Monday, October 6, 2014

Autism Moms and PTSD: Why Your Facebook Baby Pictures Trigger My Panic

I found this on Thinking Mom Revolution.

I have a confession to make: Whenever I hear that someone’s expecting a new baby, I’m at high risk
for having a full-blown panic attack.  It’s not that I want to be a royal buzzkill; it’s just a visceral reaction based on my own parenting experience. So if my smile dims and I start to sweat, it’s not you or your happy news.  It’s me.

You may have seen the headlines about autism moms having stress levels and PTSD like combat veterans.  It’s no lie. The hypervigilance, the hair-trigger reactivity, and the pure adrenaline and cortisol dysregulation are very similar.

Even for those of us who’ve made it out of the trenches, so to speak, life is still full of triggering events.  Facebook, for example.  I love Facebook.  It’s brought me closer to people from my past, introduced me to new friends, connected me to causes close to my heart, and brought spiritual sisters into my life.

Facebook also delivers photos of babies with captions like “Look at my little trooper who had all her shots today! I dosed her with baby Tylenol before and after like the doctor suggested, and I think it helped!” And the baby in the photo has rheumy, red cheeks, is covered in eczema, has huge dark circles under her eyes, and/or her forehead looks swollen.

The follow-up Facebook picture three to four weeks later of “My poor princess has had double ear infections all month and probably needs tubes,” makes me hyperventilate.

That’s all it takes.  All those signs I missed in my own son. All that immune system dysregulation advertising itself on his fresh baby skin, the constant ear infections and the monthly doses of antibiotics, the toddler pictures where he’s lining things up (Look at mama’s little helper tidying up his toys!), the blank stares when other babies or toddlers would be bubbling over with giggles — Christmas, playing with a puppy, getting his hands on a new toy.

Read the whole blog at

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