"It was my biggest wish to become a mother." - Pascale

My name is Pascale, 31 years, living together with husband and two daugthers. I got my autism diagnosis this year, just like them.

The road to a diagnosis was tough because of lack of understanding and knowledge by the Dutch mental health care about autism in women. At one point I broke off a diagnostic process, because people told me my children would be taken away from me if I turned out to be autistic. It’s very sad that people are scared like this. I hope that my cooperation to this photo project will create more knowledge and understanding about autism in women. Autism makes a big impact on my life. I often clash with others because of miscommunication, which costs a lot of energy. An autism coach has recently started helping me to deal with this. Transitions also cost energy. I function best with a set structure, with little sudden change.

It was my biggest wish to become a mother. I am intensely happy with my beautiful daughters, I am proud of them and always prepared to make the biggest effort for them. Although our autism expresses itself differently, we have a huge understanding for each other. Sometimes it’s hard, especially when I have no influence on the things that happen to them, like decisions by authorities (school, doctors, therapists, etc.) I can’t let go, and it causes inflammations in my body. I want to be able to fully organise everything for them. Sometimes this leads to intens discussions, which I find difficult.

My daughters and I sometimes join in each others special interests. My oldest daughter has picked up my special interest of World War II. We both know a lot about this and we love to engage with this subject. This year we are going to visit Bergen-Belsen. Last year I was in Poland together with my father, at Oskar Schindler’s factory, Plaszów and Auschwitz. Impressive! I will definitely go back there. In the Netherlands I have visisted all the camps and museums several times. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been in the Secret Annexe (this year two times already and again next month). I can talk for hours about the Holocaust, unfortunately I only share this with my daughter. Other people don’t understand this fascination which I’ve had since I was nine.

As a tip I want to share: learn to recognise and indicate your boundaries . This is something I will work on for myself in the coming period.

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