Babywearing is a fantastic tool for parenting an autistic child. It allows us to meet the world where it is without fear for safety in crowds or over stimulation. Both are still a factor, but wearing E makes them easier to manage. This is all really great, and I’ve touched upon it before in the post titled Sensory Overload.
But how does babywearing affect me as an autistic adult? It’s actually helped me in a few ways as a parent and as an individual. As a parent, it makes going out seem possible. Outings are overwhelming and exhausting. I typically limit myself to one errand a day as more than that has me burnt out for days after. When I need to take the kids with me to do these errands, even thinking about the day’s tasks feels like more than can be done. Babywearing transforms these mountains into manageable tasks. It does this because it puts the children in a visible, contained space. They climb out of cart belts, let go of hands and disappear, and E even figured out how to lift the back panel of a cart to climb in and out. When I wear them, I can focus on the tasks without fretting about the children’s safety, thus lessening the anxiety that surrounds it.
Babywearing also helps to satisfy E’s need to touch me while considering my adversions to being touched. It’s really difficult to remain present and kind with E when she is constantly touching me. I don’t like being touched and honestly half the time it makes my skin crawl. Wearing her gives her that close contact she craves without it being focused to the surface area of her tiny hand. This makes it significantly more bearable.
As an individual, babywearing helps me to disengage with the surrounding public. You can’t politely stare at your phone in crowded gatherings. You can, however, disengage by cuddling your kid. I can go out and be social without being forced to maintain eye contact, small talk, or acknowledging the discomfort that comes with standing close to too many people. This is especially good because I don’t want to be antisocial. I enjoy hanging out with friend and forming new relationships. The process to it all can just become terribly overwhelming and taxing before it does for others.
Overall, Babywearing is a win for everyone. The kids are happy. I’m happy. And strangers are happy that they don’t have to bear through awkward small talk. Cheers all around!