by Annie Crowe
Welcome to Neurodivergent Millennial!
Neurodivergent; Autistic; ADHD; Motherhood; Millennial
Hi! Welcome! My name is Annie and I'm a neurodivergent millennial woman who is a year into her daunting journey into motherhood. I've been wanting to start this blog for some time, as it is something I craved to read when I was expecting my little one and very feeling very overwhelmed.
For those of you who don't know, Neurodiveristy (ND) refers to a variation in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, mood and other mental functions in a non-pathological sense. It was coined by sociologist Judy Singer (fellow Aussie) in 1998. Being Neurodivergent means having an atypical neurological configuration, this is most commonly (and in my case) by having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), or other neurodevelopmental disorders. Some even include mental illnesses in the definition.
If you google Autism and Pregnant, you will find many links to how to avoid having an Autistic child in pregnancy. Firstly, this is not scientific based information (like the false belief that vaccines cause autism). Secondly, this is not exactly what I was hoping to find as an Autistic woman having a baby. It is genetically likely that my neurodivergent husband and I will have neurodivergent child. But let's cross that bridge, if and when we get there.
I wanted information from fellow autistic mothers who experienced pregnancy and entry into motherhood while managing their neurodivergent brains at the same time. Needless to say, there was very little information. This isn't actually that surprising given that until recently, the average age of diagnosis in women was in their 40s. Which is certainly post baby-making age, a few decades ago anyway. Now, more and more women are getting diagnosed in their 20s and 30s, before they have children or early into their parenting journey. This still isn't up to par with our male counterparts, who are still mostly diagnosed before leaving school. However, it certainly is an improvement!
Image: Annie and her newborn son at only 10 days old
As one of the lucky women, who was diagnoses before babies came along, I wanted to record my journey as a neurodivergent mother navigating parenthood with my unique challenges. Becoming a parent is a big challenge for anyone, let alone someone with a disability. I wasn't only learning to change nappies and stick to sleep schedules, I was learning how to manage severe sensory overloads, executive function challenges and the social demands that come with being a new mother.
I'm not an expert in the disability sector, or even Autism and ADHD. But I am an expert in my and my own unique neurodivergent brain. If you understand Autism, you know that everyone on the spectrum has a very different profile and their own unique challenges. I don't want to add to any stereotypes, as they already make access to diagnosis harder for women and non-binary people. I just want to share my experience in hopes that it helps other neurodivergent expecting and new mama's feel more confident, less isolated and maybe even find some useful tools to make the journey all a bit easier.
Thanks for visiting! Hope you enjoy!