenge is responding to her typical NT response of ‘forgetting/ignoring/hoping they go away’ response that results in feeling the household slip out of control and anxious while the ensuing pain underneath we both feel flows between us.

  1. Hi there! Your page is amazing, I love reading about aspies and how they cope with life and what life is like for them. This is why I am looking at going into music therapy and after reading some of your posts, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind popping over to my blog ‘How music affects people (EPQ)’ and having a read of what I have on there(which is very little at the moment) and maybe helping me out by telling me what music does for you? Can it help to calm you down if you’re having a bad day or what? Thank you! And keep blogging!

    1. Your project looks interesting. I’m curious to see where you’ll go with it. I’m not sure music has any more meaning for me than for the average person. I listen occasionally when I’m working or driving, but not nearly as much as I did when I was younger.

      1. Thank you so much! I’m thinking of teaching a child for the year and asking their parents to monitor if there’s any change in behaviour or something along those lines and I have a few experiments in mind to try with both neurotypicals and ASDs if I can. I guess music isn’t for everyone, I find that music can really affect my mood and level of concentration and I’ve heard so many amazing stories about ASDs who become completely different people through music and I just want to investigate into that and hopefully help others along the way!

      2. Random thought. noise tend to impact me negatively, one of my prized possessions is noise-canceling-headphones. aside from that, being grown, I find myself using favorite music pieces to balance myself when I feel stress coming on. YoYo ma does it for me, but everybody is different.

  2. As a person who is traversing this thing called motherhood and being diagnosed with Asperger’s as an adult, I really appreciate your work. It makes it less daunting.

      1. Thank you for this site … I have only recently realized I have Aspergers syndrome.
        Many questions have been answered and a lot of frustrating things over the course of my entire life now have some explanation.
        Your comments about child rearing were helpful in that I am beginning to understand I am not completely weird or crazy. I’m hoping my 32 yr old daughter will read this.
        I did not have the benefit of knowing the details of A.S., nor a good father figure when she was growing up. Fortunately, My patents helped raise her while I was working.
        I also have a 19 yr old daughter from another (ended marriage) with a no good father –
        Both my daughters are great, smart, beautiful women, but I can now understand the toll my rigidity & lack of affection has taken on their lives. I have been up nights crying over it bc i do not know WHAT i can do to fix it, or help.them. This terrible regret is partly the reason for why I finally looked up A.S. … Ive been thinking about it ever since I saw a movie about a woman named Temple Grandin – only bc I think in pictures like that too … and Ive shared that with people and they act like thats not normal – people have always acted like things I talk about are not normal. I have done a lot of crying lately over being relieved to realize and understand that I walk around ‘acting’ and trying to say/do things people accept and trying to not say/do things people dont accept. My entire life has been extremely fatiguing. It is a lot of work and I still say off-the-wall things sometimes that people can not respond to appropriately. I used to think just about everyone was pretty weird and didnt think.right.
        I do not know how this revelation will affect my life – Ive mentioned it to both daughters casually but they said nothing. I wish we could talk about it. I took a ‘quiz’ for A.S. I scored 189. The average scores were like 160. I would like for my older daughter to take the quiz and answer the questions for me and see what she scores for me. I think this would be a good exercise in helping her understand some things about me, and ultimately about herself and her childhood. Then, we could have the discussion with my 19 yr old who is indulging in lesbianism. I blame my self for this bc of my rigid severity and lack of affection. I was not a very sweet mother to my kids. I have been questioning my lack of parenting skills for a while now – and questioning my own childhood – I can see what a difficult time my parents had with me but that is another story. I’m out of space. Thank you again.

        1. It’s great that you found the right explanation for you and that’s helping you understand yourself better. Unfortunately, it’s common to go through a kind of mourning period that involves some regret if you’ve spent a great deal of your life undiagnosed. It’s possible that your daughter’s need time to adjust to this new information–it can come as quite a shock to those closest to us. Perhaps you could send them some links to things to read that you’ve found helpful. Even if they don’t talk with you about it, they may still read what you share and that may give them some more insight into the things you’ve struggled with.

          1. Thank you for the reply.
            Yes I sent this site to the oldest before I even replied. She has not commented yet.
            Meanwhile, this site is somewhat hard to navigate & utilize from a smart phone. I hope to get to a library soon in order to navigate more previsely … my home computer is not online at this time.
            I’ve read a LOT of stuff on here and as is the case when.I go anywhere specifically interesting, I am suffering from overload, anxiousness, and etc.
            Do you do personal email?
            I just have a few questions (about myself personally) I
            would like to ask … I see that you are very busy with this site and likely would not have time for emails. I will not be needy and abusive of the priviledge.
            Thanx for the consideration anyway.

  3. … please excuse typos in my previous message – as I said, it is somewhat difficult to navigate from a phone. The typeline skips and refuses to allow for going back and editing easily . . but as you must know, I’m fairly picky about spelling, etc.

  4. Hi, I am 47 and I think I have PDA. I like reading the aspie stuff but for me the PDA makes me very different. Is there anyone else out there like me? I feel like I’m calling outer space, the chance seems so unlikely…I’m all alooooone, aargh!! 🙂

  5. I read your series and love your insights! It’s hard to find other moms like me, it seems most online advice and experiences are aimed at parents OF Aspies, not Aspie parents. This was a refreshing, helpful find. I will include a link to your website on my blog, the Puzzled Mom, as a helpful resource!

  6. I enjoyed the shared experiences on your blog. I am a mother of a soon to be 16 year old son with Asperger’s ( I diagnosed ), and as I build material for him to read; this site will definitely be at the top. This was tremendously helpful.

  7. I don’t know where to put it…..so I put it here. Just found out about the book by John Donvan and Caren Zucker. “In A Different Key” (The story of Autism) It was here that I read for the first time about mothers being accused as the “instigators” of Autism in their child. (now I only hope I used the correct english word (instigator). Never heard that terrible idea before. Very emotional about this book.
    Greetings from Fryslân
    Dear Cynthia I hope your are well….and if you read this and think it doesn’t belong here….delete it or whatever….I had to share this with you (and others)……

  8. Just dropped in to share this recent observation . . . on the idea of Aspergers or neurodiversity being hereditary. It may be to some degree – but I think at least as scientists are concerned, it’s still debateable.

    As for me personally, I believe Aspergers or neurodiversity may be something that occurs randomly in a bloodline.
    I was adopted so I have no way to measure that or any familial behaviour.
    Both my adoptive parents were neurotypical.

    I have 2 grown daughters who are neurotypical.

    As a child, I was forced to behave ‘normally’.
    I always had, & have a lot of issues from being forced to ‘go against my grain’. My late parents were wonderful people & never knew about Aspergers or neurodiversity. I spent my whole life inadvertantly developing coping & behavioral skills merely to avoid constant reprimanding from parents, teachers, even peers. Leaving home at 16 allowed me to be myself more – but then, I start getting reprimanded by others I came in contact with . . .
    Eventually I had kids & even they grew up reprimanding me for my behaviours.

    I still have social issues & still get reprimanded sometimes but it’s rarer because at 55 I have finally learned to refrain more from voicing my comments, and also bc I enjoy being alone a lot.

    That is the only real way for me to cope in this world. I still think the way I think. I cannot change how my brain works & I don’t want to try to. At least not now. I’ve become fascinated with what I’ve learned about myself & my mind in the last 4 years.

    Meanwhile, having kids made me come to understand the difference between ‘learned behaviour’ & DNA. I’ve always been fascinated with how people look like their families (that’s just a common curiosity among all adopted people) but I was able to ‘study’ it closer with my own kids – not only in physical resemblance to myself or their fathers, but things they said, their personality, etc. They are both largely unlike me, each has more the personality of their father, in spite of the fact they rarely saw them.
    Both of my kids are pretty neurotypical. But sometimes I see traces of neurodiverse behavior.

    I don’t see a lot to read regarding learned behaviours in children with an Asperger/neurodiverse parent other than the DNA theory.

    Decades of me trying to ‘fit’, act, say, do, think ‘right’ has affected me physically. These many years of stressful, forced coping, usually with poor results is mentally & physically exhausting & will present itself in one way or another in the body.

    I believe this is true of any form of ongoing stress.

    I see both my grown kids have great traits in spite of me – they are both very driven, hard working women. They both excel. They are both very generous & caring people.

    But in those wonderful character traits, the drawbacks are that both are extreme perfectionists, and often intolerant, & not as relaxed as they should be.

    I was seeing their ‘stress’ moments as isolated, immediate reactions to some situation. I’m only just now realizing how tense, uptight, & stressed they both really are inwardly & ongoing.

    Are they as neurotypical as I think they are? Or are they on the spectrum more than I realize? Or is their tension just a carry-over of their entire childhood – having to live with me & cope with all my behaviours? Like having to ‘walk on needles’ around me all the time?

    This is what I’m thinking about lately.

    Thanx for still being here.

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one woman's thoughts about life on the spectrum

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